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.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I Inspired a New Geocaching Blog

Last week, I posted this article on the Groundspeak forums about geocaching and blogging.  Several people posted replies, but the best one was a comment that didn't quite get published.

So I got this message from WildTXRose through the mail server.

Well I totally messed up trying to reply on the Forum, so resorting to something I know how to do. :)
Just wanted to thank you for the post about blogging, it got me off my duff and doing it.  I keep a scrapbook type thing in Power Point but that isn't accessible by my friends.  Your post got me started on it.  Thank you.
If interested it is:
But fair warning, it can be a bit girly girl because I am a girly girl....
Thanks again,

It looks like she has a unique style and has some interesting stuff. Stop on by her blog and offer some encouragement. With any bad luck at all, one day she might become one of "us".

To quote Elin Carlson, "The infection spreads!"


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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tracking Down a Travel Bug

The other day, Wayfarer and I boated out to Big Island on Lake Minnetonka to score the Big Island 5 geocache.

Boating muggles were beached nearby, but the deep woods in which the cache was hidden provided the necessary stealth to make a quick grab. As we signed the log, Wayfarer mentioned that there should be a Butterfly Girltravel bug in there.

No travel bug found.

According to the cache description, the Butterfly Girl TB should have been there.

It wasn't.

Having lost a couple of trackables ourselves, I decided to do a little Hercule Poirot.

(For our younger readers, that's detective work.)

Checking the Butterfly Girl detail page on, I found this entry.

Nice cache. But it's really going to move further next week!! 

But there's no corresponding entry on the Big Island 5 description page. Apparently, he/she logged a Discovered (not Retrieved) on the TB, but didn't log a Found It on the cache it was in. Maybe this geocacher is new to the game.

Sure enough! A quick view of the profile shows a brand-new member, with no finds yet logged. And just one travel bug discovered - Butterfly Girl!

I e-mailed the owner of Butterfly Girl and explained what I had found. I laid it out in a way that even Agatha Christie would have been proud.

A great reveal at the end.

(Younger readers, follow the Hercule Poirot link above.)

In response, I got this e-mail reply from the owner...

Thanks so much for the e-mail.  I sent [that geocacher] an e-mail with some helpful hints, so I hope to see Butterfly Girl on dry land someplace.  Maybe the wife can stop her swimming sessions now as she probably won't have to swim out to the island to retrieve "The Girl".

Lost the first two wives that way as they just wouldn't put the needed practice in to get in shape. . .

Just glad I could help out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Favorite Past Posts

For those of our readers that may be new to the blog, or for those  Favorite Posts   that just want to catch up, you will notice that we have updated our favorite past posts.

(Over there in the right side bar.)

Feel free to browse and comment.

And BTW, I got a message back from the owners of the Trestle Collapses! geocache. They plan to get it up and running the next two weeks. We can't wait for that one!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Trestle Collapses Geocache - Update

The Trestle Collapses Geocache (GCQAJ6) near Winstead, MN was archived by our local reviewer last week. It needed maintenance, and too many people posted DNFs on it. Now I don't feel so bad for posting two of them.

It was such a great idea, and a great place for a geocache, I sent a message to the owner offering to adopt the cache and keep it alive. I'll keep you in the loop if I hear back from them. They were very active geocachers with 95 owned caches and 347 finds, but haven't logged anything for over a year.

If I get no response from them, I'll ask our reviewer if I can place a new hide out there.

You can read about our DNFs on this post.

Trestle collapse

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lake Minnetonka Travel Bug Recovered

Maybe recovered is not the right word.

OK - retrieved.

I guess that I'm like a nervous parent with his little girl out on a first date. I'm just relieved and happy to see the thing is okay. Let me explain.

The Lake Minnetonka Travel Bug was my first TB into the geocaching world. We released it last year in celebration of my birthday. The thing is so doggone cute that hick@heart warned me, it wouldn't be long until someone pinched it.

In less than a year it traveled over 3500 miles - from a Minnesota geocache, to the Arizona desert, then to Massachusetts where it ended up in the Comet Cache. 

Minnetonka TB And there is sat.

No one retrieved it.

For four months.

No one logged it.

One may argue that four months is not a long time for a TB to sit in a cache - and that may be true - but we've lost cute ones before. I was certain that we lost this one too.

Imagine our relief when I got the email stating that someone retrieved it. Whew!

 Matt's probably happy too.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lake Minnetonka Geocache II

Oh I forgot to tell you...

While we were out the day before we placed the Puppy Cove geocache on Lake Minnetonka, we noticed a fishing boat pulled up to the shore. The angler was out in front of the boat and seemed to be changing clothes. Things like that happen on the water, so we didn't give it much thought.

We paid no attention as he climbed back into the boat. He resumed fishing - shirtless - and because he was sitting down, we couldn't see what he was wearing for shorts. But again, not our problem.

We watched him fish nearby for a while, then he snagged on something in the water. When he bent over to retrieve his lure, wayfarer and I were treated to a show much like this one.

Thought I would share.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New Geocache on Lake Minnetonka

For readers who may geocache in the west metro of the Twin Cities, this post may contain spoilers.

We hid our first 5-star terrain, Geocache last Sunday. It's rated a five because it's on Lake Minnetonka, accessible only by boat or a walk across the ice.

We sometimes boat over to a little bay on Lake Minnetonka to lounge or swim. On several occasions, we’ve seen dog owners stop at this spot for a chance to get Fido off the boat for a little exercise. What fun - throwing the ball and watching a good retriever do his work!


Photo by Pirate Scott.

Since this little bay didn’t officially have a name, we decided to unofficially call it Puppy Cove - and thought, what a great place to hide a geocache!

To place the hide, we anchored offshore and I slid onto the air mattress - careful not to drop the GPSr into the lake. (Paddling toward shore, I was glad there were no Greenpeace folks around. They probably would have tried to roll me back into the water.)

But I've digressed!

Knowing the limitations of my GPS unit in heavy tree cover, I decided to place the cache right the water's edge. A cavity in a downed willow tree provided the perfect spot. You can actually see the tree from outer space!

Hiding Spot

Click the photo to enlarge it. The downed willow is on the left, sticking out into the water. Crazy stuff!

I finally got to use my peanut butter jar container.

My faithful readers may remember that I once hid the peanut butter jar, but decided to replace it with a larger container for the TB Hotel Wannabe. Now the peanut butter jar is serving well out on the shoreline.

Halstead Bay

Here's an aerial photo of Halstead (Halstead's) Bay on Lake Minnetonka. The hide is about 1300 feet from the King's Point Landing cache, that once ate our lunch in trying to find.

Congratulations to ruderat for the FTF. And to Dances with Beehives for STF. You can see the listing and their comments here.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

FTF on a Dead Body

Hadn't heard about this until today, so thought I would pass it on.

norma'sgirl and lostlookingforyou are a couple of geocachers from Texas. While looking for geocache GC10XNQ at the Grove Hill Cemetery in Dallas last 4th of July, they discovered a dead body.

One expects bodies in cemeteries, but this one was above ground!

You can read all about it on their blog.

Fire Rescue

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Non Geocaching GPS Follies

The headline reads: A GPS device led a convoy of tourists astray, finally stranding them on the edge of a sheer cliff.

No, they weren't geocaching. Just trusting way too much on technology and not enough on trust in good common sense. I've had a couple of experiences with GPS (street navigation systems) that have left me scratching my head. I must ask, how can people be so stupid? Note: I do not use a automobile navigational system.

In my line of work, I often have to meet some of our illustrious sales reps at the client's office. Running a bit late one afternoon, I called the sales rep, who was already on site, and asked for directions.

Me: Which street do I turn on to get there?

Sales rep: *Silence* Um... Uh... I don't know.

Me: Well, what street did you take to get there?

Sales rep: *Silence* Um... Uh... I don't know.

Me: How did you get there?

Sales rep: I just followed my TomTom.

Me: But what street did you take to get there?

Sales rep: *Silence* Um... Uh... I don't know.

The sales rep was at the client's office. Had no clue where she was. Had no clue how she got there. Just followed the GPS arrow! (?)

On another occasion I chose to ride along with a different sales rep to a client's office. (The point of this story is not to cast dispersions on sales reps. Our office just had a sales contest and a bunch of them won new TomToms. I'll cast dispersions on our sales rep in another post.)

Anyway he's driving along, dutifully following the arrow - turning when the GPSr instructed him to. All was well until we came to the cloverleaf ramp On rampof interstate highways 394 and 494.

Click on the photo to enjoy our trip. That's 494, north and south. 394, is east and west.

We were traveling north on 494 and the device told him to take the westbound ramp to 394.

We loop around, and as soon as we reached the bottom of the ramp heading west, the British accented voice on the TomTom instructed him to take the ramp to southbound 494. Which he did. Now we were driving south - the same direction from which we had just come.

You guessed it.

The authoritative voice demanded the we take the ramp to eastbound 394. And he did - totally oblivious to what was happening.

You guessed right again.

Back on northbound 494 - and he had his turn signal on to exit to 394 west!

I'd had enough. I figured we'd run out of gas soon. I intervened, and we continued north to the next exit and safely arrived at the client's office on a nearby frontage road.

So the above news story is not as incredible as it seems. Blindly following that little arrow is not always the brightest thing to do. I think we call that bushwhacking?

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Another Travel Bug Stolen from a Geocache

While composing a post about our Rails to Trails Travel Bug a couple of month as ago I wrote, "This one is a bit cute. I expect it will go into someone's private collection before it travels too far."  How prophetic was that?

We released it on June 8th of this year, and on August 3rd I received this email: "Found the tag only on the ground next to a nearby but different cache than this is listed for (was near Hanging Out at Lake Ann.)  Is it supposed to be attached to something?  Maybe I can rescue it?  Let me know."Travel bug 

So it lasted less than two months.

I did some detective work and here's what I can piece together.

July 21: A geocacher whom we know personally and trust, dropped the TB in FTF Hounds MN Style - timewellspent.

July 22: The very next day, four DNFs were posted on that cache. I can't tell from the logs if they were all caching together that day, but certainly were in parties of two and two. These were experienced geocachers with 200 to 500 finds each. I find it hard to believe that four good geocachers would post DNFs if the cache were there. It appears that the cache was gone that day.

August 2: Two geocachers post finds on FTF Hounds, but neither report the travel bug. The cache has obviously been placed back in its hiding spot, minus the TB and possibly other SWAG.

Here's the log entries from Hanging out on Lake Ann, a cache just 900 feet away from FTF Hounds.

July 27: Very well done. Some effort went into this one. May need some re-design. Found part of cache on ground, and TB. Signed log, and returned to original configuration.

August 2: Whole cache assembly was on the ground and open, needs some re-engineering I guess. I found a travel bug tag on the ground but no bug.

So here's my theory. FTF Hounds was found and removed by muggles, only to be returned at a later date. Maybe they read the description inside, logged onto, and figured out what a geocache was - but they didn't do enough investigating to learn what a travel bug is. Once realizing that geocaching is a game, they replaced the cache, but not the TB.

Having spotted the nearby Hanging Out cache online, they decided to muggle that one too. That's where they removed the tracking dog tag and decided to keep the toy train.TB Stolen

And I think I see a pattern developing. The FTF Hounds geocache is located just 639 feet from the now archived, My Favorite Cache Container, from which our Raceway Woods Christmas Golfer disappeared. (click on photo to enlarge)

Someone in that area is making a habit of pilfering the contents of geocaches. All the caches are owned by the same person. I'm going to contact him and see if he has noticed the pattern.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Geocaching at French Creek Preserve

This post may contain spoilers.

For those of our loyal readers who may plan on geocaching in the west Minneapolis metro area, this post may contain spoilers. Either don't read, or don't complain.

Wayfarer and I took advantage of the lovely weather and ventured out to score five geocaches at the nearby French Creek Preserve. French Creek Areal The location of the caches are shown in the photo. The center smiley on the bottom is a Mystery Cache, and clues from the other four lead to the mystery.

French Creek Preserve encompasses a seven acre pond and a four acre restored prairie which are the cornerstone of a large wetland complex. The wetlands ultimately drains to Crystal Bay in Lake Minnetonka and is home to many land and water species. The restored prairie was planted in the fall of 1993, and is now a flourishing wetland.

After an earlier experience with TICKS (!) we liberally applied the 40% deet to our shoes and ankles, and started down the trail. Only then did we realize our folly. There was no tick problem - just mosquitoes. The good news is... we didn't get bit on our ankles!

We hiked the trail that circled the lake, spooked a murder of crows, found the geocaches, and generally enjoyed the day. And where do you suppose the final mystery cache was located? Out on the Luce Line Trail. Cool!

The geocache was on a section of trail where we had never been, and finding the right access turned out to be the biggest challenge of the day. During the search, we drove into a neighborhood cul-du-sac that did not yet have homes on it. And there, just 20 yards away, stood a "family" of white tailed deer - a buck in velvet, two does, and three spotted fawns. They seemed to have no fear of us and continued to frolic and play while we watched.

Note to self: Always keep camera up front, within reach. We didn't get pictures of the deer. But here's some other photos we took that day.

A shot of French Lake through the willows.

French Lake Willows

A view of the large wetlands complex.

French Lake Wetlands

False sunflowers along the trail.

False Sunflowers

Nice hidey hole for the final.

LL Trail Hide

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