Geocaching at home

I am in my home town for the first time in 3 years. I have had a great time getting to see friends and family over the last week. A fun side activity has been geocaching in familiar places.

Surprise in Toyah, Texas
Thursday evening my family and I were visiting my grandmother in a small town of 100 people. We took time to stroll around town (that took about 30 minutes to see it all) that evening. After we returned to the house my son and I went looking for snakes. My grandmother lives in a desert in your typical run of the mill old west town in Texas. We did not find any snakes, but thought it would be cool to find a geocache in the area that we might could drive to. Imagine our surprise when we fired up the geocaching software on the phone to see that there was one less than two blocks away. A very easy find. I can’t imagine that this one will be visited often, but it is one I won’t forget.

My Aunt and Uncle learn about the game
By Saturday we had returned to my aunt’s house where the visiting family members were staying. We went our separate ways in the morning, but planned to meet up for lunch. My brother and I were going to grab some caches in the afternoon. My aunt and uncle were intrigued by the idea of geocaching and wanted to come with us just to see what it was like. The closest one to the restaurant was in the parking lot.

There were 8 of us wandering around making the find. It was a bit easy and so everyone (except my wife and daughter who had to go home) followed my brother and I to the next one a couple of blocks away. They were all hooked. We drove to a few other caches in 3 different cars until each family member had to take off for other appointments.

My brother, son and I continued the game for a while until we had responsibilities too. Later that night my brother and I picked up the game when we finished the retirement party that had us back home in the first place.

Local police learn about the game
In total we found 14 geocaches and could not put our hands on 4. That was my biggest caching day to date. In the process we even introduced a couple of police officers to the sport. They did not think we were doing anything wrong, but they could not figure out why my brother and I, at 10:30 at night, were wandering around acting like we had lost a contact in the middle of a parking lot. The two officers had to check us out. They thought the game sounded like a good one and actually loaned us a flashlight to put the cache back in place after we found it.

Gunfighter provides a place for a cache
Today we were again visiting my grandmother. But this time, instead of visiting her at home, we were in her church in Pecos, Texas. I preached there this morning. My cousin, who was caching with us Saturday, and her son were with us. After we parted ways with Granny we looked for a cache in town and found one at an old cemetery. The cemetery was the original resting place for famed gunfighter Clay Allison. My cousin’s son was able to make the find. It made his 7 year old heart happy to find the treasure.

It was a great time introducing new people to the sport of geocaching.

Back to Georgia

I am not sure that being home is very exciting. I have been home quite a bit the last few weeks and I have not posted a whole lot. However, when we are on the road I seem to be too busy to get to the computer much.

We hit the road last Wednesday for our first trip since just before Christmas. We headed up to the Atlanta area for some meetings. On Wednesday we were in a church that is pastored by a college friend. It was great to be there with him. Since we graduated from college we have not been together. It was fun catching up a bit, but mostly talking about our respective ministries.

This weekend we were in a mission conference in a church that we had not been in before. But we do have previous contact with the associate pastor. He is a man who supported us when he was in another church. He also is someone who is very tuned in to missions. He put together a great conference and the church people executed the plan well. We had a great time getting to know the church.

I got to run a bit this week. I have not been consistent in my running since I started back. It may be a good thing though. I have run between 8 and 12 miles a week for the last 5 weeks. It is about 10 miles a week less than what I want, but I think that is helping me ease back into it without injury. I did 5 miles in the rain yesterday. Fortunately it was in the 50s. Today was 4 miles at 34 degrees and no rain.

I did a bunch of geocaching yesterday afternoon while the family was taking a nap. Most of the places I hit were out on nature trails in Carrollton, GA.

My Thought Spot 25: Geocaching

This last week I started playing a new game called geocaching. I explained it in an earlier post. This episode is a recording of a recent geocaching trip where I explain a little bit about the game and take you on a sound seeing trip to find a cache.

Show notes:


Geocaching: Day 2

Why didn’t I get into geocaching before? Oh, that’s right, I have never had a GPS unit until now. I used to think geocaching was supposed to be played without a GPS receiver, but if you were lazy you used one. Now I know that some of these would be impossible to find without a GPS unit.

Pin Cone, Reclaimed
This one is at a boardwalk near our house. My son and I went in search of it. I was familiar with the boardwalk and knew about where the cache would be located. I decided to park a good ways away from the cache instead of the parking lot that is just a couple hundred feet from the hiding spot.

Along the boardwalk we looked for snakes and turtles. Though it was warm today, it has been pretty cool. The animals were not out playing in the water.

This cache was easy to see once you looked at it. We were looking around thinking it would be very hidden. It is right in the open. We signed the log, which was just one of the 2 scraps of paper in the cache, and replaced it. Did not have anything to leave.

Blue Angel
This one was easier to access, but harder to find. The cache was sitting near its intended location. But the place where it was supposed to be would have been very hard to see. We ended up putting it back where the original hider intended. But, I think it will be kind of hard for the next hunter.

This one contained a good variety of stuff. Wildflower seeds, NASCAR trading card, Mardi Gras beads, toy animals, etc. We signed the log. Lots of people have found this one. We left a gold safety pin.

A Tight Spot
After we got home I was looking for more caches and found one just 3 blocks from the house. I got the wife and daughter involved. We walked to the cache and actually had to hike through the woods to find it. Each one is different in its hiding place. This one was not so much hidden by a clever spot, but just by the fact that no one would normally be walking in that area. Trees were pretty thick.

Contents were a few toys and a log book. Curiously, it also contained a NASCAR trading card. We signed the log and left a Mexican Peso.

For Kids Only
For all the playing we did today, groceries still needed to be bought. We took my wife to the store and then went in search of a cache just 2 miles away. It was located near a park. We had never been to that park and did not know that there were trails all around it. We felt a little odd walking around the edge of the parking lot with lots of people staring at us. When we found the entrance to the trails, we were able to get completely away from the crowd.

The cache was hidden earlier this week. We were not the first to find, but we did get to see many of the original contents. There was a small Etch-A-Sketch and some kids glasses. It was all kid focused and contained just toys, a dollar and a log book. We were the second to sign the log and we took a rubber snake. We left a Mexican toy called a “tazo.” They were called “pogs” when I was in school and “milk bottle caps” when my dad was a kid.

After replacing the cache and going to the park to play, I realized I did not write down in the log what we took. I went back and corrected that. I was also curious as to whether the dollar was registered with Where’s George (it is a site that will track bill circulation based on user input of serial numbers). It was registered as a geocaching bill, but had no log entries. I took the bill and logged it at Where’s George. I will take it to Tennessee with me next week and deposit it in a cache up there.

The kids love hunting for treasure.