Monday, October 11, 2010

Geocaching in Atlanta Part 2

On September 30th, Gail, Shruti and I decided to spend part of the morning doing the USAA geocaching challenge. We had a chance to win an ipad and some t-shirts. It wasn't the kind of geocaching where you find a container with a log book. Instead it was the kind where you collect specifc data at the coordinates. These kinds of caches are called virtual caches. This challenge took us on a tour of the area around our hotel. The most interesting location was the SunTrust building. The coordinates took us inside the building to a hanging statue that the security guard told us that even though it appears to be moving, it's not. It's actually the earth rotating around it. We completed the challenge but all three of us came up empty handed at the draw.

While we were completing the USAA geocaching challenge, we found a real geocache. We found 'Arms Wide Open'. It was Shruti who spotted the cache under the statue's shoe. It was definitely a clever hide. Later in the day, I had some time to myself and decided to find 'Shining Light #2'. The cache page explains that a shining light award is given each year to recognize "a Georgian who has been an inspiration to the lives of others through service to humanity. A gas lamp and plaque is installed in their honor at a site of their choice." This cache was a nano cache. This is the smallest kind of cache container. The cache has a magnet on it and it was placed on one of the screws on the back of the plaque so it looks like it belongs there.

October 1st was a busy day for me so I only had a chance to look for a cache right before heading over to Sponsor Night at the Georgia Aquarium. Just before heading out to look for a cache I ran into Terri and she was interested in helping me look. We headed to 'Allons-y Alonso' which I wanted to do because of its French name. We ended spending several minutes looking in some trees without having any luck. It finally occured to me that it might be a lamp post skirt cache. This is a cache that is hidden near the bottom of a lamp post. You need to lift the 'skirt', a metal piece near the bottom of a lamp post, in order to find the cache. That's exactly where it was. We had to be discreet since there were a couple of cab drivers parked close by.

I decided that on October 2nd, our last full day in Atlanta, I would geocache for most of the day. I made a plan with my husband, Tom, to complete the 'Downtown U Web Cam Cache'. A webcam cache requires to you to have your picture taken by a webcam. They usually suggest that once you are at the spot, to call a friend with your cellphone and have them save a picture on their computer. I do not own a cellphone so Tom and I made a plan for me to be at the location from 11:00am to 11:05am. It all worked out and Tom was able to get a picture of me in from the webcam. Next, I walked to the state capitol to attempt '23 Karat Dome'. Unfortunately, there were too many people around and I wasn't able to find this one without being spotted.

After lunch I completed 'Reading Rainbow Cache'. This one, like 'Quilt of Nations', was a multi. The first stage took me to a statue and I had to count the number of books in it. After a few calculations with this number, I had the coordinates for the final. This took me to the Atlanta-Fulton County Library. In order to find the exact location, I had to some research on the internet. I had to find four numbers and do some more calculations to get another number. This number turned out to be a Dewey decimal classification number. So I made my way to the books with this number and started looking for the cache. I had done a similar cache in Montreal a couple of years ago where the cache was in the book "Geocaching for Dummies". This time the cache wasn't in a book but stuck using a magnet to the bottom of a shelf.

The next cache I attempted was 'Gone With The Wind'. It took me to the cemetery where Margaret Mitchell, the author of Gone With The Wind, was buried. This cemetery, the Oakland Cemetery, is one of the oldest cemeteries in Atlanta. Unfortunately, I was unable to find this cache. The cemetery also has two virtual caches here which I found. The first virtual cache I found was a monument to the Confederate dead that was dedicated April 26th, 1894. It is called 'The Lyin' Cache'. After collecting some information from the monument and a headstone of confederate soldier, I was on my way to the other virtual cache in the cemetery called 'The Master'. This brought me to the headstone of Bobby Jones, one of golf's greatest players. To complete this cache, I had to collect some information from one of the headstone's close to Bobby Jones'. Once I got back to my hotel later that day, I emailed the cache owners the information and was them able to log my finds.

Later that day, Gail, Terri, Shruti and I wanted to try out The Varsity and there happened to be some caches on the way there. We ended up not finding two of them but we did find the one at The Varsity called 'What'll Ya Have?'. It was another lamp post skirt cache. On the cache page, it recommended trying the chilidogs, onion rings, glorified steaks and frosted orange drinks. Since I wasn't all that hungry, I tried the onion rings and a frosted orange. I always love places like this because they do fast food the way I imagine it used to be done and their portion sizes aren't ridiculously huge.

On Sunday October 3rd, I only had time to find one cache. Gail, Terri, Shruti and I headed back to one of the caches we couldn't find the night before called 'Atlas Shrugged'. It's a statue of Atlas holding an advertisement. During our initial search we didn't have the hint (it was "Do you really kneed one?"). This made all the difference and we easily found it this time. Also during our initial search for this cache, a guy in his car stopped at the light asked "Are you geocaching?". I guess four girls frisking a statue isn't very subtle.

Before putting 'Atlas Shrugged' back, I grabbed a travel bug from the cache. A travel bug is an item that is moved from cache to cache which is logged each time it is moved. The travel bug I took from 'Atlas Shrugged' is called Maori Ducky and is trying to get to the South Island of New Zealand. This is a map of its travels to date.

During my 6 day stay in Atlanta, I managed to find 13 geocaches. Not a huge amount but not bad considering how busy I was with the conference and that I mainly got around Atlanta by walking. A lot of these caches took me to places I never would have known about and made sightseeing more interesting.


Terri Oda said...

I had *so* much fun geocaching in Atlanta that I've already made my boyfriend promise we can do some in the San Francisco bay area next time I go down there to visit. So excited! Maybe next I'll have to invest in a gps (or better map software for the one in my phone) so I don't need a partner with the right hardware. :)