Sunday, August 26, 2007

Classic Wooden Boats

We took a break from geocaching this week to attend the Classic Wooden Boat Rendezvous in Excelsior, MN. If you are a boating enthusiast anywhere near Lake Minnetonka, this is the boat show to attend. These boats are very popular on this lake, and can be seen running the waves on any given weekend.

The first photo below is the MER-NA. Although it has Seattle on the stern, her home is now on Lake Minnetonka. The current owner bought her and had her shipped here. We were invited aboard to have an look around. She even has a working steam whistle! Although the small diesel motor doesn't push her too quickly through the water, she's a true classic. (Click on any photo to enlarge.)

If I remember correctly, this boat took best of show.

A beautiful summer day, and here's how it started.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

First Cache Hidden for Tonka_Boy

Today we hid my first cache - The Mighty Gale Woods. It's a traditional ammo can with some cool swag. When at the park, we always say hello to Sampson. He's guards the sheep, but always has time to get a belly rub. While we were there, a calf was born. When that happens, the caretakers have to put iodine on its navel. Mother cow was having none of that! (Click on the pictures to enlarge.)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Geocoin in a Cabin in the Woods

We found the cache A Cabin in the Woods today and retrieved a geocoin commemorating Minnesota's first geocache. A note with it requested the finder to take a picture of the cache site. This is the one that we couldn't find in the dark last night. We thought we would get a FTF there, but it already had been scooped. The coin was worth the wait.

Tomorrow I will be saying, TGIM. I need all the scratches and scrapes to heal. My legs are on fire!

Another FTF at Baker Reserve

What a day! We woke up early (for a Sunday) and headed to Baker Park Reserve to snag a couple more FTFs. I could hardly keep up with Chris as she plunged headlong into the woods. We found one! And just as we were heading back to the trail, here comes a guy studying his GPS unit. I knew right away it had to be rickrich. I said, "Are you Rick?" He replied that he was. "Well we just beat you to this one." He didn't seem upset. (He has over 3000 finds.) We talked a while, took pictures, and all went on our way.

By the end of the day, we had walked 14 miles, logged eight new finds, a FTF, several STFs, picked up a geo coin, and scouted locations for our own geocaches. We came home satisfied with our fabulous geo-day.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Second First-to-Find (FTF) for the GeoCats

The NorthWoods GeoCats scored their second FTF today. After retreating from the blistering heat (and after four new finds), we watched a major thunderstorm roll by from the safety of our geo-home. During which time, Chris reported from her on-line geo-hunting that a dozen or so new caches had placed in nearby, Baker Park Reserve. People had already been out scooping the FTFs and the associated booty. But there were several left unfound. We guessed that everyone else had been forced inside by the weather.

So as soon as the storm passed, we headed out to score two of the new caches. Surely, no one would be out this late in the day. The sun was just setting as we reached the park. Luckily, the caches were not far from where we parked. Unluckily, a cop stopped us on the trail to inform us that we had parked illegally. Luckily, he let us leave the car where is was for our quick dash into the woods.

Chris was the first the first to spot it - a foot long, plastic tube attached to a tree branch with baling wire. When we retrieved it, it was full of rainwater from the storm. Not much swag, but the log was dry, in a plastic baggie. We were the first! I think this cache will be archived soon. Baling wire in a tree probably won't pass muster with the Park District. We tried for another, but the day had grown too dark. Our only reward at that point were scratches and scrapes. We will try again in the morning.

Sushi Travel Bug in Excelsior, MN

Here's a close up shot of Sushi, the travel bug we retrieved from a cache near Waconia, MN. Its mission in life is to visit sushi bars all across the world. So we took Sushi to Yumi's in Excelsior, Minnesota - right next to Lake Minnetonka. Yumi's was closed when we got there, but we took a photo of Sushi looking in the window. If you click on the photo, you will notice that we added Sushi's mission statement to the travel bug. That way, the next geocachers to retrieve it will know that Sushi wants to see sushi.

After our visit to Yumi's, we dropped Sushi in a cache near Watertown, Minnesota. Good luck, Sushi. We hope you accomplish your mission.

Hennepin Summit Cache

Here's Chris, digging through the large ammo box at the Hennepin Summit Cache. This was a challenging cache to find. First, we had to find a micro-cache that gave the final coordinates for the large cache. Chris found it - quite by luck. After that the large cache was pretty easy to find. The cache contained two travel bugs - one seen here in Chris' hand.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Kings Point Cache

Not all quests for the cache end successfully. Some searchers experience the agony of defeat. That was our lot with the King's Point Landing today. We followed the map as closely as we could, but when we got close to the cache, our GPS unit showed it out in the middle of the lake. Here's a picture of the launch ramp. There's one like this described on the internet, but we failed to find the right place. It may be just across that bay. We'll try again sometime this week.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Our First "Nano" Cache

Although nano is not an official designation of a geocache, we found our first in St. Bonifacious, Minnesota. The GPS unit took us to a very public place just packed with muggles, so we decided to stop back. Later, with no one around, the search began. According to the description, we were looking for a cache that was 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch in size. Pretty small. . . but large enough to have a log inside. You can see how small it is compared to the film canister in the photo.

It took a bit of looking around, but persistence paid off. It was indeed tiny, but once opened it did have a log inside. We were thrilled. After signing the log, getting it back in the container proved harder than finding the thing in the first place.

St. Bonifacious is the site of a former Nike missile base. Just west of Minneapolis , the site was developed during the cold war to destroy Soviet bombers attacking the Twin Cities. The attack never came, so the base now stands abandoned. One of the missiles is on display in the city park.

Watertown History Cache

The best multi-cache we've done so far - The Watertown History Cache - covers a portion of history of Watertown, MN. Comments left by some of the finders...

  • "AWESOME!!"
  • "What a great container!"
  • "Caches don't come any better than this."

The finder has to discover three separate caches; Tyler Got Old, Furrow, and Skinny Mills. Then the finder has to assemble & decode the clues taken from each cache. Those clues reveal the coordinates of the final cache.

When we had all the clues, we retired to the Luce Line Lodge (a must stop when in Watertown) to decipher them. I can't tell you how the deciphering was done, but it involves a magic decoder device. Even with it in my hands, I had no idea how to use it. But the revelation came to us like a bolt of lightning. It was brilliant! So much fun. One of the caches even included finding a birthday cake geocache.

Update: Furrow has been archived! The cache container, chain, pulley were all stolen. It's no wonder. This cache was in plain view of new housing in the area. It was only a matter of time.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Christmas Lake Geocache

This one required a lot of stealth. It's right at the launch ramp of Christmas Lake, and that's a busy place on a hot August afternoon. Although Christmas Lake is very close, it's not part of Lake Minnetonka.

We should have been boating - not geocaching. One obsession at a time. Please!

This was the second time this week to attempt this cache. The first time, there were a line of boats to use the ramp. So we came back and made a quick grab. It was a micro, and well hidden. But, a little Spidey sense took me right to the spot. We signed the log, and beat it before the next boat came in.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Debra's & Emma's Travel Bugs

Wayfarer222 retrieved two keys from the Key Team #1 (GCWB95) cache. That cache is part of an elementary school education project to learn more about latitude and longitude. Each student placed a key in the cache with his/her name or initials. Wayfarer222 got Debra's & Emma's keys. She them made travel bugs of each one. Watch as both Emma's & Debra's keys travel the globe.

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