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4 Legendary Trackables Every Geocacher Should Find

Article written by Katie DiJulio

In the last 12 years, over four million geocachers have participated in one of dozens of geocaching-based Trackable promotions in partnership with adventurous brands around the globe. From John Grisham fans seeking gold ingot Geocoins to Jeep enthusiasts on the hunt for toy Jeeps, there are unique experiences for every type of geocacher. 

Trackable promotions give geocachers a unique opportunity to engage with some of their favorite brands on a digital and physical level while spending time enjoying their hobby. Partnerships have included free Trackable giveaways, pre-release sneak peeks, and photo contests with prizes ranging from a set of new tires for your vehicle (road trip anyone?) to all expense paid trips. Each branded trackable builds a unique story as it travels. Trackables continue to generate engagement for years as geocachers discover and display these pieces of history at events, on social media, and online via their collection of unique digital icons (who wouldn’t want to collect a fancy little achievement for your profile page?) How many of these promotional Trackables have you spotted?

Jeep
1. Jeep 4×4 sweepstakes

This was one of the first branded Geocaching promotions and the first time digital icons were introduced on geocaching profile pages. Over 24,000 Trackables were attached to Matchbox Jeeps and released in different color batches from 2004-2007. Jeep trackables have traveled over 16 million miles to date and have become a staple within the geocaching community. The first Yellow Jeep in the promotion was even inspired by the Yellow Jeep Fever, locationless cache, which was a life size jeep! Throughout the promotion Geocachers submitted photos and essays about the Trackables for a chance to win the top prize: a full size Jeep vehicle.

 

Jeep2
“As small as those TBs were in the grand scheme of life, participating in those promotions brought me an immense amount of joy.” – Brian – Team A.I., 2007 photo contest winner

Want to discover a jeep for yourself? Follow their latest movements or stop by Geocaching HQ’s museum!

 

gold 2. John Grisham Hunt for the Gold

Doubleday publishing group’s 2012 Geocaching partnership focused on John Grisham’s new book “The Racketeer.” 5,000 custom gold ingot trackable geocoins were distributed to geocachers who then placed and moved them from geocache to geocache to mirror the book’s plot, in which ill-gained gold bars are moved around the United States. In addition to moving the ingot trackables over 17 million miles, geocachers showed off their photography skills for a chance to win the grand prize of a real gold ingot! The trackable program was paired with Facebook ads and geocachers flooded the John Grisham Facebook page, which gained 72,000 new Facebook fans and an increase in reach of 220% (according to Marketing Sherpa.)

 

The winning picture was of a young boy who posed with the "Grisham Geocoin" as a character, Theodore Boon, from Grisham's series of young adult novels.
The winning picture was of a young boy who posed with the “Grisham Geocoin” as a character, Theodore Boon, from Grisham’s series of young adult novels.
The story continues two years later: “Big score at Goodwill lol. Figured I had the trackable, might as well read the book. Both books for only $2. Might need to use for another library cache” - Jason Winder / animjason, Facebook, 12/2/2014.
The story continues two years later: “Big score at Goodwill lol. Figured I had the trackable, might as well read the book. Both books for only $2. Might need to use for another library cache” – Jason Winder / animjason, Facebook, 12/2/2014.

 

Geico

 

3. Geico Find the Gecko

GEICO’s 2011 Geocaching promotion released 9,000 Trackable tags designed in the shape of the iconic gecko mascot into the hands of geocachers across the United States. The tags were sent on their way while spreading awareness for the “Find the Gecko” sweepstakes in which one Magellan Explorist GC GPS unit was given away to a lucky geocacher winner each week of the 20 week promotion! The gecko trackables were moved by geocachers over 73,000 times and remain one of the most popular trackables being discovered around the world, averaging 29 touchpoints a day years later.

 

SHC’s Danger Ranger Geico Trackable has traveled the world collecting more miles traveled than any other Geico Trackable with a total of 326,315 miles (mapped above) since it was released into the game on June 11th, 2011.
SHC’s Danger Ranger Geico Trackable has traveled the world collecting more miles traveled than any other Geico Trackable with a total of 326,315 miles (mapped above) since it was released into the game on June 11th, 2011.

Michlelin

 

4. Michelin Quest for Adventure

In 2014, Michelin celebrated their 125th Anniversary by launching a geocaching campaign to promote tire safety via a social media based photo contest. With 2,000 Trackable tags designed in the shape of a tire and attached to actual Michelin Man tire pressure gauges, geocachers were destined for success on the road. Geocachers across the United States tapped into their inner photography talent by submitting over 1,000 photos portraying a sense of adventure to the official photo contest by using the hashtag #MichelinQuest on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. The Michelin Trackables have traveled almost 1.3 million miles in just 4 months and have saved many tricycle tires from getting too low on air.

 

 

Geocachers submitted 1000+ photos over 4 months to the #MichelinQuest contest by adding the hashtag #MichelinQuest on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Geocachers submitted 1000+ photos over 4 months to the #MichelinQuest contest by adding the hashtag #MichelinQuest on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

These are just a few of the many examples of promotional trackable history. You can locate these promotional trackable types by looking up their latest movements on each of their home pages. Keep an eye on the Geocaching Facebook page and join 3.9 million other people who have subscribed to the geocaching weekly newsletter to learn when new contests and new free trackable series are available.

 

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The Travel Bug that Survived a Wildfire

The TB that Lived
The TB that Lived

When CarpeCrew and #36 set out in search of GC3CZ72, they weren’t expecting to find anything. The geocache was placed in February of 2012, on National Forest land just northwest of Colorado Springs. 13 finds and four months later, the Waldo Canyon Fire tore through the region. It was one of the most destructive fires in the state’s history. There was little to indicate that the geocache had survived—no finds, no DNFs, no comment from the geocache owner.

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Two years later, a forest road near where the geocache was placed was reopened, and CarpeCrew and #36, saw their chance to explore the area, visit an old personal landmark, and perhaps find an EarthCache in honor of International EarthCache Day. When they saw that GC3CZ72 was supposed to be nearby, they took a chance and trotted toward where their phones were putting it.

A forest rising from the ashes.
A forest rising from the ashes.

And there it was…right on the spot. The charred and blackened ammo can was spotted and opened, though not without a bit of difficulty. The identifiable geocache inventory was as follows:

  • Charred remains of a logbook (visible in the photo)
  • Several key rings
  • Pens and pencils
  • A button that belonged to a local geocacher
  • A charred and pockmarked Travel Bug tag
The somewhat intact remains of GC3CZ72.
The somewhat intact remains of GC3CZ72.

After a full treatment of sprite, baking soda, and vinegar, the Travel Bug’s tracking code was almost complete. It only took a few guesses as to what the last number could be, for the TB to reveal itself. CarpeCrew and #36 posted their story to the Geocaching Colorado – GCCO Facebook page, immediately generating dozens of comments from other geocachers.

The bug had originally been placed in a geocache in Colorado Springs in 2007. At the time, it contained the clues to a Mystery Cache in Colorado Springs. That Mystery Cache has since been archived, and the original owner of the TB doesn’t play much anymore.

CarpeCrew and #36 have yet to decide what they’re going to do with the trackable, but re-releasing it into a geocache nearby is definitely an option. So unless this was an elaborate experiment to test what type of trackable was the sturdiest, we think this was one lucky Travel Bug. Keep an eye out for it if you’re geocaching in Colorado in the next few weeks…and if you’re concerned about the fire safety of your trackable, a TB tag might be a good investment. 😉

 

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2 Steps to Help Keep Your Travel Bug Traveling

2 Steps to Prep Your Travel Bug® for Its Journey

TB2.2

Everyone is doing the Travel Bug® 2-Step. Here’s how. It begins a bit like dropping your kid off at school for the first time. He may cry and stomp his feet, refuse to walk into the classroom, but in the end you know he’ll make it through just fine. Your Travel Bug is much the same. It might be difficult to part, but because you’ve taken the two key steps to ensuring his journey is successful you know you’ll see him again (online):

1. Seal the Travel Bug in a small plastic bag to prevent damage from moisture.

No matter how cute that little toy might once have been, if it’s icky now most people will take a pass. Nobody likes picking up a dirtied, smelly Travel Bug…queue the Ziploc. Some Travel Bugs are even sent off with provisions: sewing kits, an extra key chain, or superglue. You decide what goes in your Travel Bug’s luggage.

2. Include a note with a description of your Bug’s goal

Put yourself in the place of a first-time geocacher. You probably know slightly more about rocket science than about trackable etiquette. As a trackable owner, it’s difficult to fault a newbie for accidentally moving your Bug in the opposite direction it wants to go…but you can certainly prevent it! Make it clear that your Travel Bug wants to visit every country in Europe with a monarchy by writing this clearly on a note. Not only will this ensure that your TB isn’t accidentally brought to Fiji, it will also introduce new geocachers to the idea of Travel Bug goals, so they look out for them in the future.

 

Geocachers who do the Travel Bug Two-Step help create the beautiful global choreography that unfolds in this Travel Bug® Travels video.

Can’t get enough of Travel Bugs? Read more about how you can help keep others’ TBs on the road: 3 Travel Bug Travel Tips

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September’s Geocacher of the Month: Event Extraordinaire!

Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Kings must have difficult and weighty responsibilities—but none so difficult as naming the Geocacher of the Month, we think.

 

The nominations for September’s Geocacher of the Month include a globe-trotting ‘cacher, the founder of a GeoCamping group, and a man whom many tribute as the greatest CO in Sweden.

The earned, never for sale, Geocacher of the Month geocoin
The earned, never for sale, Geocacher of the Month geocoin

Nominated as an “unsung hero”, cincol’s accolades are certainly not going unsung anymore! This “gentleman and a geocacher” is credited with planting the seeds of geocaching in the United Arab Emirates. Christie says, “The UAE has a strong GC community and I could not be more grateful to him that this isn’t just something I can do when I visit the US in summertime. We will likely never meet but thanks cincol on behalf of the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman!”

fatkidsOTWunite is the driving force behind the Georgia Geo-Campers—a group of folks who mesh camping and geocaching in Georgia’s state parks. JunkingNGeorgia says, “[fatkidsOTWunite] puts a tremendous amount of work into these events every month, and always has a smile and laugh for all of us.”

1000sjöar is widely hailed as a “Swedish legend”. In Sweden, 10000sjöar is known as having hidden the most creative, interesting, and clever geocaches around (in the area? check out GC500Q5). Lok5 says, “This man has inspired a whole region in Sweden to start geocaching! He is always there if you need help in any way. With his creative logs, well-built hides, his sense of humor and his gentlemanly manners, he is with no doubt on of the uncrowned Geocacher Kings in Sweden!”

Drumroll please…

The September Geocacher of the Month award goes to fatkidsOTWunite! Hailing from Georgia, USA, fatkidsOTWunited has been geocaching for 7 years and has over 2,600 finds, but she stands out because of her incredible propensity to make others feel welcome in the game of Geocaching.

Congratulations to fatkidsOTWunite!
Congratulations to fatkidsOTWunite!

Although her work for Mega Events (like Going Caching), undoubtedly makes them incredible experiences for all, her specialty seems to be bringing smaller groups of folks together. fatkidsOTWunite is the driving force behind Georgia Geo-Campers, which geo-camps in a different state park for an entire weekend every month. In her nomination, LionsLair says, “She dedicates tireless volunteer hours working hand in hand with Georgia State Parks and each individual park manager to provide all attendees an experience that is not often offered to the general public.”

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Everyone has something sparkling to say about the Geo-Campers group. Jane says, “Attending our first GA Geocampers event and not knowing a soul, [fatkidsOTWunite’s] friendliness, enthusiasm, and geo-spirit just amazed me and immediately made sure we met everyone! Now thanks to her dedication and hard work, we have a new monthly adventure of caching at a different GA State Park! Janet arranges moonlight ranger hikes, frogwalks, you name it!”

fatkidsOTWunite inspires other geocachers with her dedication to the geocaching community
fatkidsOTWunite inspires other geocachers with her dedication to the geocaching community

Scott says, “[fatkidsOTWunite] gives to Geocaching way more than she receives. [Remember] the old caching saying “Take something, leave something of equal or greater value”? Well she always leaves a “higher value” trade behind in everything she does.”

With her “terrific sense of humor” and “selfless” attitude, we’re happy to name fatkidsOTWunite as September’s Geocacher of the Month. And guess what? So were the 80+ folks her left nice comments about her.

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“[fatkidsOTWunite] is very deserving of this honor and has always been a good steward of our sport. Very dedicated and always volunteering to help new and old cachers alike enjoy their adventures in caching!” says JB.

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Thank you fatkidsOTWunite for all you’ve done to inspire and enthuse the geocachers you meet!

Three cheers for fatkidsOTWunite! Share your congratulations with her below.

 

If you know an outstanding geocacher who should be considered for the honor, simply fill out this webform.

 

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Vote for the August Geocacher of the Month

Experience, friendliness and geocaching smarts—these could be used to describe all three nominees for the August 2014 Geocacher of the Month. Each has strong ties to their local communities, plenty of finds and hides, as well as a willingness to help out any geocacher who needs it. While all three are amazing, only one can be the Geocacher of the Month. Leave your comment below!

Each of the nominees below is an essential part of the global geocaching community and will receive a prize package from Geocaching HQ in Seattle, but only one will be the next Geocacher of the Month. A  panel from Geocaching HQ will use your comments, community input and other data to decide the winner.

Now it’s your turn to help us select the next Geocacher of the Month: write a supportive comment for the nominated geocacher you feel should be awarded the title.

Geocacher ikolor
Geocacher ikolor

ikolor

One of the nominations for ikolor comes from Tracymegan who says, “When I first started caching and ever since then, I have always seen Ikolor as really a backbone of South Florida Caching. He wealth of knowledge, puzzle abilities, amazing finding skills, and determination to always fine a cache are unparalleled. She is the first to help out newbie cachers and is out and about with any number of cachers. You never know where you are going to find her. Her enthusiasm for this game and patience with all of us is so greatly appreciated! Her logs are fun and entertaining and her imagination is boundless.”

Trekkie79 just zipping along.
Trekkie79 just zipping along.

 

 

 

 

Trekkie79

Geocacher tweetnes says, “Trekkie79 is great geocacher with over 10,000 caches & put out 130 awesome caches. He is always there to help you out. You can call him anytime. He has done classes for 101 in geocaching & how to use the site.The world needs to know if all cachers were like him what a great world this would be.Plus he has a remarkable wife that backs him up & helps us all.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team Geo-Rangers making the find.
Team Geo-Rangers making the find.

Team Geo-Rangers

Geocacher Newo Max had this to say, “Team Geo Rangers (Brett) as been caching since 2003, and recently reached his 30,000 find milestone. He’s hidden over 750 caches as well, including his SANTA BARBARIAN series profiling other local geocachers. He writes his motto “It’s all good!” in every cache he logs.

“TGR” as he is widely-known both creates and attends event caches, and is always willing to help out new cachers with helpful advice and encouragement. We thanked him personally, and feel he says it best in his reply “Your welcome! Just trying to add value with the logs as a way to thank you for the extra effort. Every fun cache placed has a chance to attract and retain new geocachers. Keep up the great work!””

Leave a comment to vote for the geocacher who you think should be Geocacher of the Month.

 

If you know an outstanding geocacher who should be considered for the honor, simply fill out this webform.