Saturday, January 29, 2011

Eleven Happy School Books

WARNING: The following blog entry contains spoilers to the caches listed within. If you feel you may be caching in Tucson anytime soon and don't want to ruin your hunt, please proceed with caution.

NOTE: Following the advice of my new friend, Erika Jean, I've removed the cache coordinates from under the titles, and instead made a link to the cache entry on Without a membership (which is free, by the way), one will merely see a series of question marks for the coordinates on that site. I originally chose to insert the coordinates here for style, but it's not worth the fact that a non-cacher can easily get to the site without even being a member of Thanks, Erika!

This entry was delayed for almost two weeks, mostly due to the fact that we were without internet service for awhile.

We set out on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for another bunch of caches. The whole family came this time, which is always a plus for me.

First up was a cache that was reported as vandalized and almost completely destroyed. I checked it again and saw that some kind soul had re-hid the cache and added a new logbook to it. We set out to find it, and did so quite easily. We found half of a dollar bill inside, and maybe one or two more small items. We added a bunch of things to the cache (some kiddie bingo boards, a Sylvester toy, and a Disney hockey duck toy), and took nothing. The cache needed help. I did also notice that the container needs to be replaced, since there's a large crack in the lid.

Two of the Terrors striking poses.

Here is a cache that we attempted to find a few weeks ago and failed in the attempt. (Click here for more info... it's the second to last entry.) I had found previous logs which better illuminated the sketchy hint of "Pull up." That hint means "pull up your car... and stand on it." We made sure to bring the car.

The last time we had been there, I noticed a rock on top of the carport. We figured it would be under the rock. Sarah and I stood on the car. I could see the rock, but couldn't reach it. The point was moot, for I could see there was nothing under it. (I did worry that the cache might BE the rock. Some clever caches are hollowed-out rocks with a log sheet inside.) I started to wonder if it might be stuffed in the little crenellations on the structure's roof.


Once down from the car, Sarah spotted it.

This was fun, and I'm glad we finally found it, but the height really isn't fair. What if the cacher was on a bike, or on foot?

I was floored. We PASSED this cache on the way to the Electric Substation cache the day before, and I had no idea! I hadn't loaded it in as a waypoint on my GPS yet, so it didn't show on the map screen. Here's the map from the previous entry, now with the 123 Book Exchange cache circled (gotta love my work with Microsoft Paint, huh?).

This is a large-sized cache, and the first of it's size that we've found. As I walked up to it, I knew exactly what it was. There were reports that the lock and key that the owner had installed were both missing, and had been for over a year. These reports are accurate. The top was heavy, but I was able to lift it up without too much effort. Voila!

This is me next to the cache, as Skylar walks up to check it out.

I knew this thing was full of books already (a "book exchange"), so I brought a few with us. The kids had fun picking out books. Just look at Skylar!

I found a book entitled, "Iguanodon." It's aimed for the child that loves dinosaurs, but Nikki plans on reading it to our green iguana, Fizban!

 And she really did. She's nuts! Unfortunately, Fizban wouldn't sit still for the whole story.

Here's a priceless picture. Kids reading... quietly. Ahhh....

We took What a Girl Wants (novel), The Early Bird (children's book), Bears in the Night (ditto), Dinosaurs Everywhere (ditto), and Iguanodon (ditto). We left Brain by Robin Cook, The Devil That Danced On the Water, a Robin Cook omnibus, and some toys: A Disney duck hockey player, and a Planet of the Apes toy. Reading and caching, combined into one great treasure hunt. We loved it!

We just walked to this one from the 123 Book Exchange Cache. It was a pretty long walk, and once we got there, we saw this. Is this the cache?

The hint on the cache's page at is: "Remember this cache goes to eleven." (This is inspired by the mock documentary, "This is Spinal Tap.") You can see in the picture that there's a combination lock on this thing. We tried all different combinations. I was trying to select all the numbers that would add up to 11. As you can imagine, with three numbers, there would be quite a lot of combinations! Starting from 119, to 191, 182, 128, well it goes on and on. Sarah got it right by choosing "211." It goes TWO eleven! Smart kid!

Here's Sarah with the padded panel that was in front of the cache, and the Marvel cards she found inside.

I'm holding the log book, which brings me back to high school, since it's covered in heavy metal band logos! (Click the picture to make it bigger.) Sarah is holding the "Swag Log" and the cover to the cache container. Savannah has the dinosaur book that she got from the 123 Book Exhange cache. Skylar is holding the mini-skateboard that she got from this cache, and a rock.

We took Marvel cards, a mini-skateboard, a piglet figure, and a flashlight keychain. We left an elephant trunk mask, a girl figure, a pumpkin man, and a wind-up toy. We also found a travel bug in this cache, attached to a replica of a Gettysburg cannon. Nikki wanted this for herself, but I had to explain to her that both the travel bug and the item it's attached to is not to be kept, but rather to be passed on to another cache.

This turned out to be a really good hunt. Not only did we find four caches, our record in one day so far, (hey, the kids can only go for so long without getting tired or bored), but we found all the caches we set out to find.

Caches Found: 23

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sergeant Electric Glory

 WARNING: The following blog entry contains spoilers to the caches listed within. If you feel you may be caching in Tucson anytime soon and don't want to ruin your hunt, please proceed with caution.

We had a really nice weekend of caching. We rested on Saturday, and cached on Sunday and Monday (Martin Luther King Day). Here's our Sunday adventure.

A couple weeks ago, we searched for this cache (last entry on the page) and did not find it (DNF). It appeared as if we came from the wrong direction, since there were fences in the way. We resolved to come at it from a different direction. Take a look at the picture below. The red trail shows our path from the car to the fence (dead end!) when we first looked for this in the beginning of this month. The trail in blue illustrates the easiest and quickest way to the cache. The trail in purple shows the way we ended up going. The cache in the middle of the map is the 123 Book Exchange cache, and the one to the far right is the Goes to Eleven cache. More on those in my next entry.

We parked by a medical building, and we headed southeast from there. We ran into a fence.

We soon found a gap in the fence.

I had no worries since I saw a couple other people walking around in there. We came across a huge crater. It looked like a wash that was deteriorating. We went around that in a large crescent.

 It may be hard to make out, but the land opens up at about the middle of the picture.

 Wrong way, kids!

We then came to a small concrete wash. We got across that without any difficulty. The angle was only about 150 degrees. We just ran down and then back up.

This can be confusing to look at. You're looking down into the concrete wash. There is graffiti on the far wall, and a fence goes over the wash to the right.
 Sarah just had to prove that she could climb along the fence. What a fence monkey!

We got near the cache, only to find a fence in our path. Down about 300 feet, there was a gap in the fence. We crossed it, doubled back, and soon after, found the cache. We took a tiny plastic helmet, a plastic fish toy, and this suction-cup ball thingie. We left some kind of red monster toy (I was told it was from the Hercules cartoon), a duck hockey player with wheels (McD's Happy Meal item, boy I love trying to describe these things, lol), and a hippo toy from Madagascar that will probably talk to whoever handles the cache next, so keep your ears open! Ha ha! Interestingly enough, we found our way back much easier (the trail in blue on the map above). I figured out the way we were supposed to go... southwest from the car, not southeast!

Savannah and Sarah with their loot. The fishie was for Skylar.

Me with the cache container and my trusty GPSr.

Upon heading back to our automobile, we found the easy route. I almost fell down when I saw our car... right there, on the other side of the parking lot!

"You've gotta be kidding me!"

This was a fun walk for my two older daughters and I (the other two Tucson Terrors had stayed home). There were plenty of gulleys and hills. The walk was more enjoyable going the way we did. The kids wanted to go back that way anyway, but I wanted to hit two more caches and it was getting late.

This is one of a bunch of caches named after the enlisted ranks of the US Air Force. This one was a "park and grab." It was literally just that: We parked, and we grabbed. Sarah headed toward this cool-looking tree and scurried up. The cache happened to be in that very tree! We found a few tiny items inside, but we took nothing and left nothing.

Sarah and Savannah right near the cache location.

Me with the cache.

Here are two dogs that were barking incessantly as we were seeking the cache. After I took this photo, they seemed to quiet down. I guess they just wanted their picture taken!

We had a bit of trouble getting to ground zero on this one. I thought it was on the west side of the road, but then it looked to be on the other side. I parked in an apartment complex on the east side, and then found we had to cross to the west side after all! It took us awhile to find this one. It was up high, hanging on the inside of the pole that Sarah's standing in front of in the picture below. It was hanging by what looked to be a straightened-out paperclip, similar to the Kodak Cache (second to last entry), one of our first finds. Sarah found this one, and in fact, she found all the caches today, three for three!

The cache stated that this is "another fine example of our national symbol of freedom," but I saw no symbol of freedom here. Just a tiny tube with a log sheet inside.

She loves bubble gum and geocaching!

It's dark! Time to go home and make dinner.

Stay tuned for our holiday adventure. Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Treasure, The Power... The Journey!

WARNING: The following blog entry contains spoilers to the caches listed within. If you feel you may be caching in Tucson anytime soon and don't want to ruin your hunt, please proceed with caution.

We headed out again with Samantha for another afternoon of geocaching. Some interesting finds this time.

The first cache we visited was one that we had looked for twice and never found. I never mentioned it on this blog, for we only looked for it in passing. It's located at a 50's style establishment called Little Anthony's Diner. We ate there a month or so ago, and looked for the cache really quick before going home. No luck. Then Samantha came to visit Tucson, and we decided to bring her along and dine there again. Again, no luck. The hint said, "Fill `er up," and there was also a mention that it was a few feet from the patio dining area. There's also this picture:
We looked the car over, and up and down. We walked around it until we got dizzy. We thought it would be under the license plate, but that was bolted down on the top side. We could still see under it, only to see that nothing was there. Now that I think of it, the plate did seem a bit bent. Probably caused by fellow cachers! So we were left saying, "Ummm... where's the gas tank? What does this car run on anyway?"

So Nikki and I cheated. We asked her father where this fuel intake might be. He tells her, "Check under the tail light." Really now? Okay...

We went back to the cache, and found he was right! There's a micro hidden in there, held in place by a magnet. This is pretty neat. Here's a classic car, classic location, interesting theme that would take me back if I was alive back then, all adding up to a classic cache. Good job. We signed the logbook and headed on to the next.

We finally found this amidst a maze of roads and houses. Since cutting through strangers' backyards is not an option, we had to go around. There was an argument between two of us and I got fed up and headed off on my own. The others got in their cars and headed down the opposite way. I still got there first.  :P  Samantha pulled up in her vehicle just as I pulled out the cache, asking me if I needed a ride. Oh, wise guy, huh? The Tucson Terrors followed soon after.

Nice spot. There were some rowdy dogs that seemed like they needed to be behind stronger fences, but they at least held out until we got the cache and got out of there. We took a tiny pumpkin eraser, a rubber bug of some sort, and a silly band. We left a horse, a dinosaur toy, and a Bratz doll. Oh, and it said there was a dead pomegranate on top, but it was actually a rock. Unless they meant the dead pomegranate tree... which is sort on top, being high up and all. Hmmm, whatever.

This is a shot from Samantha's camera phone, taken while posing for the picture at the beginning of this post. I think both came out rather nice, so I posted both. Got a problem wit' dat?

The tiniest Terror.

El Shaddai is one of the Judaic names of god. It means, "God Almighty." So this cache is the `Treasure of God Almighty?' I'm not sure it lived up to that name, but it was a pretty cool find. I just want to throw this in:

I'm not religious at all. In fact, I'm agnostic with an interest in Wicca. But I've always loved Amy Grant, and this is a very pretty song. It's religious, but not gospel. (Can't stand gospel! Ack!) I hope I look this good when I'm 50!

But I digress. This cache was in an apartment complex, and contained quite a bit of clues. "Seek and You shall find a treasure under the shade of a tree. Near the bottom of the green pole near it. This is NOT in the courtyard but it is near the outside of building. Red Warning sign on the green pole look low near this and building. only a few steps off the parking lot."

It still took us some time to find this. First we headed into the courtyard. "Hey, wait, didn't the clues say not to enter the courtyard?" Oops. Anyway, we found the green pole, which didn't look like a stereotypical pole. It was much wider. The cache was under some small rocks near the base of the pole. We took a tiny pumpkin eraser (those things breed like rabbits!), a Cox tag of some kind, and a bag of three erasers. We left a rubber "J" charm, a lion stamper, and a Tootie Cutie clip. Sarah didn't want to want to write "Tootie Cutie" for some reason. I won.  :)

Samantha and I.

Now we're on to the DNF's (Did Not Find's). Ugh.

The hints/clues read as such:

"Come on Allen cache-up!
Gramma Betsy is kicking ya bup.
A namesaked (f.t.) find
So you are less left behind
& your spouse will grant you this trump.

It may seem unfair or cheap.
To create a cache within a friend’s reach.
But it’s a birthday, come on…
It can’t be so wrong,
Geocaching’s a skill that we teach.

Additional hint: Pull up!"

We were led by our trusty GPS's to the parking lot of an apartment complex. The coordinates corresponded to being under a carport. We walked around under there and felt up in the rafters quite a bit. I'm only 5'5" and I couldn't reach very high. I could see a rock sitting way up on top of the carport, but nobody could reach that! We gave up on this one.

I later went home and read through the logs of the other vistors, thinking maybe the cache was found by muggles or destroyed. It turns out that "Pull up" means pull your car up to the carport and stand on it! What if one didn't come by car? Kind of ridiculous, but we'll try this next time.

We parked in a church parking lot and headed off to find this one. We came to a fence. It was by an electric power station, and the fence had a security sign on it. We didn't want to get arrested, or who knows, electrified by some stray current hitting the fence, so we left. I was convinced that the cache lay on the other side of this fenced-off area, and that one must approach it from another direction. Samantha verified this, and we'll hit this one from another way next time. If we get both of these DNF's, then Samantha will have made 100 finds. Nice!

After this, we headed on home, and Samantha treated us to Magpie's Pizza. What a doll!