Saturday, February 23, 2008

100 Finds, The Geocaching Century Mark

The day is upon us. Team Hick@Heart has found 100 geocaches. Today was a beautiful day. Perfect for geocaching. I mapped out some hides and The Boy and I were off.

We started at a cache called Accuracy. It is not really necessary to sign the log. The idea is to put your GPS on a specific spot and log info such as the weather, how many satellites you are receiving, how strong your signal is and what latitude and longitude are you seeing.

Next we hit a relatively simple mathematical mystery cache. It was nice to be out on the rural roads rather than in town. We found one cache that had a pretty fun container. I've seen these on line but this is the first time I found one. It looks just like some poop in the grass but when you turn it over there is a cylinder holding a log. A log within a log if you will! Ah, the things you pick up/reach into while geocaching.

We climbed partway up a hill to find Hillside Hotwheels. Finding an ammo can under a bush just never gets old. We found a nice geocoin in there. A guy called PennyPacker from Etiwanda, California released 18 of these while on a 3400 mile road trip. the coin shows the Western United States. this discovery added a nice new icon to my list of trackables found.

We grabbed a couple more semi urban micros. At least these were in a quiet part of small town Menifee. I also logged two more DNF's while in this area. So here we are sitting at 99 finds. It's time to get the big one.

I had solved Magical Mystery Tour earlier in the week. I had to rely on a hint from the owner. There is no way I would have gotten on the right path. This cache is actually on my front page of caches closest to my house so I had to stare at it all the time. I knew this was the one. The Boy and I headed over to the area and began climbing the rocks. I finally made the find. this cache had not been found in almost a year. Everything looked good however a spider had taken up residence inside. I signed the log and made note of the milestone find. The Boy and I took some pictures tryng to use our hands to make the number one hundred. After 6 or 7 shots I felt I had it. It was only after I got home to look at the pictures that I realized we were holding up the number 001. I guess I'll have to make that up when I reach 200!

I'm happy to have reached 100 geocaches. I'm sure the urge to hunt the parking lot skirt lifters will subside. (For a couple months until I get close to 200!) The boy and I really enjoy geocaching together. Geocaching is all up in his head too. The other day while walking into a store, he stopped to examine a pay phone for geocaches. He said, "No treasure there." and moved on. Good job, The Boy!

Here are some more pictures from today.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Someone Give Me A Geocaching Trail, Please!

I t has been raining pretty steadily and is supposed to continue through the weekend. I wanted grab a few caches but I know the trails are going to be way too sloppy and I had my three year old daughter with me.

I had mapped out some more urban type caches that looked like numbers pay dirt. We got a break in the rain so me and the girl headed out. I picked up a few but nothing very exciting. Some of the caches in the area I was seem like someone just wanted to put a cache somewhere and did just that.

I approached several and did not even attempt them. One was in a Post Office parking lot. I don't like the idea of snooping around federal property. Another was on a guard rail right next to a busy road with a 55 MPH speed limit. No thanks.

I picked up four but my desire for the wilderness only got stronger. I have a geocoin that I scored as an FTF prize a while back. I've been virtually dropping it in all the caches I find. That does a couple of cool things for me. It logs the 'cache to cache mileage' and it generates a map. The map shows all the points I've visited and shows lines connecting them. It's kind of fun to look at every once in a while.

It's raining again. Hopefully we get another break tomorrow. Nine more to reach 100 finds. I already have that special cache picked out for the milestone.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I'll Go Geocaching Right After I.................

Today was the second of my 2 days off. I was waiting for Office Depot to deliver my new computer desk and chair. They called yesterday and gave me a delivery "window". Between 11 and 3. That's some window. While I was waiting I mapped out a few local geocaches so that after I put the desk together I could run out for a little fun.

I was happy to see the delivery truck pull into my driveway at 11:30. Now I know, as soon as this stuff is assembled, I'm off on a cache run. The chair went together in about 10 minutes. Now for the desk. My jaw about hit the floor when I finally got the box open. This thing has a lot of pieces!

At least all of the part are identified with a letter. A, B, C, D.................. AA, BB, CC............ Seriously. I think it went all the way to GG. I tried to lay them out in order so they would be easier to find but I ran out of room for that. My chances of caching are not looking too good. I guess I got started at about Noon and it took me until 6:30 to finish.

My neck and back and legs are killing me. The only way to build these things is to sit on the floor. I don't feel so bad for skipping the gym today. The coolest thing about this new desk (Besides the keyboard tray not falling off any more) is the USB hub. It has a little spot where you can plug in up to 4 USB cables without having to reach around the computer. When I saw that, I had to have it.

Well, I never got to go caching. I did get some geocaches mapped out and loaded into the GPSr. (I think I'm going to name my GPS. Calling it a GPSr all the time just isn't as fun as calling it "Margaret" or something. I'll have to work on that. I'm open to suggestions. Maybe I'll name it "Sir Real" like surreal. That's a cool handle!) Anyway! That number 100 is absolutely haunting me. Time for me to go to bed and dream about that stinking FTF geocoin no one has grabbed yet.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Suddenly, We're Geocaching

Today is President's Day and I took a vacation day from work. I have a new computer desk and chair coming from Office Depot tomorrow so I took tomorrow off too. We ran down to Kohl's to check out the sales and guess what? I was forced to pick up a cache or two along the way.

Some local cachers named Jeepnakd have hidden a series of Nascar themed hides. Each hide is at a place that sponsors a Nascar. So, Nascar #99 is near Office Depot. 99 is the number of the Office Depot race car. Jeepnakd has a bunch more hides than just this. In fact, they own 211 geocaches. They have found 1082. There is a Lowes next to Kohl's with one of these hides. There is also a Best Buy across the street. Are you catching on?

So, after Kohl's, I drove to the nearest cache. It was a skirt lifter. The GPSr says, "Hey, there's another one just a quarter mile from here." Boom, another skirt lifter. "Hey, just an eight of a mile." Boom, electrical box. And so on, and so on, and so on. Just like that, we're geocaching.

After the second find the wife asks how many total finds that is. I tell her it's 80 total. She says, "Oh, you're about to go crazy." Crazy? "You want to reach 100" Mmmmmmmmmm 100. I can almost taste it.

None of these are very spectacular but it is nice to find a series of easy ones. It makes you feel good and is good for the numbers. One cache was a bit more rural. Rocky Gluteus Maximus is off a dirt road on the way home. I had made an attempt at this last night but a couple of muggle mobiles parked on the road and just sat there. I quickly made the find today in a large pile of rocks. I was delighted when I saw the container.

I went to the film developing stand at Wal Mart a couple of months ago and they gave me a bag full of empty film canisters. I took some of that rock texture spray paint and Cammo'd them up. I hid one myself and put a few more into my cache to be traded as swag. I even put logs in them. This was one of my film containers! This cacher had found my cache a month ago, traded for the container and now I found his cache. It's come full circle.

As we were heading home, The Boy asked if we could find one more. No problem, The Boy. I found a cammo'd M&M container in a tree and signed the log. I thought something might have fallen out of it and I was looking around in the wood chips. I nearly picked up an open prophylactic. I don't think it was unfurled or anything, but that is gross! I didn't touch it I swear!

When I got home, I saw that some people had visited my caches and picked up one of my travel bugs, Fish Tank. They are taking him to go visit their fish tank. NICE! We ended up finding nine today. How do you like that? That's California geocaching. I run to the store and accidentally pick up nine smileys. I love this game!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Featuring: The Northwoods GeoCats

The inaugural winner of the Hick@Heart Featured Site Award is the Northwoods GeoCats. The GeoCats are located in Minnesota. This is the blog that introduced me to geocaching. The sites author, Tonka_Boy, does a great job. He not only shares his geocaching adventures, but also shares cool geocaching tips, neat caches and provides links to other great geocaching content.

One great post describes geocaching at Raceway Woods. This area was once a European style 3.27 mile racetrack. Since it's prime time 40 years ago it has become a wilderness area, taken back by nature. Some portions of the original track can still be found.

I also like the post about a cache hidden inside a library. A book has been hollowed out and is on a shelf in a public library. What a great idea!

Another cool thing you can do at the GeoCats blog is check out some original artwork done by Mrs. GeoCat, Wayfarer222. She does some really nice paintings of nature and still life. Some are even available on greeting cards. Can you say signature trade item anyone? Check out the link on the GeoCat's sidebar. Tonka_Boy also has a book about his adventures in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. Look at the bottom of his page for a link to that.

Thanks for the work you do on your site, GeoCats! The Northwoods GeoCats is my favorite blog. It is responsible for my own geocaching addiction, and has a special place in my heart. I love when my reader pops up with a new GeoCats post. So congratulations to the Nothwoods GeoCats. Stop by their site, check out the great content and tell them congrats on the first ever Hick@Heart Featured Site Award.

Featuring Geocaching Web Sites

I've been checking out a lot of web sites about geocaching lately. I decided to start featuring one of these sites a week. (I'll try to do one a week) I'll basically write about what I like about that site and provide a link to it for you to enjoy. I'll also give the site owner a "Hick@Heart Featured Site Award" that they can post on their site if they choose. The award icon will be a link back to that sites write up. All featured sites will be listed in a separate link list in my sidebar. I already have a couple of weeks worth but if you have or know of a good site feel free to send it to me to check out. If you want me to link your geocaching site send me the link. But the featured sites get a special place and the award. Who knows, maybe you'll find your next favorite site here! The best part for me is showing other webmasters that I appreciate their hard work. Look for the first winner coming soon!

Urban Geocaching, I Know What You Mean

I needed to run down to Temecula to get some printer paper from Office Depot. You know what that means! I loaded up the GPSr with some geocaches and headed off with the entire family. We went a round about way (Shocking!) so we could make an attempt at a multi cache.

There are some local cachers that love to put caches on fountains. Their caches are all titled "Tranquility, something something something." This Multi was pretty simple. You walk along this small strip mall and at each of the fountains you get a number. We visited all 7 fountains plugged in the coordinated for the final cache found where it it supposed to be and then...............Nothing. No cache. I know I was at the right place because if the hint provided but nope, no smiley for me. I couldn't even snap a decent picture of the kids because the sun was in their eyes. I'm not feeling very "tranquil"

Off to Office Depot. I might as well grab the skirt lifter in the parking lot. Man there are a lot of people in this parking lot on a Sunday morning. I finally get a second to safely grab the cache and sign the log. We move on to an Altoid can that is nearly rusted shut. My hand still hurts from trying to open that thing. I sign that log and it's off to another "Tranquility" cache. When we pull up to ground zero, there are 30 Muggles sitting on our tranquil fountain. Never mind.

Man I could use a nice trail in the middle of nowhere right now. Oh well, I did get 5 reams of paper for 20 bucks and I got a 5 dollar off coupon.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sure, But Let Me Load Some Geocaches First.

This morning, The Boy asked if we could go bowling today. We got a Wii for Christmas and the bowling is our favorite. The Boy wanted to try out his new virtual skills on some real life fun. Sure we can go bowling, The Boy. Just after I hop on line and load some caches near the bowling alley.

The bowling was fun. They have it so you can choose which players get the bumpers. When it was The boy's turn, the bumpers would pop up and when it was my turn, they would go down. (I could have used the bumpers on a few shots.) After bowling, it was time to grab a few caches.

I just read a blog post by Tonka_Boy about urban caching and some of the pitfalls associated with it. I thought, yeah that's right! Now I'm going to go do some urban caching anyway. I'll just stick to ones that don't look like bombs. My first attempt was at an unknown (Mystery) cache. I have yet to log a find on one of these and was therefore missing the little question mark icon on my list of finds. So I pull into the parking lot at the listed coordinates and contemplate this clue. "In the late 1980's there were over 2.5 million of "these" in the U.S. In the late 1990's, there were less than 1.5 million." Well "it" was what I thought "it" was and I found the cache stuck to "it". I signed the log while pretending to talk on "it". Oops! I've said too much!

Then we move on to a traditional cache neaby. The GPS'r took us into a Dairy Queen parking lot. Just as I was walking up to GZ, her comes "High Maintenance" in her Escalade and parks right in front of it. She gets out and just stands at GZ talking on the cell phone. This is the part about urban caches that I don't like. Muggles doing dumb things! Thanks for nothing, High Maintenance!

We moved on to a park that I didn't get time to go to on our last park hopping adventure. I made the find on the first of two while The Boy peed in the bushes. What can I say, when a 6 year old has to go, that's it, he going. Don't worry, it was nowhere near the cache. The other find was through this forest of sycamore trees, big ones. There is a forest in the middle of town. It was a small one, but the trees were quite large. Of course I left the camera in the car. DUMB!

My favorite of the day was a cache called Liar, Liar. This cache is one big lie. To post a find you must first find the cache and then post a big old lie in the log. That's fun! You should read some of the logs. People have been "trading" exotic cars, multi million dollar Starbucks cards and much more. It was actually a very nice hide with great cammo in a high traffic area. I went a little overboard in my post but, hey, if we're going, let's go big! My post reads as follows;

February 16 by Hick@Heart (73 found)
I'm the president of a local biker gang from far away. Me and my posse were in the area studying geocaches for the Smithsonian Institute. We actually pulled a couple of our bikes into the cache itself to make it look like it was just a biker bar and not a geocache. Curley, whose real name is Former President George H. W. Bush, brought his pet tyrannosaurus Rex. (They actually used it in the movie Jurassic Park)Curley walked his Dinosaur back and forth across the street to distract the parade goers so I could sign the log. We had just come from the bowling alley down the street. Since we are outlaw bikers working for the Smithsonian, I stole the shoes to trade for swag. Took: Space Shuttle Atlantis. Left: Size 18 bowling shoes."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Great Geocaching Valentines Day Story

I read this story today and thought it was pretty nice, or sappy depending on your point of view. A couple in Newfoundland had been together for a couple of years and enjoyed geocaching together. The guy named Darren Harvieux had gone to find a cache (GCWOVP) and love the location. He knew this was the spot. He wrote a special note in the log and went home. Later, he asked his girlfriend, Jada Patey if she wanted to go find a couple of caches together. When they found the cache he told her to sign the log. She found the note and began screaming. The log they left reads, "A memorable hunt for sure. Thanks for a hunt we will remember for a life time. Very nice view. Left a Newfoundland key chain."

Imagine if he had left the ring and another cacher came along and found it. Cool swag! I thought this was a cool story and wanted to share. Geocaching, bringing people together since 2000. You can read the whole story here. Now let's all say it together. Awwwwwwwwwwww.

Happy Valentines Day!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Geocaching on Rawson Road

When I woke up this morning I decided it was about time to go drop Fish Tank in a cache. I also needed to send Brianna's Geocoin on its way. I saw that my cache total was at 58 finds. That means all I have to do is go grab two nearby caches and I'm at 60. Well, If I'm going to grab 2 I might as well grab 12 right? Check out the string of caches right down the street on Rawson Road.

Rawson Road is the old road into Hemet. The entrance is only 2 miles from my house. This is a beautiful country road bordered on one side by Rawson Ranch and on the other by an ecological preserve. The only thing that isn't private property is the road itself. I posted my first ever DNF on this road, and since becoming a Groundspeak premium member, I've learned there are a lot more caches here than was previously visible to me.

The boy and I actually drove to the farthest (6 miles) from home and worked our way back. When we stopped at our first cache a local resident stopped by to tell us the lady that lives across the street is crabby and her husband just passed away. I could smell the rural neighbor politics. He gave us permission to go cruise around his property. We might have done that if there was a cache on his property and if I hadn't recently seen a clip from Deliverance. We grabbed the cache and headed on our way.

The dirt road was really nice in some areas and in others it was badly washed out from all the recent rain. There were a few long stretches of washboard road that tries to shake your brains out. Most of the caches here are micros and nanos. Imagine that, nanos out in the country with no less than a bizillion places to hide them. At one, I was walking and looking at my GPSr when the boy holds up the cache and asks, "Is this it?" Yep, good one, the boy.

In one spot there is this really old abandoned hose built out of rocks. You can't go up to the house but it is quite a sight from the road anyway. And, of course, there is a stinking nano-cache nearby. We spent some time on the three DNF's for today. When you walk up to ground zero, and it is a huge metal fence blocking the road and somewhere a little tiny camouflaged container is stuck to it, how much time are you really going to spend on it? I know my brother suffers from "mocrosiscannotfindus" and this would have been a therapeutic trip for him!!

The views were awesome today. The recent rains have turned the area along Rawson Road into a green wonderland. Here is a nice shot taken along the way.

We did not meet our goal of 12 finds today, we were stuck with 11. That is still my biggest day of caching so far. On the way home we climbed the hill up to one of my caches to drop off Fish Tank and to see how my ammo can was holding up to all the rain. The cache looked good and the boy took some nice picture from up there. I'll put some here. My favorite is the last one. NICE!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Brianna's Geocoin Goes Park Hopping

I've found out that the type of caching I do depends on which members of Team Hick@Heart go with me. If it's just me and the boy, we go get some really tough ones like "King of This Hill". If the girl is going along I like to cache in a style I call park hopping. The girl is only 3 and most geotrails are no fun for her. Most parks in the area we live have at least one cache in them. This makes it perfect to bounce from park to park and let the kids play while I grab a smiley. We have found lots of great play areas this way and that's the way we went caching today.

We started today's trip at a cache near home. I saw Brianna's Geocoin in the cache and thought it would be nice to take her coin along on our adventure today. Brianna's Geocoin was released by a 4 year old girl in Mississippi to celebrate her family's 50th find and Brianna's Birthday. Interesting that this coin was originally released on my birthday, 11/27/2004. I'm not sure if that is her actual birthday but we will go ahead and assume that she is a very gifted young lady to have a birthday like that! I guess that now makes her 7 and makes me old. So, here is the trip Brianna's Geocoin made with our family today.

Our first park hop was at Kent Hintergardt park in Temecula. This park is named for a fallen hero. Kent Hintergardt was a Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy, killed in the line of duty on May 9, 1993. The park has a Boy's and Girl's club and is apparently very popular. The 50 or so kids at this park left no room for the kids to play. I dashed over to the cache, noticed someone had already found it today, signed the log and we were off to the next park.

This next play area had a very small playground and was designed for toddlers. I knew the boy, age 6, would tire of this park quickly so I had to cache in a hurry. I found the second of two caches in this park and was surprised to find a full size ammo can! It was under a large rock that I had to roll over to reach. After signing the log and closing up the can, I reached to put the rock back and it was covered in ants. THOUSANDS of ants. Looks like that cache is on an anthill, Capitan Obvious! There were no ants on me so I headed back to the kiddie park and we were off again.

We stopped at another Temecula community park and this one had some shade. It got up to 85 degrees today and we were warm. That's right, 85 degrees in February in Southern California. That's why my mortgage is so high! We ate some lunch and I searched and searched but was forced to post a big old DNF on this one. There was a nice view of the snow on the nearby mountains and we made sure to snap some pictures.

Our last stop was at the Murrieta Pond Park. We stopped and got a picture of Brianna's Geocoin on a statue dedicated to Mr. Guenther, founder of Murrieta Mineral hot Springs. The hot springs are no longer accessible to the public as the property is owned by the Calvary Bible College. HOLY HOT SPRINGS! the ducks in this pond are obviously used to people bringing food because they all started swimming towards us as we reached the waters edge. We found the nearby cache, checked out the ducks, snapped a few more pictures and it was time to head home. The ducks followed us out of the park.

We had a great time taking Brianna's Geocoin to a bunch of local parks. This is a great way to geocache with young kids. If the parks near you don't have at least one geocache each, I would suggest putting one in them and make fun trips for other families. We made 5 finds one DNF and will be dropping Brianna's Geocoin off so it can go on other adventures.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Travel Bug Update

I just made a new travel bug and thought I would just post an update as to the travels of the others. This is Fish Tank TB21D2B. Fish Tank is still in my possession , I will be dropping him/her soon. This TB wants to travel the world and get its picture taken at, guess what, fish tanks. Nemo here also wants to see Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota. Hmmm, why do I know that place. I hear it's real nice. Nice and cold! That's kind of a side mission.

Brody's Bad Wolf TB21CZT just got dropped off in Duck Crossing, 40 miles from home. BBW's mission is to travel the world and gather photos of people being bad. He also is trying to catch Raegan's Red Riding Hood. Check out the trail of caches this TB is in! This area is just outside Palm Springs, CA.

Raegan's Red Riding Hood TB21D22 is running from BBW and trying to gather photos of people doing good things. This TB is only 16 miles from home in Bautista Hike, and has only moved once.

My Motogrrl Geocoin is still at Penny Pines Plantation where I dropped it. No one has logged the cache since I was there on December 31. I am holding onto my FTF Prize Geocoin that I just got. I am virtually dropping it in all the caches I find and logging mileage on the coin. As of today, it has 82.4 miles. I love trackables! I still have one set of unactivated TB tags. I'm just waiting for a cool hitchhiker to hook them to and away they'll go.

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