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Cacher of the Month - December 2009
bert, grover, elmo, ernie
I have known "grover" for a long time but did not know he was a geocacher until we ran into each other at the Oak Hammock Marsh event. This has renewed our friendship and we now get together for caching excursions whenever we can, and our kids really enjoy playing with each other at the events. The Muppets, as I call them, are also an interesting cacher right now as they are on a LONG caching streak, I think it is getting close to 200 days now! I highly recommend them for cacher of the month!
- When did you start Geocaching?
A certain silver-haired turdle introduced 'grover' to geocaching. We were having lunch a year-and-a-half-ago (June 19 2008), catching up and such. As we sat on the patio on Provencher Avenue, 'grover' started asking him about GPS receivers; 'grover' was interested in the car navigation kind and was pretty sure "TurdleEggs" would be able to offer some good advice. He started talking about his hobby called geocaching and suggested we go find a cache (there was one less than 70m away). So we finished up our lunch, he handed 'grover' his GPSr and off we went to A Cache for OHMIC - Redux (quack, quack). 'grover' was intrigued because it was "hidden" in plain site. 'grover' was in awe that something was out here in downtown Winnipeg, easily visible by anyone who cared to pay attention; dozen/hundreds(?) of people would walk past it every day, never paying any attention to it. 'grover' was intrigued that such a thing could exist.
- How did you find out about Geocaching?
A few weekends later, 'grover' rented a Garmin Geko from Tourisme Riel, to see if the kids would be interested in this interesting spy-like hobby. So, 'grover' and 'bert' headed out that summer afternoon. After getting covered head to toe in mosquito bites we had discovered that we'd been gone for seven hours and had found 6 of 8 caches. 'bert' loved the treasures she'd found and wanted to head back out again the next day! We were hooked.
- What was it about geocaching that got you hooked into the game?
It was several weeks later before we purchased a GPSr (an eternity for 'grover').
The thrill of the hunt, being outdoors, cartography, technology, exploration, the "secretive society" aspect, and finding/discovering amazing locations and history within our own city that we'd never know about if it weren't for geocaching; that's what got us hooked in the game.
- Have you cached in any other provinces, countries?
The Muppets went down to Minneapolis this past summer so we had a chance to cache in North Dakota and Minneapolis. (We recommend the Clifton E. French Regional Park area in Plymouth, MN). Also, 'grover' went on a road trip with some buddies to Las Vegas, so he picked up caches in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota.
The Sesame Street gang does like to travel, but unfortunately over the last year and half (since we started geocaching), those have been the only two trips we've been on. Hopefully more trips are in our immediate future.
- Have you ever introduced someone to geocaching? If so, who?
Google Eyes, dr1ft3r, HongKongElroy&Co, boomboombubba, Geranimal, and FastEddie (who tragically has passed away recently). In addition, two other couples who are friends of ours have recently joined the cacher fraternity.
- How do you describe the sport of Geocaching to your family and friends who haven't tried it yet?
We usually say it's a treasure hunt that our kids really like, but 'grover' also likes quoting the line about "using multi-billion dollar military equipment to find Tupperware in the forest."
- What are other interests or hobbies that you have (please go into detail / accomplishments)?
'grover' is into hockey (playing ice hockey, watching NHL games, stats, running fantasy leagues), golf, collecting, as well as Star Trek.
'elmo' enjoys baking, scrap-booking, personalized card-making, and collecting Coca Cola memorabilia.
We both enjoy geocaching together, as well as traveling, skiing, hosting, reading, and spending time with the younger members of the Sesame Street gang. We are also actively involved with our local church community (Soul Sanctuary).
- What are some things you don't like about geocaching? What are your pet peeves?
Mosquitoes, extreme cold, and shortened daylight hours in the dead of winter.
(None of which has stopped the Muppet gang yet).
- What is the most interesting/unusual place that geocaching has taken you?
One of the things we love about geocaching is the amazing and sometimes strange places it has taken us, both close to home and elsewhere. The Muppets would love to return to Yellowstone National Park one day -- that was an awesome experience for 'grover'.
- What is the most memorable cache that you have found (or tried to find?)?
We'd have to say Cache Derby, a Trove Chasers masterpiece. It took three tries but once we found it, we were ecstatic. It was so very well done. It is currently archived, but rumour has it the Troves are working on reviving it.
- What is your favorite Caching Story?
On a cold winter day in February, 'grover' got an email from TurdleEggs. It turns out that OHMIC was organizing a snow-shoeing expedition out to Willow Island Cache, a "boat only" cache in the middle of the Netley Marsh area of southern Lake Winnipeg. We were joined by MuStash, as well as the cache owner (netleyhunter), and OHMIC's current couch-surfer Brain-san. The weather was cold, the hike long and barren, but it was a fabulous experience and 'grover' would love to do similar group adventures.
'grover' and 'elmo' organized another fun group outing to tackle Are You Afraid of the Dark? night cache. We arranged to meet GeoPahkers, Google Eyes, Cache and Cary, and ran into gotour already at the cache site. It was a gorgeous fall evening (warm and no mosquitoes) and we were prepared for Captain Cheater's evil antics. What an enjoyable night.
(We love night caches and caching with friends. Those are two things we can't get enough of!)
- What items if any do you carry with you when you go on a hunt?
For urban/city finds, 'grover' usually just carries his GPSr and a pen. Usually the vehicle is never far away with cache repair items, rubber boots, a selection of trade items, etc. For larger finds or longer hikes, we try to bring along a camera and whatever else we think will help along the journey and might be required to retrieve the target container.
- What kind of GPSr do you use?
An unexciting but reliable Garmin eTrex Legend HCx.
'elmo' recently made an amazing birthday cake version of it for grover's birthday (see photo).
- What methods do you use to avoid muggle detection?
The littlest Muppets provide unbelievable cover. You can pretty much get away with all kinds of unusual things when you've got kids with you.
- What is the meaning of your username?
ernie&bert&elmo&grover is obviously a reference to Sesame Street and harkens back to grover's childhood. At the same time that 'grover' needed to choose a username for www.geocaching.com, he was also in the middle of writing a speech for his younger sister's wedding that same month. As he reminisced about his childhood, there was one story that was prominent in his mind and would feature notably in his speech...
Little 'grover' and his sister had an Ernie doll (or as 'grover' would call it, an action figure) that we shared. We did everything with this little doll and played with it often. We loved Ernie so much that he eventually lost an eye, his hair was all matted and falling off, and his guts were spilling out. Our parents had finally had enough with this ratty old doll and they threw it in the trash. We of course mercifully rescued him. So to appease us, our parents purchased each of us matching replacement Ernie dolls (er, action figures) so that the original could finally rest in peace (pieces). And obviously they couldn't get us one Ernie and one Bert because we'd likely fight over who got to have the Ernie. With that out of the way, we conducted an appropriate funeral service and painstakingly moved on with our new toys. Of course now they couldn't both be called Ernie, because that would be too confusing. So out of respect to their predecessor, the new additions to our family were named Ern and Ernado. Whenever our cousins came over they'd play with our Ernie dolls, so we finally got them each their own Ernie dolls as well (which we named Ernesto and Ernaldo).
So anyhoo... when it came time to hit "Submit" on the geocaching registration page, the best 'grover' could come up with for a username was a Sesame Street character for each member of our family. 'ernie' and 'bert' are the two youngest cachers in our clan. Daddy was assigned 'grover' because he also had a Super Grover character hanging from the rearview mirror of his first car when he was a teenager. (Come on, who doesn't think Super Grover is cool)?
Now the kids have their own ernie and bert dolls with which to create their own Sesame Street memories (and 'grover' still has his Super Grover mirror ornament!)
- What was the most memorable travel bug that you have found?
Sibling Rivalry - Brother Steve is a cool concept. Two brothers both launched travel bugs and each is in a race with the other to see which one reaches its destination in British Columbia first.
American Atlas is actually a pocket travel atlas who's goal was to visit every state and province listed inside it.
- Which geocachers do you respect or standout to you the most?
Anyone who has taken the time and spent their own money to place a cache is worthy of our gratitude. Thank you very much.
We specifically enjoy the very creative and challenging hides placed by Trove Chasers and Z'tirnats and Z'ad. Also, the GeoPahkers are two of the most generous and friendliest cachers we've ever met. 'grover' worked with TurdleEggs for many years (in fact, 'grover' sat right beside him until he moved to a different building) and he always had a story to tell. Caching with the turdle is ideal for anti-muggle detection. No matter what, he'll strike up a conversation with a complete stranger anywhere, anytime; freeing you up to search without being detected. OHMIC has such an infectious personality ('grover' wants to be just like OHMIC when he grows up). And we'd like to also mention the Bergmannfamily, who always astonish us with the sheer number and quality of hides. There are so many more geocachers we'd like to mention; everyone we've met over the last year and half have been great and very friendly. We plan on attending more events and hopefully get to know even more of you.
- With whom do you normally go geocaching?
The Muppets have been out geocaching with Google Eyes, because Cookie Monster and Oscar are usually busy. We've also cached with trag_cachers, TurdleEggs, mukmak, Cache and Cary, GeoPahkers, and boomboombubba. 'grover' has also had an opportunity to cache with OHMIC (which is always a lot of fun), Lizardo and MuStash, (all great people) and would very much welcome future caching expeditions. And also running into yellow_sunflowers plenty of times on the hunt for FTFs makes it seem like we've done quite a bit of caching together.
- If you could cache anywhere in the world, where would you like to go?
There's plenty of places the Muppets would like to visit... Australia, Hong Kong, Iceland, Greece, Antarctica, Czech Republic. You name the place, we'd love to go there.
- Is there a challenging local cache you have in your sights right now? Which one?
Our list of DNF's is quite extensive. A few of the caches that have eluded us so far include Just another park cache, Hundred Acre Wood Resurrected, Peek-A-Boo, and Bridge Over the River ....Why?
We're also currently working on OBG Bingo (scheduled to be completed on May 19, 2010), Cachettributes, and Winnie's Big Cache.
- Of your placed caches, which is your favorite? Why?
Cars & Cliffs is a short 2-stage multi that highlights two great locations in the non-restricted part of Victoria Beach. It is our first hide and it spotlights two things which we love about geocaching: taking us to terrific out-of-the-way places and finding the unexpected. The cache at the final stage takes some effort to find (bring gloves) but we hope that other cachers find it as rewarding as we did when we first discovered this area.
- Can you play a musical instrument?
'Elmo' plays the piano and flute; 'bert' is learning piano; little 'ernie' bangs on his drum, his blocks, his trucks, ... However, 'grover' is musically illiterate.
- How far from your house is the nearest unfound cache?
There's a multi (it's currently missing) that's 1.3kms away, but it's on the other side of the river. And there's a Difficulty 4.5 cache less than 1.5kms away which 'grover' has had no luck at twice so far.
- Besides your GPSr, what other tools (electronic or otherwise), or software do you make use of?
GSAK and pocket queries are extremely helpful. We also use Garmin's MapSource to backup our Found caches. We would like to move to paperless caching if we could find some decent software to synchronize GSAK's waypoint database over to grover's iPaq Windows Mobile device.
- Do you use your GPSr for other reasons other than Geocaching?
More and more we are making use of the GPSr for traveling (it's great for helping to not get lost when you're not familiar with an area).
- What is in your iPod/CD player right now?
Our musical tastes are varied. 'grover' enjoys everything from alternative rock, jazz, to classical music. (Mostly anything that sounds good; except of course rap, country and techno. 'elmo' is into contemporary pop and alt rock.
Previous Cachers of the Month