Tuesday, April 28, 2015

365 True Things: 31/Frivolity

I wrote a while back about geocaching (#9), one of my pleasures and a way I get out exploring. Nowadays a geocache can be so small that all it contains is a tiny rolled up piece of paper that you write your caching name (mine's "annevoi") and the date on (you BYOP—bring your own pen), but the original cache, hidden on May 3, 2000, was a large bucket full of goodies, and subsequent early caches tended also to be large. The "classic" container is an 11x7x6-inch ammo can. I like larger caches because they can hold treasure. Now, often the "treasure" ends up being so much junk. But sometimes it includes a travelbug, an object with an ID tag whose movement can be tracked. I don't know why I get such delight moving travelbugs from cache to cache and viewing their travels on a map, but I do.

Some bugs have goals. One I found on the island of Hawaii, called "Dolphin's Leap," wanted to visit all the Hawaiian islands. I'd been on the verge of taking it back to the mainland—we were heading to Oahu the next day, and then home—but when I saw what it wanted (or, okay, what the little girl who sent it out into the world wanted for it), we scrapped our plans to visit Pearl Harbor and instead trudged from our airport hotel a couple of miles to Bob's Big Boy in the Mapunapuna neighborhood of Honolulu so the bug could continue its quest.

Another bug wanted to go to a cache near a child's grandparents' house in Juneau, Alaska. We were traveling by ferry through the Inside Passage, so didn't have the mobility to get to the grandparents' neighborhood. Instead we dropped the bug in town. I later checked to see if it had reached its goal and saw that the person who picked it up didn't read the description and took it back home to Canada. It never achieved its goal.

A few years ago, I launched four travelbugs of my own: two were PEZ containers, a cow and a frog. The cow went to Scotland with a friend, made its way to England, and soon disappeared. The two non-PEZ bugs, a large stuffed Tigger and a keychain featuring Hawaiian-style flipflops, also went missing pretty much immediately. As I recall, "Flip-flopping to Paradise" never received a single log entry. Someone must have needed a new keychain. So disappointing.

Picton Harbour, NZ: Lots of water here!
PEZ FROG, however, is still in play, four years later. Here's his goal: "I would like to visit watery places: rivers, ponds, oceans, lakes, waterfalls, desert oases--parks with sprinklers, in a pinch. However, I am a plush  frog and would just as soon not get wet." He went to New Jersey, Delaware, and finally Pennsylvania, where he kicked around for quite a while. Last year while I was visiting David in Maryland, we stopped and picked PEZ FROG up (and showed him Niagara Falls—talk about a thrilled frog!), then in December we took him to New Zealand. There, I dropped him in Unity Park in Dunedin, one of the 100 oldest geocaches still active (GCB1, placed 11/12/2000). A Swede named gunnarj grabbed him and toured him ALL over New Zealand, and even showed him Sydney, Australia, before dropping him off in a travelbug hotel near Karlstad. The last I heard, as of April 3rd, he'd made it to another travelbug hotel in Sweden, and had logged 30,166 miles. Now, that's a travelbug!

This week we're launching some new trackables. One is called "PEZ Kitty" (I guess PEZ containers are my "signature"); the other is a tiny maraca. Those two are already out in the world. "La Maraquita," in fact, resides in the very first cache that we've hidden ourselves. The game keeps growing.

We have seven more ID tags, so other travelbugs will follow: already lined up, needing only to be tagged and registered (and names and goals devised), are a little puzzle ball, a green superhero action figure, a mini-helicopter, a Buck Owens keychain, and a Corona keychain/bottle opener in the shape of a blue sombrero (all culled from the "treasure" in other caches). I expect they'll go missing in short order, but who knows? Let's just call this an exercise in optimism.


  1. This is unreal. It's like this whole world exists that I didn't even know about. Anne, i was trying to go in order but wanted to see what you were up to now. Will try to catch up eventually!

  2. Thank you for reading, Cynthia! I sure am enjoying your posts--they keep me going.