Thursday, December 13, 2012


Making the Naughty List on 12/12/12!

Yesterday we attended a mob event…more exactly, a geocaching flash mob event.  That’s an “event cache” where geocachers gather at a specified date, time and coordinates and “spontaneously” show up at the same time.  A picture is usually taken and you log it as a cache.  Yesterday’s gathering was a  Decatur Area Meet and Greet Event (D.A.M.A.G.E.) set up by Sixrows and titled “Making the naughty list.”  About twenty of us gathered at 12:12 PM on 12/12/12 in front of Santa’s House in Downtown Decatur.   It was fun catching up with old friends and making some new ones.

While at the event, Dr. Bill commented that I haven’t updated my geo blog in a while….hence this post! 

Since the last post we completed our 2012 goal of caching in the 48 contiguous states.  We put over 35,000 miles on our car and cached in each state, along with two Canadian provinces and the District of Columbia.  We had a blast…not only caching, but seeing many sights we’d only read of and visiting friends all over the country. 

Mona and Laura in the North Woods
In the course of our travels we found over 1200 caches and we cached for 250 days straight.  We found caches coast to coast…from San Francisco Bay to lobster docks in Maine…and then on down to Key West.  We cached in the mountains, deserts, swamps and prairies.  We cached in Yellowstone Park, Mesa Verde, the Everglades, the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks where we saw incredible fall colors.  We’ve been to the North Woods in Michigan, the Cadillac Ranch in Texas and even found a few caches written in French in Montreal.  Name a state (other than Alaska and Hawaii) and we cached there in 2012!

It’s hard to pick the most memorable cache….perhaps it was the one in Montana where I was so busy watching out for bears and buffalo and ended up falling into a bed of cactus.  Or maybe it’s the “cache” I found on Fisherman’s Wharf that turned out to be a rat trap.  Another contender is the cache we found by Ben’s Chili Bowl in downtown DC with Margaret and Pete…and then we went inside to sit at Obama’s table and have chili and half smokes! 

Of course there's a cache here!
And of course, Mona’s most memorable cache was the Web Cam Cache on Fisherman’s wharf…because of the bird “poo attack” that gave her the excuse to buy new clothes!  She also loved the one we found in Orange Beach under the Boardwalk.  Speaking of the Boardwalk, caching on the Atlantic City Boardwalk was really cool….just glad we were there before Hurricane Sandy!

Also we will remember our 2012 caching year for the different animals we have had to be careful of while caching.  Here in Central Illinois we watch for skunks, spiders and the occasional snake, but it’s a little different in other parts of the country.  In our travels we cached in areas that had rattlesnakes, jack rabbits, wolves, grizzly bears, alligators, elk, tarantulas, scorpions, panthers, crocodiles and buffalo.  Whew!  We also cached in several areas known for Bigfoot sightings.  (No, X, we didn’t see any!)  Oh….and can’t forget Roswell where we kept a keen lookout for aliens!

The map on the right gives you a general idea of where we traveled.  Our car, Red, has a travel bug on it and we logged it at many of the caches we visited.  The map doesn't show the two trips that involved air travel, because, of course, Red had to stay home.

2012 was definitely a big geocaching year for us…  Lots of caches, lots of miles and lots of fun!  I even got an article about Cable Car Caching published in FTF Geocaching Magazine!  Yep, 2012 was a big year for us….now we've got to figure out some new geocaching goals for 2013 to make it even more fun!

Happy Geocaching!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tag for Dad

Tag for Dad Travel Bug
We started in geocaching in August of 2010 and it wasn’t long before the caching bug spread through four generations of our family.  Although we all love geocaching, we all keep talking about how another member of our family would have really loved this sport:  Dad.  Dad was an outdoor enthusiast and he loved puzzles and gadgets…a perfect combination for geocaching.  Sadly, he passed in 2009, before any of us had starting caching.

My sister, 5-Bears, wanted to include Dad in geocaching somehow, someway. She ended up creating a Travel Bug in his honor and named it “Tag for Dad”.  5-Bears wanted me to be the FTF (First to Find) for this Bug so she created a special cache just for me and sent me the coordinates specifying that I had to find it at night.  Turns out the cache was hidden in a cemetery…in fact, the cemetery where Dad is resting.   This was definitely a spooky place for a cache, but I made the find, in a flower urn on Dad’s stone.  Creepy, but Dad would have loved it!

In case you didn't know....a Travel Bug is a geocaching item that has a unique identification number and it's taken from cache to cache by geocachers.  Usually, it's a small item that can easily fit into caches and it has a tag keychained to it with its ID number or it has the ID number stamped on it.  Most often, the Travel Bug's owner specifies where the bug would like to travel.  However, in this case 5-Bears didn't specify a preferred destination.  

WES37 (Geouncle) Making the Find
I asked 5-Bears if she wanted me to keep the Bug or release it into the wild.  She answered, “Let’s see where Dad goes.”  Soon after, I took Tag for Dad to Missouri and dropped him in Out of the Loop (GC2178Y) to get him started on his journey.  It wasn’t long before “Dad” visited southern Illinois, quite possibly his favorite place in the world.  This was where he spent many weekends fishing, 4-wheeling and exploring the Shawnee National Forest.  Everyone in the family thought this was so cool that the Travel Bug landed here!

“Dad” continued his journeys, visiting Kentucky and Massachusetts, but it wasn’t long before he made his way to Florida, another of Dad’s favorite places.  Florida is where Dad loved to take us for family vacations, looking for alligators, shelling and enjoying incredible sunsets.  Wow, what a coincidence that “Dad” visited two of his favorite places in just a short time!

"Dad" and 5-Bears in the Glass Box!
Now, “Dad” traveled north, making his way to Minnesota and finally to Chicago, Illinois.  Dad lived here for several years and loved Chicago.  He especially loved the Sears Tower (now named the Willis Tower) and wonder of wonders….the cache was near there!  This was too much for 5-Bears!  She had always hoped “Dad” would find his way back home and now it was time!  She enlisted the help of our geo-uncle WES37 and together they drove to Chicago and found “Dad” in Corporate Soup (GC2R5TX).  “Dad” was back with the family again!

5-Bears and WES37 celebrated the reunion by visiting the top of Willis Tower, where 5-Bears took “Dad” out into one of the glass boxes hanging off the side of the building.  This was quite a feat for 5-Bears as she has a fear of heights, but she wanted to do it in Dad’s honor.  Dad would have been so proud!

"Dad's" Travels
Our family is still amazed at where “Dad” visited.  What a coincidence that in just a year and a half this travel bug was taken to three of Dad’s favorite places in the world, even though none of them was mentioned in his goal!  Or maybe…just maybe, Dad really got to go geocaching after all! 

P.S.  “Tag for Dad” has now been moved to 5-Bears’ collection, so no more traveling for “Dad.”  But who knows, maybe he’ll be put out into the wild again someday to revisit a few more of his favorite places!

Monday, August 27, 2012

San Francisco Caching

August 15th, my birthday, and I was in San Francisco.  Of course, I studied in advance the maps on to scope out my caches for the trip. Can’t travel without knowing what caches are in the area!  In my studies I noticed that there were several caches along the cable car lines.  That gave me an idea for a perfect birthday present to me, from me.  Cable car caching! 
Turning the Cable Car Arouind
I got up early on my birthday, not just in anticipation of my big event, but also to avoid the big crowds that cram the cable cars starting mid-morning.  At about 6:00 AM I walked the three tenths of a mile to my first cache and to my first cable car stop at California and Van Ness.  The first cache of the day was to be “S.F. Cable Car - California & Van Ness” (GCX98GV).  This cache is a 1.5/1.5 so I was certain I could easily make this find.  Ten minutes passed with no smiley and my cable car was here!  Darn!

I hopped onto the cable car and off we went in search of my next cache and hopefully, my first smiley of the day.  I rode the car to the junction of Powell and California streets.  I hopped off the car to find “S.F. Cable Car – Crossroads” (GCX8ZN).  This cache is a 2.5/1.5, but I managed to make the find before the next cable car came along.  I jumped onto the Powell/Hyde Beach car and rode it to its turnaround.
Off the car I went and down the street for about a block where I quickly scooped up “Will You ***** Me?” (GC3CBMW).  This cache has a fun history as it was used by its CO to ask his girlfriend to marry him! 
I trotted back to the cable car and managed to board it just after it turned around.  Headed back to the hotel to pick up M&A and Mona and to do more cable car caching!
Sea Lions at Pier 39
We went back to “S.F. Cable Car - California & Van Ness” and my wife quickly made the find and got the smiley.  Then off we went on the cable cars to find more caches at Pier 39!

Pier 39, shops, sea lions, street performers and tourists...thousands of tourists....and a couple of geocachers.  There were two caches that I really wanted to get.  The first was on the plaza in front of the pier.  The cache description said you'd sit to the right of the cache, slip your hand down and pull out the cache.  Did that, and found a wedge-shaped black box.  But, the darned thing was soo hard to open.  I kept struggling with it and trying to be discreet but it just wouldn't open!  Then just as I opened it, Monte walked up and said, "That looks like a rat trap!"  It was.  Luckily no rat.  Talk about hand washing and sanitizer!!!!  (Oh, by the way, a millisecond later Mona found the actual cache 20 feet away.)

Mona at the Web Cam
Next, we wandered the Pier.  As I said, Pier 39 is crowded with shops, restaurants and people.  Not only that, but just outside the pier are sea lions.  After the 1989 earthquake, sea lions took over part of the marina adjacent to Pier 39.  They lay and play on the boatdocks within 50 feet of the pier.  They are so much fun to watch!  Better yet, there's a webcam geocache there, too!  You position yourself so that the web camera can see you with your GPSr (Global Positioning Satellite Receiver) and then you snap a pic.  You control the positioning of the web camera through your smartphone.  So cool!  Just as I had snapped our web pic, I heard a shriek from Mona.  A sea bird had bombed her with poo!  It was a direct hit on her white sweater and her iPhone!  Yet another side trip for sanitizing and washing, washing, washing!

Mona feeding seagull after the Pier 39 incident.
Note the change in attire!
Mona took it in stride...just another part of the experience.  She soon had purchased a new blouse and some scarves.  Once again geocaching had provided her with an excuse to shop!

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Logging The First Cache
WES37, 5-Bears, Dizzy L
Recently, three new geocache series were hidden in Central Illinois.  A geocache series is a set of caches that can be found singly or in a "power run" to rack up some big numbers.  We decided to find all three series in a single day...with a target of finding at least 200 caches in a single day.  Our team consisted of five cachers, WES37, Dizzy L, 5-Bears and the two of us MNM1011.

We gathered at our house at 6:00 AM.  The van was filled with caching tools, GPS receivers, and plenty of cool drinks.  The temp was 75 so it was a perfect time to start the day's effort.

Logging the Finds
The first series we tackled was the IBE AUS (Named after the song, “I’ve Been Everywhere and using the names of Australian cities for individual cache names.)  The first cache was hidden beside a rural road just outside of Decatur.  The rest of the 90+ caches of the series were hidden along 15 miles of roads leading to Mt. Auburn.
You've got to hustle to find 210!!!

The next series, IBE US, stretched about 10 miles from Illiopolis north to near Mt. Pulaski.  The caches in this series were named after US cities and was placed by the same owners as the IBE AUS series.

The final series, Feed the Frenzy, was east of Decatur, near Bement, Illinois, and consists of 25 caches.  These three series totaled 210 caches.  We found all but 1, but made up for it by finding an individual cache.
Mona Hustling Down the Highway!

Our Log Stamp!
Finding 210 caches in 8 ½ hours takes a lot of coordination.  For our team, we had one person logging the caches, one navigator, on driver and two finders.  We rotated assignments to keep everyone fresh and to give everyone a chance to find caches.  Having two finders was important, not only to double the find speed, but also it helped to have two sets of hands help sign the cache.  Speaking of signing the cache….WES37 had a special rubber stamp made that had all our geocaching names on it.  This really helped speed the process…one person would unroll the cache log and hold it flat as the other would stamp it. 

5-Bears' 1000th Cache!
Mile after mile....cache after cache.  The day seemed to zip by.  We had lunch alongside a country road, eating our sandwiches, chips and tomates standing by the van.  Didn't want to take too much time eating because we had caches to find!

Is that a cache???
After finishing up the two IBE series we had to drive about 40 minutes to get to the last series.  It was over 100 degrees by now and yet there was still lots of energy in the team.  Only 25 caches to find!  On the nineth cache of Feed the Frenzy we had our first DNF (Did Not Find).  Not bad when you consider we had 193 finds in a row up to that point.

About 2:00 in the afternoon, we found cache #210.  We had done it!  It feels so good to set a goal and then accomplish it like that!  We turned the van homeward, cranked up the AC and cruised home to shower and relax!  But wait...relax?  Not yet, there was still the little matter of spending the next three hours entering our finds into  That's not nearly as much fun, but it sure is nice to see those numbers!!!!

The photo below was taken at the end of the day...we're hot, sweaty and dirty...but happy with our 210!

210 At Last!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June Update

It's been almost a month since I last posted and a lot of geocaching has happened since then!  .  We've found our 1000th cache and have cached 118 consecutive days.  We've also cached in 33 of the 48 contiguous states, well on the way to our goal of visiting all 48 this year.

My most memorable cache on our latest trip was one I found early one morning in Montana.  I had already gotten my cache for the day, but another cache on a mountainside was calling my name.  Mona was still sleeping, so I knew I had plenty of time.

I was immediately enthralled by the magnificence of the site....the Yellowstone River was rushing before me and across the river was a beautiful visit of the Rockies.  I grabbed my bear bells and set out for the cache keeping a watchful eye out for bear, elk, bison and wolves which are all in this remote area. When I got to the geocache site I discovered that it was tucked under a large rock. The rock was big enough to provide shelter for an animal on the lee side. Being“Mr. Safety” I decided to check for wildlife on the other side of the rock before grabbing the cache. I stepped up onto an adjacent rock and immediately went whoosh/bam….down onto the ground, hard! 
At least I had a great view as I wasy lying there!
My first thought was that no one knew where I was.  (As Walter would say, "Dumbass!")  Then I decided to take inventory.  Toes work, check!  Fingers work, check!  Everything seemed to be fine...well, except for the stinging sensations along my left side.  Damn!  I had fallen into cactus.  Left arm, hand and leg were full of  needles!

Got up, signed the cache log (You've got to keep your priorities straight when in these situations!)  Then made my way back to the car where  I got out my geocaching tweezers and began pulling needles out.  It took days to get most of the needles out, and even after two weeks I still have one needle in the palm of my hand.  Did I learn anything from this incident?  Damn right I did!  Ignore the bears and go straight for the cache!

Last week we hit some caches in Allerton Park.  It's been 15 years since I've been there and I had forgotten how beautiful this park is.  The park is even more fun now, because of the caches hidden there. 
Laura has been busy caching, too.  She's  found her 500th cache and has cached 70 consecutive days.  She's now using a Magellan Explorist GC reciever and that seems to be working well.  Yesterday, she found a cache that his been eluding her for quite some time, "Y'all Geocaching" is now a FOUND for her.  Seems like Steve S. is now the only one who hasn't found this one.  :~)

We've hidden about twenty caches since we've been home, including three earthcaches.  Earthcaches are devoted to geology and all teach you something about the geology around you and require you to answer a few questions about the site.  I got hooked on these while on our trip to the Southwest and I have been seeking them out since. 

We've found some neat spots for our caches and have learned a lot about the geology of Central Illinois.  (Did you know that the last glaciers stopped their advancement about 15,000 years ago, right in this area?  Yep, you can see the "edge" of the glacier all the way from Shelbyville to Peoria!)  Also, came across this unique headstone in a cemetery just north of Bearsdale.  Two brothers are buried here...both lost their lives in WWI.

Continuing to love geocaching!  Getting outside every day and learning every day....hard to beat that for a hobby!  Also, it's a great way to meet new friends.  You just never know who you're going to meet out there caching.  As an example, we were "talking" to a fellow geocacher (wjtphd)  via emails because we had similar geocaching goals.  A day or two later, we met a cacher out on a country was wjtphd!  A couple of weeks later, while on our first foray after our vacation, Speedy Troll and I were looking for a cache in the country.  Ahead of us was a car pulled off the side of the road....wjtphd!  We've since met for lunch and found we have a lot of common interests...geocaching for one!

Time to get out there!  wjtphd has a new earthcache calling my name!

Happy caching!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Didn't realize until just now that it's been so long since I posted anything in this blog.  Time for an update!

We've continued to geocache every day.  Our streak is now 84 days and Laura's is 39.  We are still discovering many new things about the world around us...and we're still having fun!

Geo-attire for the cold!
We attended our second geo-event (first for DizzyL) in Tolono, Illinois in April.  Got to meet lots of fellow cachers and won some neat prizes.  But, damn!  It was c-c-cold!  Grandma Bear, DizzyL cached with us there and back, finding about 50 caches, so I guess it wasn't too cold!

These days we tend to combine geocaching with about every event we do.  For instance, we needed to do some furniture shopping in Springfield...and of course we geocached there and back.  To the left is a pic of DizzyL's 250th find, in a ballpark in Springfield.
Mona improvising to get a tree cache

Earlier this month we took a trip through the south, starting with a visit to the Kentucky Derby.  We cached in each state we visited and have now cached in all of the southern U.S. states.  Early next month we hope to start on the northern states.

Getting an "FTF" (First to Find) is a big deal to many cachers.  That means that you are the first person ever to find that particular cache.  There are many cachers who stay up late into the night in the hopes of being online when a cache is first published and then they head into the night with flashlight in hand to attempt to get the FTF.  DizzyL decided we needed an FTF or two so we got into the chase. 

Our first FTF attempt was at night.  We had inside information that some caches were to be published for the Friend's Creek area.  We loaded up Red with flashlights and geo-gear to wait for the publishes.  While waiting, we decided to night cache.  This type of caching takes a special kind of nut geocacher who is willing to meet the critters of the night and stroll through lonely cemeteries, hoping to NOT meet any of those creatures of the night.  We found about 5 caches and it was exciting and spooky to say the least!  My favorite "find" of the night was when Laura shined a flashlight into an eye-level knot hole and she found two eyes in there looking back at her!

Alas, our inside information was worthless.  No nearby caches were published that night...but at least I got to see Laura get startled twice.  The second time was another cache that we picked up on the way home.  She found the cache fairly quickly...a container about 2 inches in diameter and about 4 inches long.  I had the flashlight on her as she opened it....and as the snake came shooting out!  It was a spring/coil joke snake and it certainly did its job!

We kept trying to get an FTF, but were always late.  One cache we got to had only been published for fifteen minutes, but we were the third ones there.....and while we were there two other caching teams pulled up!

Finally, late one night several new caches were published for our area.  We were tired and didn't even try to go out that night and figured someone would beat us there anyway.  Next morning, much to our surprise, two of the caches had not yet been found!  DizzyL called me about 6:00 AM and off we went, back to Friend's Creek.  Our first target cache was only about 750 feet away from us.  Unfortunately, there was a dense woods between us and it had rained last night.  No we went!  We bushwhacked (crashing, tripping, falling through dense undergrowth).  It took us almost 45 minutes to go those 750 feet.  We finally burst into a clearing near the cache...only to find that a 10 foot wide, mowed trail led right to the cache.  Cheese and crackers! 

No matter, the hunt was on, one of us was sure to get an FTF!  In about 5 minutes I heard Laura yell, "I've got it!!!"  At last, she had her FTF!  We logged our find and off we went to try to get the second FTF...using the trail this time.
Two FTFs in One Morning.
As we neared the GZ (Ground Zero for the cache location), Laura lagged back a bit...trying to be gracious and let me get this FTF.   Ten minutes passed and I still hadn't made the find.  Finally, Laura waded in and quickly found it.  Two FTFs for her in one morning!  Amazing! 

We trudged back to the car.  Muddy, wet, tired, and scratched, but two FTFs were in hand!  Okay, one of us might have been a bit happier than the other, but still...WE had found them!
Mona on cache named "XTreme Rock '
Another big caching find in May was The Garmin Park Cache.  The 3 Trolls (grandsons Blake, Austin and Owen) and I have been trying to find this cache for over two years.  Last week, we decided, "This is our day to find it!"  We loaded up the car with geo-tools, geo-drinks and a geo-first-aide kit and off we went into the woods.  Lots of meadering trails in this woods and lots of interferance with our GPSr. 

Finally, we came to our great obstackcle.  Stevens Creek.  This time we were prepared.  We all had "disposable" shoes and had spare geo-socks in the car.  We found a place to ford the creek and we hopped from wet stone to wet stone...helping each other cross.  All four made it across and not one, nay, nary a one, fell in!  It was a Christmas Miracle!  (Okay...maybe not about It was a Mother's Day Miracle!)

The Great Crossing of 2012!
Having crossed the mighty Stevens, it was only another few hundred feet to the cache.  There were hundreds of likely hiding spots, but Austin figured it out and made the find.  FINALLY, we had conquered Garmin Park!  We came, we saw and we found the cache!

Now it was time for the return trip.  There was some initial confusion as to which way was north.  Luckily, we had packed a simple compass and it quickly pointed the way.  As we came back to the shores of the Stevens, I was certain at least one of our compatriots would fall into the raging torrent. 
Owen Leads the Way Back
One by one, we balanced and lept our way across.  One slip could cost us dearly....but wait, one was across, two, now three and finally four!  All made it across safely and relatively dry!  Unbelievable! 

When we got back to the car The Trolls realized that perhaps shorts weren't the best option for bushwacking.  They broke out the geo-first-aid Benadryl lotion and lathered up their scratched up legs.  Tired, dirty and was worth it.  We had finally found the Garmin Park Cache!

Top Guns on The Big Gun
Yesterday, we attended another geo-event near Clinton Power Station.  Lots of cachers from around the area and one from Alaska.  Lots of fun sharing stories, bragging about impossible finds and sharing a hint or two.  Speaking of hints, DizzyL got one for "The Big Gun" in Weldon, Illinois.  We had been to this cache twice before with no luck.  After the event we headed to Weldon.  Even with the hint it took three of us fifteen minutes to make the find.  This was one of those perfect hides.  It was in plain sight, yet impossible to find.  After DizzyL made the find we couldn't understand how we had overlooked it so many times before!

5-Bears and WES37
As we started to leave, we got a call from 5-Bears and WES37.  They were on their way to The Big Gun, so we decided to stay and watch them.  This was sooooo much fun....knowing the secret and watching them look at it and virtually touch it without making the find!  We let them suffer for about ten minutes before we gave them a clue.  (This was their third time looking here, too.)  Even with the clue it still took them some more minutes before they made the find!

Today, Mona and Laura head for Vegas.  We'll cache along the way to the airport and they plan to cache there.  Can't wait to hear their stories when they get back!

In the meantime, I'll be here...waiting for their return...

Happy caching!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Geo- Milestones

DizzyL at her 100th cache
We are still geocaching every day and often an hour or two each day.  This has helped us get outside more during this beautiful spring and we've discovered so much about Central Illinois in the process.  On April 15th we hit three milestones: We found our 600th cache; We had cached 50 days in a row: and DizzyL (Laura) found her 100th cache.  Note: She found her 100th in just ten days.  The only other person I know who found caches at that rate is our geo-uncle WES37. 

We've found some interesting caches over the past few days.  Here's DizzyL near a unique cache....can you see it?

Here's another fun have to put your hand in a hole that you can't see into with a flashlight.  Here's what you encounter!  Touching that certainly gets you jumping!

See the acorns?
Earlier this month we hit our 500th cache.  To commemorate our achievement Sheryl created a special cache just for us.  She started teasing us about it a day before by sending a text with a picture of a goose and saying the goose knew where our special cache was.  The next day she sent another text saying she couldn't trust the goose and now it was an owl that knew the location.  Finally, she texted the coordinates....and off we went!

The coordinates took us to a nearby park and were in the middle of several good hiding places.  DizzyL and I were searching through the rubble of a fallen tree....all kinds of branches, bark and whatnot.   Finally, at virtually the same instant, we both spotted something interesting: Two acorns that were remarkably shiny. 

Lots of notes with messages
We got down on our hands and knees and saw that the acorns were attached to something.  We started pulling on them and out came a string with notes attached about two feet.  The very first note said, "Congratulations, you've found it!"  But as we pulled the string, more and more notes came out....and apparently, we hadn't found it yet.  Near the end of the 25' string was a note that said to stretch out the string and the cache would be at the end of the string. 

Walking the radius
We quickly stretched out the string and did a 360 degree walk about the site.  There were LOTS of likely looking places within the 25' radius....and even more potential hiding spots when you tied the string to a 5 foot stick and looked up at all the branches.  Since Sheryl had mentioned an owl we couldn't discount that the cache might be up in the air...potentially 25 feet in the air.  The hunt was on!

After an hour of searching high and low DizzyL decided to opt out.  Off she went, but we kept searching.  After another hour passed by without a find we decided to ask for a hint.  Sheryl replied to our text by saying that in the pic above, Laura is pointing in the right direction.  Whew!  At last a clue!!!!  But Sheryl saying that Laura pointing "down" is correct?  Or is she pointing to the "west" and that's the right direction!?!?!?  We can't decide which is we search both.

We ask for another clue.  Sheryl texts that in the pic Mona is very close.  Duh!?!?!  In the pic she's near nothing but a tree we've searched high and low.  There's no way the cache could be there.  We keep looking and we're muttering about the impossibility of this find.  All of a sudden we hear laughter...and Sheryl comes out from behind a nearby tree.  She had come to laugh at our frustration!  (I never did like her!)

Can hear it, but not see it!
It's a major award!
She points to the string in my hand and says, "Read the first message!"  I do and it says, "Congratulations, you've found it!"  She points to the ground near where we were standing and says it's right around here....trouble is, she can't find it either!  We start doing a very slow search using the string as our guide and probing every square inch with a walking stick.  FINALLY, we hear a hollow thud!  We look down and still can't see it, but on our hands and knees we brush away the grass and there it is!!!  AT LAST!  It's a shallow little camoflaged box tucked into a pocket in the grass.  Opening it we finally get our 500 cache awards!  It only took 3 hours, but it was worth it!

Whew!  Glad that's over!!!!

Yesterday, we were caching near Harristown along old route 36.  We saw a County squad car pass us by...and sure enough, he turned around and turned on his lights.  He pulled up beside us and got out to ask what was going on.  "Geocaching" was our response, of course.  He said he had heard of geocaching but didn't know much about it.  We ended up giving him a twenty minute course on geocaching....showing him the maps, some caches and some travel bugs.  We're always making new friends while geocaching....including some in uniforms!  (This was Laura's second policeman this week!)

It's a rainy day today, but still need to get at least one cache to keep the streak going....gotta get going and find that cache!

Happy caching!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A New Cacher!

We headed to University Dogs for dinner and took Laura (daughter) with us.  We still hadn't found our cache for today so on the way home we decided to hit a cache.  Laura helped find it and immediately she was hooked and wanted to do more.  We headed to a small town (Warrensburg, where Laura grew up) nearby where there was a cache that hadn't been found for quite some time.  We looked and luck.  We were ready to give up, but Laura wasn't.  She kept looking and made the find!  It was in a spot we never thought to look...a great find!

Laura wanted to do more, so off we a cache that the grandsons and I couldn't find.  Within minutes Laura found that one, too.  A star is born!

We did a few more caches, some finds, some DNFs (Did Not Find)...but all were fun.  Finally, we got cold and went home.  Once home, Laura asked if she could borrow a sweatshirt so we could do some more caching.  As we were headed out the door I started looking for my iPhone.  No I pinged it.  Much to my surprise (and dismay) my iPhone was somewhere outside of Warrensburg near a cache we had looked for. So....our first "cache" to find was my phone.  Here's a pic of the find!  (P.S. Embarrassing...especially since this is the second time I've lost my phone while caching!!!!)

We're now at 40 days in a row.  Easy caches are now rare as we've found most within a ten mile radius.  We are now doing tougher caches and caches that are farther afield.  We need to start "reserving" some easy caches for those days when we don't feel well. us Decatur cache hiders....we need a bunch of PNGs (Park and Grabs)!

Three of the grandsons want to try to hit 100 caches tomorrow.  Don't think that's possible, but it's worth a try!!!!  Will report on our success later!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

499 Plus 1

Yesterday, we found our 499th cache. Hard to believe we've found that many! Today is April 1st and we hope to find a 5 Bears cache as our #500.

Courtyard outside of Millkin Library

Found a couple of really neat caches yesterday. One was near the library at Millikin University. Beautiful little spot that we would have never seen had we not been geocaching. The log was one of the most creative we've seen!

Check out this library caches' log!
Another cache took us two visits to find. Actually touched the cache on the first visit, but it took Mona's sleuthing to actually make the find. There is a pic of it later on.

Finally it was time for #500! We drove out to the GZ (Ground Zero) to find and log this milestone cache. Thirty minutes later we were still looking. 499 caches found and we are totally stumped on this one!

We called the CO (Cache Owner) for a clue... No response. We continue to look and are just about to give up when lo and behold, the CO and her husband ride up on a shiny blue motorcycle!  Did I mention that the CO is sister Sheryl?

Can you see the cache?
Sheryl saunters up and with a sidelong glance states that the cache is still there. That glance was all the clue we needed and we quickly made the find. At last, 500!

Sheryl took some snaps and then the four of us visited some more 5-Bears caches. We finally ended up at University Dogs for much-needed Chicago dogs.

It was a great day...lots of fun pranks, great caches and great fun! And, yes Keri, April 1st is one of my favorite days. No fooling!