Friday, March 30, 2012

27 In A Row

Our geocaching streak is 27. We've found a cache 27 days in a row. Our goal is 100 days in a row.

Some days finding a cache is easy; the weather is nice and we have plenty of time. Yesterday wasn't like that. We had a busy day and there was lots of rain in the area. Finally, we had a few moments to spare so we headed for Shaw Park in Clayton, Missouri.

The cache was close to parking and relatively easy, a 1.5. No sooner had we gotten out of the car than it started raining. Mona got back in the car, but I trudged on. The cache proved more difficult than expected, especially because there were lots of muggles. Finally, I spotted it! Whew, the streak is still going!

Our on last day in STL I did the St. Louis Arch Mystery Cache at the Arch.  This cache involved visiting the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Museum and finding the answers to seven questions.  You then used these answers to figure out the longitude and lattitude of the cache.  Love this cache!!!!

Back in Decatur, decided to find a new cache placed by 5-Bears...a team of family members.  This is Family Fun Cache with all sorts of neat things to do.  (Pictured at right)  Highly recommend this cache if you're in the Decatur area...not only is it one of the largest caches I've ever found, it's also one of the most fun and creative!

Okay...I'm you didn't know I was gone!  The streak is now at 33 days.  Only 67 more to go!  Yesterday, I went to Springfield, IL to go mushrooming with my son, Steve.  Hadn't found a cache yet so really needed to find one.  Pulled over, checked and found that I was just a few tenths from For the Birds.

Turns out, this place is a Wildlife Sanctary!  I've been coming to Springfield for over 50 years and I never knew this place existed!'s right on the main road to Springfield.  Love how geocaching helps you rediscover the world you live in!

This place has lots of easy trails and is full of birds....little wonder, because it's maintained by the Audobon Society.  I recommend a pick up this cache and just to enjoy the wonder of nature!

We've been biking and caching....great way to exercise and to geocache.  Decatur just built an extension to their bike trail and the extension comes to about a half mile from our home.  We're loving this!  Seeing a whole new side of our city, getting exercise and geocaching.  How perfect!

Well, time to find #34.  Where oh where could it be!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Is it gum or a cache?
See the cache behind them?
The Three Trolls (Blake, Austin, and Owen) along with the Two Minions found 53 caches today!  We organized ourselves to each perform a specific funtion and we studied the map before we set out.  We hit caches in Macon County and Dewitt County.  It was a blast!!!!

Most of the caches were small and near roadside structures like power poles and road signs.  However, there were several that were pretty tough.  With teamwork we found over 90% of what we sought with only three DNFs (Did Not Finds).  A great day!

Found it!
Is #52 there?
We could have gone long if it wasn't getting rainy and cold.  We're talking about a 100 cache day.  Got some more studying and planning to do before we can attempt that!

We lost count of who found how many.  What we do know is that the team record for Troll/Minion finds was nine...and each of the Trolls found more than that today.  Also, the previous MNM1011 record was that's 53!

Yesterday, Mona and I rode our bikes on the new Stevens Creek Bike Trail and geocached.  We've been talking about this for quite some time, and finally did it.  A tip for bike geocaching...take plenty of water!  We covered about ten miles pretty quickly, but quickly got thirsty.

We've decided we love caching this way and will be doing more of it, but will be better prepared.  Thinking of packing a picnic lunch, too. 

Headed to STL tomorrow.  Hope to pick up a few more down there this weekend.  Maybe we'll see you there!

Friday, March 16, 2012


My travel bug inventory stands at 13, including Red, our car. They are all coming to Decatur with us so they can move forward from there.

Love, love this pic!!!
Cristie posted a picture of our two youngest grandsons geocaching. They both carried walking sticks, something that I usually carry myself. Not only are walking sticks for helping maintain balance, they are perfect for sticking into knotholes and whatnot, before you put your hand in there!

See the wagon wheel ruts next to the path?
We stopped for the night in Topeka, Kansas.  We want to get out and enjoy the beautiful day so we go geocaching.  We went to one cache that was beside the old Oregon trail....and the ruts left by the Conestoga Wheels are still there.  No way would we have ever seen this without geocaching!

Back to travelers!  Here's a picture of all the travelers we collected during our trip.  Now that we've put a few miles on them we are releasing them into the wild in Central Illinois.  Hopefully, these little guys will contiue on their journeys and achieve their goals!

Did you see the little Farley?  He's not one of my original Farleys and he's not a traveler.  Found him in a desert cache and will be making a Traveling Farley out of him.

The yellow end loader wants his pic taken with his big brothers.  I'm going to have Steve take him to work and get some good pics!

The traveler with the Flag is an Eagle Scout project.  There is one coin that I forgot to include, that only wants to go to Geo events.  Hope to take him to Moga. 

One of these travelers (the large gold one with a butterfly) originated in Canada.  Another one, just to the left of the Canadian, came from the Czech Republic.  How cool?!?

I love sending travelers off and helping travelers move along.  It's so much fun watching them travel the world!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

State of Mind

Some geocachers get a little carried away....some find over 1000 caches in a year.  Others travel, just to geocache.  Others climb mountains, got to cemetaries at night, scuba dive...all in the effort to find little bits of treasure.  One has to wonder about their state of mind!

So, about 4:30 this morning, I can't sleep.  We are 30 miles from Utah and that state is on my mind.  I haven't got a cache from Utah....and did I mention we're only 30 miles from there?  I quietly clean up and slip out of the motel...and of course I left a note as to where I was going...UTAH!  I timed it so that I'd arrive at first light....just in time to grab a cache and make it back to the hotel before Mona was ready for breakfast!  Genius!

My plan worked out perfectly!  I found a cache at exit 1, high on a hill in a lone cedar tree.  Another state!!!  My state of mind is happy!

Then I remembered....I had no idea what exit our hotel was on.  We had come in from the south, through the city, and hadn't exited the interstate.  But, a quick talk to Sari and she found my exit for me.  Love my iPhone!

On the way back, I got to see some beautify scenery....The Colorado River snakes back and forth along I-70 here.  Also, I got to see a neat new sign.  (I collect signs!)  And I got to see a cool sunrise over the Colorado Mesas.  Great little trip!

Got a neat emial yesterday, it said:


You are now an

Yep, that's me!  EarthCache Master!  Found my first EarthCache in Athens and recently I learned about a program for attaining certification.  I'm now at the minimum level and working on the next level...over halfway there.  EarthCaches are special caches that tell you about the geography or history of the location and then you have to answer some questions about the area.  Some of
these are very hard...but all are fun!  I encourage you to look for these around you and give them a try.

Well, time to hit the road...more caches out there!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The things you see...

...while geocaching!  If you are reading our vacation blog, then this one will be familiar as I already mentioned it there. 

We haven't had much time for geocaching in Phoenix, what with all our activities and what not.  But, we're trying to keep our streak alive and hitting at least one cache per day.  Yesterday, we went to find "Talking Tree #3".  The GZ (ground zero) was behind a Walgreens and somewhere on a little building out there.  Funny thing was, there was this huge palm tree growning out of the building....I mean H.U.G.E!   I am just totally amazed by this tree. 

I go around and around the building twice looking for this cache.  I know it's round and magnetic, but I just can't find it.  All the while I'm amazed by this's huge!!!  Did I say that before?  HUGE!

Then I notice something odd about the tree.  It's a metal plate about two thirds of the way up.  Did the tree get hit by lightning and have to be repaired?  And, why is it growing out of the building.  Is it a super palm that has to be protected?   Is it a a secret special palm?  What the heck?  Then, I see it....can you?

That's one of the things I love about geoacaching!  You're always finding and seeing something you would have never seen otherwise.  It's like geocaching is opening your eyes to things you should have been seeing all along!

Well, I'm standing there staring up at the top of this "tree" and Mona gets tired of waiting on me.  She gets out of the car, walks up to a junction box on the building and grabs a round magnetic thingy.  "Is this what you're looking for?!"  Yes, the streak is still alive!  (We're trying for 100 caches in 100 days.)

It's then that I point out the tree.  She too gets amazed.  After all, she's a utility geek like me!  Can't wait to see what today's caches bring!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Jack Rabbit

We did lots of caching today, both in the desert and in the city.  Came across a cache that had a poem about Thanksgiving and the cache that was inspired by that holiday.  After much searching though the desert we finally found it, can you tell what it is?

How creative!!!

The very next cache we approached was entitled "Log Only".  As we came up to the cache a H.U.G.E. rabbit jumped up and started hopping away.  His back legs were huge and he had the longest ears.  It was the first jack rabbit either of us had ever seen!  Laughed so hard we hurt!!!  The things you get to see and experience while caching!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

More desert geocaching

Found this coin yesterday, from the Czech Republic....very interesting symbols on this one!  Mafia?!?!?

Farley Tracks?
Found lots of tracks out there...wondering if these belong to one of our Farleys!

Just saw a post that themysteryhunters just found their first Arizona cache.  Happy caching in Phoenix!

Lucille Ball and Mona
Remember I said that caches can come in all shapes and sizes?  Check out the cache that Mona is sitting next to.  This is a virtual cache, typically a prominent place or thing.  Often with virtual caches you have to take a picture and/or answer a few questions.  Then, you sent the pics/answers to the cache owner and they tell you whether or not you get the Smiley Face.  In this case, we had to post a picture.  Just a few blocks from this is a statue of Sonny Bono.  It's also a virtual cache and you have to answer several questions about Sonny.

Enough caching for today.  Well, actually I didn't get to cache as much as I wanted, but any caching is good caching!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Desert Geocaching

This little guy was friendly!
Desert geocaching has some unique challenges over caching in the Illinois praire!  Not only are there are different animals out there with different spikes and stingers on them, but also the bushes and plants can really do a number on you with their thorns.  I carry a walking sturdy walking stick to poke around the cache before I reach for it.  This helps scare off any little critters and then I use the walking stick to push the thorns away.  You just have to keep your wits about you and everything will be fine.

There's a cache here somewhere!
This morning, I took a three hour geocaching walk through the desert.  I started out early, 6:00 AM, to beat the heat.  I was a little frustrated at first because the Geocaching Mobile App wasn't working, but finally it kicked in.  I found nine caches on this walk and one cool Traveler from the Czech Republic. 

The caches here are different, too, in that they really don't have to worry about getting water in them.  Seldom are the logs in plastic bags and the caches are often just laying in the sand.  You can't get away with that in Illinois without ending up with soggy logs!

Caches come in all shapes and sizes...the smallest we've found is the size of an eraser.  The largest we've found so far was a 5 gallon bucket.  One of the more intesting ones we've found this week in the cavity in the picture to the right.  If you look closely, you can see teeth.  We had a lively debate deciding who was going to put their hand in there to retrieve the cache!  I lost.

Sprinkler junction box
Be careful around those wires!
Another of our favorites was one that had something to do with holy water...It took us two visits to find this one!  We found this sprinkler junction box and opened it.  All looked normal inside...wires and what not.  No cache.  No cache anywhere!  The next day we came back...the coordinates brought us right back to this spot.  We already knew it was a sprinkler junction box, so looked elsewhere.  Finally, about to give up for the second day in a row, I take a closer look inside this box....darn, those wires move too easily!  It's the cache!!!  At last we can log this smiley!

As you can see, there are some very creative cache hiders out there!  Can't wait to get home and hide a few ourselves!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Catching Up!

We'll be using this post to catch up on some of the geocaching we've done so far on this trip.  It will probably take a post or two to fully catch up.

Team Farley
We started this trip with a bag full of travelers to drop off as we go.  We got a bunch from Grandma Bear for Christmas and we had been stocking up with tags specifically for this purpose.  Most of the travelers are Farleys....little twisty/bendable guys that we've modified into Travel Bugs.  The pic shows all 11 Farleys, gearing up for their trips.

Travelers or Travel Bugs are items with a unique code number stamped on them or attached to them.  In the Team Farley pic you can see little metal tags attached to each Farley.  These are tags we bought and which have unique code numbers imprinted upon them.  The idea with Travelers is that you set a mission for them and put them in a cache.  Whoever finds that cache is supposed to take the Traveler along with them, enter the code number into and then move the Traveler to another cache.  It's fun to watch your Traveler go all over the world.  Speedman Troll, our grandson, put a Traveler in a cache on his birthday, last July 9th.  That Traveler has since traveled 27,000 miles!  He tracks it and shares the Traveler's news with his class.  Here's a link to his site:

Visiting Texas
Travelers can also be Travel Coins...special coins with code numbers on them, also with the same use as Travel Bugs.  Some of these coins are quite large and expensive...for instance the Travel Coin shown which originated in Canada and which we've carried to California, letting it "visit" caches along the way.  This coin is almost three inches in diameter and weighs two or three times more than a silver dollar.

Travelers can be almost anything.  Earlier this week we were given a book which is a traveler.  Even our car is a Traveler!

We've tried to geocache every day of our trip.  It gets us outside and walking, not to mention we learn a lot about the places we visit.  Many of the cache owners (those who hide and maintain the cache) spend a lot of time researching the area and then sharing that information on their cache page.  We've geocached in remote deserts (even a ghost town), downtown city sqaures, on mountains....virtually everywhere we go there are geocaches.  There are about 1.4 million geocaches scattered throughout the world...more than enough to keep us busy for awile!

Closing with a few pictures of Travelers we've picked up on this trip.

This little guy wants to travel and have pictures taken of him with his big brothers.  We're going to oblige that by taking to the Caterpillar plant in Decatur and getting him a pic with his whole family!

Nathan's Journey To Eagle
This Traveler is a Boy Scout project...the owner is following his travels and reporting on them to get a Geocaching Merit adge.
This Travel Coin wants to go from Geo Event to Geo Event.  We picked him up at our first Geo Event and we're ready to go to another one to drop him off!

Enough for now.  Happy caching!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Leap Day Inspiration

As many of you know, we began geocaching a couple of years ago.  Geocaching is a worldwide game which uses billions of dollars of government satellites to find treasure (and sometimes trash) using GPS technology.  We love geocaching as it gives us great outdoors time and it gives us lots of opportunity to bond with family and friends.  We often borrow Keri and Dustin's van to take a car-load of grandkids geocaching...what fun!

Not only is geocaching fun, it's educational.  You learn so much about the land and country around you.  We often brag that we know so much about St. Louis simply because of geocaching and all of the historical places that have geocaches.  Even in Decatur, where we've lived for so many years, we've found parks and trails that we've never heard about.  Some say that learning something new every day helps keep you young.  We're not sure that's completely true, but we'll have fun finding out!

The cache is right here! ...somewhere!!!
We retired on the first day of 2012.  We began our first retirement vacation on February 19th.  Sister Sheryl had started a blog of some of her experiences so we thought this would be a good opportunity begin blogging, too.  We decided to do a blog for every day of our trip.  Thus we could share the experiences of our trip...but, more importantly we could use our quickly-rusting writing skills and help us prepare for the book(s) we want to someday write.  Thus far, we've kept up the blog-a-day and it's been fun.  But, we haven't mentioned geocaching too much in the vacation blog because, frankly, not all are interested in the world of geocaching and we wanted to focus on other tidbits of our trip.

When geocachers gather!
That brings us up to yesterday, Leap Day, 2012.  Some new-found geofriends  (TravelingHolts) told us about a Geo Flash Mob event to commemorate Leap Day.  We had never been to any type of geo-event so off we went.  We had to use our GPS devices to find the event and finally came upon a small pavilion with about ten people in it.  HummingbirdFreak and Summer Sky Dawg organized and hosted the event and they greeted us as we walked up.  (We'll teach you about geocachers' names, later.  Our is MNM1011, of course!).  Come to find out, both had taken on a geo-challenge to find geocaches for 100 consecutive days.  (We'll talk more about geo-challenges in another blog...themysteryhunters were the first to tell us about them.)  Summer Sky Dawg wrote a book chronicling her adventure and was giving out FREE copies.  We gladly accepted one and found that she had even made each copy a separate trackable!  How cool is that?!?!  (Yep, will talk more about trackables later, too.) 

We loved the Leap Day event and the chance to meet geofriends.  Picked up a few hints and some travel bugs to take back to Illinois.  Thanks to HummingbirdFreak and Summer Sky Dawg for the fun!  ( of the reasons we keep coming back to the Coachella Valley is the amazing variety and number of hummingbirds here.  We must have hundreds of photos where there is supposed to be a hummingbird in the shot, but for some reason the hummer disappeared!)

This morning we walked to the hotel to have coffee and sit in the warm sun by the waterfalls and palms.  I took Summer Sky Dawg's book, "It's the Journey...not the Destination!" along in case I (Marvin) had a chance to read a bit.  Got the chance to read a bit, but once I started I couldn't stop!  What a wonderful piece of writing!  Summer Sky Dawg took us along with her and Pee Wee (her red and white cocker spaniel) though her 100 days of fun...well, not all of it's fun. 

I read the book cover to cover at the one sitting and thoroughly loved it.  I laughed, I teared up, I learned.  And, I was inspired to start writing about our own geo-adventures.

So, here we begin.  I can only hope my blogs turn out half as good as Summer Sky Dawg's book.  Regardless of the quality, I hope these blogs entertain and educate....and get you into geocaching around the world!

Summer Sky Dawg:  Thank you so very much for sharing your adventure and your book with us!  Happy geocaching to you and Pee Wee!  I hope to run into you again some day so you can sign the book for us.

Enough for now.  Gotta get out there and find a cache or two!  (...or maybe three...or could there be an Earthcache around here?  We have to find at least two more....)

P.S.  We're willing to loan the book under three conditions: 1. You must read it.  2. You must log it in  and 3: You must return it to us!

:-)  mnm