Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Geocaching Success!

I told you last week about this new adventure that my family has decided to embark on. I also told you about the incredible deal that I found online for a second-hand GPS unit.

First I want to give you a little more info on the GPS. I ordered a retired rental unit from a company in Wisconsin, gpsrentals.biz. I spoke with the owner of the company over the phone and was very impressed when he offered me a 6-month guarantee on the operation of the unit. I ordered it on Tuesday afternoon. It was delivered Thursday afternoon, after travelling cross-country to get to me. Honestly the packaging had me a little concerned because it appeared worse for the wear. But, inside I found all of this.

The unit turned right on (batteries included), and is in fine working order. Honestly, the only thing that makes it noticeably used is the identification number that is written on the back of the unit.

I told you this was an incredible deal. Let me share just how incredible. You can see HERE that Amazon sells this unit new for $279.95, with a suggested retail of $321.49. I paid $75 plus $10 shipping. (!!!)

Gpsrentals.biz only has these units for sale occasionally. But, I did check this morning and they are still showing available units for sale. They also have automobile GPS units. I've not tried the rental option with this company, but with my experience in purchasing I feel very comfortable recommending them.

There is a bit of a learning curve on handheld GPS units. They do not operate like the automobile version at all. And frankly, the manual is about as clear as mud. But, I was able to muddle through it and figure out how to enter coordinates.

Yesterday, on our way to Harpers Ferry with my folks (who are visiting from South Carolina), we decided to try and locate our first cache. I chose this one carefully from the Geocaching website. I wanted to make sure it was one that we could find! So, I chose a location that we are somewhat familiar with in our small town. I also chose a chache that is larger in size.

Success! This cache was very easily found (with hints from the website and the GPS coordinates). We signed the log and traded trinkets, and my boys were hooked on treasure hunting. The top photo is my boys and I with our first find! (Yes, that's a do-rag...my hubby and I were riding the Harley.)

I plan to pick up a glass jar, like an apothecary jar, to house all of our trades. I think this is going to be a great memory-maker for our family.

On our way back from Harpers Ferry, we decided to pull into another area close to the first for another hunt. This one was in a parking lot for a local grocery store. I have discovered that you need to be a little comfortable with strange looks from others while you poke around in the shrubbery of a public place. But, if you coupon the way I do, you are no stranger to odd looks from others.

This cache was more stealthily hidden, and frankly I had given up. Then my dad decided to give it as shot. In about 2 minutes, he had located it. This one was a 35mm film canister, embedded in a fake rock. Yeah...wow! Obviously this one had no room for trinkets, but there was a log to sign. The photo below shows me, my oldest son, and my dad. I am holding the rock...that was in the shrubbery, under mulch.

Thankfully, the geocaching site has a rating system for the difficulty of the find, and the terrain where a cache is hidden. If you've ever considered trying Geocaching, I highly recommend it. Treasure hunting is fun. I did my happy dance when we found the first one ;)

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