Sunday, January 31, 2016

366 Days of Geocaching Geocoin

I have a new 'bright and shiny' in my pocket to share. No discoveries on this one (you will find a few others to discover on this page, however).

366 Days of Geocaching

Coin Front

TaGeez and I intend on taking February 29th off and spending the day caching - he'll finally grab some of the 366 Challenge caches. We'll top the night off by sharing our coin at LadyB4t's Leap Day event for discovery.

Geocoin back and proxy tag

I can't believe how quickly the 4 years have flown by. LadyB4T's last Leap Day event was one of the first events I ever attended. It was a madhouse. I can't imagine how busy this year will be with geocaching gaining so much popularity.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Geocaching Watercolor Souvenir Maps

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and stopped at an interesting image on the UK Geocaching podcast's timeline - it was a watercolor map like this one:

Michigan is pretty fabulous, isn't it?

How cool is that? This is the Stamen Watercolor map setting on They were asking, "What good is this for geocaching?" And my first thought was SOUVENIR MAPS!

Look how cool my geo-adventure in San Francisco looks! Display your finds on a map, change to Stamen Watercolor, take a screen capture, and then apply a frame and text. Look at the cool postcard!

Here's another of the To Boldly Go GeoArt in Westland, Michigan. Which reminds me I have some more caching to do in the area.

I'm grateful they pointed it out. I can't wait for my next geo-adventure. Life is too short - be creative!

Stamen Watercolor Maps

To change your maps to Stamen Watercolor, follow these easy steps. Don't worry! You can change it back!

1. There are several ways to access the maps below such as running a pocket query (view results) or use the Find A Geocache search (click Map These Results). 

2. Once you see the the map, hover your cursor over the left side of the screen until the Map Filters slider appears (NOTE: If you see a Clear Search Filters button on your map, the slider won't appear until you click it).

3. At the bottom of the slider is a Set Map Preferences button (green arrow below). Click it. When the Map Preferences box appears, select Leaflet

4. Hover your icon over the Map Selections button (looks like 3 stacked pages) in the upper right corner. A list of available maps will open. Select Stamen Watercolor.

And then, as simple as this, you have a watercolor map of Traverse City!

Ok, I admit it. I removed all the caches prior to screen capturing.

For the San Francisco postcard, I ran a pocket query of my Frisco finds and displayed the results on the map.

What can you do with this?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Tracking Your Trackables

301,000 miles! Almost 11,000 hops! Spread out across the globe!

Oh, let's face it - numbers can be fun! And combine it with a global map? Wonderful!

I'm always geeked for a new site and was thrilled to come across this one: A free site that displays the last known whereabouts of your geocoins, travel bugs and other trackables.

Map and Statistics
Look at those miles! and the number of countries! It takes some of the sting out of it when some go missing.

TB Stats

Click on a trackable to see the trackable's trail and statistics. I'm thrilled on the mileage of this one, but no logs in almost a year? Heartbreaking.

On a trackable's trail
Then scroll down to the bottom of the page for your trackables registered on Lil Brother made a reappearance lately and is logging some miles. Nothing compared to my personal trackable.
Trackables List
Once you access the site, you will need to setup a UserId and Password. After authorizing the site to connect to your account, sit back as the system builds your map. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Road Trip Apps!

I was listening to my friend, Shortyknits, on GeoGearheads this week (GGH 210), and she mentioned Furkot. She's working on several challenges at once (Illinois DeLorme, Illinois counties, and Illinois Virtuals) and had a really successful adventure in the new year. She and ScottBerks made a major dent in finding qualifiers while criss-crossing across the state. A wiz at trip planning, she said she used

FURKOT - Miss the turns on your terms! Use real dates, find interesting places, book hotels with ease

Furkot is a free trip-planning website (that works just like an app on your mobile device). You can plug in multiple stops and the planner will route the most efficient route from one destination to the next. You can pick dates and even travel times - travel times will accommodate sightseeing stops but keep you on track from missing check-in times or sundown, if needed.

From their site: You can even plan meal stops and add gas stations to your itinerary. Not to mention biking paths, museums, monuments, climbing routes, national parks, scenic views — add as many as you want. Furkot will keep you on track. You just need to show up.

A website that's also mobile-friendly and works like an app
When I posted this online, another friend, Yellowjeeperman, said he's been using Roadtrippers for years.

ROADTRIPPERS - Maps built for travelers.

YJM said, "If you like finding things on road trips, awesome restaurants, cool spots to stops, highly recommended places, movie locations, it's the best app."  I have to admit I enjoyed clicking on the Attractions & Culture and Points of Interest features. Looking at my local area, it was pretty thorough. 

Besides the standard Food and Accommodations, I can also see my family enjoying the Guides: Roads & Rides, Camping, RV'ing, and Destination Strange. Destination Strange wonderfully reminds me of my favorite website: Have you been? Talk about fascinating places and a fabulous website, too!

Both a web site and a free app
Now, YJM is a very helpful sort. He also mentioned another favorite travel app: Sit or Squat by Charmin!

SIT OR SQUAT - Need a bathroom on the go?

This is available via a fee app or online.  At first I poo-poo'd his suggestion (pun intended) until I remembered that we're going to Washington DC and Central Park this year. Talk about tough places to find a public loo! Good suggestion, Brad!

Both a mobile website and a free app
Still and all, I can't end this post without mention my buddy AstroEricJ's favorite, WAZE

WAZE - Outsmarting Traffic Together

I wrote about WAZE after our epic journey from Michigan > Indiana > Illinois > Wisconsin > Minnesota > Iowa > Illinois > Indiana > Home. This is social media for traffic. As you travel along your route (and it will route for you if you plug in a destination), you will see real-time traffic issues like accidents, construction, traffic slowness and police presence as reported by other Wazers. Waze is smart enough to navigate you around these hazards in a fun, interactive way.

Available as a free app only

Now, this is definitely not all-inclusive, but this should make for some interesting experimentation this summer on the road to DC and NY. Especially if we acquire a mobile wi-fi like AstroEricJ - yes, wi-fi on a geo-adventure (drool).

Saturday, January 16, 2016

2016 Resolution - MORE GREAT ADVENTURES!

It's Winter in Michigan, and this is the time that TaGeez dreads most. Why? I'm suffering from cabin fever - locked in the house with maps and travel guides and plotting!

No, I'm kidding about TaGeez dreading this. We've planned some of our most amazing adventures from this love seat. We know we can't beat last year for sheer number of miles and states, but I think we've decided on two amazing adventures this year!

WASHINGTON DC - The land of Virtuals.

TaGeez and I are HUGE history buffs (we recently quizzed ourselves using the 100 possible questions on the US Citizenship test - we rocked it!). I had the pleasure of this trip with the wonderful WikidKriket a few years ago and was shocked that TaGeez has never been. Back we go!

Our main focus, of course, will be the Monuments, Smithsonian museums, Arlington Cemetery, the National Zoo, and all the war memorials. But, luckily for us, intermingled with these wonderful symbols of this glorious nation, is about 75 or so Virtuals! Toss in a handful of webcams and the well-received Smithsonion NMMH geo-tour during the cherry blossom season and we have an adventure! Woo Hoo!

The Mall - Washington DC

CENTRAL PARK - Bridges and Arches

I've been drooling over this one for a few years now. The Bridges & Arches of Central Park GC17MX1 is a 32-stage multi walking adventure of this urban gem. Put out by Addisonbr in 2008, it has 460 Favorite points and 888 finders. Added bonus? Finders earn a custom geocoin only available in the final container! Watch the geocache-of-the-week teaser video from's blog.

I love the idea of spending the mornings working on the multi and the afternoons sightseeing, grabbing Virtuals and exploring New York. Hey, if it works out, maybe stop at Niagara Falls on the way back.

Central Park - Manhattan
Now that we've competed our JASMERs, I'm so glad there are other adventures out there.


The scene at today's great adventure!

Then after finding this fabulous D/T 4.5/3, I stopped at a cache on the way back and found this:

That's quite some swag!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Winter Caching Tip: Use the Thermos

For Christmas, my sister bought me a new Thermos.

Now, you might think this isn't too thrilling, but I love it. She brought hers to a summer caching jaunt - one of the hottest, most humid days - and she left it inside a hot car (practically in direct sunlight) for hours. We returned and I went to take a swig of water from it and almost died of shock - that sudden jolt of cold when my whole body was a melty, gooey mess.

18 hours HOT - 24 hours COLD

And this is no joke. I left my Thermos overnight at work, and it was still cold the next day. Well made, solid construction, easy to clean.

So what does this have to do with Winter caching besides the obvious? 

I was just listening to the Geocaching Podcast (episode 433), and they were talking Winter caching tips. Co-host Scott Berks (from the mighty Chicago area) had some great tips for newbies, but he shared one I'd never heard (or thought of) before. When caching in the woods, carry a thermos of boiling hot water to unfreeze containers embedded in a block of ice! DOH! I can't tell you how many containers I've replaced trying to free them! (They tend to shatter here in Michigan when you kick them with the heel of your foot - OOPS!). 

And I have just the Thermos for it. This thing is solid. It will definitely stay hot during a trek out into the woods without leaking all over my geobag.

Speaking of Winter tips, he also keeps a rubber mallet in his car to unstick frozen LPCs. And that made me think.... no mallet onhand? Wrap your trusty Thermos in a towel or stow it in your hat and use THAT to tap that lid! This thing is a tough little fellow!

And Heaven help him if I'm ever chased by a bear while toting my new Thermos...

Thank you, WikidKriket, for my new Tool of the Trade!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Leap Day Souvenirs

Just weeks away until TaGeez will finally fill in that elusive square.... he and thousands of this closest friends, I'm sure. 

To top it off, once we fill that spot, we will add TWO more souvenirs to our profiles!'s blog announced two new Leap Day souvenirs. To earn them, you must: 
  • Find a cache during Leap Day weekend
  • Attend an event on Leap Day

Cakewalk! To celebrate, we're going to release our own caches just after midnight and then spend they day collecting smileys.

What's your plans?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Found It Emails

Ooh! I like the new Found It emails. So much cleaner, and they load on my phone so much quicker.

Rumor has it future emails will contain notices if a picture has been attached to a log. Fabulous!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

YIR: Caching with TaGeez 2015

It's that time of year again when everyone looks back on 2015 and reminisce about adventures experienced and goals met. Looking at my 'year in review', I realize I'm EXTREMELY lucky that my partner-in-life is also my partner-in-caching. 


Winter caching in Melvindale, MI
He's really looking hard for that one!

Ice Walking to the Lake Frances Lighthouse

Keeping the streak alive

Belle Isle, MI

Wapakoneta, OH trip with Ratspazum


Kidnapping of TaGeez and heading to Manchester, MI

Firesafe's vist - with Firesafe and DarrylW4


Georgia JASMER Adventure
Ohio > Kentucky > Tennessee > Alabama > Georgia> South Carolina >
North Carolina > Virginia > West Virginia > Ohio

Frankenmuth with WikidKriket and SnakeyLicks
Yes, there's a cache in there.

JUNE - June was a trying month. It was a high travel month, but TaGeez wasn't at my side. In between my niece's wedding in Missouri and my work trip to San Francisco, his main adventure was surgery in Michigan.

My Knight in Shining Armor isn't here
Me in Missouri for my niece's wedding while
TaGeez is home prepping for surgery.

Recovering from surgery and caching with portable oxygen

Me locked away in Alcatraz and missing TaGeez
I'm on a work trip while he's home recovering from surgery


Point Pelee outside Windsor, Ontario

Midwest GeoBash 2015
Wauseon, OH

Caching the MGA series with WikidKriket

Indiana JASMER trip


JASMER completed near Chicago, IL with AstroEricJ
Then onto Wisconsin > Minnesota > Iowa

Leelanau Peninsula, MI


Completing the ODS - Outer Drive Series

Returning from the Canton Meet


Mischief in Berkley


Journey to Niles, MI with RayQix and PaRaDiZ

In 2015, TaGeez and I completed our JASMERs, added around a dozen state souvenirs, traveled thousands of miles. We explored cemeteries as far north as the Leelanau Peninsula and as far south as Atlanta, Georgia. We enjoyed webcams in Tennessee, used old gas pumps in Alabama, visited Maybury, and stood in the shadow of the World Peace Bell (Kentucky). Let's not forget exploring subterranean Chicago, standing on the steps with Lincoln (Madison, WI), following the course of the Mississippi through Minnesota and Iowa with their Artesian wells, man-built caves, and Field of Dreams. 

All of it made richer and sweeter with this wonderful man laughing by my side. I'm one lucky girl.