CacheCrazy.Com: August 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WHY NOT WEDNESDAY SPECIAL - Guest Blog - Dave from smithie23 - Munzee - Because I Needed ANOTHER Obsession!

Dave aka smithie23
Hey, look who it is! Our friend and a regular guest author here at CacheCrazy.Com, Dave aka smithie23. He has provided some great posts that can be found on the sidebar of our blog. We also had the pleasure to do some geocaching with Dave recently. He's a really cool guy and great geocacher. Today he is going to scratch the surface on a new game called Munzee. 


Looks like a lot of fun so let's get right to it.....


I enjoy listening to podcasts, specifically, podcasts related to geocaching.  They’re a great way to pass the time on my ninety minute drives to work, and I get to keep up with what’s going on with our game/sport, both here in the states and around the world.  One of these podcasts recently devoted its show to a new game called Munzee.
Munzee, billed as “a 21st Century Scavenger Hunt”  is a high-tech game, played with a smartphone, where players seek out and find cards, called Munzees, which contain a QR code.  The player scans the code, using their phone, and their find is automatically recorded as a capture.  No need for a GPS, fumbling with coordinates and the like, it’s all in the smartphone.
After hearing the host talk up this game for an hour, I was stoked to try this game.  Sounds like another game for geeks-right up my alley!  Then, I heard the dreaded buzz kill phrase: the Munzee app is only available on the iPhone and Android platforms.  Me, and my Palm Pre are skunked again!  Thanks HP!  But wait, all hope is not lost.  My Pre (which has already been replaced once) is on the fritz, and may need to be replaced.  After much consultation with my wireless provider, it was determined I did need a new phone.  A representative at the store suggested that when I call, I request a phone from a list of comparable phones.  So my choices were another Pre (BOO!), a Blackberry Torch (soon to be dinosaur) and an HTC Hero.  Yes!  The Hero runs Android!  Time to get my Munzee on!

Now, as when I was new to geocaching two years ago, I started searching for Munzees nearest to home.  I was not surprised to see the lack of Munzees in the area.  The game is brand-spanking new, and it takes time for these things to catch on.  I was lucky to find a few Munzees close to home, and in no time, I made my first Munzee capture.

To say the strategy behind capturing a Munzee is similar to finding a geocache is a sever understatement.  It’s EXACTLY the same!  The major difference is the QR code.  It’s an instantaneous capture.  The app scans the Munzee, and when you line it up on your display correctly, the rest is done for you.  You don’t even need to press a button! Another feature which separates Munzee from geocaching is the points system.  Yes, for all you “it’s not about the numbers (but it really is)” geocachers out there, you earn points for captures. The points system is as follows:  five points for every Munzee you capture, five points for every Munzee you deploy, and three points every time a Munzee you’ve deployed is captured by someone else.  I happened to find my first Munzee on a “double your points” weekend, where you earned twice as many points for a capture as normal.  Sweet!

I like playing Munzee.  It’s a nice compliment to geocaching.  I even found a Munzee in a geocache.  For me though, it will never replace geocaching.  There’s a lot to be said for making a cache find, and opening the container, never quite knowing what’s going to be in there.  Munzee, at least at the present time, is limited to those holding a smartphone with the before-mentioned operating systems.  This is going to limit the number of players, and hence, the number of potential Munzee captures available.
Check the game out at www.munzee.com.  You can also download the Munzee app, free of charge, from the iPhone App Store or Android Market.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Scene from Irene


Hurricane Irene certainly took her toll on the East Coast, and folks here in Northeastern Pennsylvania got hit pretty hard.  As of press time, 85,000 PPL customers were still without power while over 200,000 had power restored some time Monday.  Pocono schools were closed on Monday and many will be closed still today.  We had some flooding and wind damage, but here at our headquarters at the Francis E. Walter Dam, we ended up being pretty fortunate.  Mostly it was just a lot of debris to clean up, and we weathered the storm without too much incident.  We had gotten all business taken care of Saturday so we were prepared to hunker down and ride it out. 

The fun started around 1:00 AM Sunday.  That’s when the heavy winds and rain kicked in.  All throughout the night I kept waiting for the power to go out.  Unbelievably, it never happened.  At 6:30 AM I was up and outside on the porches to see if we had any damage.  At that point, it was just a lot of leaves, sticks, and water – nothing major.  I turned on the TV to find that it, too, was still working.  Now that was a major surprise.  Our dish goes out even at the first sign of foul weather.  I mean, that thing even goes out when the humidity is high.  So I was thinking, “All right.  Power.  TV.  No damage.  This isn’t so bad.”  The rest of the gang got up shortly after and we enjoyed the morning while the storm raged outside.

Checking things out from the front porch
Storm debris as seen from back porch

We were having our own little hurricane party.  While friends were sending text messages that they had lost power, our kids were watching a movie.  We were kind of just going about business as usual and, despite the crazy strong winds outside, I started to believe we might actually make it. 

Well certainly that was wishful thinking.  At 1:00 PM, it happened.  Zappo.  No more power.  Out here in the country no power also means no water (well pump) and that’s when all our preparations began to pay off.  The candles, flashlights, and oil lamps were already in place.  Additionally, the front porch was stocked with emergency water.
Pioneer-style coffee... well, with gas stove and matches
We actually enjoyed the rest of the day.  We played games and read books and just kept waiting for the storm to end.  Finally around, I’m not actually sure now, I guess about 6, things started to settle down.  We went outside and assessed the situation.  Other than the debris, we had one major tree break, but that was all.  Really, it wasn’t bad.

It’s amazing how Mother Nature can be so cruel and so kind at the same time.  We woke up Monday morning to an absolutely spectacular day.  So despite the work ahead, it was hard not to feel good.  We didn’t have power still, but the kids were real troopers.  They never once complained about anything and were glad to help with the yard cleanup.  I’m proud of them. 
The Francis E. Walter Dam yesterday morning
Fog rising from the Lehigh River below the dam yesterday morning
Sunshine through the woods behind our house yesterday morning 
The woods awaken behind our house yesterday morning
Storm debris on house roof
Broken tree
Broken tree trunk

Broken tree limb
The Dodger Lizard Cleanup Crew

Just about 24 hours exactly from when the power went out, it was restored at 1:15 PM Monday and our little adventure had come to an end.  Even though we got a taste of what Irene was serving, I’m well aware that many folks had it much tougher than we did, and our thoughts and prayers are with them. 

Do you have any Hurricane Irene stories?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Gandpa Thrifty's Treasure Hunt Update.....

Hello Grandpa Thrifty Treasure Hunters,

A new clue has been released!

You can find it on the new Granda Thrifty's Hints page located here:  http://www.grandpathrifty.com/HINTS.html

Happy Treasure Hunting,

Stanford

Due to technical difficulties

Due to technical difficulties I will need to finish this series next Monday 9/5/2011.
I'm sorry but I want to do this cache just right and perfection takes time. More time than I had anticipated. 
See you next week with the conclusion and we'll be looking forward to our FTF!
Thanks,
Bloodhounded

Sunday, August 28, 2011

GUEST BLOG SERIES SPECIAL - Dave D - Only Googlebot Reads This Blog - Bears Across America: Viva Rock Vegas

I am Dave, I do stuff
Meet our friend Dave from Only Googlebot Reads This Blog. He shares with us a series called “Bears Across America” where Dave and his wife pack up the toddler and the dog and hit the road for the ultimate three week adventure. It’s nothing but fun, great pics and geocaching the whole way as told by Dave. Enjoy!

Bears Across America: Viva Rock Vegas
April 27, 2011.  The Bears Across America whirlwind tour out west has brought us to our most western point:  Las Vegas Nevada.
  
Las Vegas is too large to be explored just passing by, so we spent an entire day exploring the Las Vegas Strip, where all the famous casinos and famous landmarks are located.

Our first stop in Vegas was the famous Las Vegas sign which anchors the southern end of the strip (it also doubles as a virtual cache).
We walked the strip in the morning, checking out some of the casinos and the other sights.  There is a lot of cool things on the strip - way to many things to comment on in a blog post, so I'll hit some of the highlights:
        

There is a lot of shopping on the strip.  One of the best stores we visited was the M&M Store - 4 floors of all things M&Ms... a tower of deliciousness that melts in your mouth, not in your hands.
          

I have been doing more caching on this trip than I expected, so I was able to hit a milestone on the Las Vegas strip.  I picked the virtual at the M&M shop as my 500th find. It was great deal of fun, and a sweet (literally, figuratively) way to celebrate this milestone.







We stayed at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino, mainly due to it being dog friendly, on the strip, and cheap.  It was still a very nice hotel, one of the nicer ones we've stayed at this trip, and it is truly dog friendly.

I was not prepared for the size of the place.  According to the clerk at the check-in counter there are 3600+ rooms in the hotel.  The bottom two floors contain a casino, food courts, and many shops.

The hotel also has a really nice courtyard with live flamingos and other birds, pools, fountains, and outdoor patios.



 The strip at night is much more impressive than during the day.  The number of lights is astounding. No wonder they build Hoover Dam so close :)

Every casino has its own theme and style, and all are unique.  Some are fancier, some are not.   Almost all have some sort of fountain, some sort of food, shopping, and a built in hotel.

You may ask if we gambled, and the answer is yes.  Both Debbie and I put a US dollar (98 cents Canadian) into a slot machine.  We didn't win.





The Bellagio, a casino in the middle of the strip, has an impressive fountain display every 15 minutes during the evening.  It is synchronized to music, and well worth checking out. 

Zeke loved the fountains.  He was mesmerized during both shows that we saw.    He really enjoyed most of the sights and sounds of the strip.

There is a seedy underbelly to Vegas which we didn't explore.  It doesn't take a lot of looking to see evidence of it, however it doesn't take a lot of effort to ignore it either- just don't accept handouts from people on the strip :)

It is now time to head east again, but where are we going?  What is next for the Bears?  Stay tuned!



Dave and family, traveling the Midwest, geocaching all the way and just having fun! This is what life is all about. 
Next weekend we'll be treated to another leg of the journey. I can't wait! Thanks again Dave!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

GUEST BLOG SERIES SPECIAL - Dave D - Only Googlebot Reads This Blog - Bears Across America: The Hoover Maneuver

I am Dave, I do stuff
Meet our friend Dave from Only Googlebot Reads This Blog. He shares with us a series called “Bears Across America” where Dave and his wife pack up the toddler and the dog and hit the road for the ultimate three week adventure. It’s nothing but fun, great pics and geocaching the whole way as told by Dave. Enjoy!


Bears Across America: The Hoover Maneuver
April 26, 2011 saw the continuing adventures of a bunch of bears on their journey to the wild west of America.  Todays journey brought us from Flagstaff Arizona to Las Vegas Nevada.

In between is a little engineering project called the Hoover Dam.

Visiting the Hoover Dam proved to be the most annoying experience I've had this trip.  The issue is that for some bizarre reason I could not have a dog in my car and park it in the parking lots close to the dam.   I can understand not having a dog walk around the dam, but why the restriction with them being in a parked car?  Government Restrictions I was told.  bah.  So we parked in the far lots, and walked down to check out the dam. The fact that you can walk over the dam and look down, way way down, to the bottom is cool.  Otherwise its a huge chunk of concrete in the middle of a desert.



The dam itself is a pretty impressive piece of engineering, and beautiful in its own way.  It is not a surprise that this is where they kept the All-Spark, and Megatron.

Lake Mead, the lake created by the dam, is also beautiful, tho not as big as I expected.  The drop in water levels as the Colorado River is drained for use in Las Vegas and LA is remarkable (thats the white band you see in the photos).  Just goes to show the hubris of Man to build major cities out in the desert.

After we spent 20 minutes at the dam we headed west again and arrived in Las Vegas in time to put Zeke down for bed.  Las Vegas itself is an amazing place to drive into.  Desert, desert, desert, middle of city.  There is no middle ground :)

Stay tuned for more from our adventures in Las Vegas.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WHY NOT WEDNESDAY - How To Be A Guest Blogger On CacheCrazy.Com


TeamBlueBall
We have this whole little network of friends and family, they are all such super people. Sometimes we may not "touch base" for months and other times, we're firing off emails, comments and blogs posts so fiery, you would think it's the fourth of July. Why, we're just too busy for Facebook or tweets. One question that I often ask or drop the idea in conversation is, "would you like to do a guest blog post at CacheCrazy.Com? " and I often get mixed responses anywhere from, "I would love to" to no acknowledgement which means to me, "NO".

TheDunsilFamily
Overthehill Gang












Now mind you, these are awesome folks who do all kinds of fun things and have such great stories to tell. So, I wonder, WHY NOT? I would think of it as an opportunity to share my adventures and that would be so cool. But still, nothing. Then I noticed that most of the folks who declined don't have a blog or ever had one OR/AND they don't want one. That's cool. But maybe they decline because they are not sure how to do one? Now, there I can help.
FamilyTeamB
Pack 193 on a Caching Mission
smithie23














It's easier than ever to be a guest blogger on CacheCrazy.Com. All you really need is a great story and a few pictures. That's it! We'll do all the rest. Just email us the text typed right into the email or in a word program document and attache the pictures, done. Easy enough, right? What we'll do is layout the post so it looks really cool and add your pics. Then we'll set it up in the schedule for publish. We always let folks know when their post will publish so they can tell all their family and friends to watch for it and then on that day at 12:01 AM, they're published! We usually publish guest blogs on the weekends (Sat and Sun) but have on occasion posted on a Monday or during the week if that's OK with the author. After the post has been up through it's time period, we add the author's name and link to their post in the sidebar under Guest Blog Attributes. That's where it stays forever for others to view or for you to link to in the future. I also have been know to do a little sidebar graphic with a link to the authors post to be placed on any HTML foremat such as Blogger, Facebook, etc.

Kim from Snug Harbor Bay
Shaggy
The biggest question I always get is, "what should I write about?" If you have followed CacheCrazy.Com for any period of time you know that we have such a large topic base. Everything from Zip Lining to Bow Camp to boating, family fun, events, locations and yes, geocaching too. Hiking, photography, fishing and you name it, it fits here at CacheCrazy if it relates to a lifestyle of having fun in the great outdoors. If you just get started you'd be surprised what will come to you. Go nuts, have fun, send pictures and enjoy seeing your work on one of today's hottest blogs, CacheCrazy.Com



BE A PART OF IT......

AND THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR GUEST AUTHORS!
YOU GUY'S ARE ALL #1

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Challenge You to Get a Free Coffee

So the big hype around these parts is the new Sonic that opened up just north of us here at Cache Crazy.  It just hit the papers in blueprint blue – “New Sonic Opens in Scranton”.  Now I’m not sure if this makes any sense at all, but this remarkable headline got me to thinking about the Geocaching.com “Challenges” and my first experience with this popular burger establishment.  It goes back to when the Wilkes-Barre Sonic opened, and I guess with this little tale I’m about to admit just how unworldly I really am.  True story, folks.  Let’s pick it up real-time…


I’m cruising to work, bright and early, right around 6 AM.  I’m jammin’ to some morning tunes, windows wide open, trees goin’ by...  You know – being a real dork.  So while I’m winding down from some classic rock track, this commercial comes on the radio talking up the new Sonic.  Yeah, big deal, but then I hear they’re giving away free coffee.  So I’m like, “Well why not?  I’ll go grab a coffee, check this joint out.”  With a few quick alterations to my route, I’m pulling in…

“Where the hell do you park around here?”  I’m driving around the lot, I see all these speaker boxes.  “Geez, awful big drive-thru they got here…  Where the HELL do you park?”  Finally I zip around behind the building and see like four or five parking spots.  “Geez, who engineered this place?  I guess they’re not counting on too much business.  Well not my problem.”  So I park my old Jeep, hop out, and start walking up to the place.  Now I’m confused because I don’t see any real entrance, but I keep walking with confidence.  Suddenly I spot some kid glaring out the pick-up window giving me this confused/scared/I’m-gonna-call-the-cops-if-this-guy’s-pulling-any-$h!t look.  And that’s when the lightbulb suddenly turns on in the dense head of this genius –

ME:  “Hey, man, good morning.  Hey, is this place drive-thru only?”

KID AT WINDOW:  (still exercising great caution) “Um, yeah?”

ME:  “Oh.  Ok…  Hey, can I get one of those free coffees?”
KID AT WINDOW:  (still cautious but now much more confused) “Well, yeah, but…”

Silence.
ME:  (another lightbulb clicks on)  “Oh!  I see!  I’ll get back in my car and drive around!  That cool?”

KID AT WINDOW:  (now suddenly turning into Mr. Friendly USA)  “All right!  Yeah, come on around to the window!”
I get back in the Jeep and do a complete 360 around the building, right back to where I was standing 20 seconds ago.  There’s my buddy, all smiles, hanging out the window with my fresh, steamy cup of Sonic coffee…


As I pulled out of the parking lot that day, thinking about the weirdness of what had transpired, it struck me that I probably should have bought something.  Even though the coffee was kind of crappy, I went back the next day and ordered another one, this time with some breakfast burrito thing.  Same guy, too.  I don’t even think he remembered me.  Twilight Zone kind of stuff.
So what’s this have to do with geocaching?  I don’t know either.  Probably about as much to do with geocaching as the new “challenges” have to do with geocaching.  Probably about as much to do with an actual challenge as the new “challenges” have to do with a challenge.  I have myself confused, too, but I always wanted to tell that story.  I write for a blog.  I have a platform.  I ramble from time to time.
You won’t get a Geocaching.com smiley for any of this, but maybe you got a smile from my Sonic story. Or maybe I’ve been working with paint too much this past week.  Whatever. 

Let me try to wrap this up –

I don’t dig the new “challenges” but maybe that’s just me.  They’re not my thing, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to stage a protest.  If people want to build up numbers with them… so what?  That’s what’s unique about geocaching.  The rules are loose.  You can associate with folks that play the game your way and ignore those that don’t.  Just respect the cache, respect the property, and have fun.
Now I challenge you to go score a free coffee.

Or kiss a frog.
Whatever floats your boat.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

GUEST BLOG SERIES SPECIAL - Dave D - Only Googlebot Reads This Blog - Bears Across America: Phoenix

Meet our friend Dave from Only Googlebot Reads This Blog. He shares with us a series called “Bears Across America” where Dave and his wife pack up the toddler and the dog and hit the road for the ultimate three week adventure. It’s nothing but fun, great pics and geocaching the whole way as told by Dave. Enjoy!


Bears Across America: Phoenix


April 25, 2011.  My wife has a favourite website to buy "cool" baby stuff called Baby Half Off (babyhalfoff.com).  When she realized how close our trip would take us to their physical store we immediately added Phoenix to our list of places to visit.

I always wanted to see the giant Saguaro cactus in the wild, and the Phoenix area has them in spades.  I was always under the impression that such cacti were rare, so we were taken aback to find out that they grow in forests like pine trees grow in the east (for loose definitions of forests in deserts).

We spent the morning shopping for baby stuff, and for quilting stuff. It was exactly as exciting as it sounds.  Whoo. uh. Hoo?

Afterwards we went geocaching... woohoo!

We only had time to find 5 caches, but they were all awesome.  The first was a large 50 gallon container on the front porch of a house.  The second was at a waterfall by the water distribution plant.  The third was a key lock box in the back of an office building.  The fourth was at a view of a Medieval style castle in the hills overlooking Phoenix.

When we pulled up to the castle cache, an older gentleman pulled up behind us, and before we could say anything he mentioned in a gruff voice: "So you came all the way from North Carolina to block my driveway"... um... :)  Before too long we realized he was having fun with us and talked a bit about the castle.  Apparently for $900K I can make it my summer home... my wife sadly said no.  boo!

The last cache was the most spectacular cache I have ever seen.  The cache description simply mentioned that the cache is in an ecologically sensitive area, and care should be made.  Also that the geocaching logo is on the cache container, and finding that logo would make opening the cache obvious.



When I got to the cache coordinates I found a dead cactus, about 8 feet high, still standing.  I saw the small geocaching logo, and took a closer look.  I saw an eye-hook, which I opened, and the entire front of the cactus trunk opened up to reveal the cache container.  Yeah, its a cache container built out of a cactus. Friggin' awesome!  This, my friends, is what caching is all about.

An added bonus to the cactus cache was that it was in a field full of the seguaro cactus I wanted to see, so I was able to get some awesome photos.

After finding this cache we took the 1.5 hour drive back to Flagstaff.  We treated Bailey, our dog, to a trip to a local dog park to get some puppy-playing in.  Afterwards we hit the hotel and started getting ready for the next stage of our westward adventure.

What will tomorrow bring?  Stay tuned!



Dave, you're the man! Where are we going next weekend? Come back to CachCrazy.Com and find out for yourself! Until then, chow.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

GUEST BLOG SERIES SPECIAL - Dave D - Only Googlebot Reads This Blog - Bears Across America: Ain't It Grand

I am Dave, I do stuff
Meet our friend Dave from Only Googlebot Reads This Blog. He shares with us a series called “Bears Across America” where Dave and his wife pack up the toddler and the dog and hit the road for the ultimate three week adventure. It’s nothing but fun, great pics and geocaching the whole way as told by Dave. Enjoy!

Bears Across America: Ain't It Grand

It is hard to believe that it only took 18 years for
Teddy Roosevelt to dig this out!
April 24, 2011 was the day we achieved the original goal of our road trip:  Visiting the Grand Canyon. This was the day after our sick day so we were not feeling our best, but we piled ourselves into the van and drove the 80 miles to the eastern gate of Grand Canyon National Park. They say that the Grand Canyon is one of the few things that you see that doesn't disappoint, and once I got my first view of the canyon I have to agree with them.  The Grand Canyon is absolutely awesome in terms of scale and beauty.



We spent the morning driving the southern rim to the Grand Canyon village, where we had lunch.  After lunch we hiked two miles along the rim trail. We got rained on, and the canyon has some cold rain with hard winds, but we persevered, and enjoyed some stunning views.  Zeke enjoyed some stunning nap time.

There is not a lot to expand on here. It is just a series of amazing views. so I will not express every thought or detail about this trip, except to say that if you have been here you know what I am talking about.  If you have not, and have any appreciation for the beauty and awesomeness of nature, you must visit this place.

After our hike, we took a shuttle bus back to the parking lot and headed back home in time for supper.

Considering the state Zeke and I were in yesterday, we managed to turn out a really great day of adventuring.





Welcome back Dave! Thanks for sharing your adventure each weekend here at CacheCrazy. We love this series!

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