"When you go to hide a cache, think of the reason you are bringing people to that spot.
If the only reason is for the cache, then find a better spot."
.... Briansnat


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Backroads and Beaches Geotrail

Lorain County Ohio has kicked off a new geotrail called the Backroads and Beaches Geotrail. There are fifteen caches in the geotrail. The caches stretch from the shores of Lake Erie to the farmlands of the county. The Lorain County Convention and Visitor Bureau were wise and placed the caches with the aid of long-term geocachers and all-round wonderful people LuvWahoo and CapFantasy. Making these tourism trails a success truly requires active participation from solid, local cachers.

We started our day with a kick-off event at the Black River Landing Center. The Visitors Bureau had breakfast for the attendees and prize raffles from local businesses. Yes, they are trying to gather business for the county, but their effort was first class. It was a relaxed event with plenty of time to socialize. They also provided a nice gift bag to attendees. Once the coordinates were released at the end of the event, we were off to look for the caches in the series. It was a perfect way to spend a beautiful fall day in Lorain County.

Our reward at the end of the trail was the trackable coin below. I really like the design. The geotrail theme was perfect for Lorain County. With 250 coins to start, the county was smart and made a sufficient number to have inventory for out of town visitors. Caching very near Lake Erie in the winter can be brutal with biting winds off the lake, but the rural areas and river valleys and gorges are beautiful in the fall. From spring to fall, Lake Erie sunsets will not disappoint visitors. This is a super trail and should be given thoughts for a visit.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Esty and Geocaching - The Down Side

"Etsy is an e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items and supplies, as well as unique factory-manufactured items."

Etsy sounds like a great idea and seems to have some really creative people creating or manufacturing special-interest items, but the web site's venture into the world of geocaching can leave one cringing. I recently blogged about a Etsy seller who was marketing fake, mass-produced hand grenades as geocache containers. Bad idea. Thankfully, they are no longer available to terrorize the general public. But never fear, into each vacuum comes things to fill a void. Like this fake pipe bomb cache. Most cachers know just how bad an idea a pvc cache container is. Beyond the geocaching facts that they almost all leak and are almost always overtightened by one or more finders, these are always at risk for being mistaken as pipe bombs. Usually the cache container is made entirely of pvc, but this one has the added twist of a cast iron section in the body. Maybe the seller doesn't understand making a geocache container out of something which looks even more like it is made to create shrapnel is not a good idea.

Next on Etsy's not-so-good geocaching offerings is the page of a geocaching "container" (using the seller's word) consisting of three letters combined on a magnet. If you've been caching more than a year or two, you've seen these. Most likely, unless the log on the back was an enclosed write-in-the-rain log, you've also seen the pulpy mess on the back that at one time was a paper log. This page is unique since the seller openly admits, "Note that most areas are no longer allowing flat caches to be placed on Electrical Boxes. This is a safety issue. Check with your local reviewer." At least the seller is part right, if a reviewer is aware of this type container, he or she will certainly ask for a verification of permission since I've never seen a utility say, 'Sure, put something on our electrical junction. We're not worried a bit about liability." I never review for safety. It's not my job. Cache owners accept all that risk, but I will ask questions when something is placed where it doesn't seem likely permission would be granted.

I've seen ChapStick tubes used as cache containers. I would never call them with a "time-tested design with the snuggly fitted cap will keep the included color logsheet dry." These containers are a ticket to five quick needs maintenance logs for your wet paper logs.

This Etsy seller never read the part of the guidelines which state, "Geocaches are never buried, neither partially nor completely. If one has to dig or create a hole in the ground when placing or finding a geocache, it is not allowed." There's something about the sentence, "You bury it nearly flush with the ground then set the bottle in it and put the lid on it." which clearly conflicts with the Cache Listing Guidelines.

I also wonder how many times the Etsy seller offering US Military Shovels has read the buried cache section of the Cache Listing Guidelines. Surely, if the seller had read the guidelines, he or she would probably realize the sentence, "These are great for Camping, Geocaching, or just to keep inside your car for emergencies." on the Etsy page offering this item doesn't make much sense. Who needs a shovel for geocaches when they are never buried?

The problem with gimmick caches is most people who have cached for a while have seen anything that is offered commercially as a cache container. In the end, creating gimmick and gadget caches that meet the guidelines takes creativity and handworking skills. The best gadget cachers have