Saturday, November 27, 2010

Houston Geocaching Society Featured Cacher Nov 2010

HGCS: What got you interested in caching?

BaytownBert: Back in 2003, I was introduced to the idea of geocaching by the famous Sam Morrow (UsMorrows). Sam was the Lab Super and since we are both computer nerds, we would share and compare each morning while I was passing by on my rounds. I found about 40 caches before I came to the conclusion my bride was not interested and since I had numerous other hobbies, I decided to drop geocaching in favor of continuing mutual interests. Now years later, I decided it was time I get back to hiking and well, geocaching gives me a reason to be on the trail, plus it’s a reward for the labor.

HGCS: How did you decide on your caching name?

BaytownBert: I’ve been BaytownBert online (300 bps) before Al Gore invented the Internet. I moved to Baytown in 1974 and put down roots. I do my best to promote the city and surrounding area on a daily basis and folks recognize my name for the proactive work I do here and my columns in the Baytown Sun and my blog.

HGCS: When you cache, what equipment do you use? (PDA, Garmin, Magellan, software)

BaytownBert: I use a Garmin Oregon 450 and a Tom-Tom for roads, plus I plot out my agenda/route on paper and print it. I have a love/hate relationship with technology you see and still like to hold paper in my hand. In an emergency, it sure beats leaves. Ever try that with a Smartphone? Sometimes I print out an aerial view of where I am going for reference also. If you walk the Huge Smile series in the near future, you may find one of my plastic sealed maps in a thorny bush area somewhere...feel free to use it (I dropped it - not the other!). I still research each cache and load them singly or update them before I go – I know, I should use pocket queries or GSAK, but I do not. I could use some help here I guess, but being mostly a lobo kind of guy, I just stumble happily through life and then make stupid videos of myself falling down with flatulence sounds.

HGCS: What are your all-time favorite cache(s)?

BaytownBert: I love the long endurance series best of all BBSPES (Brazos Bend State Park Endurance Series), Noble Road was very good, and the Alphabet Soups series was primo too. My other favorites are Aaron Barbee’s PUC’s and Houston Control’s caches, because they almost always draw attention to history or something interesting.

HGCS: Do you have any special caching adventures you want to tell us about?

BaytownBert: I was caching solo north of Liberty, Texas just the other day and trying to find a cache which I figured had dropped from its empty tether into a deep creek bed about 20 feet below. I attempted to get down there, but slid out of control and fell the last 8 feet into the bed. It was really stupid of me being 58 years old, but I have a lot of break-fall experience from years of martial arts training and all that happened was I drove my hand about 6 inches into the muck. Yuck. The cache was nowhere to be found after all of that, but I told myself I should think twice before I do something like that again (not likely).

HGCS: Have any "Most embarrassing Geo-moment" you would like to share? Details please!

BaytownBert: I have them all the time I guess, but since most of the time I am trekking solo, I reenact them for my videos. The reason I video me is because I don’t mind making fun of myself and I feel that what I post, others often can see themselves, both for the adventure we cachers experience and the limbs that smack all of us in the face when we are bushwhacking. The flatulent sounds just add…humor. You decide.

HGCS: What is your favorite type of cache (traditional, multi, puzzle) and why?

BaytownBert: I’m pretty much a traditional cacher, I guess. When I first began caching again after a 6 year lay-off, I couldn’t stand nanos or micros and now, due to being educated a bit, I realize there is a place for all sizes. Everyone is not as mobile as I am and some are downright physically challenged and a micro or nano in a parking lot is about all they can muster, so I added some park and grabs in my hides. However for the more adventurous types, I try to make them very physically challenging. I am guilty of hiding well-disguised preforms in hard to find places, like my Brawndo series in Baytown. It’s an endurance series after-all, designed to keep folks fighting brush and thorns in and out of the woods throughout the whole thing…with a few climbs and snakes and mossies for good measure. I love to place regular size caches with lots of goodies also and I religiously maintain my caches. On the opposite end, I hate micros and nanos in ligustrum bushes in high-muggle areas and won't do them, or close to private homes and businesses, especially if electricity is involved.

HGCS: What is your favorite local cache?

BaytownBert: I guess my favorite local cache is one of my own, because it was my 3rd attempt at a hide and it has stumped so many seasoned Vets (GC25TKG). I placed this one in an attempt to be sneaky and I was delighted when folks had trouble locating it. Between Woodpicker and Mudfrog they tally over 10,400 finds and could locate it in September. No Muggle with almost 4400 finds gave me a call and I swapped secret info for maintenance favors on another of mine they found lacking.

HGCS: How about your favorite out of state cache?

BaytownBert: Out of State? What’s that? I work about 500 hour’s overtime every year. LOL Seriously, I haven’t cached out of state since I returned to the sport.

HGCS: Summer or Winter caching? Why?

BaytownBert: Both have their advantages, however, I do not mind sweating and I love sunshine. If I hear about a physically challenging series or cache(s) and it is scalding hot and humid, I am drawn to it like a Democrat to a free hotdog lunch. If it's cold and windy and overcast, I'll find something else to do. Seasonal Affective Disorder.

HGCS: When a new cache is listed, are you tempted to go for FTF?

BaytownBert: Yes, but usually I can’t get to it for a myriad of reasons. If I am off-work and there is nothing stopping me, I burn out of there like a liberal going to an anti-Tea Party rally. I am going to make a humorous video about FTF in the future. I hope to catch the passion some folks experience.

HGCS: Tell us about your cache mobile.

BaytownBert: I’m almost embarrassed to say it is my 2007 KIA RIO 5 instead of my beloved 1997 lifted-Jeep Wrangler Sport which I drove for 5 years when I was President of the TX4X4 Cyber Club – Now morphed into The hatchback area is loaded with caching repair supplies, new cache containers, and a subwoofer.

HGCS: What other hobbies do you have?

BaytownBert: Off-roading (currently Jeep-less), photography, blogging, hiking, writing in general, and local history. I run 5 mailing lists,, and when I'm not working at the Chemical Plant by the San Jacinto monument.

HGCS: Do you currently have any caching goals that you are working towards?

BaytownBert: I am taking it one day at a time and trying not to become obsessed like I do in everything I "get into". Sound familiar? I have a feeling I'm in good company here.

HGCS: Is it all about the numbers?

BaytownBert: Yes and no. I’ve seen this argued both ways. For me it is about numbers to a certain extent, as it shows my skill level. When a person has 5000 finds behind their name and they have earned each number, they have Jedi status in my eyes. However, I want to earn each number and I want to remember to be in the moment while I’m earning them. When I go out for a day of caching, I want to be rewarded with a lot of total finds too, which adds up to bigger numbers, right?

HGCS: Thanks for this interview. Is there anything you would like to add?

BaytownBert: Yes there is. If you are out and about and come across one of my hides which needs repair, have at it. I am attempting to keep a ratio of hides to finds right at 10% and this means I will have a lot of hides eventually. It takes a village to support an idiot.

I've taken it upon myself to present creatively named hide pages and attempt to leave original and humorous write-ups with photographs when I leave log finds. Most people do not understand how important feedback is until you own some hides. Latitude_Attitude almost always leaves great feedback and I know there are others.

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