Friday, January 11, 2008

Geo Crossing Letters

When life gets too closed in & chaotic for the kids and me, I often plan a big outdoor activity for the next day to give us all a chance to refuel and step away from the house. With mice in the house, unpacking laundry from our Kentucky adventure, and Tom reintigrating back into our family life, Tuesday was definitely one of those days.

Except, I had to be at court in Fairfax by 9 AM...just in case I had to make a court appearance...In otherwords, I didn't know if my guilty plea and check (fine) had been received in time (for driving with expired tags), and I did not want to be found guilty for failure to appear, too, so I showed up, checked the roster, and moved on. YAY!! Yay, I'm guilty? No, no. Yeah, I planned ahead! Driving 45 minutes out to Fairfax to check a board for one minute, walk out & drive the second half of a round trip is an irresponsible waste of resources (gas, time, money...).

So....I had printed up two geocaches to hunt for with the kiddos (Thanks, Bret & Denise!), had one book under my arm to send off into the wild for a bookcrossing, and knew of a Reston letterbox we could find if everyone was still up for it after Fairfax. Knowing it was our first time to geocache and to bookcross, my expectations were low, so the letterbox was thrown in as a satisfaction case the others didn't fly too high.

We started here:

Logan was so ready for this adventure that he bolted out of the car & found himself a walking stick!

I don't know if Teagan had any idea what we were up to, but she knew "Go-Go" and I were excited, so she ran after him at full pace--her newly designed handmade Mrs. Flower skirt blowing in the breeze (Thank you so much Pammy!).

The clues talked about old trees, dead stumps and a camouflaged container. There were a LOT of large dead trees, many eroding stumps, and also a TON or thorns. In case you didn't consider it (like I didn't), tule & thorns are bad company. I had to keep Teagan on the edges or in my arms to avoid destroying her pretty dress-up skirt.

We searched for a L..O..N..G.. time around about six or more rotting stumps...and we found no long container except this:

...which I knew was too small for a Beanie Baby (the listed last item dropped here...). There was a large blue open Igloo cooler across a river--& we bushwacked over to it but found it full of water...

So, we gave up the hunt with agreement that we had Given It Our Best Effort. Logan was so pleasantly not upset! The kids & I galloped up to the large playground and made more fun without a Beanie Baby in hand, but I could not let go of this mental trap...there is a geocache in there somewhere!!

Well, we had another geocache to look for, anyway, and it was just around the corner, so we parked in the back of a little store, in an open parking lot where the clues advised we use stealth to slip down a steep bank & find a mini cache in the hollow of a tree...

Someone from inside stepped out to see what I was up to as I stepped about ten feet from the car, leaving the kids in my sights, and found the hollow to be...hollow! So, geocache failure #2. Still, the kids' spirits were high, & I wanted to peel out of that ASAP since the business owner was looking wildly suspicious of my side activities along the stream behind the cemetery...

So, I went to see if we could find a book that had been left the previous night by a bookcrosser--it, too, was simply around the corner. Fewer than 24 hours had passed, but I was pretty confident it would have been lifted by then. Still, it was worth the peek at Pump #8...

No book. The managers didn't have a book in lost & found, either. Will give that another go another time. Was excited to have dropped off Jimmy Carter's Our Endangered Values in the women's handicapped stall at the Fairfax courthouse earlier, anyway, to get my foot in the game.

So, now we're playing two games, and we're on to Number Three! We drove to Lake Anne Plaza in Reston to find a very special hidden treasure letterbox (the location of which I will not reveal--but you can look it up here. Logan & Teagan enjoyed stamping away as I filled in our journal with the day's multiple-step adventures. What fun--we found a hitchhiker in the box & left one, too.

So, you think I'm speaking a foreign language? No, I'm teaching my children geography, patience and critical thinking! Man, homeschooling has its great days, doesn't it!?


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a blast. Many days I wish I were not the breadwinner here. Skirt looks cute. Glad she likes it. Love, PM

Bret said...

(I'm going to try to post to your blog - when I click in, it automatically switched over to Polish (ugh!), so who knows if this will post correctly). Great try at geocaching - make sure that you bring the GPS with you to find the exact location. Hints are helpful, but the coords. will get you right on top of it! Otherwise, it may be close to impossible to find the hidden treasure.

We found our first geocoin today, so we were really excited! We are going to take it to Holland with us next month so it can continue on it's European adventure. Good luck on all your adventures! ~Bret

ModMomMuse said...


To clarify--we were using our GPS. Garmin handheld. The very model they try to sell as the way to get started. Tom got it for me for our anniversary in August! YAY!! It's blue.