Thursday, March 31, 2016

OH-NY-PA Adventure

TaGeez and I headed to Cleveland on Saturday to meetup with other members of Team Free Range Lobsters. Our primary purpose was the British Museum’s Pharaoh exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Arts and dinner in Little Italy. 
Cleveland, Ohio 

It is a lovely museum. It's not as packed as the Detroit Institute of Arts, but they do a fabulous job displaying their treasures.  The building is an interesting blend of the original classic building with the modern glass & metal addition. If you go you MUST visit the armory upstairs. 

TaGeez just hanging around
Kriket and I had been planning this trip all Winter and were excited to check out the British Museum's exhibition with other members of the family. The place was packed and, by the time we arrived, the day's tickets were sold out. Glad we pre-ordered - it was worth every dime.

SnakeyLicks and WikidKriket at the Pharaoh Exhibit
After touring the rest of the museum we headed over to Little Italy down the street. It's an ethnic neighborhood, very similar to Detroit's Hamtramck, filled with restaurants, bakeries, and shops along a single, mural-lined road. Dinner was Mama Santa's and dessert were cannolis & amaretto Lobster Tails from Corbo's and Presti's.

Free Range Lobsters at their second bakery in Little Italy
Soon the others were heading their own way,, and that left TaGeez and I with a day and a half free, no commitments, and a rental VW Beetle with unlimited mileage. What to do? What to do? You see.. that's why TaGeez is the perfect traveling companion. When I mentioned to TaGeez that New York was only a 100 miles away, he grinned and pulled up the geocaching app on his phone!

New York Thruway - Westfield, NY

First stop: The New York Thruway where we grabbed our first NY cache and souvenir! It was a fun one in a hollowed log and shielded from the passing traffic by a dinner plate with a ceramic flower on it. Weird, I know.

WTNY (Welcome To New York) GC3YW58
We decided to head down to the next exit and grab a few more caches in Westfield. Westfield rests right on Lake Erie and is a quaint maritime village. We passed 'painted ladies' capped with widows walks along the scenic byway. No light illuminated the pier, but you could hear the water lap against the pylons. AND THE STARS! So far from the big city so the skies were dark as pitch and dotted with the brightest, most amazing stars! The dark, dark skies contrasted with those brilliant stars was awe-inspiring and overwhelming and made me feel like a tiny speck in a greater world. 

We comforted ourselves with more geocaching.

On the Corner Between Two and Four GC1V85H

Our path led us through the Village of Westfield and then along its back roads, up into the hills and passing grapvines by moonlight. We made sure to find about a dozen caches before turning towards home.

Presque Isle, Pennsylvania

The lateness caught up with us. We could've pushed it, but why risk it? Warily we pulled into a Pennsylvania hotel and stayed over for the night. After making arrangements with Papa Tree (of 3inaTree) to check on my furry ones, we headed home along the Lake Erie scenic byway. It's been a stressful winter and the freedom & peace were greatly needed.

I had told TaGeez a few weeks ago I wanted to go to church on Easter morning. I had meant to attend a service. Instead, we found a different kind of joy in the parish parking lot. 

If we had been in Michigan and not Pennsylvania today, we had intended to head to Mackinac City for the day. Since we were several hundred miles away, I was determined to walk on sand, lulled by the waves and enjoying the smells.... we detoured to lovely Presque Isle. My favorite part of the stop when finding a solitary bench on our visit and enjoying the last of our cannolis from Little Italy. Perfect. 

Perry Monument
This was a fascinating puzzle cache. Called Tombstone Rubble, it features three headstones that were mistakenly included a shipment of stones used for the breakwater off Presque Isle. Imagine being the first person to climb all over these stones and happen up on it. These three are visible, but, looking down the miles of waterfront, I wonder how many more have gone unnoticed?
You can see how white we are - it's been so many months without the warm sun on our faces.

This weekend was gorgeous - 69° with blue skies and such a warm sun!

And, of course, there must be a lighthouse nearby.... 

Cleveland, OHIO - Lakeview Cemetery

After Presque Isle, we headed towards home. As we found ourselves near Cleveland again, we knew we needed to stretch our legs and find some food. We also took this opportunity to grab a large cache (a little library) and the final two caches in Lakeview Cemetery. 

The People's University GC4RT8G
See our Beetle in back?
This was our second trip to Lakeview Cemetery together - the first one was a fabulous adventure with Ratspazum two years earlier. Lakeview Cemetery (so called because you can see Lake Erie from the highest points) is a historic, 'garden' cemetery that catered to the rich off Millionaire's Row (Euclid Avenue) nearby. It has President Garfield's Mausoleum, Rockefeller's Obelisk, and acres & acres of the most impressive funerary art on the grounds.

It also has flowers. It is considered a 'garden' cemetery, "a style of burial ground that uses landscaping in a park-like setting."  And we just happened to stop in on Easter Sunday while they were having a Flower Tour. 

We had to stop by this old friend so TaGeez could redeem a DNF. 

Angle's Right Wing Friends GC2JAMA
Why is there not a cache here? Shameful!

One last spin around the perimeter, and we found ourselves with a most excellent view of Garfield's Mausoleum. 

President James A. Garfield Monument GC234RG
After a bite to eat, we headed home while singing Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody and racing ahead of a major rainstorm. This adventure was the medicine we needed. 
Our route and our spiffy new souvenir!

Friday, March 25, 2016

A New DC Shiny

TaGeez and I have a new shiny to take with us to Washington DC!

We want to take it for a picture at the Zero Milestone Monument.

Can't wait!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

It doesn't SEEM very welcoming!

As seen when we stopped at a park and grab. What do you think came first.... the tree or the Visitor Parking sign?

Not much to report in our corner of the world for geocaching - the blogs, the groups, the new cache notifications have been quiet. Many are telling me, though, that their summer adventures start in a month. I think in about a week we'll have something interesting to share. 

Happy March!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Michigan Geomarbling

WOW! If you thought geocaching was getting a little bit boring lately (suffering the winter blahs, grids are filled and no new challenges), a 'public art project' in Grand Rapids, Michigan has added a fun twist to geolocation gaming!

The Michigan Geomarbling project combines the love of the geo-hunt and glassblowing! From their page: 
Michigan GeoMarbling is a project started by Grand Rapids glass artist Nigel Morford (MPXGlass) who was inspired by Esferas Perdidas -- or "Lost Spheres" -- and GeoMarbling out of Oklahoma.
Our group was formed in the image of Esferas Perdidas, for local glass workers to introduce people to their works by hiding select pieces in and around Grand Rapids, and then posting clues with photos, so that group members might seek them out. Their group has become so popular that they play hide and seek with their art. So, basically, it's an interactive scavenger hunt for decorative glass objects .. mostly marbles but some cool surprises, too!
You can download the rules from the Facebook page, but, in short, hand-blown glass marbles will be hidden around the Grand Rapids area. Then, a post entitled LOST will appear on the Facebook page. Participants will need to decipher clues to find the marbles. How fun is this?

Nigel announced the first release will happen today. 

We love "bright and shines" - All 1" or bigger

I'm following the Facebook group and can't wait to see the fun. I hope the "finders" post their pictures! I've shared this page with several of the local geocaching groups. Who knows where this could lead? Maybe it'll inspire other groups to do something similar. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

50 Shades of Ultraviolet

What a hoot! Team Gates decided he and his crew were heading north to experience this new(er) night cache in mid-Michigan (up I-75 at a rest stop near Clio). Being a beautiful day and this cache is on our bucket list, TaGeez and I joined them for some night time fun!

One of the fun stages
We finally get to use our UV flashlights!

As night fell, our crew headed out to the woods: scrapcat, TaGeez, Team Gates, Alona Spiegal, BSW2010, HelloLola, RayQix, PaRaDiZ, Kachhunter, and Team LTO. It was hard to act nonchalant as these flashlight-wielding weirdos moseyed into the woods hollering "Branch!" "Log!" "Bug!" I'm sure it caused a bit of confusion for the patrons of the nearby bathroom establishment.

Not giving anything away, but it was a fun adventure with several stages. We were victorious! Afterwards, we headed to Birch Run to visit 1/2 of the dynamic Yellowjeeperman duo! 
Awesome fun!

scrapcat, Mrs. Yellowjeeperman, and TaGeez
If you ever find yourself heading up to Traverse City or Mackinac Island or maybe moseying down to the Detroit area, stop in for a half hour of fun! But don't forget to bring your TOTTs!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Geocaching App Updates

This just in!

No more “Geocaching Intro” app – it’s now Geocaching.

No more “Geocaching” app – it’s now Geocaching Classic. (I feel so old.. “I remember when you had to pay for an app….”).

Here are 4 things you may not know about the newly named Geocaching® app (according to the blog):

1. The updated design actually makes using the app outside, better. A crazy expectation for a game played outdoors, we know. The visual contrast and updated styling make reading geocache details easier wherever you are.

2. The app is best with Premium. Premium members can find any geocache in the world. Plus, they gain access to tools for sorting and filtering geocaches as well as more intuitive workflows for finding all geocache types.

3. Players can move seamlessly between and the app. For example, lists that you create on will automatically appear in the Geocaching® app. Same goes for conversations in the Message Center.

4. We are not done with this app. We are actively seeking feedback from the geocaching community to help us improve it. Together, we think we can make this app the ultimate mobile tool for geocachers!

I don’t know – I was not a fan of the Intro app especially the map and cache icons. I only installed it for the messaging capabilities (because’s Message Center is NOT mobile friendly). And, as far as I can tell, there is still no way to import a GPX file like you can on the Android version. 

But we’ll give it a try. Have to because the "Classic" app will no longer be supported after June 2016. What do you think of this change?

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Thank You, TeamGMMP!

At the end of January I received a fabulous, yet brief, email from Greg of TeamGMMP. He had nominated me for's Geocacher of the Month! Alas, February has come and gone, I did not win, but I'm still thrilled that Greg thought enough of me for the nomination.

That's given me a different kind of smiley! Thank you, TeamGMMP!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Leaping All Over Middle Michigan

Happy Leap Day 2016! Like many of our peers, TaGeez and I took the day off and went exploring. This was our first adventure of the new year. 

Our original plan was to grab some puzzle finals on the east side - we had a hit list and everything. But it was a special day and the sun was peaking out. With a last minute decision, we decided to dump those plans and head to the middle of the mitten

First stop - Lansing, Michigan.

There is a cool series of challenges called "Historic Caches of Michigan Counties". WONDERFUL challenges because, to qualify, you have to visit the oldest 5 caches in each county. Oh, the history! Back in the days when people wrote their logs in the log. Oldies on Power Island, abandoned cemeteries, near the Michigan Lost Towns. With WikidKriket and TaGeez, we've loved exploring back roads and nature trails in Michigan.

Last Fall, we signed our 10th HCoMC challenge, which qualified us for the metachallenge in Lansing. Imagine our dismay when we realized the challenge was only 83 feet from a Multi stage we visited not long before before! SO CLOSE! So back to Lansing we went....

This is Wind Lord. As you can tell, TaGeez is a kindred spirit. Here's him doing his best 'Karate Kid' impression.

With a little maneuvering, we made the find, though. 

Historic Caches of Michigan Counties
Metachallenge GC30JWA
Next up? Alma, Michigan

So north we head. The next few stops were a lot of fun. We visited historic cemeteries that had several things in common: old headstones, dirt roads, snowbanks, and wind Turbines. Yes, this area has miles and miles of ginormous Turbine fields.

Michigan Ghost Town Challenge GC1PVAD

Plus a stopover at Alma College
St. Louis, Michigan: The Middle of the Mitten

And our goal - the middle of Michigan. Such a small town with a large name! Can you believe this is on US 12 - Michigan Avenue? It's all over the place!

Quaint little downtown with a Civil War memorial, a time capsule, and a truly wonderful quilt shop. Yes, we stopped and supported the local economy!

And we found the marker! If you can overlook that it resembles a headstone, it was pretty cool! Although we had sunshine to and from this little town, the moment we exited the car to check out the stone it started to sleet. 

Nearby is the Pilgrim's Memorial in the middle of the park. Plenty of the room for visiting guests. 

And then onto the gem of the day: the webcam! Yes, one of only 3 active webcam caches left in Michigan! After requirements gathering, we stopped and posed. Pretty cool, eh?

Mt Pleasant to Southfield to Home

Next stop is Mt Pleasant for the only Virtual cache in the immediate area. As we only have spoiler pictures, we can't post anything here. We then booked it south to reach LadyB's event in Southfield for laughter, geocoins, good friends, and raffles. We started the day with an event (at midnight) and ended the day with another. Good, good day.

Some times it IS about the numbers (Leap Day edition)
  • This was our first road trip of the year and the first road trip in my new Fusion.
  • TaGeez finished his 366 grid
  • I finished my "Placed Caches by Found Date" grid with my Leap Day hide
  • Completed year #4 of my cache-a-day streak
  • TaGeez and I each hid a Leap Day cache
  • Plus we had an FTF at 12:05 am
  • Our smilies included 2 events, 2 challenges, 1 webcam, 1 virtual, and 4 traditionals.
  • We also logged a find in a new Michigan county.
  • We now have 2 new souvenirs, own 2 new Leap Day geocoins and won 3 prizes at the raffle table
  • AND we both celebrated birthdays. 
It was a fabulous adventure!

Leap Day Secret Souvenir Message

A special day on the calendar - fun events, a little caching, and a mystery?

Did you spy the secret message embedded in this souvenir?

Get the skinny from the blog!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Things Have Changed in Four Years!

My friend, John, sent me this cartoon. It really made me chuckle. Boy, geocaching has really gone mainstream in just the last four years.

Sorry - I don't have a source for this.
Why is four years on my mind?  Because I've completed another year on my cache-a-day streak! Can you believe it?

It's much easier to do when you are surrounded by other LMW - Like Minded Weirdos. Nope, I don't know when I'm stopping - it's still fun, and we have many adventures ahead of us this year!