Thursday, December 06, 2018

Chasing Geotour Coins and Swag


 Back a few years ago, my mentor HoustonControl and I set forth to help launch the Baytown Texas Geotour GT7A. Our city has a very friendly tourism department and we are basically a tri-city area that consolidated years ago around the Goose Creek oil field. Our city has a lot of history the Geotour could exploit and the two of us archived our own caches in many cases to accommodate the history and the Geotour.

We were very excited about getting a Geotour and to this day, still support it. Often while the tourism department is away from the city, I maintain and repair the caches needing maintenance and/or restock the containers with city donated swag. In short, the Geotour is a wonderful addition to the +/-500 available caches in this town and surrounding area. We take pride on keeping our caches well maintained.

All of this was stated to bring to light an effect I did not see coming.

Experienced cachers only come to Baytown to do the Geotour, or lately a series of Lab caches whereby they get more swag. This has become so apparent in the last year that my 200+ active caches are almost completely ignored. Very close to one of the Geotour caches parking lot (400 feet) is a large container, letterbox hybrid, and Travel Bug hotel with (at the moment) 14 trackables - BB's HoustonControl Tribute Cache!  GC7Q27B. Very few make the short trek to log it.

The closest geotour cache has been logged 60+ times in 2018 and the TB motel 14 and 4 of those were Baytownians. Here is the crux of the biscuit, as Frank Zappa would say; are we becoming so obsessed with getting a geocoin that we rush past geocaches to earn one? If that is the case, think on this a bit. Where is our geocoin and trackable inventory stored? Mine is in a zippered bag in my closet and weighs about 10 pounds. Lately I’ve been thinking of dropping every single one of them in geocaches, as they have long lost their importance to me.

I spent 3 days in Brenham recently (Birthplace of Texas GeoTour (GT2F) )and concentrated on every geocache I encountered. Many were on the list of the geotour, but guess what? I still need a good number to get the coin. Maybe next year? Maybe not. I had fun and spent time with a number of the local cachers (SockMonkey69 & BlueStarsForever). I wanted to smell the roses in Washington County, not run myself into a Geocoin frenzy.

Am I trying to throw cold water on Geotours, lab caches, and trackable murals? No, I am not. What I am saying is maybe we are playing the game too fast. Maybe running a macro in GSAK to bypass everything to get to point A and B in the most efficient manner is a boo-boo. Should we pursue the Geotour? Yes, but is the coin really all that important to us? It’s not to me. I have a stack of unactivated trackables to give away at my events, but seeing there are so many events now in the Houston area (+/-30) a travel bug will hardly tempt anyone to attend an event 30 miles east of Houston.

I also understand that this appeal is less giggly happy of the usual fare for FTF Geocacher magazine and more food for thought than anything. If those of us who have played this game for many years stop and stare at why we are playing and remember how exciting it was in the beginning, I do believe we would be all be in agreement that chasing a geocoin doesn’t make all that much sense. Most of us when arriving at Geotour #1 are thinking only about #2, #3, #4 (etc) and not how cool the historic location is. Zipping through them like a chainsaw and getting the heck out of Dodge before the sun sets is our driving force. Our oft-published logs are evidence we thought the cache was quite unremarkable.

Am I right or am I wrong? In my city, the Geotour has almost stopped outsiders from hunting the local caches. Now with that said, I have changed tactics on my own cache hides. Right off the bat, I archived over 80 of my geocaches leaving me with 180+ active caches. I redid one series of 10 and another of 29 to kindle interest GC7ZM4V & GC2HQV6 – hopefully. One by one I need to figure out a way to lure people off the “hell bent for leather” attack on the Geotour and get them to look for one of mine or others while here in Baytown, Texas.

I’ve found that if I hide a cache like this one GC7KRVQ - BB's Zombie Head Trip cache! (truly unique and “evil”) – nobody will look for it. If I hide an easy multi, I get the same response. So, what I have to do is make my caches more accessible to newbie’s with low D/T ratings so they can see them with the free App and hope I will light a fire under them to step up. Once this happens, I can send them a note to look over my geocaching primer page: http://ourbaytown.com/baytownbert/geocache.htm

Am I saying I am going to place a slew of low quality LPC-type caches? Nope. I’ll hide them as best as possible, but I will include enough cryptic hints to spark excitement with new and old alike. Just like we did in the old days. No one has to look at the hint if they don’t want to, right?

If everything goes right, they just might become a geocaching powerhouse and I will have contributed to the game big time. Imagine the enjoyment both of us will experience!
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Chasing Geotour Coins and Swag

 Back a few years ago, my mentor HoustonControl and I set forth to help launch the Baytown Texas Geotour GT7A. Our city has a very fri...