Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: I don't do puzzle caches, but . . .

Musings about Geocaching

Friday, July 29, 2005

I don't do puzzle caches, but . . .

A couple of weeks ago, P.T. and I found a new cache called "Excuses, Excuses." In it I picked up a different Travel Bug with a laminated tag. Printed on it was a very strange sort of code, and there was a key attached to the tag. Odd, very odd. I didn't know what it meant, but P.T. did. It had to do with a puzzle cache she had looked at, but couldn't do anything with until she got one of the two Travel Bugs associated with it.

I remember looking at that puzzle page a few months ago and being completely baffled. I tend to see things in a very literal way, so when I read "Zis Is KAOS, Ve Don’t Bush-vaak Here!," and didn't see anything else on the page, I got an instant headache and vowed to ignore the puzzle caches in my Pocket Queries from then on.

So, this being the case, I logged the Travel Bug and then gave it to P.T.

By the following week, P.T. had found the web site that had the "Dead Spy Scrawl" code on it and had figured out the coordinates to the "Larabee" cache. So, off we went to the Scripp's Ranch area to find Larabee.

The coordinates put us near a residential street corner up on a hill where some vicious sawgrass grew in profusion. We walked up to the cache location and looked for a while and then realized we needed our walking sticks so we went back to the car and retrieved them.

Just after starting the search again, P.T. got a really bad cut on one of her fingers. It vas KAOS trying to foil us in our mission. I said that sawgrass was vicious . . .

Finally, P.T. spotted the little waterproof match container. Inside was a message stating that we had just missed Larabee, but he left us the coordinates to a location where we could find him.

So, off we went to another spot where we finally were able to use the key. There were many, many black widow spiders guarding Larabee's control center.

We found an electrical box that held a CD player and a set of headphones. Through the headphones we heard FlagMan's voice, in his best spy accent, giving us one-half of the coordinates to the final cache location. In order to get the other half, we had to retrieve Agent 99, the other Travel Bug.

We went to the closest library and looked up the TB on the web site. Oh dear! She was in a puzzle cache -- "Blueprint." And this was one P.T. had looked at, but didn't have a clue about.

A week went by and with some clues and hints from the new cache owners, P.T. was able to figure out "Blueprint." We went to find the cache first thing Tuesday. Getting to the cache was scary because we were following a concrete "spillway." Even with my trusty Chaco sandals on, I slipped and nearly fell right where there was some nasty broken glass.

The cache was well-stocked with good swag. We looked through it and the log book and then grabbed the Agent 99 TB and took off. We used the "Dead Spy Scrawl" code to figure out the coordinates to the cache location and headed there (after P.T. let me find a cache, "Slither," located nearby that she had found months ago.)

At Agent 99's location, which was a little "pocket park," the tree cover was so heavy we couldn't get good readings on our GPSrs. Mine sort of took me to a tree, and a pipe, similar to the one near Larabee. However, I didn't think a good spy would be that predictible . . . or would he?

Anyway, we gave up after a long time searching and headed to the library to see if we could get any hints from the past logs. Once there we discovered the effect of recent cutbacks in city expenditures. The library was closed. Foiled again. So, we decided to call FlagMan and Chuy for a lifeline. Chuy called back and gave us a major spoiler, and when we returned, my GPSr pointed right in that direction . . .

So, now we had the coordinates to the container where we would presumably use the key. We put those on the map and headed in that direction after parking in some nearby shade on a side street.

Unlike the other MP3 player, this one wouldn't work. We followed the instructions, but it was soon evident that Agent 99 was ill and unavailble. So, we had to call our lifeline again. FlagMan called right back, but since he didn't have access to his computer, and the coordinates, he gave us verbal instructions to the final cache location.

That was strange . . . Here we were with our GPSrs at the ready, and we were following scribbled instructions on a piece of scrap paper.

Once we hiked up to the pad for the power transmission tower, we walked over to a likely location for the cache. It seemed to include one of the things FlagMan mentioned in his description. However, without a GPSr, it wasn't easy to know where in the 200' circle we should really be looking. So we made another call to FlagMan, and then another to Chuy. His memory of the cache location was excellent and he directed us to another portion of the circle . Fairly quickly, I spotted the typical FlagMan container under the iceplant near a bush.

There was some great swag in the container and since I really like pocket knives, I traded for an Outside Magazine give-away knife.

Before leaving the final spy location, I took a picture of this very pretty flower that has managed to bloom despite the July heat and lack of rain for the past couple of months.

After finding seven cache locations and figuring out two puzzle caches, we had only two smilies on the website, but we had lots of fun in the process as evidenced by P.T.'s log for the cache.

A chance encounter with Larabee started this mission. Larabee raced ahead and eluded us. We found him after I suffered a devastating wound from the traps set by KAOS agents when I was cut by some leftover plants from Operation Starch. Later that same day there were more KAOS barriers with poisonous black widow spiders guarding Larabee's final retreat. Fortunately we were able to execute plan 6-FC with no casualties. Agent 99 proved more difficult to locate. Our intelligence divison issued a Magenta Alert and managed to to snatch her from the evil (KAOS?) cave of The Blueprint. Once free, she led us to a spot where we had to institute emergency phone plan 17 to contact the former CONTROL agent, Chuy. When we reached Agent 99's final location, it appeared KAOS had attempted a Greenvault Manuever. Finally with the assist of the chief and reactivated CONTROL agent Chuy and unfortunately, without agent Geepius, we located the final destination. We were thrilled that KAOS had not discovered CONTROL's treasure trove.


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