Adventures in Geocaching

Four fat people attempting to geocache. Hilarity ensues.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Ladder and an Apology

For a week where I've done no caching, it's definitely been an eventful one, so I thought I'd share with you guys since I don't have any silly caching tales for you.

First, an apology. As my wife will tell you, apologies are not something I do often or particularly well. But this one is due...

Over the course of my blogging career, I have poked fun numerous times at Tennessee's reviewer, Maxcacher. Partially as a reviewer and partially as his caching alter ego JoGPS. In truth, I've met Joe a few times at events and he's always been very gracious and kind in answering our hide questions. Still, since he's a good sport, I've played it up, calling him the "Review Nazi" and the Spanish Inquisition. Well, after the experience of submitting my first three hides in Alabama, I have a new nickname for Maxcacher. "The Good Reviewer."

Over the last three weeks, we've hid a bunch of caches. 5 have been submitted in Tennessee, all published without comment or questions (not uncommon as I am known for writing virtual novels in the reviewer notes section, describing the cache type, the hide, the permissions, what I had for dinner, etc). I also submitted three caches in Alabama. That's where I got some perspective.

The first one, Semi-Circular Course Correction, wasn't so bad. I got questioned about putting a cache on a roundabout, traffic levels, etc. No big deal. It was kind of confusingly worded and it was my first cache in Alabama so I expected it. It got published on the second run.

The second cache, Books a Thousand, was supposed to be a dedication to the independent book seller. I mentioned the store it was hid in, Bookmark, once, less to advertise the business than to tell some of the more dense cachers out there (more on dense cachers in a bit) that the cache was within the boundaries of Bookmark's property. Don't wander over to the clothing store next door. It's not there.

As I suspected might be the case, the cache came back as a "Commercial solicitation" cache and I was told to modify it. This happened with our first cache in Tennessee too and just the removal of "go inside and have a cup sometime" was enough to get us by. Not here. To get it within the requested edits, I basically gutted the description down to "it's outside a bookstore. Go get it."

Those of you who have done a lot of my caches have to know how much that bothered me. I pride myself on creative cache descriptions, and have been accused of being too wordy at times. The listing, like the log, is where I feel people should put in lots of effort. I've seen ordinary guardrail caches made special with a good cache listing. I've put 1/1 micros on my list because the listing did something that made me chuckle or learn something. So having a generic cache description is against my better judgement, but at least the reviewer was within the cache listing guidelines. Anyway, it got published. Which brings me to the final Alabama cache.

Barely Legal was supposed to be a cemetery cache just across the state line into Alabama. I placed it both to thumb my nose at the stupid Tennessee law that has made cemetery caches illegal there and to acknowledge the good work being done by the MTGC to have it overturned (and making progress to that end, I might add).

No dice. While caches aren't "illegal" in Alabama, apparently they're on Alabama's reviewer's hit list. First I get the standard "tell me about the cache" e-mail. No problem. I've come to expect the Spanish Inquisition out of Alabama and I understand their concern about people not hiding a cache on top of a grave or something. I wrote back that it was hanging in the back fence of the cemetery, 10-20 feet from the nearest gravestone. Hidden amongst some vines growing within the fence, it wasn't going to be seen by muggles and certainly wasn't going to be mistaken for anything to do with the graveyard. I also mentioned that I had seen numerous other published caches with this same hide.

Big mistake from me. Now our reviewer had her submission guideline to throw at me. The old "another hide isn't precedent for this hide" rule. Fine. You caught me. But tell me where the cache itself violated the rules. What I got back was a) 10-20 feet was too close to a grave for her to feel "comfortable" publishing it because it might be disrespectful and b) some federal law might or might not prohibit cemetery caches. No decision has been made yet, cemetery caches are still being allowed, just not mine. I was told to hide it outside the cemetery, kind of defeating the purpose of a cemetery cache in the first place.

So, we're in a stalemate that I can't win. The cache is in temp archive while our reviewer awaits my word of moving the cache to suit her comfort level. I can't move the cache to suit her, but refuse to archive the cache myself on principle. I could ask for an appeal per the submission rules but I'm a realist. If a disputed cache goes onto the "reviewers forum" for a ruling, I have virtually no shot because a) it's one of their own vs. someone none of them knows squat about and b) she can defend her side on the forum while I can do nothing. No thanks, I'm not that attached to this cache.

So, if you're in the area and want to find the "cache that never was", shoot me an e-mail and I'll send you the coords. I can't give you a smiley, but it'll make me smile if that helps.

Now, on to the second part of my interesting week. The day after "Books a Thousand" got published, I get a DNF from a well-known cacher (who will remain nameless here because I think he likes the attention) in the area that read "wow, it only took one day for cachers to tear up the light fixture."

Needless to say, I got concerned. I couldn't remember any lights nearby that people could get at to destroy but I certainly didn't want the owner of this business, who trusted me enough to let me put a cache on her building, to think that one of us had torn up her lights.

So, I posted something on the Dixiecachers board and my old friend and evil hobbit Cacheburns came to my rescue. The reason I didn't remember the light is because the light in question is about 9 feet off the ground. Now what kind of moron grabs a 2/1 cache listing and thinks "I should get a ladder because this cache is obviously in the light 9 feet off the ground..."

At the time, I was pissed. I print off logs for businesses that let me hide caches so they can see what people are saying about them and build goodwill toward the community. Logs about destruction of property do not build goodwill.

Now, however, I think I am going to print that log off to take to the store owner. She can get a good laugh at it and it might help her decide to move some of her "Easy Reader" books to the front window, the easier to be seen by cachers in need of ladders...

As a final note, our other, "super secret" project is going, well, not swimmingly exactly, but it's treading water nicely. I got back my first "testers" from my partner last night and I think you guys are going to be happy when you see it. I can't say more than that just yet. I want to build suspense and allow you to "draw" your own conclusions...

Until next time...




Blogger Darren said...

Gryph, you can always list your cache that "never was" on another listing site, such as

8:09 PM  
Blogger saintseester said...

Strange, I've never had any issues with our area reviewer. I think she is diligent and conscientious, which is a good thing for our sport. She's always explaining things for us on Dixiecachers, which she does not have to take the time to do.

5:19 AM  
Anonymous Orrin said...

You've had a busy week indeed! Just wanted to say if you need any more testers for your "super secret project", I'd be more then willing to help out. Just let me know.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your cemetery cache. They are some of our favorites. Cachers in our area are very protective of our cemeteries and have even taken time to stand guard to try to stop vandalism from local thugs. We have even discussed that since our children are cachers and could maintain it, when that time comes we would like a tombstone that is designed with a hidden cache compartment. Hope you can get it published. What rock? (Ed and Jan)

9:02 PM  
Blogger saintseester said...

There is at least one cemetery cache (not in our area) I think it is a large place, and it has a special container. I won't say more so as not to spoil the fun.

12:32 PM  
Blogger TheAlabamaRambler said...

Bummer! I hope you'll go out of your way to meet MaxCacher, you won't find a nicer guy in the game.
On the other hand he's not likely to find Nazi references funny, even said in jest, and you could have no worse enemy in this game!
Ditto for HoneyChile, a great gal and she's been an excellent Reviewer for many years - in fact she's held to be "one of the best" by other Reviewers, for whatever that's worth!
On the cemetery issue she's feeling lots of pressure... all Reviewers are, and doesn't have the latitude she once had on that particular issue.
Don't be afraid of the appeals process - a polite and descriptive appeal will be approved more often than not! Groundspeak and the Reviewers do hang together, but they are fair and will give you an honest review without worrying about over-ruling one of their own.
Remember that permission trumps guidelines every time and if you can get it your listing is almost a sure thing!
With permission all things are possible!

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Vorin said...

TheAlabamaRambler said...

" Bummer! I hope you'll go out of your way to meet MaxCacher,"

Uh....yea, we know Max. We know Max very well.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous David said...

I was catching up on your blog and I'd like to comment on your cemetery cache review dilemma. I experienced the same thing with one of my attempted hides. It was challenged on a point that I had seen many times both before and *after*. (An identical cache listing recently approved in Georgia was brought to my attention the other day as well.) I was encouraged to change the listing or submit an appeal. I came to the same conclusions you did, and refused to modify it on principle. It's listed on now. I would encourage you to do the same, as did Darren. Keep up the good work.

3:17 PM  

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