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!