Sunday, December 21, 2008

Google Reader for Geocaching

With snow up to the window sill, all those well laid plans of geocaching will lie as dormant as everything else around here. (And our faithful readers in Southern California will continue to push their numbers up without us.)

You may recall this post from about this same time last year.

There's nothing to do here but practice geocaching by on-line proxy. That includes reading everyone else's geo-adventures posted on their blogs.

I was using My Yahoo home page for keeping track of all the blogs I follow, but it became too difficult to find the new posts. I'm reading up to 50 different blogs, and it's become totally unmanageable with My Yahoo. Then the lovely and talented Wayfarer suggested that I use Google Reader.

Vive la difference!

Google Reader makes managing blog subscriptions a snap.

The reader makes it easy to subscribe to blogs - just copy & paste the URL in the subscription box. It uses an expandable menu structure to manage categories - simple. The un-read posts show up in the body of the reader, and I can choose to read the posts right there or jump to the blog itself.

(I prefer to read people's posts on their blogs. It's more personal that way, plus I find links to lots of related stuff.)

I am way happy with my Google Reader!

So, how do you manage your blog subscriptions?

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Geocaching - It's Not About the Numbers

Saturday was an unusually warm winter day. (It seems that we are in for a real chiller this year.) It's dropped 25 degrees so far today and is supposed to go down another 20 by tonight.

Anyway, we decided to head back to the area that we tried two weeks ago when we got frozen out. Although there was four inches of fresh snow on the ground, some of the caches were labeled as "winter friendly". We figured that we'd get a few.

But we had to pass on the first one. A bunch of kids were sledding way too close by for my comfort. I never want to be the reason that a cache gets muggled.

The next one was somewhere around this old limestone kiln.


But where?


So on down the trail we went. In the center of this next photo you can just see the bridge under which the next cache was hidden.

Geocaching Trail

Did I mention that there was fresh snow on the ground?

Did I also mention that it was an unusually warm winter day?

Did I mention that I don't like bridge caches even on a good day?

It was all drippy and slippery under there.

Another DNF!

But we found this gi-normous old cottonwood tree next to the bridge. And it had this huge hole near the bottom. Now most of us have seen holes near the bottom of large trees. Great places to hide geocaches.

Geocache Tree

But this hole was so big that the cache container could have been a Mini Cooper.

Tree With legs


Here's a shot I took up into the tree. Spooky!

Inside Tree

So we did get one find that day. It was camoed as a bat hibernation box. There was a full sized ammo can inside!

BAt Geocache

Looks real, doesn't it?

We walked 3 1/2 miles (uphill, in the snow) and got one more smiley. But it's not about the numbers. Is it?

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Giant Smiley in the Woods

The other day I was planning some geocaching adventures for next spring.

Yeah, I said next spring.

It's minus 12 degrees wind chill here today. No geocaching for a while.

Anyway, I came across a giant geocaching smiley out in the woods near Black River Falls, Wisconsin. I thought that was way cool, so I contacted the owner, Snyder Bear and asked if he would guest author a post on our blog.

Here's Snyder Bear's post.

Our first cache we ever did as a family, is actually the "left eye" of the smiley (Oak Ridge Tower Cache), and we wanted to place something in the area in honor of this. What better way to honor such a cache, than with a huge smiley right around it?Giant Geocaching Smiley

Our original thought was, to raise the age old question, "is it about the smiley or about the experience," and then we'd let the cachers decide in their comments.

The Jackson County Forest (JCF) caches are independent of each other, yet placed in the forest so they resemble a smiley when geocachers look at the series on their GPS units. That way people can get as few or as many singular smileys as they please. We thought about creating a multi, but the uniqueness of actually seeing the smiley on the map afterwards, was a real incentive to make this work.

We wanted to put a group of caches together so that fellow cachers could park in a central area, and cache a fair number of smileys if they so desired. We had placed some caches along a recreational trail to the southeast earlier and the most enjoyable comments we received alluded to them liking the ability to park and grab a series of caches

 Fire Tower To place all of these caches, I contacted the land manager (county supervisor who oversees the area) to ask for permission - and the incentive was, this would add another facet to what our county public lands now have to offer. There's a permit process we established together. The supervisor actually took this request to the county board for approval, so that was nice. He was really receptive to the 'Cash in Trash Out' aspect of this type of recreation as well.

We grew up in the area, so we know it well. But for those that may be passing by, this could prove somewhat daunting if they plan on caching the entire series. You can't really get lost in the area with all the access roads running about, but you do have to contend with a terrain that involves a small bluff or two.

Originally we wanted to name them all the same with a theme of a smiley being the main focus, but in discussing this with one of the reviewers, they suggested totally avoiding the 'power trail' aspects, and make them stand alone caches, since they are out in the country and not actually on any established trails.

Before hiding the caches, I assured myself there was enough room to do a smiley shape around the noted cache first, then I played around with Google Earth by pinning the caches to their locations. After that, I transferred those coords to my hand held. After making up 20 some caches it was just a matter of getting the permit in place and taking the hike. Well, it actually took three hikes - but the placements were pretty easy, being in the wilderness and all. Most of the caches ended up being pretty easy to find geobeakons for the area.

Of course on Google Earth, the terrain looked a bit less intimidating sitting near the computer, but I knew the area quite well. I knew I'd be scaling a ridge area several times in placing the caches

What I wanted to do was incorporate a variety of placement techniques that we picked up throughout this past year from other caches that we went to. Being new to the sport, I wanted to also mimic the ones that seemed to be a bit more enjoyable to find, as well as more durable for being out in the middle of the boondocks. Maintaining them was a big before thought as well, so we were fortunate to have a few trails that run through and about the area for us to access, in case someone has a maintenance request.

Most of the caches are also winter friendly - but not knowing which ones are per say, will make for some interesting comments during the winter, I am sure. I placed the majority of the micros, in larger containers for easier GZ's, but still called them micros just for the 'micro in the middle of the wilderness' effect.

After looking at several of the caches and how we worded the writeups - we're likely going back out and visiting them soon, to up the anti on some of them - but that's part of the fun of having caches to maintain. You gotta make them interesting, I think - it adds to the adventure and enjoyment for those who venture out into our little neck of the woods that way, as well it giving us something to do.

Knowing they were being published several weeks before our Deer Rifle Season, was somewhat frustrating, but that was my fault in putting the placements off until the bugs and heat subsided. You'll notice several of the area caches tend to mention the thought of wearing blaze orange if your out-and-about during the hunting season around here.

We thought of offering tee-shirts or key chains that stated they had completed the "Smiley" as mementos - especially for younger cachers. And we may still do this, if we find cachers that happen to complete them all in one running. It'd be a nice change of pace for a cacher to receive such an item, other than your normal swag. It's still a thought at least.

The wife and I have the whole winter now to reflect on this past summers' learning experiences. We plan on working with the county and state forest people to create some unique caches in our region.


tonka_boy's note: The terrain of these hides range from one to four stars. Definitely a challenge to finish this series! Sounds like a road trip to Black River falls next spring.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

ReefPilot Interviewed on Geocaching Podcast

I just got done listening to a geocaching podcast on which the Cache-A-ReefPilot Maniacs interviewed ReefPilot.

Who's ReefPilot you ask?

He's a Minnesota geocacher that has carried our Lucky Penny Travel Bug with him for the past year. His profession as a commercial pilot allows him to travel all over North America. As he stops in different cities, he "dips" our bug in local geocaches. He's now logged over 60,000 miles for us.

I learned that, besides geocaching, he is also into SCUBA diving and salt water aquariums. It's a pretty cool interview. You can listen to the entire thing on the Cache-A-Maniacs podcast.

Oh BTW, here's a Google Earth shot of that travel bug's travels. Too cool.

Google Earth

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Slow Loading Blog Page

As many of our loyal readers may have experienced, we've hadSlow Loading Page some slow loading pages on our blog.

You can see one of our pages loading, to the right here.
If you stare at it long enough, it does absolutely nothing.

Kinda like our blog.

So I decided to do something about it.

The lovely and talented, wayfarer, is very much into search engine optimization (SEO). Visit her blog to see lots of tips and tricks to make Google rank your pages higher.

She pointed out to me that web pages load in a browser from left, to right. And I had a bunch of slow-loading widgets in our left side bar. That caused the whole blog to load about like that photo up there.

So I moved all the testudine-like widgets over to the right side bar. The page should load much faster. Still having server errors with our sign-in log, but that's not this page.

Let us know what you think.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Too Cold for Geocaching

Okay, so it wasn't really that cold.

After geocaching in those hilly parks the past few weekends (and scoring relatively few geocaches) we decided to try some flat parks near the Minnesota River. I looked up a bunch of caches that we could score in quick succession. It would be a great walk in a wooded floodplain, with not a hill in sight.

The snow that we received last night was in the processes of melting and refreezing, making the walk quite slippery - even though flat. The lovely and vivacious, Wayfarer, clutched my arm tightly, so if one of us went down we both would.

The cache was easy enough to find - a peanut butter jar wrapped in camo tape, hidden in a rock pile at the base of a tree. It was half way down an abandoned boat launch lamp that led in to the river. Ice flows passed by us, and that's when we both noticed that we were COLD!

The weatherman had predicted 30 degrees and that's what we dressed for. But it never reached 30, and we were walking face-into a stiff breeze. We hadn't dressed for that! We made it back to the car with frozen ears and pink faces. Tears were streaming from my eyes.

Our geocaching ended as quickly as it started. One more smiley.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Geocaching


This post contains descriptions and photographs of specific geocaches that may be considered spoilers. If you geocache in the Eagan/Apple Valley/Rosemount area, you are hereby warned: do not read this post until you have completed the Halloween 2008 series by bflentje.

Being surprised on your own is just too sweet!

Now, on with the post. (Scroll down.)

The disclaimer is for the creator of those caches - cause I'm a nice guy.

We celebrated Thanksgiving by doing some geocaching. We wanted to finish up the Halloween series located just south of The Cities.

Here's another scary cache container found inside a hollow log.

Make sure you read this post for photos of our first hunt.

Severed Hand

Well, we didn't get them cleaned up - still two to go - because today, one of them took a full hour to find. The name of the cache was Polycephaly - meaning, more than one head.

To get to GZ, we hiked the trail as close as it would take us, then bushwhacked to the edge of a steep hill. Luckily we chose to hunt this one in the winter when all the foliage was down. It would have required a machete otherwise.

We had pretty good GPS coverage from the top of the hill. The arrow on our device pointed directly at a giant, broken oak tree. Great place to hide a geocache. But as we went down the hill, the needle went crazy. First it pointed north, then east, then back up the hill.

Begin drunken bee dance.

Enough of this silliness. It has to be the big tree. So we went back to it.

It was obvious that previous searchers had torn through every log and branch within 20 feet of the oak.

So we looked.

We found nothing.

Wayfarer checked the post notes on her Blackberry. Polycephaly was found just yesterday. It has to be here.

We looked again.

We found nothing.

We went over that tree with a fine toothed comb. It must be nearby.

More drunken bee dance.

No, it had to be at the tree. The on-line logs claimed that this was the creepiest cache of the series - almost disturbing. It had to be here.

So I sat down and looked at the tree. Something had to be out of place. There must be a clue to the hiding spot. The tree was huge - probably 10 feet around at the base. It split into two main trunks some 4 to 5 feet off the ground, and both sections were broken off 12 to 15 feet up.

My eyes scanned from the base up to the top. Part way up through a split in the wood, I spotted something that looked . . . the wrong color.

Something was up in that broken trunk!

I climbed up as far as I could, and at the very limit of my reach, I put my hand into the tree trunk and grasped the cache container.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Scary Halloween Geocache Series


This post contains descriptions and photographs of specific geocaches that may be considered spoilers. If you geocache in the Eagan/Apple Valley/Rosemount area, you are hereby warned: do not read this post until you have completed the Halloween 2008 series by bflentje.

Being surprised on your own is just too sweet!

Now, on with the post. (Scroll down.)

Although a bit late for Halloween, the lovely and vivacious wayfarer wanted to do a Scary Halloween series of Geocaches located not too far away. This is a series of 12 geocaches based on a Scary Halloween theme. Each cache contains part of a code, that when deciphered, leads the hunter to Number 13.

We tried one last weekend, and were thrilled with what we found. So we thought we'd try our hand at a bunch of them this week. For the first one we tried, instructions on the GC website instructed the finder to select one of the masks sealed inside the cache container and photograph yourself. If you don't upload a photo to the page, the find would be removed.

After a nice walk around a secluded lake, we found that cache, donned the masks, and took photos.


tonka_boy mask


wayfarer mask

Then off to to the next one. But it was a bit more challenging that we had expected. View this if you don't believe me.


As we discovered one geocache after another, the miles went by as fast as the time. We put five miles on the hiking boots and ended up with seven out of the twelve in the series. We also scored one from the Halloween 2007 series.


We'll get the rest of them on Thanksgiving Day. Here's a few photos of some of the caches in the series.

And yes, these are real geocache containers.


Head on Stick

Hanging Cache

Finger Micro

Grave Cache

Hand in log

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Comment Luv Enabled

We enabled Comment Luv on our blog. When you comment on our blog, a link from your own blog will display along with your comments.

It's Comment Luv.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Saturday Spent Geocaching

Well it really wasn't a whole day geocaching. More like. . .

A Saturday Spent Driving Around.

I stayed up late last night, planning our geo-Saturday so we could score a bunch of geocaches. (It's not about the numbers.) I labeled them all on the trail map so we would be as efficient as possible. We should easily score the 14 in that park, then cruise over to Cleary Lake to finish up that bunch.

Note to our faithful readers in California . . .

It's different here. Twenty in a day, is a great day!

Murphy Map

And it's not just the geocaches.

But with winter rapidly approaching, those toasty-warm 36 degree, geocaching days are soon to be past.

Just to be outside would be a good thing.

We arrived at the park, brimming with excitement, but were met at the gate by a sign declaring,


The Five Man Electrical Band says it best.

So we drove to a different park and ended up with four.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Geocaching Last Saturday

It was c-c-c-cold Saturday.

We went to a regional park down by Prior Lake - a place that we had hiked two years ago before our addiction to geocaching.

This time we hiked with a purpose!

Rather than take up bandwidth yammering on about it, I'll just direct you to wayfarer's blog. She tells all about our trip and also talks about the recent changes to our geocaching tech gear. 

Cache on!

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Geocaching and Twitter

I've had some family and friends ask me about Twitter and why I use it to keep in touch with other geocaching folks. So I thought I'd post here, and just direct my peeps to this post.

Let's start from the beginning.

Twitter Badge

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users' updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length. These posts can be conversational in nature (placing the "@" in front of a user's name, designates a post to that specific user), or they can be links to photos, videos, or other web sites. Users can choose to "follow" other users, and receive just the tweets of those designated.

The feeling of family and community develops after following other members for just a short time.

But let's back up just a step, if you are not browsing the web with Firefox, go directly to and download it. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. It's free. It will improve your Twitter experience. Why Firefox? Because developers all over the world are creating cool plug-ins and add-ons that are really helpful.

Twitthat Badge

Once you have Firefox loaded and running, go to  Drag the button up to your Firefox tool bar. This turns your browser into a tweeting machine. Just click on that button when you want to share a web site with your friends on Twitter. Just created a new post on your blog? twitthat! Uploaded a new photo or video to flikr? twitthat!

Most cool!

Then go to  Download the Twitterfox add-on. It adds a tiny button in the lower right-hand corner of your browser, that turns your browser into an automatic tweet reader. The moment someone you are following posts a tweet, it pops open, right on your browser.

Excellent! Here's what that looks like. Click to enlarge.

Twitthat view

Last week when tatooedmommie was in that long line at her polling place, she was using her cell phone, tweeting photos to Twitter - and every one popped up in my Twitterfox.

Way too many Ts, but a great way to stay in touch.

Now that we have a Twitter-powered browser, how do we get followers?  The best way, is to start following others. When you choose to follow someone on Twitter, they have the opportunity to follow you. So do a search on for geocaching, or any other interest. Look through the list to find people that are updating tweets that match your interests. When you find them, click on "Follow". Chances are, they'll follow you in return.

Another way to find people to follow is to look at the profile of a person that you are following. There will be a whole list of people with similar interests. Click on their profile, read a few tweets, if you like what you see, click on "Follow".

And make sure you tweet, tweet, tweet. No one wants to follow someone who is not tweeting. With a Twitter-powered browser, and today's phone technology, there's no reason not to let us know what you're doing.

See you on Twitter real soon!

Friday, November 7, 2008

New Geocaching Blog Added

I ran into another geocacher on Twitter this week.

Twitter is way cool - and you are not cool if you are not on it.

Anyway, I added his blog to our blogroll. He geocaches in Belgium. You can jump right to his blog by clicking on this very cool picture right here.

Check him out.

Search Jaunt


BTW . . .

It snowed here today.  heart_broken  Summer is over.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Geocaching Road Trip II

After walking straight up the bluffs of the St. Croix River for more than one geocache, we headed north - up river - for more geocaching fun.

Our first stop was the historic Boom Site, National Historic Landmark, just north of Stillwater. Back in the 1800s, timber harvested upstream was branded with the logo of the company that had harvested it, and the logs were floated down to the boom where they were sorted by the brands and delivered to the sawmills in Stillwater.

boom site

Millions of logs from the upper St. Croix and tributaries were halted here, sorted, and rafted, later to be sawed into lumber and timber products. The boom site was operated until 1914, after which it was forgotten. But it was rediscovered in 1975 by a National Park Service survey to identify historic sites along the St. Croix River.

Just below the bluff, at the water's edge, is a cave that is not only an earthcache, but a waymark to boot.

During the logging era, a cookhouse and supply store were located on top of the bluff directly above the cave and used the cave as a storeroom. A hole was cut into the roof of the cave, and a simple elevator was hoisted through the hole so that supplies could be moved from the cave to the cook shanty.

View from the outside.


View from the inside.


We didn't find an elevator shaft, but it was an interesting place to visit. It was evident at the back of the cave that people have been digging under the terminus wall, seeking the upper level to the cave.

We spent a lot of time here, walking the beach. Then our journey took us farther up river to Pine Point Park, where several geocaches awaited.

After a bit of driving, we arrived at Pine Point Park - only to find that we had to pay a fee to get in. We only had a $10 bill, and the fee was $5, we drove back into town for change.

Finally, we get to hunt some geocacahes!

There were several to be found in this very muggly park, so we chose a couple that were away from all the action. Wayfarer was using her new Blackberry phone with Geo-Navigator, rather than using our antique Garmin that we were used to. A little learning curve, but it put us spot on the hides. Here's a few photos.

Blackberry with a Travel Bug we found.


Trail in the park.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Geocaching Road Trip

Yesterday we took a trip over to Stillwater to do some geocaching.

Stillwater is often referred to as the birthplace of Minnesota. A  territorial convention in 1848 selected three leading Minnesota cities as locations for important public institutions: Minneapolis got the University of Minnesota, Saint Paul became the capital, and Stillwater was chosen as the site of the territory's first prison.

Looks like Stillwater got the short end of that stick.

But I've digressed.

Stillwater is a popular day trip for tourists who enjoy the historic downtown's used bookstores, antique shops, restaurants, historical sites and the scenic St. Croix River valley.


We parked the car in the public lot at the riverfront and proceeded to walk to our first cache only a few blocks away.

Note to self: Check topo map before geocaching in Stillwater!

You can see the bluffs overlooking the river in the above photo. And the photo below doesn't even begin to show how steep this street was. Brutal. (Click on any photo to enlarge.)

Hill Street

But the walk was worth it. Like many geocaches, the Stillwater caches took us places that we would have never seen. We did another cache at a local park.

Another hill.

Again, the photo doesn't do justice to the incline. Just try counting the steps.



Here's the view from the park at the top of the stairs.

Lift Bridge

While in Stillwater, we did one traditional cache, two virtuals, ate lunch, walked through a dozen antique shops, then headed up the river for more geocaching.

But those will be covered in tomorrow's post.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Our First Waymark Post

I created our first waymark on

I know. I know.

This is supposed to be a geocaching blog. But I had to do it.

After yesterday's visit to the #100 Target store . . .

(hey listen, I go to that Target store about four times a month)

. . . we took a walk in one of the local parks here. We knew there were trails behind the ruins an old run-down homestead, because this was the site of one of our very first geocache finds.

Unlike a Target store though, this place has some real cultural significance. But the site wasn't on

I thought, if Target stores can be listed, why not this place?

Schmid House

German immigrants, the Schmid family, settled and built a beautiful fieldstone farmhouse that now stands in ruins in Lake Minnetonka Regional Park. Pretty historic and worthy of a visit.

So rather than belly ache that I can't create a virtual on, I created our first waymark on

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

What's Up With Virtual Geocaches?

I came across this post on the Groundspeak forums about virtual geocaches, and why new ones are not allowed. We've done a couple of virtuals, and plan to get a couple more tomorrow. They've usually been entertaining and somewhat educational.

Okay, the Mary Tyler Moore virtual?  Not so much.

The argument against them is just how much WOW factor does a site need to qualify - and who gets to decide that?

I thought there might be an argument made for allowing them, but that's what is for. So I went over there for a visit, to see what cool virtuals were in our area.

I found some old homes and churches that are on the National Historic Register. Kinda cool.

Found an artesian well nearby. That's got WOW.

There was an old post office. Hmmmmm . . .

Found a storm warning siren on a pole? ? ?

A Target store.

Wait a minute. A Target store?

Oh, it's Target store #100. Still, I'm not that impressed. But I do need some deodorant and toothpaste. 

. . . think I'll go score a virtual.

Target Store 

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Geocaching with Love

While perusing some geocaching blogs today, I ran across Desert Woodrat's Weblog. In his post, Heart of the Desert, he describes a series of geocaches that are in the shape of a heart! Here's a screen shot showing the geocaches.

Heart Shape Geocache

I know what you're thinking.

It's fake.

Someone Photoshopped the caches onto the picture?



It's real.

Click on the photo and the link will take you to the Geocaching web page. The caches are located northwest of Moab, Utah.

Too cool!

I encourage you to visit Desert Woodrat's Weblog. Do some clicking around there. Many, many excellent desert photos, including some cool petroglyphs. Excellent site.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Puppy Cove Geocache Archived


Our Puppy Cove geocache didn't last very long. It went missing just days after we placed it. I guess there were too many puppy's playing there.  We hid it pretty close to shore, so one of the dogs must have sniffed it out. I thought about placing it inland a bit, but our antique GPSr just isn't that good under tree canopy. It's kind of embarrassing when the FTF sends you the correct coordinates.


We hid a geocache in a nearby park earlier this summer.  It's along a paved trail so it's our first hide that is rated by 


A chair-bound person would have to get someone to make the final grab, but they can get to within 15 feet of the cache. Pretty cool.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Geocaching HooHaa Travel Bug Race

PJ, over on the HooHaa blog came up with a challenge for a bunch of geocaching bloggers.

The Great HooHaa Travel Bug Race.

It's a year-long race to see who's travel bug can travel the farthest in the next year. Here's a list the challengers - with their respective blogs.

Gunny's Hoohaa Race Electric Bug from Gunny’s Cache

HooHaa Race - GoGo T. Urtle from Geocaching Online

HooHaa Race -- Just-A-Nut from Geocache: I’m NOT obsessed… right?

HooHaa TB Race: EMC's Chocolate Chip Cookie from Geocaching with EMC of Northridge, CA

HooHaa TB Race: Geocats Racer from (humbly) Northwoods Geocats

HooHaa TB Race: Hick's World from Geocaching with Team Hick@heart

HooHaa TB Race: Kiss My Cache's Peace Luv and Travel Bugs! from Kiss my cache

Just to be fair, I let the others get a head start. The challenge began on Thursday the 16th, but I held my entry until today, the 21st. Oh some are already traveling, but *yawn* I'm not worried. I dropped our little racer in a geocache just outside the Mall of America, which just happens to be one of the top tourist attraction in the Midwest.

Think our racer won't take off from there?

No contest!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

tonka_boy for President

Since the Republican convention is coming to St Paul this week, I've decided to throw my hat in the ring and run for president.


Click on the photo to view the news story. When the video loads you will need to click on it for it to play.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Guest Post - Finding the Puppy Cove Geocache

Hello readers. Tonka_Boy asked if I would provide a blog entry for him, and so I said why not. This story is a week or so old, so I hope you will still enjoy the story even in my tardiness. ;)

My name is Shawn Kummrow or speedysk1 to the geocachers out there. I live in Mound, Minnesota on the west side of Lake Minnetonka, near Tonka_Boy, and we’ve run into each other on the trail. I’ve also been FTF on 2 of his caches.

Anyway, on with the tale of our boating adventure on Lake Minnetonka.

It all started when GeoPierce asked if I wanted to canoe out to Big Island with him to pick up the 3 caches that are out there. I said sure, but it didn’t work out. Then I thought about hitching a ride with RickRich, who agreed to take us, but again, we couldn’t get schedules arranged.

Then after a week-night caching event, I chatted with RudeRat about the caches on Lk. Mtka. He said just let him know when and he’d be glad to take us.

TimeWellSpent hears about it and chaos ensues. ;)

Before you know it there are 6 people that want to go out to the islands on the lake. I confirmed the capacity of the boat and we were good to go. So, the cast of characters for our trip was our captain RudeRat, EPMinnesota, GeoPierce, KredEP, TimeWellSpent and I. We all met up in historic and beautiful Excelsior public docks.

We had plenty of refreshments, so off we went.

First stop…Big Island.

big Island

I had already found all but one of the caches on this island. I had found the other 2 earlier this year… mid February when the water was frozen, and I could drive out there. In February, I thought I had it made, I’d cleared Big Island. But wouldn’t you know it, RickRich put’s another cache out there. Well with no boat, I figured I have to wait for winter again, but then this cruise came up.

We arrived at the beach area of Big Island only to find geo-muggles around. We carefully hopped off the boat and headed into the woods hoping not to get spotted. The new hide from RickRich (GC1BTAZ) proved to be a bit trickier than we thought as there are some nice beacons near ground zero. It didn’t take too long and we found it, signed the logs and off we went.

RudeRat moved the boat from the beach area and met us further down the island near (GCWQ6N) Big Island Park. Since I had found the rest of the caches on the island, I didn’t have them in my GPS. So, I turned it off and agreed to “lead” the group. Now, I did say on numerous occasions the island looks different in the winter vs. the summer. But I still received quite the ribbing for not finding the path right away. Then it turned out there was a short cut along the beach. I don’t think I’ll live that down for a while.

We made quick work of Big Island Park - without any clues from the previous finders, and off we went for Roller Coaster on Big Island? (GC12GBW) After finding the cache we walked back to the boat.

Still being light out, RudeRat asked if we wanted to head for Puppy Cove (GC1F53N) by some guy named Tonka_Boy…never heard of him, but we went for the cache anyway.

GeoPierce, Speedysk1, KredEP, RudeRat

On the Boat

GeoPierce, KredEP and RudeRat

On the Boat 2



So after a nice cruise across the entire lake through many different channels we finally arrived at Puppy Cove. GeoPierce and I quickly hopped out of the boat as EPMinnesota and TimeWellSpent said,

"Oh it's right there on that tree."

"We don’t even need to get out of the boat."

"I’m sure it’s right there."

And the heckling began.

GP and I found the cache pretty quickly while the rest of the crew was still in the boat - convinced it was further out in the lake. So to be a wise donkey, I tucked in the back of my shirt and hid the cache behind me in my shirt.

GP and I then pretended to not be able to find the cache.

The rest of the crew eventually got out of the boat. KredEP found a metal tag in the tree and we started convincing her that it must be a multicache.

Then TWS looked, found the same tag, and agreed that it must be some sort of multi. We had them going for quite a while, then we had them convinced it must have been muggled.

Finally as they were getting ready to admit defeat and log a DNF, I said, “You can log a DNF and I’ll sign this log”. I then pulled the cache from behind my back.

TWS wanted to throw me in the lake for having them going for so long.

Group Photo

So we posed for a picture, but then I needed to see a man about a horse.

Well, I got back to the shore where the boat was, and as punishment, they left without me, and were taunting me from the boat. So, to convince them to come back, I showed some skin in hopes they would find me so irresistible that they would come back for me.


By this point it’s starting to get dark. So we started heading back to Excelsior. I drove the boat for a while, and TWS and EPMN started laughing so hard, I thought EP was going to pee her pants. I knew they were laughing at me, but I didn’t yet know why. Well, the geocaching gods got me back for my little prank at Puppy Cove.

You see, the camo has some plastic leaves attached to it, and little did I know one came off. And since the last thing they saw me do was head into the woods, they thought I must have really needed to go.


Leaf Closeup

Well after pulling the plastic leaf out of my waistband and even showing it to them, it was too late. They all had a good laugh at my expense. The rest of the ride was less exciting, but was very nice nonetheless. We cruised past Lord Fletchers then on to Excelsior. We finally arrived back at the docks around 10pm. All in all, a very good time had by all. Thanks again to RudeRat for taking us out.

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