Thursday, May 07, 2015

Check out the PodCacher GW13 Experience Bundle!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

2012 Podcast Awards

I'm a huge fan of the PodCacher podcast, and I have been a long-time listener of their show since the beginning (haven't missed a show).  In fact, an article I wrote on this blog was even featured way back in Show 33: Geocaching Software in January 2006. 

Today, in addition to singing the praises of Sonny and Sandy, I'd like to pass along a request to help them.  Every year or so, Sonny and Sandy get nominated for the annual Podcast Awards, and now is time to nominate them again for the 2012 Podcast Awards.

Here is what you need to do:
  • Go to the Podcast Awards nomination website:
  • We are asking you to nominate PodCacher in both of the following categories: Best Produced and Technology.
  • For each of these categories, enter the requested information:
  • At the bottom of the page, enter your name and email address, then click SUBMIT.
PLEASE NOTE: If you enter PodCacher in more than these 2 categories, your nomination will NOT count!!

Each person can only submit one nomination, but you can ask your geocaching friends (or anyone with an email address) to help out.

The nominations must be submitted by October 15, 2012!

Friday, October 05, 2012

PodCacher Show 381.0: Travelers’ Tales

In my last post, I shared my story about geocaching while on an Alaskan cruise earlier this year.  I also shared that story with S3 from the Podcacher podcast - a podcast all about geocaching.  While catching up on a short backlog of Podcacher episodes, I listened to Show 381.0: Travelers' Tales and heard my story! 

Check out the Podcacher podcast yourself and consider becoming a supporting member to receive access to premium, members-only shows.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Cruise Caching

As I mentioned in my previous posts, I recently returned from a very enjoyable Alaskan cruise.  One of the best things about cruising is going to bed in one city/state/country and waking up the next morning in another or on your way to another.  For geocachers, that means finding a cache in one place, going to sleep, and finding another cache somewhere else the next day - a great way to collect finds in multiple cities, states, or countries without having to spend hours upon hours driving.

Another fun thing about cruise caching is seeing other cruise cachers from all over the world who have found the same geocache that you just found - often within a few hundred feet of the dock.  Occasionally, you'll even find geocachers from your local region who have signed the log before you.  On my recent trip, that is exactly what happened. 

While visiting Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on our cruise, I saw a geocache called Jaiden's Cache (GC23RBJ) just 300 feet from the bow of our ship.  Instead of finding it immediately after leaving the ship with the large mob of people around, I decided to wait to find it later in the evening right before I got back on-board the ship.  By that time, it was already dark, but it didn't stop my search for pathtags or other small signature items.  I struck out on pathtags in every cache I found, but I did find a nice wooden nickel here.  It was dark enough that I didn't really pay attention to whose it was or what was on it; I just dropped in one of my wooden nickels and a few extra pathtags and grabbed it out of the cache.  When I could finally get it into the light, I noticed it was from Mrs. Captain Picard - a local geocacher in Texas. 

I thought it was kinda funny that I picked up a signature item from a local cacher over 2,000 miles away in a foreign county, so I sent her a quick email to tell her about it, but apparently it isn't that uncommon!
Mrs. Captain Picard:  "We dropped that wooden nickel personally a couple of weeks ago while we were on OUR cruise!  A couple of ports behind us?  HiDude_98!  On our SAME SHIP - Normasgirl from East Texas, but we didn't know it until we started logging and saw hers.  WOW!"

Monday, June 25, 2012

Volcano Caching

My oldest daughter has a strong fascination with and deep interest in volcanoes.  In fact, when she was finally old enough to have her own Geocaching name instead of what I used to call her (Geo-Baby) she chose the name LavaRocks - though we haven't been diligent in logging all of her finds online.  Needless to say, she has always expressed interest in visiting an active volcano.  Ideally, she'd like to see an actively erupting volcano in Hawaii, but this time she'd have to settle for somewhat quieter active volcanoes in Washington - Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens. 

Before our recent cruise, we spent a few extra days in and around Seattle, WA.  On one of those days, we made a road trip south towards Portland, Oregon and spent the day visiting Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens.  There were two Earth Caches that I really wanted to find while visiting:

      Narada Falls at Mount Rainier
      Mount St. Helen's Earthcache at Mount St. Helens

At a summit elevation of 14,411 ft, the clouds were so thick around Mount Rainier that we couldn't even see the top of the mountain.  Apparently the peak is only seen approximately 100 days each year.  Regardless, we had a great time exploring Mount Rainier National Park, learning about the volcano, viewing the glacial waterfalls, playing in the snow high up the mountain, and hiking on just a few of the many trails.  The forest, rivers, and numerous waterfalls around Mount Rainier make it one of the most beautiful natural places I've ever been.  It is a surreal experience watching your children play on the slopes of what is considered to be one of the most dangerous stratovolcanoes in the world! 

Further south, Mount St. Helens is a totally different experience.  Although most of the area surrounding the mountain has recovered well in the last 30 years, the area directly across from the 1980 blast is still very much a barren wasteland. Huge trees are still seen lodged horizontally in the mountainside from when they were blasted across the valley from the eruption, and the entire area is covered in a fine, gray, ash powder (as is easily seen in the aerial Google Maps photograph).  The area directly across from the eruption is now home to the Johnston Ridge Observatory which was named in honor of U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist David A. Johnston who was on duty at the USGS, Coldwater II observation post during the May 18, 1980, eruption.  This is where we spent most of our time during our visit to Mount St. Helens touring the exhibit and watching the seismometers record real-time seismic activity from this active volcano.

UPDATE: My thoughts and prayers go out to the four injured climbers from my town recently injured in a tragic accident last week on Mount Rainier and to the family of the park ranger who died while rescuing them.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Geocaching at Groundspeak HQ

This month, I had the opportunity to go on an Alaskan cruise that left out of Seattle, WA. Needless to say, when a geocacher is in Seattle, there is at least one place that you simply MUST go - Groundspeak Headquarters.  I made an appointment several months in advance with Lackey Sara via email and was given the not-terribly-secret coordinates (and the street address just in case).

Upon arriving at the third-floor office, the first thing you notice is the gigantic treasure chest staring at your from across the room.  I've found some very large caches before, but this was by far the largest one yet.  I wanted to look around first, but my two girls were so mesmerized that they just made a bee-line straight for the treasure chest.  To my surprise, it was amazingly well organized - a box for U.S. destined travel bugs, a box for foreign country destined travel bugs, and a box for tradable geocoins.  The rest of the treasure chest was full of other unusual items like a full-size, trackable Darth Vader mask and a giant wooden Groundspeak Signal HQ Geocoin.  I had expected to find numerous pathtags in the treasure chest too, but sadly this was not the case.  In fact, I brought around 30 pathtags (most donated by the lovely caching couple DE_Cryptoman and Entwined55) and left about half of them in the cache anyway.

Another perk of visiting Groundspeak HQ is the chance to meet and visit with some Groundspeak Lackeys.  On this visit, I had the pleasure to meet a geocaching legend and Groundspeak Lackey, Moun10Bike.  In the rare event that you haven't heard of him, Moun10Bike is a not only a charter member of, he is also the father of geocoins and designed the very first trackable geocoin.  If you want to follow him, he is very active on Twitter, @moun10bike.  To help commemorate my visit, I was given one of the nice Lackey X-ing travel tags and a Moun10Bike travel tag.

The office area itself was off-limits since most of the Groundspeak Lackeys were still hard at work.  However, the lobby/foyer area is still pretty cool.  They have two large, flat-panel displays showing geocaching photos and logs in real-time on an interactive world map.  They also have a small store display where they sell hats, t-shirts, travel bugs, travel tags, water bottles, etc.  Recently, they added a photo booth too, but I didn't have time to get my picture made during this short visit.  Finally, the entire lobby area looked like an elegant cross between a high-tech computer firm and an outdoor adventure center - probably exactly the look they were going for!

Thanks, Groundspeak, for a nice afternoon visit!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Geocaching Pen Follow-up

Last night, the True Utility Telepen Telescopic Pen I ordered from Amazon arrived.  Naturally, I had the box open before I was even in the front door.  It is perfect!  Although it took me a few moments to figure out that there was no release mechanism for the pen from the cap -- just really tight friction -- it was exactly as I had hoped.  The collapsed length is just a little longer than traditional house keys and just a little shorter than traditional car keys.

Whenever I drive to a geocache now, I am guaranteed to have a pen with me!!!

Another exciting thing related to this pen was being mentioned on two fantastic podcasts.  If you aren't already a listener to the new Cache-A-Maniacs podcast network and the fantastic PodCacher podcast, you should be!  Both of these geocaching podcasts are regulars for me and feature the best news and information from the world of geocaching.  These are the two episodes that mention me sharing information about this pen:

   GeoGearHeads Beta.16: Hosting Geocaching 101s II

   Podcacher Show 368.0: An Unexpected Find

Monday, April 16, 2012

Geocaching Pen

I generally don't post many product links on this website, but sometimes I find a particular product that just blows my mind on its usefulness. Normally, I wouldn't put a pen in this category, but I've had too many experiences lately where I happen to find a cache while out-and-about without a pen handy to sign the log. In fact, this weekend, I resorted to scratching my name in a log with a muddy toothpick because I found a cache while out of town and didn't have a pen with me in the car.

This pen is a tiny, telescoping pen that attaches to your keyring or other keychain. With this, if I drive to a cache, I'm guaranteed to have my pen with me!

True Utility Telescopic Pen on

Thursday, February 09, 2012

RIP txoilgas

On January 28, a local caching legend, Alan Stricklin (a.k.a. txoilgas) passed away during a caching trip in Oklahoma. I first met Alan when he became a geocaching legend by becoming the first geocacher to complete my Texas County Challenge cache after having found or hidden a geocache in all 254 counties in the State of Texas! Alan, may you rest in peace (or begin creating a Heaven County Challenge for the rest of us).
If you have special geocaching memories of Alan, please feel free to share them with the rest of us in the comments below.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Festivus: Geocaching for the Rest of Us

It was exactly 14 years ago this week when Frank Costanza proudly announced that he created a new, fictional holiday called Festivus. Although Festivus is a fictional holiday, the celebration of Festivus has a very well defined set of events beginning with the "Airing of Grievances."
This usually brings participants into a circle of sorts in which each takes turns excoriating friends, enemies, relatives, acquaintances and strangers. When all who care to have taken a turn griping, there is no required hugging or making up. -

In the spirit of Festivus, please allow me to share some of my grievances related to Geocaching.
  1. Inappropriate sharing of personal information 
  2. Geocaching's status as a sport
  3. Overzealous geocachers (and people who take geocaching way too seriously)
  4. Rules-vs-guidelines (and reviewers that don't seem to know the difference)
  5. Know-it-all geocachers (and people that just like to fight a lot)
  6. Micros in the woods
  7. Bad coordinates 
  8. Reckless disregard for personal property or the environment
  9. Jeep and traveling coin collectors
  10. Poison Ivy!