Memorial Day Excursion

Georgia, United States No Comments »

With all the kids home, between school being out and before the summer jobs start, Memorial Day was a beautiful day to get out of the house. Instead of Six Flags or a water park, or something else, the kids decided they wanted to go geocaching, since it had been so long since we’d done it as a family. I was thrilled.

We were also going to give the game of Munzee a try as well. I’d heard about it on geocaching audio podcasts, and had found a few near my workplace recently, so I thought I’d see what the kids thought of it. It’s another GPS game where, instead of a container with (at least) a log, you scan a barcode and "capture" the Munzee. You get points for captures and hides, as well as some other special events. It’s just scanning a barcode, so not nearly as interesting, but for some that don’t want to go rooting around on the ground, often Munzees are in easily-accessible places, often clustered in an area. So, different strokes for different folks.

We started off by going to a cache placed last year on Memorial Day in a small cemetery that, over the years, has been encroached  upon by the widening of the street and the interstate that it is on the corner of. I’m not giving much away when I say that the cache was a a huge tree that is just barely safe from the interstate. Since it was placed on Memorial Day, and apparently had been placed along with a ribbon around the tree, the cache is aptly named "Tie a Yellow Ribbon…". (See here for more information on this tradition and the song that made it generally popular.)



There were signs of the patriotic ribbon that had been placed there, along with staples that must have held it in place.


We signed the log and tried to put in a small toy car that we had, but that was just barely too big for the container.




Next we tried a couple of Munzees. The first one was a the entrance to a miniature golf place we used to take the kids to. We searched all around but didn’t find it.


There was another one nearby at an abandoned Ryan’s Steakhouse, and this one was rather simple; the Munzee equivalent of a lamp post cache.


Right near the bottom is the barcode you scan to make the capture.


Now, you may be saying, "By posting that picture of the barcode, couldn’t someone else just scan it from the picture and get credit for the find?" But the answer is no, because the Munzee app, which you must use to get credit, checks your GPS location against the location recorded on the website for the Munzee. If you’re not reasonably close to it, no credit.

The next Munee looked like it would be another lamp post one near an old movie theater that has been closed for quite some time.


But this one was laminated and tied to a tree instead, requiring actual searching to find it.


Also in the nearby Fry’s parking lot, there was a geocache, an actual lamp post cache (often referred to as an LPC). A quick find by the kiddos.


We tried one more Munzee near the Fry’s, but didn’t find it. It was then that, while it’s interesting, the kids decided they wanted to hunt geocaches the rest of the day.


Around the nearby mall there were a few caches. We made quick work of one by Sears.


But the one near J C Penny gave us trouble and we logged our first DNF (Did Not Find) of the day.



Not having gloves, we didn’t want to paw around in the prickly shrubs.

There was a nearby "mystery cache" where you had to solve a puzzle to get the coordinates. The puzzle was designed for kindergarteners, so it was simple, but it was fun and gave us another nice find, with a regular-sized cache with stuff to trade. And the location, the tree it was near, was truly beautiful.



It was here that we realized we’d misplaced the caching goodie bag, so we took nothing and left nothing. We figured out that we’d left the bag at the cemetery, so we started back. After picking it up, we hit some caches back towards home.

At one office building, someone had hidden one at a picnic bench just outside the building. Well, "hidden" is putting it loosely; it was just sitting on the ground next to the bench, though it looked like it could have been hung from a hook on the bottom of the table at some point, but there was no obvious hook.



The next find was at Home Depot, and was a rather ingenious hide. It took us a little time, but one of the girls finally tried looking in something (and I don’t want to say what so that cachers looking for this don’t get spoiled), but didn’t look…close enough, let’s say. The other girl tried a little harder and did find the cache, so a team effort here.



Going further towards home, we stopped by a Chinese restaurant that  used to be a BBQ place, and picked up a quick LPC.



We finished on a DNF, unfortunately, and ended like we had started; in a cemetery, near a small church. A few fire ants and lost of poison ivy held us back a little, but we did made a good search but found nothing.


We hit 9 caches (7 finds) and a couple Munzees, which, I think, was our biggest geocaching excursion ever.

Golden State Finds

California, Locations, United States No Comments »

I took a business trip to California. First time I’d been there (unless you could a layover in LAX decades ago, which I don’t). Of course, one thing I look for are geocaches near the hotel, and this time there were 2 very close by.

One of them was very nearly across the street, in the back parking lot of another hotel. I came by and tried to extract it (the cache page says to bring a "tool to extract" but doesn’t say what kind), but to no avail. I did take a picture of it to show that, yes, I had indeed been there.

(This picture might be considered a spoiler, but once you get to the coordinates, it’s pretty obvious where to look.)


There was a family sitting outside in the back, so I didn’t want to spend too much time getting their attention while trying to get this out.

I went further down the street to find another cache, and the coordinates took me to the end of the sidewalk.



This time, I found it and could actually get at the small container.




And so we get our first two finds in California. It’s been a while since I had done some caching on my own, and it was good to know I hadn’t lost my touch.

A Church, a Cemetery, and Some Strip Malls

Georgia, Locations, United States No Comments »

We took the afternoon to visit some areas of higher cache concentrations to try to pick up some that we’d missed before, as well as some new ones.

We started at the Antique Mall that my youngest son and I visited last June, but it had just rained and neither of us wanted to get too wet, assuming that the cache was probably in some bushes that were drenched. This time, my two boys and I started searching in earnest.

The actual GPS coordinates are inside the antique store, so it was worth looking near the building, as well as other common cache hiding spots.




Turned out that the film canister was in a dry enough spot that we could have nabbed it in June without getting soaked. This time, I found it. We brought it back to the car and signed the log.



The second cache was right across the street. We were clearly at the right place because the name of the cache, "Write or Right Cache", is a pun on the name of the business in who’s parking lot it’s located. We made short work of the find and signed the log.



One thing I’d done at the first cache was find it, walk away from it, and announce that I’d found it to the other guys. Then they would try to find it based on where I’d been recently, so it gave us all a chance to "discover" it. This time, my older son found it and did the same thing with me.

Moving on, we traveled up the road to another intersection that has a number of caches but where we’d been not so successful in the past. The first one was behind a Kroger strip mall, and was a cache placed on the birthday of the hider, "Flamingomama". She’s hidden over 60 caches (so far) in this part of the county. Some we’ve found, and indeed the previous 2 finds were of her caches as well.

My phone’s GPS was not really cooperating today. It would sometimes be 2 or 3 minutes before it would update my location, so we had to go more by the Google Map of the cache location and just eyeball it. So we were all over the area trying to find this one.

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But the boys eventually found it, bearing the familiar pink flamingo logo.



The log was signed, and we hit the road.

Next stop was a Lutheran church, which we’d also visited on the same trip last June. In the interim, the cache had a number of players who were unable to find it and so it had recently been replaced. Still, after scouring the area near a storm water drainage area that has quite a bit of litter around, we gave up one more time.

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Our last stop was at a Primitive Baptist church cemetery. The name of the cache is "Bryan Was Tall", so my oldest son, as soon as we pulled up, immediately homed on the tallest monument he could see, and sure enough…


Back to the car for the final log signing, replacing it, and off we went in search of supper. It was good to get some of these finds in areas that had often given us difficulty.




Long Time, No Caching

Georgia, Locations, United States No Comments »

It’s been a while, so after I picked up the boys from a Boy Scout event, we hit a couple of nearby caches.

The first was near a doll house store, and was named appropriately, "Itty Bitty Citty Comitty". It was a nice ammo can that was easily enough found. I saw it first and just told the guys that I had, and they each found it quickly themselves.






We took a pathtag and signed the log. A pathtag is a collectible item that some folks use as their "signature" drop in a cache. I didn’t realize this when we took it, as we didn’t have something to put back in the cache, and usually, as I understand it, folks don’t typically trade for trackables; they just take them or leave them with or without a trade. Anyway, now we have one of these.



Moving on, we hit a lightpost cache at a nearby Wal-Mart. The cache is named "black canister", but when we found it, it was just a baggie; no film canister.


The log was not damp, exactly, but there was mold on it and trying to write on it caused the paper to tear. So we sealed it back up as best we could and replaced it. Lots of folks shopping there today, including a lady sitting in the parked van next to the light, so I hope it doesn’t get muggled.

Bug’s Too Big

Georgia, Locations, United States No Comments »

While I happened to have our entire brood in town, we decided to go to a nearby mall to visit a niece of mine and just window shop. Nearby was a geocache, so we brought along a travel bug we’d picked up recently to drop off.

This one is located in tall grass by a retainer pond across the street from the mall. Clearly, they have beavers here.



My GPS was giving us fits, but I’d recalled the general area I saw on the map where the cache was, so we checked it out.




While Mommy watched us look all around, she did a little looking and found it herself, so we all headed over.



While it’s a nice cache that will stand up to the weather, it won’t handle a moderately sized traveler.




So we took nothing, left nothing, and signed the log.