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December 2011 Spotlight - robert

Highlighting Maryland's finest cachers!
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_JohnnyCache
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December 2011 Spotlight - robert

Post by _JohnnyCache »

It is my pleasure to introduce Robert in our December, 2011 Spotlight!

Interview Date: 12/1/11

Caching Name: robert


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1. How did you become involved in geocaching. When did you start?

I worked in the advertising department for a retail company with a boating division, and the buyer for the electronics division of the boating company knew I liked gadgets and told me about a new Garmin PDA (personal digital assistant, like a "Palm Pilot") that had built in GPS with navigation. This was in late 2002, early 2003 and this wasn't something that was readily available like it is now. For about $400 or so, I was ready.

The iQue 3600 was delayed a while, and I kept reading about GPS online and came across geocaching.com. I bugged him quite a bit about it, and told him about geocaching, so he gave me a sample (from a vendor) handheld GPS to use in the meantime since the iQue wasn't really something to take hiking. I went and looked for my first geocache and was unsuccessful. I found it shortly after that, after emailing the owner and asking for a hint. Hid a cache nearby and the rest, as they say, is history.


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2. How did you choose your caching name?

I started out with a different name, "mrkablooey", which was a name a former co-worker had given me when trying to pronounce my long, Polish last name. Doesn't have anything to do with blowing things up, if you're wondering. After a while, I had realized a few things. 1) I introduced myself as "Robert" all the time, 2) I was tired of explaining what it was, and 3) there was another user (albeit on the west coast - but there was confusion in the geocaching.com forums) named 'kablooey' so I decided to change it. The name 'robert' wasn't available - it was registered, but registered but never logged into, and no history (ie no hides or finds). Sent an email to geocaching.com support and the username was released, and I snatched it up.



3. How many caches have you found so far?

1,180 - though if you look at the last couple of years it's quite a drop off due to various life changes, notably the birth of my son 2 years ago, though I do hope to get him out in the spring :-)


4. What brand/type of GPS do you use?

I have a Garmin Colorado 300


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5. What programs/software or hardware (PDA/laptop/phone) do you use to make caching
easier?


I have an iPhone and have used it for an urban cache or two, otherwise I would typically just load the GPX directly into the Colorado. Being a Mac person, in the past I had various programs to get the GPX files "spun" into a file my previous GPS' could use - and I also used a Palm Pilot and Pocket PC at various times to keep cache data. The Colorado changed all that!



6. What type of cache do you prefer seeking – traditional, multi, puzzle, virtual?

Never been good at puzzles, but a mystery cache is fun. A good old ammo can/tupperware in the woods is my favorite, which would include a multi. I like virts, too - so I guess anything but a true puzzle cache. But my actual favorite all time cache is the event cache.


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7. Which caches were the most challenging – physically/mentally? Why?

Mentally - puzzle caches for sure. I don't know that I have the patience for them, nor the ability to solve them!

Physically - long hikes, Western Maryland type caches due to terrain. Have done many great ones that I really enjoyed. Even though you're dog tired, it's a blast, particularly with good friends to share it with.



8. Do you have a favorite or favorites among the Maryland caches that you’ve found?
(Feel free to list a favorite for each type of cache) Do you have a favorite in a nearby state?


Too many to name in Maryland - and for me it also depends on the situation. Some of my favorite caches weren't particularly memorable as caches, but put me back in that situation again, with the group of us that found them, and that's where the real memories are. For me geocaching was (and is) always about the people - which helps explain why I answered #6 the way I did. Being with friends like Crashmore, L33T_Hacksta, JPatton, etc., always made the caches memorable. Even urban caching we did together, which I wouldn't do on my own typically, created some pretty darn good stories.



9. What’s the most unusual thing that you’ve ever found in a cache?

Not in the cache, but near one. In one of the early CAM years, a dead bobcat was nearby. That was pretty crazy. I still remember that day too - but mostly because of the fun we had as friends together.


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10. What are your current caching goals? Is there a certain cache that you can’t wait to do?

Honestly at this point, my current caching goals are to keep the MGS site running smoothly, and get back to caching at some point. I've been running the site since late 2003, early 2004, so I've always had a personal vested interest. It's the hub for geocaching in Maryland, and keeps everyone connected.



11. How many caches have you placed? Do you have a current hiding goal?

Total 17, though only 1 is really active now. When I moved back to VA from MD, I archived my hides (and picked up my containers). I've done a couple here in VA but now just the one. The container got lost in the floods we had recently and I've been working on a revised container. Tough spot to hide in - just getting the container ready so it will stay without being mugged.



12. What advice would you give someone that wants to place a cache? What steps do YOU
take when placing a cache?


Scout the location, be sure you'll be proud to hide one there, and enjoy. Don't just hide a cache to have a cache hidden, be happy you placed it there, and make it enjoyable. Everyone likes different things, so there's no one way to hide it.


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13. How often do you go caching?

Not very often anymore, unfortunately, but I'm hoping my son getting a little older we'll be able to go out more starting in the spring. I'd like to get him to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors. Right now I live vicariously through others :-)



14. What advice would you give a beginning geocacher?

Take your time, don't rush it, don't pay attention to the numbers unless you really want to (leads to burn out quickly!) and just have fun. Try different caches and if you start to feel like it's a job to find them, take a step back and try something different.


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15. Have you completed CAM in the past? What was your favorite aspect?

I've been lucky enough to be a part of the first CAM 'projects', not only in planning but in finding them as well. CAM, when it was just a concept, was amazing. To see what it's grown to in the years and how people really chomp at the bit to get going always makes me smile. Some of my favorites have been CAM caches, for good reason.


16. Do you collect geocoins? Of the ones that you’ve collected, which is your favorite?

I had a large collection at one point, and during one period I spent more time looking at, buying, and collecting those dang things that I eventually didn't see the point and sold all but a few favorites. I keep the ones that meant most to me and still have them. Now and then I'll get one from someone and I treasure those as well. My favorites are an early Moun10bike coin, and my Reviewer/Volunteer coins. Most favorite is the first Maryland Geocching Society geocoin, which I designed and coordinated the production of (JPatton and I sat at my dining room table and mailed out a bunch of them). The MGS coin was the first state coin to have its own trackable icon. Nobody believed it would be the case, but we sold 2,000 of them in no time.


17. What type of gear do you carry with you on your caching trips? What’s in your geopack?

Small first aid kit, water, extra hiking socks, GPS and phone.


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18. What is your most memorable caching experience?

I've had so many it's tough to pick any one. It goes back to my friends though, we had a blast every single time we went out (is that nostalgia, or what?) I really do miss it, but the stars aren't aligned just yet. Hopefully someday they will again...

19. What is your best caching story?

Finding Blood & Guts in Virginia with a great group of people, doing a CAM tour with my good friends and finding those amazing caches, my first trip with Crashmore, JPatton, etc. in the pouring rain in Pennsylvania is probably the best though. I learned what caching was all about (Charlie Brown!), had a blast, and made some great friends.


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20. What do you like about geocaching? What keeps you going?

The people. I don't get much enjoyment out of caching solo.


21. Besides geocaching, what other things do you like to do?

Photography and raising my son are my top choices.



22. What question did you expect us to ask but didn’t. What is the answer?

The monthly spotlight has already been comprehensive, I'm honored to get a chance to answer some questions :-) and in this election time for the club I'm even more honored to have served the MGS as an officer and board member, as well as review caches for the state of Maryland (now handled by Dr.MD as Quiggle has retired!). This is truly a great club to be a part of. Thank you!
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

-- Albert Einstein
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_JohnnyCache
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Re: December 2011 Spotlight - robert

Post by _JohnnyCache »

Tiffany did all the work on this, she just passed it off to me on the way to the hospital delivery room so it could be posted. Now that is dedication :lol:
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

-- Albert Einstein
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Bocco
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Re: December 2011 Spotlight - robert

Post by Bocco »

Thanks for the great interview, Robert. Thanks so much for all you have done, and continue to do for the MGS. It will be fun to see you back out on the trails.
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nighthawk700
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Re: December 2011 Spotlight - robert

Post by nighthawk700 »

This was a great write-up, thanks! I had a similar lapse in Geocaching when my girls were born, although I wasn't that busy a cacher earlier. But once they were old enough to accompany me on a few caches, we've all been enjoying it ever since. Hope the same works out for you.
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cooley1103
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Re: December 2011 Spotlight - robert

Post by cooley1103 »

I was surprised to see Robert's name on the spotlight this month. How has Robert been in MGS since its beginnings and not have been highlighted? Either way it was a good write-up and I am surprised you did not say more about your days as Quiggle.

Thanks for sharing.
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Snurt
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Re: December 2011 Spotlight - robert

Post by Snurt »

Excellent and perhaps long overdue spotlight, we finally get a glimpse into this mr. kablooey-robert-quiggle character.

The accompanying photos brought smiles as well, for I was present or nearby when they were taken...except for the one in the fountain, and I'm familiar with that location as well.

Robert has left an indelible footprint on the MGS, and indeed, continues to do so. I would submit that the footprints on the green MGS state logo are his. He and his early caching peers set a high standard for quality guidance in the early years, a standard that has been maintained and marks the MGS today as one of the
pre-eminent caching organizations in the country.
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psychobob808
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Re: December 2011 Spotlight - robert

Post by psychobob808 »

Great write up!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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robert
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Re: December 2011 Spotlight - robert

Post by robert »

thanks for the kind words, everyone :oops:
the MGS has been a part of my life, in varying degrees, for quite some time now... and always feels like 'home'. :D
-robert
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jpatton
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Re: December 2011 Spotlight - robert

Post by jpatton »

Reading this brings back lots of great memories. Mount Gretna is the rain is certainly one, it didn't seem like much fun at the time, but it won't be forgotten. It would be great to see you back out on the trails.
Jeff
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Re: December 2011 Spotlight - robert

Post by coupleocachers »

Neat write up robert. Always wonder what you were interested in and how you got started. We still remember a cache call Mr. mr. kablooey or in honor of it, or even hidden by :D
We are now Mr. And Mrs. Coupleocachers and Proud parents of AmeliaGrace
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robert
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December 2011 Spotlight - robert

Post by robert »

coupleocachers wrote:Neat write up robert. Always wonder what you were interested in and how you got started. We still remember a cache call Mr. mr. kablooey or in honor of it, or even hidden by :D
there was a series Rattrap put out way back when... Will have to dig up the GC#'s.
-robert
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robert
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December 2011 Spotlight - robert

Post by robert »

jpatton wrote:Reading this brings back lots of great memories. Mount Gretna is the rain is certainly one, it didn't seem like much fun at the time, but it won't be forgotten. It would be great to see you back out on the trails.
:D many hours on the trails with you my friend...
-robert
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Calvertcachers
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Re: December 2011 Spotlight - robert

Post by Calvertcachers »

It is great to see Robert featured in the member spotlight!

Robert was the first person we had ever emailed/talked to about geocaching and from day one, he has been a huge help. I still remember the first CAM and calling on Robert for help. We had no clue what we were doing so I’m sure he had a few good laughs.

In all seriousness, Robert is the King of the MGS!

He has spent countless hours supporting the organization, maintaining the website, and helping fellow cachers. Our thanks to you for everything you do!!
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Re: December 2011 Spotlight - robert

Post by pco1988 »

Great write up! I really enjoyed reading it and enjoyed the pictures as well!
Happy Trails!

Philip Oxman
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Re: December 2011 Spotlight - robert

Post by robert »

Thanks for the kudos, Calvertcachers, but while my days were spent giving everything I had to the club, many more have stepped up to keep the MGS going in an "onwards and upwards" direction. We've been lucky to have some very good leaders lately, and I hope that trend continues! I truly do appreciate the kind words, but I want to make sure those that have given their best efforts more recently are recognized - and from the looks of the recent event and the awards they received, they have :D

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-robert
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