CacheCrazy.Com: April 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012

St. Luke's Half Marathon Allentown, PA


It's that time of year again! Time for all of the runners in my life to train for the St Luke's Half Marathon in Allentown, PA. It's beginning to become an annual event as we posted about it last year, this year brought even more fun, challenges and triumphs. With the beautiful weather on tap and me with the day off, I decided to join the team as a supporter for this very special event. The one race that separates the runners from the wannabee's, the complainers from the accomplishers, with everything you have left on the course and no excuses are accepted.

I had much to cheer about. My wife Dawn was my main runner but Dan (Dodger) and his wife Liz who are neighbors and good friends were close runners up. Other friends joined us and family came to support the efforts and ultimately the victory. Here's a picture essay of today's events and great times!


Dawn gets some tips from Mike


Andie is pumped and approves of Mike's tape job


Some of the support team


Annalie thinks it's very early in the morning


In the zone before the race (not to mention it was 35 degrees F)


All the runners look a little nervous about the 13.1 mile task 


The gals are ready to go!


And they're off!


Dan at the six mile mark, little less than half way there!


Everyone is in to it and supporting the race


Here comes Liz and Dawn at the six mile mark, yoohoo!


You go girl.....


Mike was coach, supporter and helped the little supporters as we shuttled


I love this picture!


Here they come around the home stretch, 100 yards from the finish


Liz and Dawn look pretty good at the end of the race


The finish line......


THEY ALL DID IT!


These two trained hard and now they can celebrate!


All the winners, all with respectable times and all smiles!

CONGRATULATIONS to Dawn, Liz, Dan and all our friends who ran and finished! If you don't think 13.1 miles is a big deal, try it, then let me know what you think. I am proud of all of you and celebrate your success!
BH

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Introducing Abigail


We have a new member of the CacheCrazy.Com TEAM! From the whole team here......

Congratulations! 
Posted from Dave's blog on Thursday April 26, 2012 - the picture captions are from me.

Meet Abigal

She was born via planned c-section at 8:50am. Her vital stats are:

Weight: 8lbs 13oz
Length 19 1/2 inches
Eyes: blue
Hair: brown

Other interesting information (extrapolated from existing data):
Favourite Food: milk
Favourite Beatle: Paul
Favourite letter: 7 (we're still working on letters).

Zeke (our toddler) came to meet his new sister. It took a while, but he eventually warmed up to her, and even tickled her belly.

Both mommy and baby are doing fine. We are expected to stay in the hospital for a couple days. In the mean time Debbies parents are in town, and are taking care of Zeke.
Debbie looks great as she shows off her miracle

The happy family! I LOVE THIS PICTURE!

God Bless her.....

Zeke has a new little sister and he loves her already!

"I'll see you guys out on the trail"

WHAT ELSE IS LEFT TO BE SAID? 
GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

PS: Dave, I know I totally pirated this post from your blog, sue me, lol!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ten Fictional Characters Who Would Have Made Great Geocachers

Geocaching hasn't exactly found it's niche in cinema.  Sure, there's Splinterheads, but outside of that, not much else.  In addition, you never see it on television.  I've heard it was mentioned once on an episode of Law & Order, but I have yet to see it for myself.  There are plenty of movies and television shows out there, and as such, I find it hard to believe NO ONE on those shows geocaches!  So, let's suspend belief for a few moments and reflect back on characters in recent (and not-so-recent) memory.  For various reason, aspects about these ten characters, in my opinion, carry over very well into the game of Geocaching.








Tim "The Toolman" Taylor from Home Improvement- Tim was always modifying some household object or objects in order to get them to accomplish something they weren't really meant to do.  Haven't we all, at some point or another, looked at something in our home and thought to ourselves "Hey, that would make a great cache container!"  I rest my case.



Ogilvie from The Bad News Bears- Not the most athletic of the squad, Ogilvie was the bookkeeper and the unofficial team dork.  He also had a way with numbers.  I bet if you gave him a puzzle cache, he'd be able to crack the code without even breaking a sweat!


Emilio from Mr. Deeds- The eccentric butler from Adam Sandler's 2002 Comedy Mr. Deeds had a knack for showing up, unexpected, wherever his employer, Longfellow Deeds, happened to be. "I'm very, very sneaky!"  Sounds like a FTF hound to me!


Steve Urkel- "Did I do that?"  Urkel was the consummate nerd.  His science projects never quite lived up to expectations, but he did whatever was necessary in an attempt to win the heart of his neighbor, Laura.  Had Family Matters been set in the present day, I could imagine Steve Urkel geocaching, whenever he wasn't harassing the Winslows.


Cliff Clavin-  If there's one guy who could have written one heck of a cache description page, I bet it would have been Cliff Clavin.  He was a walking encyclopedia, knew a little bit of what seemed to be everything, and was quite articulate.  He also always paid attention to detail.  This Cheers mainstay would, undoubtedly, write a very descriptive cache log, as well.


Raymond Babbitt- The famous autistic savant from Rain Man was kidnapped by his brother, Charlie, and together they took a little trip out west.  I wonder how Raymond would do with those five-star puzzle caches out there?  Do you think the "impossible" code would appear to him?




Kevin McCallister-  Not unlike Tim Taylor, this Home Alone focal point altered household items, giving them a secondary purpose.  In this case, however, that purpose was to thwart the Wet Bandits.  More importantly, Kevin knew how to get himself out of a jam.  His resourcefulness and sense of logic would be a welcomed addition to any geocaching team.  Plus, he popularized the line "Keep the change, ya filthy animal!"


Lassie- You can keep Timmy Martin, I'll take Lassie, anyday.  Perhaps the world's first Geo-dog, Lassie was bailing Timmy out of jams on a weekly basis.  I bet she would have been able to sniff out caches!  "What, Lassie?  The cache is behind the fallen oak tree, covered by rocks?  Good girl!"


Forrest Gump-  Forrest got to see the world.  He met presidents, and just happened to be a witness to some of the most historic events of the twentieth century.  Had geocaching been around then, he'd have collected smileys from around the world!  He wasn't a smart man, but I bet he'd be able to figure his way around a GPS.  Not to mention, his memorable quotes and one-liners work well within the realm of the geocaching world.

"Geocaching is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you're going to get."
"Lietenant Dan!  A geocoin, Lieutenant Dan!  I found you a geocoin!"
"My mama always said you've gotta sign the log before you can move on to the next cache."


MacGyver- Oh, come on, geocaching or not, who wouldn't want to hang out with MacGyver?  This mild mannered special agent had a profound knowledge of science.  More importantly, he was able to make great use of even the  most mundane objects.  Have you ever been to a cache site, and spotted the cache, but couldn't figure out how to get it, or how to open it?  I bet MacGyver would have been able to grab or open it, probably with a wad of gum or, perhaps, a rubber band.






Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WHY NOT WEDNESDAY - Some days are better than others.....

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Lawson Series Experience ~ Introducing Geocaching Adventures with Miragee

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you a new author and her outstanding adventures while exploring. Meet Miragee aka Karen, from Musing about Geocaching, who has a very special gift. She can describe a geocaching adventure so vividly, you'll want to log a smiley! She comes to us from beautiful Southern California USA and is an accomplished writer, photographer, cyclist, adventurer, outdoor enthusiast and on hell of a Geocacher as well. 


I literally stumbled on her work and I knew right away that she would be a perfect fit here at CacheCrazy.Com. After extensive "stalking" her to make contact, she finally sent me an email and the rest is history!  Geocaching Adventures with Miragee was born and I have the great fortune to present it to you! Over the next several months we'll enjoy her work so please, join me in welcoming Karen to our team. 


Miragee Wrote:
Outside it was gray and overcast. Inside, I had a good book I couldn't put down. So I read until I finished it. After that, I had no valid excuse to stay inside when there were four caches, not too far from my house, that needed to be found. So at about 1:00 in the afternoon, I finally got on the search.

I put the waypoint for Lawson #1 into my GPSr incorrectly, so it was Lawson #2 I found first. Then it was on to Lawson #3. What a long, steep slog that is up that rough four-wheel drive road. Only the presence of two caches further up that road would have kept me going.

Finally, I reached a place where the road actually leveled out, and even went downhill a bit. What a wonderful relief for my tired legs. Following the arrow on the GPSr, I found Lawson #3 where I traded for a small tape measure.

Since Lawson #4 was less than .12 miles away, I started out for it, checking the distance frequently on the GPSr. When the distance was only 546 feet away, the arrow turned and pointed up a narrow trail. At that point, it never crossed my mind that I should check the cache description on my "Palmie." I kept walking while the trail started getting steeper and narrower. At one point, I had to take off my fanny pack to crawl through a hole beneath a couple of tumbled boulders.

After that the trail went right, or did it go to the left? I turned right and ended up at the point of the arrow in this picture:



At some point, prudence prevailed. I stopped my wanderings, and at that point thought to read the description--which clearly states this is a cache with very difficult terrain, and one that shouldn't be attempted alone. And here I am, all alone, in a remote location where no one knows I have gone, and I don't have a cell phone.

So, I reluctantly decided to turn around. Just after starting down, the sun popped out from beneath the overcast, so I willed my tired legs to take me back up so I could get some pictures of the fog and mist as it started rolling in.


Lawson Peak in the sunset lit mist


The view off to the east


Sunlight on the boulders of Lawson Peak

I stumbled down the darkening trail and finally got back to the car just minutes before it would have been impossible to see without a flashlight or headlamp, neither of which were with me that day, but both of which went into my fanny pack after this experience. 

Less than ten minutes later, I was home, tired and physically drained. I had overdone it that day, but at the time, the excitement of looking for the caches kept me from recognizing my physical limitations.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mother May I?

I was on my way home from work the other day, and I had my mind set on fetching a cache to fill in a calendar day.  I had selected on off the map from geocaching.com.  The cache was near the highway.  Easy on, easy off!  I was on a schedule, and didn't have time to putz around.  With this one, I could park the car within 100 feet of ground zero, run and make the grab, sign in, and skedaddle.  Easy, peasy!

Then I got there.

I've come across this before.  I approach the cache area, only to see the dreaded "No Trespassing-Private Property" signs posted nearby.  This is where the "Good Dave" and "Evil Dave" appear on my shoulders, both putting thoughts in my ears.  Of course, it's wrong, not to mention illegal, to tread on private property without permission.  The cache owner surely wouldn't put a cache somewhere we couldn't seek it, now would they?  On the other hand, perhaps the cache owner has permission from the land owner to place the cache there, and subsequently, allow cachers on their property to seek it.  Nowhere on the cache description page does it state this, but perhaps it was an oversight, and permission was granted.  There's always the notion to just go for it.  Who cares, I'm only going for that cache over there!  It's no big deal!

"Get off my lawn!"

I drove by the area a few times, and surveyed the scene.  It was clearly marked private property.  It appeared to just be a wooded area, but on closer inspection, there appeared to be some type of equipment protruding from the ground.  A well, perhaps?  Additionally, there was no parking lot.  It was one of those "pull over on the side of the road and go get it" caches.  After all was said and done, I decided to turn off my GPSr and head home.  I probably could have ran 100 feet into the woods, grabbed the cache and signed in, and been back to the car without issue, but decided it wasn't worth the risk.



Perhaps being arrested for trespassing while geocaching falls into the same category as hiking?  I suppose getting a call from the police station would illicit the same reaction, it not worse, than one from the emergency room.

I covered a similar topic last year, in my post "Eh, No Thanks!"  Today's cache was not an FTF-type situation, but the principle remains the same.  I don't like to cross private property lines unless I know it's permitted.  Even then, I tend to only search for caches on private property if I know, and trust, the cache owner.  In too many instances, the cache owner will assume permission, when it, in fact, has not been specifically granted.

I bet the next time, he'll trade up!


How do you tackle No Trespassing/Private Property issues?  Do you instantly turn the car around, or is there a thrill which you can't avoid, and must go find the cache?  For cache owners, do you always seek out permission, and if so, do you relay that information to cachers on your cache page?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

PREPARE FOR A SURGE

WELCOME TO THIRSTY THURSDAY!!

Grab a cup of coffee, or tea, sit back and, well, no, get up and check yourself out for ticks.


A friend of mine recently sent me this article and I thought it was appropriate since the season is upon us. Be prepared as you head out into the woods and fields.


Science News
... from universities, journals, and other research organizations

Lyme Disease Surge Predicted for Northeastern US: Due to Acorns and Mice, Not Mild Winter
ScienceDaily (Mar. 16, 2012) — The northeastern U.S. should prepare for a surge in Lyme disease this spring. And we can blame fluctuations in acorns and mouse populations, not the mild winter. So reports Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY.


What do acorns have to do with illness? Acorn crops vary from year-to-year, with boom-and-bust cycles influencing the winter survival and breeding success of white-footed mice. 


These small mammals pack a one-two punch: they are preferred hosts for black-legged ticks and they are very effective at transmitting Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

(Scale is Centimeters)

In this photo, the tick on the left is an adult female blacklegged tick, which is red and dark brown. To her right is an adult male blacklegged tick, which is smaller and dark in color. A nymph blacklegged tick is the second from the right, and a blacklegged tick larva is to the far right.

"We had a boom in acorns, followed by a boom in mice. And now, on the heels of one of the smallest acorn crops we've ever seen, the mouse population is crashing," Ostfeld explains. Adding, "This spring, there will be a lot of Borrelia burgdorferi-infected black-legged ticks in our forests looking for a blood meal. And instead of finding a white-footed mouse, they are going to find other mammals -- like us."

For more than two decades, Ostfeld, Cary Institute forest ecologist Dr. Charles D. Canham, and their research team have been investigating connections among acorn abundance, white-footed mice, black-legged ticks, and Lyme disease. In 2010, acorn crops were the heaviest recorded at their Millbrook-based research site. And in 2011, mouse populations followed suit, peaking in the summer months. The scarcity of acorns in the fall of 2011 set up a perfect storm for human Lyme disease risk.

Black-legged ticks take three bloodmeals -- as larvae, as nymphs, and as adults. Larval ticks that fed on 2011's booming mouse population will soon be in need of a nymphal meal. These tiny ticks -- as small as poppy seeds -- are very effective at transmitting Lyme to people. The last time Ostfeld's research site experienced a heavy acorn crop (2006) followed by a sparse acorn crop (2007), nymphal black-legged ticks reached a 20-year high.

The May-July nymph season will be dangerous, and Ostfeld urges people to be aware when outdoors. Unlike white-footed mice, who can be infected with Lyme with minimal cost, the disease is debilitating to humans. Left undiagnosed, it can cause chronic fatigue, joint pain, and neurological problems. It is the most prevalent vector-borne illness in the U.S., with the majority of cases occurring in the Northeast.

Ostfeld says that mild winter weather does not cause a rise in tick populations, although it can change tick behavior. Adult ticks, which are slightly larger than a sesame seed, are normally dormant in winter but can seek a host whenever temperatures rise several degrees above freezing. The warm winter of 2011-2012 induced earlier than normal activity. While adult ticks can transmit Lyme, they are responsible for a small fraction of tick-borne disease, with spring-summer nymphs posing more of a human health threat.

Past research by Ostfeld and colleagues has highlighted the role that intact forest habitat and animal diversity play in buffering Lyme disease risks. He is currently working with health departments in impacted areas to educate citizens and physicians about the impending surge in Lyme disease.

So be sure to check yourself out, and your kids, and dogs, for these little critters. The last thing you want is to get sick from one of their bites. Be safe and have fun caching this year. 

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