Skip to Content

Mystery Cache

My Waterloo

A cache by Iowa Tom Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 8/3/2005
In Iowa, United States
3.5 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size: regular (regular)

Join now to view geocache location details. It's free!


How Geocaching Works

Please note Use of services is subject to the terms and conditions in our disclaimer.

Geocache Description:

This creation was not an easy one to figure out.

Here's a hint for parking when you go for the cache: free firewood, Falls Ave Bridge, walk across the HWY.

This is a “pictocache” that will require you to find various objects in pictures and match them up with a numbered list of coordinates. The coordinates are sometimes off by a block, on purpose. It’s like multiple choice. Just choose the best one. Once you get the list of coordinate numbers in place you will use them to determine the coordinate of a small strip of aluminum attached to the backside of an object. The engraved numbers should be enough for you to get to the cache. Drive to the dead-end and walk in. Cut through the valley.

First of all I want to say that I named this "My Waterloo" because I like to think of it as promoting Waterloo in some small way, like "My Waterloo Days" does in a big way.

All the images listed below were taken in the city of Waterloo, Iowa. Only a few of the coords are very near the object however. That means that you will often have to drive around a bit to find the object in the image. The coords of some of the easy to spot things are off by a couple blocks. All but one object is visible without getting out of the car; the coord for that one is close. Once you complete the exercise of matching a best coord with an object you’ll have to use the order of the numbered coords to calculate the position of a little piece of aluminum with the coordinate for the cache engraved into it. All the images represent interesting attributes of this fine city where I have lived for more than half a century.

Matching ONE object with ONE NEAREST coord is critical. Two of the coords AND one of the images are “distracters” (i.e. bogus). The two distracter coords are not as close to any of the “good” images as is another coord. If you happen to find the one distracter image you will notice that it is not as close to any coord as another object is. That gives it away as the distracter. No coord that’s not used will be at all close to it.

Once you find everything you need to find you should have a list of coord numbers. For example, if the first three image/coord pairs are, Image 1 = coord 10, image 2 = coord 3, and image 3 = coord 8, you should have written 10, 3, and 8 so far.

Now to obtain the coord for the 1st cache add together the first 10 of the 16 rearranged coord designations and add the last 6 together then subtract the sum of the last 6 from the sum of the first 10. Divide the answer by 100 and add the result to both the incorrect lat and long here: 42 29.436 by 92 21.711 to get the correct lat and long for the 1st cache.

You can check your answer to this cache on This URL for terraserver viewer shows the position of all the waymarks that you will need to check out!

The cache is a small camouflaged Lock-n-Lock container on the ground. NOTE! So that you may get good reception near the cache I made it so the cache is a number of feet directly east of the coordinates engraved on the metal. The coordinates are for a spot out in the open. I left the cache on the edge of the woods.

NOTE: If printing off the gallery page is not sharp enough you may want to copy and paste each of the pictures onto a Word document and shrink them down to fit several on a page before printing them to take along with you. ALSO, I UPLOADED THE IMAGES FROM LAST TO FIRST, AS I HAVE ALWAYS DONE. I CANNOT TAKE CREDIT FOR THE FACT THAT THEY ARE OUT OF SEQUENCE! AT LEAST THEY ARE CORRECTLY ORDERED IN THE GALLERY.

Below is the list of the coords to consider when completing this exercise. [Remember, two are not the best choice for any of the images!] You don't have to enter them into a GPSr. Just take a copy of the list with you and watch to see them come up as you drive around. Make sure not to get in a wreck! We don't want to have people equating geocaching while driving with cell phone use while driving!

The Coordinates by Number
Coordinate Latitude Longitude
Coord 1 42 28.255 92 21.417
Coord 2 42 28.167 92 20.658
Coord 3 42 28.339 92 22.306
Coord 4 42 28.239 92 22.028
Coord 5 42 28.658 92 21.866
Coord 6 42 28.966 92 21.929
Coord 7 42 28.986 92 21.483
Coord 8 42 29.456 92 20.634
Coord 9 42 29.473 92 21.380
Coord 10 42 29.670 92 22.032
Coord 11 42 29.710 92 20.840
Coord 12 42 30.050 92 20.191
Coord 13 42 30.150 92 22.326
Coord 14 42 29.991 92 18.721
Coord 15 42 30.233 92 23.957
Coord 16 42 30.577 92 20.994
Coord 17 42 30.777 92 20.264
Coord 18 42 31.001 92 20.591

In the final cache I initially placed two waterproof match containers (great for microcaches), a Stick-em Ball, a No Spill oil spout, two fishing bobbers, Kids Scissors and my travel bugs Tigler the Wigler and Wacky Fender. Good luck and enjoy My Waterloo!

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Bar bs gur qvfgenpgref vf 42 30.150, -92 22.326. Svefg vgrz gb svaq = urnq uvtu. 2aq, jnyx n srj srrg vagb gur gerrf.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)



  • A- Image 1 For years I wanted to figure out a way that I could incorporate this unique chimney into a geocache sequence. I finally did it with this mystery cache. While in the area where this place is, take a look around at the architecture.. I believe the area was platted in 1900 and was the location of where the founder of Rath Packing lived. One other guy that lived here went on to be a director of Wall Street, as I recall.
  • B- Image 2I attended this church when I was a kid. It has changed congregations since then.
  • C- Image 3 I suspect that the builder of this fine home was a rockhound.
  • D- Image 4 This is on a corner of a busy street. Park on the side street is you want to see it up close. Do you get the idea that people generally don't obey the law that one does not put nails into telephone poles?
  • E- Image 5I love the look of Victorian houses.
  • F- Image 6 How is this for a patriotic house? You ought to see this place at Christmas time! You can tell a man by the books in his library and by the way he decorates his house and yard.
  • G- Image 7 This row of hackberry trees reminds me of the American Elms that used to line the streets in Waterloo way back when. Then came the Dutch Elm disease. When I worked for the Waterloo Forestry department back in the late 70s, we cut down a monstrous American Elm that must have had a trunk that was 5 feet in diameter, at least!
  • H- Image 8The plaque marks the site of the 1st home built in Black Hawk county, 1945. They must have had quite a hike down hill to get at water. I sure wish I could see it then. I bet it was prairie right here. Here is a challenge: tell me what the name of the place was that was about 200 yards south of where this marker is placed. Last time I visited that place was in 1974. For fun, can anyone tell me what the name of the place was that was about 200 yards south of where this marker is placed. La
  • I- Image 9In Waterloo I have a favorite brick wall and a favorite brick fence and favorite roof. This is my favorite roof. The house I like is across the street from this roof to the north. The brick looks like it was reused.
  • J- Image 10Hanna tombstone: the burial place for two of the four cofounders of Waterloo in 1854. I discovered this stone quite by accident when driving around looking for pictures to take. I had already planned on having the marker of the place of the first homestead in Black Hawk County, where these people lived and by coincidence I found this!!
  • J- Image 11This stone building is the oldest in Waterloo. It was a school house at one time. What I woould give to go back in time to pay a visit here.
  • K- Image 12This is the second oldest building in Waterloo. It's called the Dunsmore House and is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.
  • M- Image 13What a neat stone! This person must have lived in a log cabin, at least when young. I find the name perplexing. Mercy and Lawless seem like an oxymoron.
  • N- Image 14I find steeples so fascinating, reaching heavenward. Why am I thinking of Ben Franklin right now?
  • O- Image 15This is N of the coord given. Most people don’t even realize this is here because they don't look up. That reminds me of a survey that was done in which a number of people in various places indoors were asked to describe the sky that they walked under before arriving to work. Few had any idea about the details of how it looked!
  • P- Image 16I really like the look of entryways like this one.
  • Q- Image 17I remember seeing Chief Black Hawk here when I was a kid when this part of the park was called Injun Country. I wish the tepee was still in the park. I found the remains of a single giant arrow in a tree near this. That arrow I remember from way back!

59 Logged Visits

Found it 29     Didn't find it 3     Write note 17     Temporarily Disable Listing 2     Enable Listing 2     Publish Listing 1     Needs Maintenance 1     Owner Maintenance 4     

View Logbook | View the Image Gallery of 18 images

**Warning! Spoilers may be included in the descriptions or links.

Current Time:
Last Updated: on 1/24/2017 4:38:10 PM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (12:38 AM GMT)
Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum

Return to the Top of the Page