Thursday, February 28, 2008

Spiders Geocaching?

Here's an idea for geocaching. This specimen is to be placed along the Luce Line Trail, and would be named, Sugar & Spice.

To the right you see a common, rubber spider that might be found along any geocaching trail in the contiguous United States; no different than any other Dollar Store, rubber spider. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

All spiders except those in the families Uloboridae and Holarchaeidae, and in the suborder Mesothelae (together about 350 species) can inject venom to protect themselves or to kill and liquefy prey. Only about 200 species, however, have bites that can pose health problems to humans. Many larger species' bites may be quite painful, but will not produce lasting health concerns.

Spiders are found all over the world, from the tropics to the Arctic, living underwater in silken domes they supply with air, and on the tops of mountains. In 1973 Skylab 3 took two spiders into space to test their web-spinning capability in free-fall.

OK. OK, we get it. Spiders...


But this rubber spider is a little different than most others. Turn it over and you will find a geocache hidden inside - complete with micro log. Pretty clever, wouldn't you say, loved ones? A perfect addition to our growing collection of geocaches along the Luce Line.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Geocaching & RSS Feeds - Why?

OK, so I'm off the geocaching topic again. It's still cold outside.

Here's a quick & clever video that I think is really important to bloggers and those who read blogs. It may not be as fun as geocaching, but explains the mysteries of RSS, subscriptions, and why everyone should use them. Subscribe. It's fun!

Maybe the weather will change and we can get out and do some geocaching!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

More Caches on the Luce Line?

For the current Minnesota Ice Age, we have a PQ of caches that have the winter accessible attribute - which really cuts into the caches available. Yesterday we went out in search of some small towns, with neighborhood parks, that contained caches. Only to find that small towns don't bother to plow the parking lots of neighborhood parks. We went by three of them that had no on-street parking, and two-foot snow drifts in the parking lots. No joy today, so we walked the Luce Line to look for hide opportunities.

I once thought that there were SO MANY geocaches around here that there was hardly room for more. As you know, we placed The Luce Line Crossing last week. You can see it on the map in the upper right-hand corner. (Click to make map larger.) The trail is visible as a dark, thin line near the top. Along with our cache, you can see three others along the 3.5-mile stretch of trail. The next geocache to the west (off picture) is a mile further down the trail.

Over the past eight months, we've scored quite a few geocaches along the Luce Line - probably over a dozen. But as you can see, some of those geocaches are more than a mile apart. To get six in a day requires getting in and out of the car, or a 12-mile hike, round trip. Nothing like they have out in Disneyland. So I'm going to start thinking like a California geocacher. Shouldn't there be more caches on the Luce Line?

Here's a photo of my proposal. While out yesterday, we found decent hiding spots at each pin location. In the same space that once held four caches, now would have 10. There's still some 1800 feet, on average, between caches. Or should we take out three, space them out a bit, and make seven where there was once four?

It's not like we are over-crowding. The Luce Line is a 63-mile trail, and we are talking about three miles of trail here. Below is a series of geocaches named bikeathon along a regional trail in the near, West Metro area. As you can see, some of the caches are placed even closer than the ones I proposed. And people rave about doing the series.

So I leave it up to my readers - how many more geocaches should we place on the Luce Line?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Most Devious Geocache

This geocache would be brutal, but quite a thrill when finally found! This set of photos is from a series posted on flikr by SEDCClint. He also blogs at GPS & Geocaching in Education.

Here's a fence post like many others in the desert.

Nothing unusual here.

An ordinary railroad spike.

Ah, but is it?
The end of the spike was drilled and tapped. Then a hollow bolt containing the log was screwed in the end. Another symptom of microsiscannotfindus.

My Last Skirt-Lifter

While geocaching, that is.

Some people claim they get boring after you've found 10 in a row. All in one Wal-Mart parking lot! But this one takes the cake. It's the last one I'll ever do. Just no more challenge.

I lifted this photo from jonnygeos's Electric Safety Blog. Click the photo to go there.

Actually, one of the very first caches that we hunted was a skirt-lifter. We had no idea that such a thing existed! We looked for about half an hour in a park that was about the size of a Buick. Finally, I kicked the skirt of the flagpole. Sure enough, it was loose, and there it was.

We have a pretty tough reviewer in these parts, and there's very few shirt-lifters in private property parking lots.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Off Topic - Lion

I rarely post off topic. But the other day I got one of those emails that co-workers pass around the office. Usually those things are one of three categories - political, humorous, or dirty. I often wonder if people know that office emails are kept forever. But I've digressed.

This particular message was so unique that I had to pass it along. (It's still too cold to go geocaching.) So click on the photo for a truly incredible video. I don't read Spanish, but the story is that the woman cared for the lion when it was sick or injured. When they met at the zoo, here's what happened.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Luce Line Crossing Geocache

After our disappointing DNH of Saturday, we braved the balmy 32 degree weather to place the Luce Line Crossing Geocache. It's on the nearby Luce Line, a Rails-to-Trails type of trail.

Here's a shot of the Luce Line in its day

Here's the Luce Line Today (Actually, there's a lot of snow on it today)

It's a small cache, not too far from the parking area, so it will be great for families with small kids. We use the Luce Line a lot. For hiking, biking and geocaching. (There's room for a few more out there.) The far west end was were we had that very disappointing DNF at the Trestle Collapses, but we've also found a lot of very cool caches along the Line. I hope the Luce Line Crossing lives up to the expectations of its siblings.

Update: I got the email that our cache was published at 6:38 pm. At 7:19 pm, I received another email informing me that jrest had claimed the FTF - less than an hour from published cache to FTF. Now that's some geocaching!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Our First DNH

DNH, you say???

Geocachers use a lot of shortcuts in their speech. TFTC. TNLN. FTF. We all know what they mean, but DNH is new.

That's right . New. In fact, this is the first time that anybody has used it. Cause I just invented it. It means Did Not Hide. Read on.

Several months ago, before the current Minnesota Ice Age began (read - winter) , we puppy-sat for some acquaintances. Corby was a cute little lab-mutt mix that was having problems assimilating to the kennel where his owners had place him for he weekend. We brought him home with us. Knowing that the only way to keep him from being puppy-destructive in our home, was to keep him worn out. So we went for walks. Lots of walks. When we came home from the walks, he went directly to sleep.

In the process, we taught him a new trick - sleeping on the couch. But that's another story.

One of the places that we took him was the Lake Minnetonka Regional Park that has some nice hiking trails, and we kind of fell in love with the little bugger. When he went back home, we decided to place a cache out there and name it Corby's Cache. Being the procrastinator that I am, I just got around to putting it all together, and yesterday was the first time in weeks to actually do anything outdoors. (Remember the ice age.) So off we went.

This is How Our Day Went

I don't have a problem with multi-use trails. And the snowmobilers were very generous in sharing the trail with a couple of hikers, but it was not a good day to place a cache. The Three Rivers Park District has a rule that all geocaches must be within 25 feet of the trail. There were just no geo-beckons along the snowmobile trail. We tried to follow another trail that was off limits to the snowmobiles. There were some snowshoe tracks on it, but we didn't have snow shoes on, and the snow was just too deep to find any good spots.

Corby's Cache may have to wait until spring. Then we can erase our DNH.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Travel Bug Gone Missing

It's a sad day for us today. I just received a message from Shinianen informing us that our Raceway Woods Christmas Golfer was missing from the cache where it was supposed to be. The thing didn't even make it to its second stop!

Luckily, our Haunted America Travel Bug was still there and picked up by Shinianen to begin its travels.

I was warned by hick@heart not to create cute TBs because they get collected. So to prevent that, I drilled a hole right through the belly of the figure (not shown in photo) to attach the TB dog tag. I figured that would make it less collectible. Hmmm.

Only two people have logged that cache before the bug went missing, so I sent a message to them asking if they spotted it. I'll wait till the end of the day to post it missing. Poor little guy. His only crime was that he was too cute.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

75 Finds in One Day?

Holy cow!

We haven't done 75 finds in a month! Check out this girl. Power Caching is right.

We did seven in one day and I thought I was the king.

The difference between geocaching in Minnesota verses California is what I'm talking about. I rest my case. But geocaching like that earns a spot on our list of noteworthy links.

This is me after 7 finds in one day.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Cops & Geocaching in New Zealand

Here's a cop story about geocaching in NZ. The lock 'n lock container in the photo just looks suspicious, doesn't it?

This is why I do not like urban caching. I'm surprised that more people don't get questioned by the cops for suspiciously lurking near city parks or playgrounds while looking for geocaches. We did one where I felt totally under the microscope. We were so close to the muggle homes, we could see into their front windows. And adding insult to injury, it turned out to be DFN!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cut Cacher

Here's what geocaching can do for you! No drugs. No dieting. No exercise.

That's right... you too can get in shape, buff up, and turn that arrest photo, mug shot into a smile.

Just send three payments of $29.99 to this blogger and start geocaching. It's that easy. Here's geocacher, hick@heart to prove that results are not typical. The photo on the left was taken just four months ago.

Imagine, you too can look like this. No Gazelle. No Chuck Norris. No Ab Roller. Just geocaching!

But wait! There's more...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I Told You So


My ideas about using geocaching as an educational tool are starting to cache on. Oooops - I mean catch on. Teachers attending an education conference in Austin, Texas got to learn the easy way, by going geocaching!

"This could be a really cool school activity," Janet LaMasters, chair of the computer science department at Ursuline Academy of Dallas, said of the geocaching activity." It definitely has possibilities." Her school is considering purchasing some 10 handheld GPS units.

Click on the GPSr photo to read the entire story.

And to think, I started it all... Yeah, that's the ticket.


And it was me, not Al Gore, that invented the internet.

Along with an aquaint... uh... my wife... Morgan Fairchild.

Yeah, that's the ticket

Monday, February 11, 2008

Rate Your Cache

Want to add a cool and simple rating to your cache description page? provides a form to create your own Geocache Rating Box that goes neatly on your cache description page on

Click on the link there (you may have to join KeenPeople--it's free) enter your geocache ID, choose any color scheme you like, and create the HTML. Then go to your cache page, edit your page, and place the provided HTML into the description of the cache. That's all there is to it, and everyone will be able to see the rating of your cache. For an example, check this one out.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Library Cache!

I came across this entry on QDman's photo blog. He writes that while on business, he hunted down a cache called Gold & Iron. You can read his entire blog entry by clicking on the library cache photo. The rest of the blog is pretty interesting too, and worthy of a permanent link on our sidebar.

Cool idea. We might have to try this at our local library. I wonder what happens when a casual, library browsing muggle finds this book on the shelf???

History Caches

Since it's colder here than a... well, it's cold OK?

We won't be doing any geocaching today.

A few posts back, misterteacher left a comment that got me thinking about using geocaching for education. One of our favorite caches was the Watertown History Cache. Very educational, and a brilliant puzzle to put together. So I thought I'd do a little thinking about educational caches, and here's what I came up with.

A great idea is to have the class create a cache, like this one, where student keys travel the world. This creates opportunities for studies of Science, Geography, & History. Another idea is to have someone create caches for the class to discover. The caches could be temporary, just for that event, or permanent, for anyone to find.

We found a bunch of caches at The Bjornson Educational Center, (brutal caching, read about it here) where mamakat has hidden over a dozen caches. She is an educator in nearby Menomonie, Wisconsin. She takes her class to Bjornson to study history, science, & nature. Geocaching is part of it.

Here's some ideas for history caches.
"History Of Corona" Totem Pole Cache This one is a micro at the base of an historic totem pole.

20th Century History 1960 This one is a multiple, puzzle cache based on news stories of the 20th Century. It's too bad that coterm59 didn't add links to the news stories. That way when finding each cache, we could just click on the link to read more about the event.

6000 years of Hellenic History-Argos Here's a series of caches (too bad they're in Greece. But I guess that would be the idea behind Hellenic History). Smiley emoticon placed here. There's bunches of historic information in this series.

A little more history Here's one that requires the finder to answer a question before they can claim the find.

You probably get the idea. With just a little imagination, geocaching can be used to create interest in just about any subject.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Geocaching at the Movies

"It's a geocache, Jim, but not as we know it..."

Follow this hilarious thread from the Groundspeak forums, where posters take geocaching to the movies. Click on the Captain and Mr Spock to be transported to that site.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Woohoo! new FTF

Another FTF for the Northwoods Geocats! Arriving home after lunch and a few errands, I checked my email and there was a message stating that rrice had published Rockford Crow1 - and no one had posted the FTF. We hadn't even taken our coats off, and back out the door we went. We were hoping that everyone was sitting in front of their TVs, waiting for the Super Bowl kickoff. Indeed they were!

Having lived in Rockford for a year we knew just where to park and just where to look. It didn't take long. The GPSr was right on station, leading us right to the cache. Footprints in the snow helped too. : ) Wayfarer dropped a travel bug and a geocoin.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Geocaching in California vs Minnesota

Somewhat of an unfair advantage. In California, you can geocache all year long. In Minnesota, geocaching in the winter could be a death wish. (Click on any picture to enlarge)

Okay, here's winter geocaching by the water in California.

Now, here's winter geocaching by the water in Minnesota.

Here's what Californians drive to the cache.

Now, here's what Minnesotans drive to the cache.

It's just not fair!

Trestle Collapses!

I usually don't point out the secrets of a geocache, but today, I'm making an exception. So if you don't want to know the truth about trestle collapses! stop reading now.

It was October 9th 1953, when 600 feet of the Minnesota Western Railroad trestle over Winstead Lake collapsed, sending nine cars filled with oats and corn into the lake.

Efforts to repair the trestle failed, and new tracks were laid, bypassing the lake. Today, the railroad bed is part of the rails to trails movement and has been converted to part of the western suburbs trail system.

That brings us to the geocache. A great idea. And a great place to put a geocache. The idea was to create a multi, with the first stage on one side of the trestle collapse, and the final stage on the other. Very historic. Bits and pieces of brick and steel are still there to be found.

Our first attempt ended with a big fat DNF. The hint, do not fall in, misled our search too close to the water's edge. We looked and looked, but to no avail.

Our second attempt was a bit more successful. We found the first stage. I was determined.

At the trails end is a park bench to sit & enjoy the view. I placed the GPSr on the bench and sat down to wait for the coords to settle in.

Now our GPSr may not be the newest and brightest, but if I set the thing down long enough, it will rival anything out there. And that bench was pretty danged close to GZ! So we went over it inch by inch. We looked at every screw on it, if by chance one was a fake. Nothing. We checked the bottom, thinking that the coords for the second stage were simply written there. Nothing.

Back to the GPSr. I knew that the cache couldn't be behind, or to the sides of the bench. From my best guess, it had to be about seven feet in front of it. But we had looked and looked all around there - and there's just no place to hide a cache. Nothing there but a 4 X 4 post stuck in the ground. Hmmmm. . . Don't tell me.

I swung around the back side of the post, and there, written in pencil were the coordinates for the second stage. Too bad they were illegible. We tried our best to read the numbers, even plugged what we thought they should be into the GPSr. No dice. So we walked back to the other side of the collapse and looked into every beacon over there. Nothing.

Click on photo to enlarge.

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