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Friday, October 24, 2008

HeadHardHat Graphic For HooHaa TB Race

Ya know, when you have a taste for doing graphics and about a billion pieces of clip art sometimes the results can be fun. Here is my first of what will be no doubt dozens of cartoons featuring our eight HooHaa TB Racers.

Shown is Just A Nut about to give the other racers a little bolt from the blue.

Please be sure to check out the race score board in the bottom right of my blog. Also there is an area to type in your favorite smackdowns.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

WITW is Pete the Parrot - Haj Pete !

Just a quick note that my TB buddy Pete the Parrot has landed in Eda Glasbruk, Sweden. The cache is called Gamla Bron (GC1EAZF). Well they did say he was moving south and I guess from Norway.... that would be south.. Tropics, think tropics.... You can keep up with Pete by visiting his web page by using TB21K5T at geocaching.com or go here http://www.geocaching.com/track/details.aspx?id=1484152

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

All Weather Cachers Take on the Fall Fling 2008

Sure the weather was a whole lot nicer early in the week. The mid eighties and sun gave way to upper fifties and rain but did that dampen the spirit of our finest North Carolina geocachers? Oh I say, "nay".

The Third Annual Fall Fling was held at Falls Lake State Park which is about 15 miles due north of Raleigh, NC. It is a very scenic park filled with trails, trees, wild critters and Falls Lake. The lake is completely different in appearance than from 12 months ago. Last year at this time Falls Lake was more like Falls two streams. You could walk in many spots from one island to the next. Now with a larger amount of rainfall and a tropical storm or two the lake is at capacity and in all it's splendor. Speaking of rainfall I personally wondered if the Fling was even going to happen this year. As I said before the week was picture perfect North Carlina weather with sun and the temps in the 80s. On Friday everything changed, the temps dropped and the rain came down in sheets. I drive past Falls Lake on my way home and I had a hard time seeing the road. I thought of stopping by but thought better of it based on what I was seeing. Once in my nice dry homestead I checked out our NCGO forums to see what was going on. I did not find much about the event except for an entry that someone else stopped by as well and the bonfire was in full swing. The tent camping cachers were having a blast even though the rain was turning out to be a bit "challenging". With that I headed to bed feeling fully geeked for Saturdays activities.

I awoke to thankfully no rain and found my long pointy stick to wake up Daughter Geoness from her slumbers. You have to be careful with pre-teens as they awaken, they bite. It only took a couple good prods to finally get her moving and also the promise of some breakfast helped. We packed the cachemobile and headed north to the event coordinates. It took me about 45 minutes to weave the winding roads to FF Central. I was a few minutes early for registration and already I could see Horsegeeks and Billwolf1 getting the grills ready. They were in charge of the food for the day and because of that I knew we were in for some serious eats. Personally I have a huge weak spot for Horsegeek's Shrimp 'n Grits but that is another story. As Daughter Geoness and I walked up to the park community center I was greeted by some of the cachers who survived last nights deluge. To my surprise only one tent camper had to sleep in the car but everyone else stayed dry and toasty as best they could. If the spirits were dampended you sure could not tell by the friendly smiles on all the early risers.

Anytime you come early to an event you are there to help setup. No one likes setup but when you get enough people together it is a lot less stressful. So chores like sign hanging, table placement, kitchen detail including the unloading of a ton of food and libations the morning started moving along. The weather was not terrible outside. There was some wind which was blowing inland off of the lake, a bit chilly. The sun was trying to peak from behind the clouds and actually did make some headway by the afternoon. I asked Daughter Geoness to do camera duty whilst I found out what mini events that would be going on today. There of course was the Carolina Cache 'N Dash where teams found well hidden caches that contained different interesting and sometimes scary tasks to complete to gain points. I don't want to get into details but lets just say there were more moons out than the one in the sky -=shudder=-. Then came the Geo-Olympics at the Beach, Daughter Geoness had fun as did a gaggle of other young cachers. I was helping setup the tshirt pickup spot and I could hear them laughing from here. I think one of the biggest kicks for the kids was the Ammo Box Painting. I wish I can find out who donated the boxes but there were a ton of them. The look on the little tykes faces was priceless and I have to be honest I wouldn't have minded picking up a half dozen myself, but I digress. Finishing the kids activities was of course the pinata; kids, candy, paper mache and a big stick, good times.

So what did Daughter Geoness and I do while all of this fun, friendship and well, fun going on? Glad you asked, we worked. I thought the other officers of the NCGO are always busting their butts doing things for our enjoyment, why not give them a break? I didn't even have to ask Miss Geoness, she was helping in the kitchen before I even knew it. She loves to help anyways and when you throw in Horsegeeks and Billwolf1 who she considers as extended grandpas you couldn't drag her away. For me, I had a blast handing out the t-shirts, geocoins and other NCGO stuff. "Isn't that kinda boring?", you might think. Not at all, I was able to meet just about everyone who attended the event one at a time. I had more fun swapping stories, saying hi to familiar faces and greeting others for the first time. To me something like that is worth the full price of admission. It is so easy for everyone to separate and go their own ways. My table was one of the focal points in the event and everyone eventually came over to say hi. I loved it.

For some the best part of a North Carolina Geocaching Event is the potential hunt, others is the fellowship, for this HeadHardHat it's the food. Horsegeeks, Billwolf1, Mrs. Billwolf, Geoness and a host of other people too numerous to mention. Worked all day for something known as Kenny and Celeste's Excellent Meal. Basically take a huge pile of NUM and multiply it by 100. I'm not kidding, good ole southern cooking is alive and well and I could not be more happy or was that hungry? I had to laugh because as the day wore on the smells from the kitchen were overwhelming. Every once and a while Horsegeeks would sneak out a plate of tasty tid bits to wet my appetite. Can we say BBQ? Truly nummy. Then at the designated time the feast began and everyone came a running. There was food everywhere including southern BBQ pork, Horsegeeks famous baked beans, homemade macaroni and cheese, sliced fruit, hamburgers, hot dogs and desserts by the truckload. There was more but I am getting hungry just typing this... be right back...

As the day started to push towards evening and everyone had more than enough to eat. It was time for the day's silent auction and awards ceremony to begin. This year we had about fifty items to bid on and the exchange was heated as usual. One person would put a bit on item 39 and then mosey over to something else of interest. Which gave the next auctioneer a chance to out bit on your item. When the time was up the auction ends and you pays your monies. It's all in good fun and everyone loves the challenge of getting the items they really want.

The final awards went to all the contestants from each of the main events. The most creative that I had seen was the gold painted ammo box medallions awarded to the Geo-Olympics winners. They were real ammo boxes painted gold with red, white and blue ribbons. All the rage in geocaching circles everywhere.

To sum up, I really look forward to every event I am privileged to attend. The people are outstanding and we all have such a good time sharing our experiences, stories and friendships. I bumped into several people who introduced themselves as being first time comers. They sometimes ask "what do we do?". I usually reply for them to relax and to know that they are welcome and they are among friends. You can see the realization in their faces of just that, they are with people who know how to have fun and before you know it the new comers are talking, laughing and having a great time right along side the rest of us. How special it is to be a part of the geocaching community.
Enjoy Our Fall Fling 2008 Slideshow

To View The Entire Album Go Here

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The HooHaa TB Geo-Challenge Race Has Begun

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Travellers!

My Travel Bug "Just A Nut"(TB21K6E) is now active in the HooHaa Geo-Challenge Race. It waits to be picked up in my Oxford TB Hotel (GC1C8A2) and taken on it's TB Race for the most miles tracked within the next year. So from October 16, 2008 - October 16, 2009 eight racers are going to be talking smack and feeling the exhilaration of the adventure to come. We all have blogs, a passion for geocaching and of course smackdown events like this race. Each of us come from different lifestyles and parts of the world. One of us is a Marine, another a professional singer, some are into computers, others into sports writing and some we just can't tell right now. You will have to check out our blogs to figure out who's who. No matter which of us you want to find out more about you are guaranteed a good read.

Just A Nut is made for speed and actually comes from a race car. So it knows how to race and wants to see that checkered flag big time. It doesn't mind drafting behind it's next victim then without warning whips around and flies ahead for the lead. Nothing personal, just part of the game.

I think Just A Nut will continue to show that it is a front runner; a leader. No sitting back in the pack like the rest of the competition. It's pedal to the metal for this hunk of steel. For your convenience I have made a quick viewing section in the bottom right of this blog. You will be able to see all the key information of all the racers. Be sure to send in comments and root for your favorite travel bug. We love hearing from you.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Geo-Challenge Gauntlet Has Been Thrown

Last week I was informed of a geo-challenge made from the owner of a blog known as A ‘lil HooHaa. I of course could not pass up such a challenge and jumped right on board.

This geo-challenge is in fact a year long travel bug race. We have a few more days until it officially begins but already we have blog owners / racers from across the USA, Canada and Japan. The objective is simple, after one year the bug with the most miles wins. Of course the year full of trash talk and ultimate bragging rights is the real draw... There is so much fun with meeting new geocaching friends and even more enjoyment trashing their tb racers as they eat my dust. All the racers and race information will be posted on my and I am sure all the other bloggers sites as well. Go to A 'lil HooHaa's site for all the current details...

Race starts October 16th and I will introduce my racer then....

Monday, October 6, 2008

UNC Jaycee Burn Center Hosts A Geocaching Event For Young Adults

I have said on many an occasion that North Carolina Geocachers are some of the friendliest and giving people I know. This last Saturday I had the privilege to contribute some of my time along side these caring people for a special gathering. The UNC Jaycee Burn Center hosted a World Burn Congress Event. Where a little over a dozen geocachers of the NGCO took about 20 young adults who came from all over the United States geocaching for their first time in Pullen Park (Raleigh, NC).

We all met up at our designated place just as the sun was starting to shine. I could tell already that it was going to be a sparkling day just as so many down here are. The mist was slowly burning off and you could smell the aroma of coffee from my fellow geocacher's liquid breakfast of choice. Once everyone was accounted for we started our first task of the day. Hiding eight special caches around Pullen Park for our young adventurers to find. Within each cache held a log book (of course) and a special activity to be done as each cache was found. Once assigned we then broke up into groups and fired up our GPS units to record each cache's coordinates. Within no time the caches were hid, we finished our coffees and the bus full of future cachers pulled up.

This event was orchestrated by our very own Jessica and Dave who started the event off by having everyone introduce themselves followed by some fun ice breaker activities and an explanation of what geocaching actually is. This was a great way to begin because by the time we were ready to start caching everyone was stretched, relaxed and joking with each other. We divided into three groups of around 11 people each all starting with a different cache to find. Our group called ourselves The Tail Chasers which ironically is a great depiction of what a geocacher looks like when they are close to a cache. That wonderful little dance we do as we circle in to ground zero.

Tally Ho! The hunt was on and as the experienced geocachers explained how a GPS worked the younger set watched intently. Within a few short minutes they were following the electronic arrow to our first geocache. It was obvious that a lot of thought went into each of the eight caches. The cache itself was a medium sized Tupperware container that held a logbook that had to have the group name signed in each and a special activity. Each geared for fun, team building and smoothing personal barriers by giving all involved the feeling of unhindered camaraderie. For example one of our puzzles to figure out was the human knot. We gathered in a circle and everyone held hands creating the knot itself. The idea was to untangle the knot without letting go. We giggled and laughed as the twister like game unfolded ending with all in a large circle.

Pullen Park is a very scenic place filled with the sounds of a fully running carousel and a working railroad. It has a huge picnic area surrounded by lush trees and glistening ponds. As we went from cache to cache within the park we were rewarded by having a ride on the railroad and the carousel as well. We learned history about the park itself and found out that it is the oldest park in North Carolina among other interesting facts. We had a blast with the bean bag toss and learned that hiding a cache in a giant holly bush takes special care but the hunt for the find is a powerful draw.

You could see the enthusiasm in each of our young friends eyes as the morning progressed. Everyone waited anxiously as each of the initial seven caches were opened anticipating what awaited for us next. Then after the seventh activity was completed there was a bonus eighth and final cache to find. Who ever of the three groups that found the eight cache first could claim the golden ticket and would receive first prize for the day. You would think with the incentive of claiming first prize everybody would be hustling to find the golden ticket but instead we enjoyed each others company so much nobody was in a hurry to have the event end. So we all just gabbed and soaked up the North Carolina sunshine enroute to our final destination.

Now with the final cache found it was time to bring this fun filled event to a close. What awaited our newest geocaching friends was a well deserved pizza party and for the rest of us to meet up at a local watering hole to partake in liquid libations and more conversation. As we gave our final hugs and handshakes to each other it was obvious to us that some of these young adventurers will continue in their own personal pursuits of geocaching. Yet more importantly we hoped in some small way to show them that whatever difficulties life has bestowed upon them that there are people who will ignore the superficial and embrace the person within. We wish them all the very best.

If you would like to see all the photos that I had taken at this event please enjoy the slideshow below. If you would like to see them up close just click on the slide show itself. Enjoy.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Where in the World is Pete The Parrot? A Real Party Animal

My little blue feathered party animal Pete the Parrot is on the move again. Seems a very good willed soul knew the winters of Oppland, Norway can be pretty brutal and so Pete is now heading for warmer climates.

So far he has travelled 7453.4 miles and originated in Raleigh, North Carolina. His travels have taken him to not only Norway but he also had a nice stay in Turkey as well.

You can follow my geocaching travel bug Pete by going to http://www.geocaching.com/track/details.aspx?id=1484152. I will be updating a special place in this blog site for those who want to follow this party dude's adventures.