CacheCrazy.Com: Geocache Staying Power OR Team EcoCharge finds The Mystery Machine

Monday, November 18, 2013

Geocache Staying Power OR Team EcoCharge finds The Mystery Machine

Bloodhounded and one of his pups
We've all been there. It makes no difference if you’re a seasoned caching vet or a newbie to our sport, “disappointment” is the result of finding a poorly maintained geocache. Oh sure, you got the smiley but, that’s about it and you couldn’t even sign the log! What log? The container was damaged so bad that you couldn’t even make out the contents. This cache has been abandoned by its owner and if you don’t intend to fix it yourself, you may as well request an archive and give someone else a chance. You leave ground zero feeling deflated but move on knowing that the next geocache is going to be awesome. Deep down you know there are some great cache owners out there, lots of them! Onward!    
It seems that as long as a geocache is fairly new, you are going to find it. If it’s two years old and hasn't been
logged in awhile, it’s risky. When I set out to find a cache I, at least, want to be able to sign the log for goodness sake! The marriage between man and geocache seems short. I’ve seen folks with 280+ hides but only 12 are currently active. Archiving is part of the game for some hiders. They do it so frequently, you hardly had a chance to find it and BAM, it’s archived! And who wants to log an archived cache, right?

I guess I look at hiding a geocache a little differently.  When I place a geocache, I place it for LIFE! I don’t EVER want to archive any of my hides and it pissed me off when I had to six times! I want people to find my cache ten years from now and say, “wow, this cache has been here since 2009”. That’s the goal, keeping it alive. Now, that doesn’t happen all by itself, you have to put forth an effort to enable a cache to have “staying power”! Otherwise, it’s destined to become garbage in the great outdoors and I never want that to happen. A good cache maintenance plan is in order because no matter how careful you were with container selection, waterproofing and longevity planning, things are bound to go wrong.

One tip that I will share with you has brought some criticism over the years but I shun the negativity and continue without regret because of the outstanding results. I reach out to cachers who have presumably “found” the cache, send along a nice little email and ask for some feedback on the condition of the cache.  I have received responses ranging anywhere from, folks very willing to help, to hate mail saying that it’s my responsibility as the CO (cache owner) to know the condition of the cache. To those who have been so gracious as to help with an update, I thank you. To those other guys, they can kiss my cache.

Let me share with you a very recent exchange through email with a geocacher known as EcoCharge. These are my kind of folks, family cache team, two little kids, out to find fun and adventure and complete my Scooby DooWhere Are You series. A couple of things caught my eye when I saw the DNF log on the next to last cache. First, these folks lived pretty far away (at least an hour drive) and they said they might not be back to finish the series. Bummer, I thought but shortly received an email asking for a hint and I knew that these folks were still in the hunt! I was going to make certain that they would not leave disappointed again.

Here are the excerpts from the email conversation and the logs:  

Didn't find it EcoCharge couldn't find The Lady Of The Lake
Sunday, 10 November 2013Pennsylvania NW NW 9.6 mi from your home location
We were running out of daylight as we headed for this one. We hoped to make a quick find and then race for the Mystery Machine before we lost the light. Instead, we frantically tried to find this elusive cache. After a fun afternoon hunting the 4 other caches, it was frustrating to not finish. Since we live an hour away, I'm not sure when we'll make it back. Too bad.
Oh NO! I couldn’t sleep thinking how frustrating these nice folks must have been. They set out early and found Freddy, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby Doo himself but Daphne eluded them and you need her to find the final geocache which is the Mystery Machine! Bummer!

Then I got this email:

On Sunday my wife, son, daughter, and I ventured up to your area (from Betlehem) to tackle the Scooby-Doo series.  I grew up on Scooby-Doo, and I have all the old episodes for my kids to watch, so this was an obvious "must-do" for our family.  As we drove to each cache, my wife read the story out loud, and the kids really started getting into the overall story.  "Hey, there's another guy with a beard.  I bet he did it!"  "No, he's just a policeman!"  etc.  Thank you for all the time you put into designing this series.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time, and we were stumped by the Lady of the Lake.  Our 7-year-old daughter really hoped to be the one to find Daphne - and I had finally convinced our 10-year-old son that he could enjoy looking but let her think she had found it first.  But with the fading light we had to call it quits.

Would you be willing to share a hint for this one beyond the one posted with the cache?  The "obvious" spot seemed to be in the rocks, but I also discovered a hollowed out tree (similar to the Lost Boy Scout cache).

We'd really like to finish the series!

Ben aka EcoCharge ”

These folks were not giving up!
Here is my response:

Hi Ben, Kevin aka Bloodhounded here!
When I read your log my heart sunk and now that I read your follow up email, I'll do anything to help!
Here is some directional advice and information that might be of value. As you approach GZ you'll see that pile of rocks to the left and think "Found It!". Not so, hence the hint. Actually, the story goes that I was going to stash it there BUT, as I approached the rocks I saw a skunk scurry under them and I ran away screaming like a girl, but that's a whole different story, lol!. So, the rocks are on the left, turn to your right (facing the lake) and take a few steps down that small embankment not as far as the waters edge and still within 10 feet of the coords. The cache is right at ground level, behind a few small rocks. I hear Daphne is still with the cache (unlike Velma and Freddy who are missing). It's a small container much like the rest and it is behind the natural features so wear gloves and root around a little bit. It was found on the day you could not find it so it should be there. When you are going, send me a quick email. I'll give you my cell number and I'll have the coords available so you won’t be disappointed no matter what. I'll also try to get out latter this week and check your final two in the series to insure that they are there are ready to go. I don't want you to trek up here from Allentown and go home empty handed. When did you think you guys might try again? I'd like to confirm they are active and filled with great swag for the kids.
Thanks for reaching out Ben, I was bummed when you said in the log you might not be back to finish. I'll make it worth the trip for the kids.
Kevin “

Last Saturday I received and email from Ben:

“ Kevin-

We're headed out in a few minutes to find Daphne and the Mystery Machine.  Afterward we will head to I double Dog Dare You.  I enjoyed the algebra to solve the puzzle (I'm a computer science professor, so I have no fear of math!).

Thanks for setting up these great caches! “

I followed with a spoiler email that contained all the cords and info that they would possibly need and titled it “Only Open This Email If You Need To” so if he didn’t, he wouldn’t, you know? Anyway, these folks are about to have found six of my caches in a deeply related series, of course I’m going to ask the guy what the general condition is. This is key info on setting up your next maintenance run.

I sent you the spoiler email so if you have any trouble at all just check it out. The old Double Dog Dare is awesome and I just recently replaced the contraption so it should be good to go.
Have fun with your family and come back soon. Oh, and could you give me just a very short overview on the condition of the caches please?

Have fun it’s a beautiful day!
Kevin “

The next thing I knew…..

Saturday, 16 November 2013Pennsylvania NW NW 9.6 mi from your home location
With more light and a hint from the CO, this one was a lot easier. Found quickly. On to the final!!

And then, HEAAAAAAA! They found it! Now on to The Mystery Machine

Saturday, 16 November 2013Pennsylvania NW NW 8.6 mi from your home location
What a great series! Although it took two trips, we had a great time. I wanted to try a direct assault, but my wife convinced us to find a better way down. This is definitely a favorite. TFTC.
TEAM ECOCHARGE, look at all those happy faces!


I now award EcoCharge with your completed badge, congratulations!

Oh, yeah the maintenance, sorry I was enjoying some CO BLISS.

Ben followed through like a real champ with his recap and cache overview:

I received 4 emails from you today.  Didn't need the spoiler, as we found Daphne quickly.  I was within 5 feet of her the first trip, but for some reason never looked there.  Oh well, that's the way caching works some days!  :)

All 6 of the caches in the series are in pretty good shape.  None of the logs were wet, and as you already know, 3/5 characters are still present.  They all had plenty of room on the log sheet too.  No need for a trip to maintain them at this point!

After finding the Mystery Machine we headed out to get stage 2 of the Double Dog Dare cache.  We grabbed the earth cache along the way, and I accidentally logged it for your cache.  I deleted it and posted a DNF a few minutes ago.

For the puzzle in the field, I seemed to get the key into the jug handle, but it got stuck at the bottom corner.  I couldn't figure out how else it might work, and the kids got tired of watching me shake the thing.  But as I posted in the log, we enjoyed the hike, so we aren't really that upset over not getting that cache.

Thanks again for the great cache experience.  We haven't hidden caches yet because I don't want to clutter our area with more guard rail caches or the other common-place variety.  Some day I'll design something creative.”

So, there you have it. Pretty easy, right? I just maintained 6 caches, helped some folks have an awesome day and I didn't even have to leave the house. Truth be known, I checked all of these caches late spring and knew at that point they were good to go just like one of those fancy new caches only difference is these caches are three and a half years old!

Oh, and for I Double Dog Dare You…..

Didn't find it EcoCharge couldn't find I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU!
Saturday, 16 November 2013Pennsylvania NW NW 8.7 mi from your home location
We had a wonderful time hiking the area, but we couldn't figure out the puzzle at the second stage. It was a beautiful day to be out, so we aren't too unhappy about the DNF.

I have a feeling that team EcoCharge will be back………..don’t you?



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