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!