Saturday, April 10, 2010

GPS & Wonders of the World

Go ahead... sing it with me:
"Yes, I love technology... but not as much as..."
Well, whatever, I do.  And this week in Petra I got to break out my Garmin eTrex for geocaching fun.  Geocaching is 21st century treasure hunting for the common man.  The good folks at geocaching.com log the location of small caches hidden all over the globe.  Some are just a film canister with paper and pen to record your visit.  Others are ammo boxes filled with trinkets and goodies to share: leave one &take one!  You find the "treasure" by entering the coordinates into a GPS and following the trail.  Some are cleverly hidden and others, such as the one I found at Petra, are just out in the open.
Our first caching trip was with Shannon & Melissa a few years ago.  It was a mad dash across Columbia on a dreary day, from roadside caches on Hwy 63 to a monster box of stuff in Cosmo park.  In all I think we found 4 or 5 caches within a 15 minute drive of our house.

When we came to Jordan, I knew there were caches in some of the parks, but this week was the first time I went searching.  I downloaded the coordinates for several caches into my eTrex and while we were marching around Petra, kept watch on where we were in relation to them.  Sure, enough.  We got up to the Monastery and I knew we were close.  The instructions mentioned a tent manned by Maria from the Canary Islands and her Bedouin boyfriend, Attallah.  I walked in and introduced myself.  After some small talk about his family (a newborn kept Maria back in the village) and my quest, he reached back in the tent and said, "You mean this?  I didn't know what it was!"  I exchanged my travel bug for a nice butterfly coin.  

My bug and the coin are coded to allow for tracking.  I assigned a "mission" to my bug to get back to Missouri.  The next geocacher who finds my bug will take it to another site and so on, until it reaches its destination.  The butterfly has to get back to its owner in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.  I'll take it with me to drop in another cache along the way.

GPS isn't just for finding the next Wendy's!  (Altho', I really like Wendy's and wouldn't mind a Baconator right about now...)

3 comments:

Amanda said...

Scott you constantly amaze me with the things you show me. If it isn't a small art gallery in down town Ceder Rapids, IA or a filthy rock shop on the MO/IA border, its something called a geocache. These things now total have me attention and mostly because they start with geo:) Good stuff my friend!! Hope yours finds its way home soon???

Anonymous said...

Ah, what great memories, Scuzi. Thanks for the shout-out (:
I really like what you're doing with the bug tracking. Keep us updated!
-shelissa.

Sara said...

I was just looking at the geocaching website the other day. I had never heard of it until then, but it sounds totally awesome. I should have known you'd be geocaching!