Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What Butch has Been Up To

Can you spell "geo-caching"? "What", you say, "the heck is that"?

Geo-caching is basically treasure hunting. It started in 1999 with the guy who invented the hand-held gps system. In order to find out how accurate it is, he buried a treasure in the woods and sent his friends to hunt for it. Thus a new hobby was born. There are thousands around the world.

I had heard about it a few years ago and was reminded of it again while listening to my favorite techno-geek, Kim Kommando. I thought it would a lot of fun for the grandkids, so asked for the hand-held gps for Christmas. Little did I know that Butch would be the one to become totally hooked.

The very first day we went out in early January, it was freezing cold and raining. The next day, I came in from getting a pedicure and Butch said, "Come on, we're going geo-caching". I said, "I can't put on shoes, I just had a pedicure".  Not to be deterred, he took me out in 26 degrees in flip flops!

He has geo-cached in New York City, Breckenridge, CO, New Orleans, and Daytona, FL. He's really into it. When I was out-of-town in late February, he even went before work one day. On that day, he wanted to get to a brand new cache that had just been placed. Even at that early time, he wasn't the first. There are 100's in the Nashville area. 

We've been several times with the girls after church. Two Sundays ago, we took off about 9 and found 8 caches by 11:30. Now for a few details. Each cache has a name that is a clue to the location or something else about it. There are other clues too. Butch downloads all the information into the gps.  

The first one that day was called "None shall pass" and was at a road block in the back of a neighborhood. It has been there since 2006.

The 2nd one led us into another neighborhood with the instructions to find Mary Tucker and ask her what her birthdate is. I thought that was going to be weird, but it turns out that at the top of a hill in the middle of this neighborhood was a cemetery from the mid-1800's. We found Mary Tucker's grave and her birthdate in 1845. The cache was located 45 ft. from her grave and contained a small Madame Alexander doll. This one has also been going since 2006. 

I should mention that the caches are all different sizes from micros that can be as small as an inch or two to the size of a 2 liter bottle. Most are camoflaged in some way. Each contains a log for you to sign and date. The deal is that if you take something out, you have to put something in. We've even found a hot wheels cache.

Our 3rd was called "In Two" and was located in between two trees. I wasn't all that crazy about this one as it turns out to be a spot where a lot of people walk their dogs---and don't clean up their messes. Luckily, we were able to dodge all the piles.

Number 4 was called "Park and Find". Morgan guessed that it would be at a park. Turns out it was in the parking lot of Staples near the Park and Ride sign. This one has been going since 2003.

Next came one titled "Geoffry". Morgan said "Toys R Us" right away. She told us that the giraffe was named Geoffry. She was right. We found that one  behind the drain pipe behind the store. Going since 2004.

Our 6th find was called "Wooden Gate Keeper" and turned out to be a tree next to a gate---going since 2007.

Our 7th cache was called "Up off of Northridge" and was actually in someone's backyard. The fellow that hid it said he did it for his grandparents as they get a kick out of seeing people hunting in their backyard. 

Then, we returned to one of our first locations that we couldn't find when we were first starting. It was called the "Ace of Harts" which was Hart's Ace Hardware parking lot. Since Butch is very experienced now, we found it right away---in fact, he saw it as we pulled into the parking lot. There was an outlet cover on the backside of the lamp post that was a different color than the post. Turns out it was a fake magnetic thing.

His favorite "find" was a geo-coin that is from Austria and has been circling the globe for 7 years. It has the picture of a ferris wheel on it and is very cool. He recognized the ferris wheel as the one he and his brother rode as kids while visiting their grandparents in Austria. He immediately emailed the "owner" in Austria and requested that it be "retired" and he be allowed to keep it. The owner agreed. He's thrilled to have it. It's all based on the honor system.

There's so much to this hobby. Butch has joined the National Association of Geo-cachers and the Middle TN Geo-cachers. He has put out 2 travel "bugs" himself---but thinks one has been stolen--or at least whoever took it hasn't logged it in yet. He has sent a casino chip from Harrah's in New Orleans. He's placed it here in Nashville. He wants it to go to Las Vegas and then travel back to New Orleans where he will pick it up whenever it gets there. It could take a month or a year, who knows. A travel bug is registered online, so you can see the progression. Whoever picks it up will go online and log it in.

We are having so much fun with this. We're going when the Lapps family is here in two weeks. Butch goes with some of his golf buddies after golf now and then and when he went skiing.

I haven't seen Butch so excited about anything in quite awhile.  It's really fun to watch. The girls love it too. Jordan was so sick one day, but refused to stay behind. I think my favorite part is that Butch totally handles everything! His name for logging purposes is the geo-ghost. Mine is the memory maker.  I'll have to take you sometime....


  1. I rode that ferris wheel in Vienna, too! I can't say I understand this game but am glad Butch is having fun with it.

  2. We can't wait to go with you! It sounds like tons of fun for all ages! What types of things do you leave in place of the stuff you find? Or do you not always take the treasure everytime? Dad must have a box of treasures by now!

  3. Wow this sounds fun! It's like modern day archaeology. I wonder were my GPS went? I'll have to find it.


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