CacheCrazy.Com: January 2014

Friday, January 31, 2014

Geocaching in Europe ~ By the Mary Johnson ~ The Traveling Geocacher

"Image courtesy of Matt Banks / FreeDigitalPhotos.net"
As we all know, geocaching is a great way to discover fabulous new locations all around the world. With your GPS device in hand you will be able to discover countless hidden treasures whilst having fun with your family and friends. Europe offers some of the best geocaching territories, taking avid adventurers to a whole host of unforgettable cities where the opportunity to go sightseeing is always an additional plus. With this in mind, here is my little guide to geocaching in Europe.

Combine geocaching and sightseeing

When going on a geocaching trip the choice of wonderful places to visit in Europe is simply endless. Why not combine a week’s European holiday with your geocaching adventure? In this way, you will be able to indulge in all of the usual vacation activities such as sightseeing, fine dining and soaking up a little sun, whilst engaging in your recreational passion.

I recommend that you devote a number of hours per day to finding your desired geocache and the rest of your time exploring the fabulous city in which you find yourselves. Subsequently, geocaching offers a great excuse to see some of the world’s most beautiful European cities.
Hunting for the most found, the first, the “City of love” and the most historic geocache in Europe:

1) Prague

This splendid city is home to two of the most found traditional geocaches in the world. Would you expect it? They are situated just beyond the city’s stunning Charles Bridge, one of the Czech capital’s most famous landmarks in this widely visited destination. Both geocaches are not really hard to find, they are located in well-known tourist places and are also well maintained. If you are considering our suggestion and wondering whether you can afford the trip, don't worry: hotel listing websites like
venere.com often offer hotels at discounted rates in Czech Republic - especially during the summer.
Geocache 1: Prague bridges 1 - Karluv most: GC189E5 
Geocache 2: cache name = Terezka: GC14WV8

2) Dublin
The Irish capital of Dublin is not only a great city for sightseeing but it is also a fantastic location for those wishing to combine their vacation with geocaching. The city is home to a number of popular micro geocaches which often take visitors off the standard beaten tourist path allowing them to really explore and admire this phenomenal city. Do you know when geocaching first appeared in Europe? In June of 2000. And do you know where it was hidden? In Ireland, south of Dublin!
Europe’s First: GC43 


3) Paris
According to a study by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the most popular tourist destination is France. When in France, visiting Paris, known as the “City of Love” is an absolute must! A geocache called Arc de Triomphe was placed in an excellent location in 2008 and its not very hard to find.
Arc de triomphe: GC18TKN 


4) Berlin
Germany’s delightful capital city is home to one of the world’s most historic geocaches hunted by enthusiasts from all around the globe. Slightly harder to locate, Berlin’s first geocache was hid twelve years ago and has had to evolve alongside the landscape. Stealth and agility are required to find this hidden treasure.
Geocaching is an excellent way to discover any European city. You will find yourselves navigating striking tourist attractions and landmarks as you hunt for that elusive treasure proving that geocaching and sightseeing really do make for the perfect vacation!
First Berlin Cache: GC2EB4 

About the Author:  Hello, my name is Mary Johnson (Bloodhounded calls me "The Traveling Geocacher") and I am a web writer and a world traveler. I love nature and animals, books and foreign languages, I enjoy talking to people in their language even though sometimes all I know is just a few words, I like travelling on my own and also with someone else. I also enjoy adventures and exciting challenges that, I believe, make my personality grow.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Perfect Dozen - DIY

12 geocaches in a series? 12 stages to the cache? One dozen of the best geocaches ever?  Sorry guys, not today. Todays DIY will show you how to make that perfect dozen of Buffalo Chicken Wings and unless you’re caching in Buffalo NY and you stop at the Anchor Bar, you’ll find none better.  So be ready to get hungry as I walk you through the very simple steps of "Bloodhoundeds Honey Garlic Wings".

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when chicken wings were relegated as scraps worthy only of the stock or soup pot. Nowadays, hot Buffalo wings are all the rage as appetizers and party fare.They come in all flavors and many different methods of cooking from baked to barbequed but nothing says, “Wings” like the good old fryer method. Oh sure, you’re not going to be reducing calories or cutting out the fat here but common, live a little!

I make these wings a few times per year. They are highly requested for our annual Super Bowl party and my family goes nuts at just the mention of “Dads Wings”.  Today I am going to share my secrets with you, but please, don’t tell anyone, ok?

The method I use insures a nice, crisp, fully cooked but juicy wing. There is absolutely nothing worse than biting into a wing and finding a bloody center! If this happens to you, immediately kick the cook in the crotch! No excuses for this! I learned that you can trim some prep time and get a fully cooked and juicy wing by par-boiling the wing first. A short dip in the bubbling pool of saltwater makes all the difference I assure you and it’s a little known secret amongst us foodies.

Here’s the setup:
Your goal is to make that perfect dozen so concentrate on 12 wings at a time. Even if you’re making 200 wings, they must be done 12 at a time with household cooking gear. Any less and you’re wasting time, any more and you are overloading the pot causing a quick temp drop and poor results. The magic number here is 12. In addition to the ingredients, have the following equipment setup and ready to roll. Once you start there is no time to be fiddling around with things.

  •   Have a large pot of boiling salt water going the whole time
  •  Heat a pot of canola oil to 375 or just below the smoke point
  •   Have a colander ready at the sink
  •  Have lots of paper towels handy to catch excess oil and to clean as you go (you want to eat wings too right? Clean as you go)
  • Have a large baking dish, large container to hold the raw wings and one to hold the cooked wings
  •  A long pair of tongs
  •  A good non slip cutting board and a sharp chef’s knife

The wing cooking method:
First you’ll want to work through all of the wings and cut them up. Take the wing tip off and then cut between the drummy and the flat section of the wing. Once you are finished cutting them all, clean everything up with a antibacterial cleaner and wash your hands. The next time you touch a wing with your hand will be holding it up to your mouth!

Now, count out 12 wing sections and slowly place them in the boiling water with your tongs. Keep an eye on the clock because you won’t want to boil them any longer than 8 minutes. Remove them for the water with your tongs and let them drain in the colander. Now place 12 more wings in the boiling water and repeat these steps moving the wings in the colander to container. They should be fairly dry by now from being exposed to the air.

Once you get a few dozen ahead with the boiling you can start to drop the first 12 wings into the fry oil. Be careful as this is the time when most cooks get burned, when playing with hot oil. Nasty stuff so be careful. Your 12 wings will be done in 6 minutes or average 8 minutes for crispier depending how you like them. Have a few layers of paper towels ready and place your wings from the oil onto the paper towels. If you are making a lot of wings you may want to put them on a baking dish in a warm oven to hold them until serve.

That is really all there is to cooking nice juicy, fully cooked wings.

The sauce, OH, THE SAUCE:
Start by melting one half pound of butter in a sauce large sauce pan. Do not use margarine or try to cut calories here by using less. If you’re looking for a low fat meal, try this link instead. Once the butter is melted and bubbling add two medium size bottles of Frank’s hot sauce. Bring to a gentle boil and add your granulated garlic and your honey. Again, slowing bring to a boil. Taste your work now. You may like it a little sweeter or maybe a pinch more garlic. Get the flavors working at this stage.  Now add your two teaspoons of vinegar and you’ll know if it’s enough if you take a whiff of your sauce and it takes your breath away or tastes good or both! I like cornstarch as a thickening agent because it clarifies and holds on to the wings better and they look shinier.  Start with two tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with ½ cup of water and only add half. Bring to boil and add more as needed. It will only thicken at the boiling point and it should be the viscosity of homemade gravy, nice and thick.

Let's heat things up!
How hot is too hot? That is a matter of taste and opinion. If Big Al were eating these he would be basically setting the sauce on fire! My 10 year old daughter, not so much and me, I’m somewhere in the middle. Red Cayenne Pepper is no joke. It can make your sauce hot fast! I would separate my sauce at this point and then add the spices to only one. The sauce by itself is good for most. Start with a pinch of red and a pinch of white. Stir it up real good and taste it. Then add as needed but remember, too much heat will ruin the flavor for most. I place a shaker of red pepper flakes at the table so if someone wants to add heat they can and with flavor and good eye appeal.

Have two “shaker” containers available too, one for hot and one for mild. Place 12 wings into the container, add some sauce, place the lid on tight and shake her up to coat the wings fully. Serve with a quality blue cheese dressing like Margarita's Chunky Blue Cheese and slice up some celery.  Supply a lot of napkins and an abundance of your beverage of choice.

You too can build your own chicken wing legacy just like me, 12 wings at a time…..The perfect dozen, enjoy!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How to hide a Geocache – Bloodhounded Style – Part THREE the final.....


Notes from the author: I consider myself a Geocache Hider who likes to seek too. Hiding a geocache to me is my way of contributing something tangible to the game. A game piece, if you will, that with the proper maintenance can last for many years. There is only a small percentage of what I consider “Bad Caches” and even a smaller percentage of “Great Caches” in my opinion. The rest are average and with no disrespect to them or the cache owners (CO’s), boring! Want to hide a great cache? One that stands out over the rest? It’s not hard and in this three part series I will go through MY steps towards building, hiding, listing and owning a geocache, Bloodhounded style, as I actually prepare to set a real hide. Cool right? Let’s get started right away!

*note – you can build along with me and hide your cache as well, if you need any help just email me =)

 WARNING - If you live and seek anywhere around our World Headquarters you may find this series to be a bit of spoiler, so sorry about that. It’s in the name of education.

OK, we have to make up some time lost but let's start by going over what we wanted and what we actually have.

I wanted to have a map for the kids to use and make it with steps and paces - I have a link to a printable map on the cache page. I was unable to do it in steps and paces and did not incorporate a compass but it's still a work in progress.


I wanted to have an interactive map that you could get clues from and I did it.


I wanted to to have a cool story that would tell a tail about Captain Blacktail, check! (see below)


The cache was designed to take you to four stages and at each stage you would get a letter to unlock the word lock on the chest and the coords to the next stage. Done...


From the very beginning I wanted the cache to have a dog "type" name, pirate theme, use a treasure chest and fill it with cool swag that would relate to the story of the cache. check, check and check.


Do the cache page so it would be operational if you were using a smart phone or going paperless. Got it, I did all the text (except for the story) in HTML so it could be read on these types of devises.


I really wanted it to easy enough for kids to find but I did a trial with my youngest pup and she had a heck of a time. I think the stages are a solid 3 in difficulty and if you use the clues, a 2 at best but that's just me. 


 CacheCrazy.Com assistant, Andie
OK, enough of that, let's see some pictures taken at each of the stages. Now don't get all excited, I'm not going to throw out a bunch of spoilers but here are some photos of what you'll see from your ship on the sea of green. So climb aboard you land lover, we're casting off for a treasure hunt as led by my published coords (or soon will be), my trusty GPS'r (don't feel confident enough in the Droid yet to mark up and publish coords to a cache) and my trusty CacheCrazy.Com assistant, Andie whom which I just had a great time with and loved every minute of her "special" kind of humor. Thanks for coming on this special assignment for CacheCrazy.Com Andie, you're number one.

Let's climb aboard at stage one, the published coords. They were about 10 feet off but I still think they are the best. Andie didn't find it until I gave her the clue and then had to show her. It was tougher than I thought. 
This is the view from stage one. The camera does not do the view justice. 
Then we moved on to stage two and sailed our ship west to Leash Peninsula where we were treated to a beautiful view of the meadow pond and and nice angle on the Bay of Dogs. This stage gave Andie some fits. Once I reviled the clue she found it pretty quick.  
The meadow pond attracts all kinds of wild birds and habitat, it's beautiful.




We set our sails south and landed near a cool looking bunker of sorts (see Andie first picture). It was used by hunters and photographers but it appears it hasn't been used in some time. What a perfect place to hide a stage to a geocache. There were so many opportunities but once again, it took the clue to find the cache. So far I'm thinking the difficulty is a clear 3. From stage three you can see 
the marsh area and a lovely little spring creek that flows near by.
Beautiful fields of gold with little blue and white flowers are everywhere!
After stage three we sailed all the way to Rocky Island where stage four was waiting for us but where was it? On the way it was a lovely time of laughing, chatting and just getting to know my CacheCrazy.Com assistant better. I told her I was going to have to keep stage four a secret but I think she was trying to get to the truth of the matter.











Let me talk briefly about the longevity of a geocache. When you put this much effort into hiding a top notch cache, you're going to want to get a few years out of it. I figure three years is a good goal point that after which, you will have to make some big changes to keep it going, maybe not. Maybe it will last for six, sixteen or sixty years but not without effort. EVERYTHING needs to be weather proof. The coins of wood are woodburned and that will outlast the wood itself. The wire used is coated stainless steel, the cache container is sealed and watertight, the log all tucked in heavy duty ziplocks and even the treasure chest itself is warped in cammo burlap and placed into a Space Bag that has a check valve type system where it will let air out but not in. Then the entire Space Bag is warped and bound in cammo burlap again for "blending in" purposes. I also have a half hollowed tree section to place over the top of it to add yet another deflector of the elements. This puppy is going to last as long as the seeker takes the time needed to put it all back "exactly" the way they found it. I am confident in the design, the cammo, the final location and it lasting at least three years. If it gets muggled, I'll replace it and set up a game cam and catch that SOB if they come back again! 
We made some "wheat angles", laughed some more and then shoved off




Anyway, back to stage four and by far, the hardest stage.
As you approach Rocky Island you can clearly see the possibilities













And once you get close you know you're in trouble, ha, ha, ha.....
And  when your right on top of it the darn thing is invisible! This is GZ






























The whole time I felt like someone or something was watching me.
The prize today for Andie was a perfect turkey feather and for me it was knowing that the coords are within 10 feet of the stage and final. A peace of mind that will be worth the extra day. The bonus here was I got a chance to spend some time with my biggest fan, one on one. And I really liked the outcome. You don't have to go hard core caching all the time.


 This is going to be the most fun, challenging, easy and beautiful location cache that you have done in a long time. One that the whole family can enjoy but the single cacher still has his hands full. There are signs that show where the Pheasants Forever group is managing this area as well. I'm tossed about informing them formally, with a letter and some info on what geocaching is. I'd include the support that Dave (damguy) from the Army Corp Of Engineers gives to geocaches in the park. Not to mention that the state of PA HAS DECLARED ALL STATE GAME LANDS ARE OPEN TO GEOCACHES WITHOUT PREVIOUS APPROVAL. Since the cache is totally on state game lands 119, I'm fine. Finally, if you remember, I had sent the coords to the GC reviewer and he cleared them. Opencaching.com requires no review. It's built on the "trust" system. We'll see how long that lasts but I'm hoping to get "Grandfathered", lol.   



I will tell you that we did encounter hunters with their dog. They went on their way and we went on ours but there were shoots fired. Far down the field and we never felt in danger but this is their playground too. There is enough room for all of us to hunt. You just have to use common sense. For instance, if you start on your journey and you see 30 hunters, smoke or both, it's probably a good idea reschedule. There are a lot of caches in the area so if folks came from a distance they could still have a great day. 



Finally, the cachepage!
I won't go on and on about it but I feel it is the single most neglected part of putting out a geocache. You have the canvas given to you free of charge from both GC.com and OC.com. GC.com is the best because you can express yourself. I set it up like a blog page. 

  • I have the intro with all the details in case someone just wants to cut to the chase. 
  • The treasure map
  • Helpful links section that offers the daily pirate joke OR a clue to a stage. There are some pirate coloring pages and a link to the poem that inspired the cache.
  • The story of Captain Blacktail
  • Some very cool graphics
  • Some warnings about the above
  • The clues to each stage
  • A full selection of attributes
  • AND of course, a nice big link to CacheCrazy.Com
I can't wait until it's published! Won't be long now.....
Getting everything warped up and ready for the final placement 



What is that "thing"?

A little homemade FTF action prize
All in all this was a great test run. Now we are just about ready to pull the triger, set it free and allow others to have fun. Not just an average cache but something special. Something that the seeker had to work for and earn. Finding the treasure chest for some kid out there will be a memory that will last forever. Maybe even shape a new geocacher to a better way to hide. Not saying that my way is the only way, not at all. There are many different styles that change from hider to hider. We all had our influences in this way or that from geocaches that we found. It's a better day in geocachings future when you place a quality hide. One that will withstand the test of time and provide enjoyment to many a cacher who dares to take the trip on the Sea of Green. Once the cache page is published, I'll share it here with the FTF log!
I will leave you with the story of The Salty Dog. If you need to, click on the story to control the size in your viewer. 

On Tuesday September 6th at 11:30 AM EST 
The Salty Dog is published! 


On Wednesday September 7th we have our FTF
Here is the FTF log















Monday, January 27, 2014

How to hide a Geocache – Bloodhounded Style – Part TWO


Notes from the author: I consider myself a Geocache Hider who likes to seek too. Hiding a geocache to me is my way of contributing something tangible to the game. A game piece, if you will, that with the proper maintenance can last for many years. There is only a small percentage of what I consider “Bad Caches” and even a smaller percentage of “Great Caches” in my opinion. The rest are average and with no disrespect to them or the cache owners (CO’s), boring! Want to hide a great cache? One that stands out over the rest? It’s not hard and in this three part series I will go through MY steps towards building, hiding, listing and owning a geocache, Bloodhounded style, as I actually prepare to set a real hide. Cool right? Let’s get started right away!

*note – you can build along with me and hide your cache as well, if you need any help just email me =)

 WARNING - If you live and seek anywhere around our World Headquarters you may find this series to be a bit of spoiler, so sorry about that. It’s in the name of education.



Hi folks and welcome back. Let's  review part one of The Salty Dog series; We looked at the conception and assembly of the physical cache container and the stage letters to unlock the treasure chest. We know the methodology behind the hide and now we are ready to go afield and start to gather waypoints for the stages and the final. Make yourself a small worksheet to stay on track and write down the waypoint, land mark and sketch out the general map. We’ll have a better idea if being able to do coords, orienteer and general treasure mapping with landmarks will be possible once we get out to the general area.

  • Bring a print out of the satellite map, a pen, GPSr and some general supplies. I brought lunch and laid it out at the picnic table. I even met an interesting angler, "Hello Jerry, how they biting?".
I am going to place The Salty Dog on PA state game lands. There should be no issue with the reviewer because there is one other cache in this general area and we won’t be near that one. You may want to send some general coords in an email to your reviewer BEFORE you proceed. It’s always comforting that you have the “green light” before you put a lot of time and effort into the cache placement only to find out that you are blocked by the reviewer for various reasons.  I plan to list this cache on both geocaching.com and opencaching.com under the same name. Why not, it’s a free country and there are no opencaching caches in this area so someone has to start. It may as well be old rebellious Bloodhounded to kick off this opencaching.com party. Good healthy competition keeps everyone honest, right?

(I would reveal my actual work sheet however, I don’t want to give it all away but, I can assure you it had notes, scribble and stuff on there, it’s a tool)

Park your vehicle and turn on your GPS’s or your app on your phone. To mark that waypoint follow your devices instructions and mark it for the parking coords. Make sure to write them down so you can just continue without saving and all that stuff (you’ll be back later to do that anyway). Move on and begin to explore the area you selected to hide it. You’re looking for neat and/or unusual areas that qualify for cool stages.  As you find them mark the waypoint. You might be well served to do three to five waypoint marks and then take the average for any one specific location. Be sure to set the waypoint right on the intended stage. The GPS signal will naturally create the challenge along with a clever hide. Write them down in succession, one after the next and take notes while you do as to any distinctions or something that will draw the seeker if you use a landmark. Later, I’ll use Google Earth and plug in all of the set waypoints and view it from an aerial. That will be the foundation for my treasure map.

With all of your waypoints in hand it’s time to go back 
around and check your work. You might think you nailed it but, I can tell you from personal experience, check them! I once was off 100 meters on the final because I goofed up the numbers. The FTF hounds were ready to flog me. Rookie error, don’t make it. Set out just as if you were the seeker. First, clear all the waypoints for the cache and start from scratch. Plug the coords in from your notes and start your check and balance. Knowing that your coords are spot on will allow you to rest assured that the cache is ready and any additional work you do now will not change. It’s a small investment of time considering that you are placing this cache for years of use. Make adjustments as needed and you’re done for now.

Now, I’m going to woodburn the coords to the next stage into each of the letters so that when you find them, they will lead to the next stage. Notice I switched from the Scrabble piece to a wooden coin, there was not enough room on the small square for the cords to be done well. Sometimes you have to improvise and switch things up. The goal is that the seeker can read it for years to come.
First we have to set a coord on the cache page and in this case it will be to stage one. The coords on the back of stage one will take you to stage two, the coords on the back of stage two will take you to stage three and so on.  It sounds easier than it is. Don’t mess it up. This is where your written notes and cords come in handy.  Also, I am going to take a shot at creating the treasure map. On the cache page you will have the option get a spoiler map that the kids could use. They will have fun following along and maybe just have the clue???? I love treasure maps and this to me will be the so much fun!


Take a look through the glass bottom of my pirate ship and get a preview of the treasure map that is currently at the bottom of The Sea Of Green. I will offer an interactive hyper linked map that shows clues when you click on certain places and a printable version to bring along for the kids.

CLICK ON MAP FOR LARGER IMAGE

 This is the actual cache location captured on Google maps and modified with Picnic. Pretty cool!


Let's get out there now and set this cache! Here is what I have in my pack:
  • ·         Stages one through four
  • ·         Craft wire
  • ·         Multi tool
  • ·         Superglue (weatherproof gorilla superglue)
  • ·         Treasure map (mark up version)
  • ·         First aid kit  (remember, hiding can be more dangerous than finding)
Remember to follow your waypoints now. The GPSr will be your guide from stage to stage. I actually had to go back and do stage four over again because it was off several meters. That means start another coin, wood burn it, seal it and prep it for hiding, it was a setback. Oh well, another lesson learned. It’s important to make it right.


Now that we have all of our stages and final in their proper places, it’s time to take a breather, review your work, have a beverage of choice and get some rest. The hard work will pay off in the long run. Oh yes, I said hard work. This isn’t easy to do it well, you have to think, sweat and execute the best possible hides that will last the test of time and lead the seeker to the treasure.

Next week we'll build the cache page, insert the pics and publish the listing.
Are you as excited as I am? 
We’ll have our FTF before you know it! 


I am excepting ideas and /or stories for the cache page to be posted with the cache description. Remember, it's captain Blacktail (the good dog) and captain Pugface (the bad dog) who's after the treasure to claim it his. Have fun and cache crazy!
SUBMIT YOUR IDEAS HERE

Go right to part III HERE





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