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September 2018 Member Spotlight: JJPew

Highlighting Maryland's finest cachers!
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Former MGS Officer
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Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:03 pm
Location: Abingdon, MD

September 2018 Member Spotlight: JJPew

Post by FatBaldOldMan »

Caching Name: J.J.PEW

Real Name: John and Denise McDonald

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

We started in 2010. We had been living in the Middle East and came home for a month’s vacation. We went to Garrett County to visit some friends and while there, they took us geocaching. We had such a good time that we decided that this was something we wanted to continue. We didn’t think there would be any geocaches in the Middle East, but we were proved wrong after we started investigating on the website. It’s been something that we’ve continued ever since.

2. How did you choose your caching name?

We were not blessed with children so we took the name from the 5 children that we hoped would take over for us after we’re gone. The problem we have now is that 1 more has been born and there’s another on the way so we’ll either just keep it the way it is or change it to J.J.PEW+2.

3. How many caches have you found so far?


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

Garmin Oregon 650t

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

We use the geocaching app and we’re also looking at Geooh Live. We also have apps to help with determining coordinates, to help solve puzzles, and a compass app.

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

We prefer traditional geocaches on hiking trails and we also like those that take you to historical places. We like virtuals also because they will many times take you to cool, unknown places. Pretty much though, we like any type of geocache. It’s the thrill of the hunt!

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

The Colonial Treasure was definitely very challenging. The puzzles were extremely difficult and the terrain at the final was more difficult than we had expected. Top O’ The Rock was also difficult since it was a 7-mile round trip hike to the top of the mountain and it was a very hot day so that made it more challenging, but we made it.

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?
We really have enjoyed all the SMA caches in Harford County. They’ve been really fun to do. We’ve also enjoyed all of WVTim’s caches in Martinsburg, WV. His caches are always fun to do.

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

After we came back from the Middle East, we brought some leftover money and started putting it in geocaches. While finding a cache on Leap Day, we found a 500 fils bill in one of the caches and have often wondered if it was one we had placed. Other than that, nothing very unusual.

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

We want to get at least 1 cache in every state. We only have 5 more to go. We’d also like to take a trip to Antarctica and find a geocache there and that would complete our visit to all 7 continents.

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

We currently have 46 that are enabled. We like to introduce people to hiking in parks so a lot of ours are in Gunpowder Falls State Park in Hereford.

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

As far as advice, check and recheck your coordinates especially for nanos. We use GPS Status to help with that. We always try to make sure there’s safe parking available nearby. The majority of our caches are family friendly for those with children.

13. How often do you go caching?

We go as often as we can and whenever we have time. Even if we’re just out running errands, we’ll always look to see if there are any geocaches to find.

14. What advice would you give a beginning geocacher?

What got us started was to go with some experienced geocachers first. They gave us a lot of hints as to what to look for and how to go about it. Also, there are a lot of tricky caches. Don’t feel bad about contacting the CO or phoning a friend to get hints and tips. We’ve put our phone numbers on one particular cache that gives a lot of people trouble and we’ve received some phone calls so don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.

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

No, we’ve never completed CAM. The time of year when they come out is always a busy time for us, but we do try and find them after they are published by to the general public.

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

Yes, we do. Our favorites are the ones that we received for completing WVTim’s mystery, gadget, and smart caches. Those are on our mantle and won’t be going anywhere.

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

Wow! We carry lots of things and seem to keep adding to them. We carry tweezers, clippers for thorn bushes, an extendable magnet, extra batteries, pens, swag, and a log roller. In the geomobile, we have one of those long, grabbing instruments that can sometimes get those hard to reach caches. We also carry extra zip-lock bags, logs, and small containers if something needs to be replaced.

18. What is your most memorable caching experience?

Being able to finish The Colonial Treasure was probably our most memorable caching experience. We had the help of a fellow geocacher when we ran into trouble with the puzzles, but we had a great time and really had a sense of accomplishment when we were able to log the final. It certainly was more difficult than we thought and as we’ve told others, it’s a 5/4.5 for a reason.

19. What is your best caching story?

We recently spent 3 months in Greece on the island of Lesvos working with Syrian refugees. While there, we were able to get out and geocache on the weekends. One of the times we were out, we were at a cafe searching for the cache. The owner came out and was very excited to show us where it was located. While we were signing the log, some of the Greek men in the cafe started talking to us and were getting extremely excited about geocaching. Their English wasn’t that great and our Greek was almost non-existent, but it was just so much fun to see how excited they got. We showed them the app and told them it was free to download and showed them other geocaches that were close by. They just thought it was the coolest thing. They wanted to know what we did with the container. They thought we would take it with us and hide it somewhere else. We explained as best we could about what geocaching is and why you do it. It was probably the most fun we’ve had geocaching!

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

We like that it takes you to places that you wouldn’t normally go to, places that are off the beaten track. We also like the thrill of the hunt although we don’t like looking for micros or nanos in the woods, but we still do it.

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

We are very involved in church activities so that keeps us busy. We also like to hike and ride our bikes. Traveling is something that we’ve always enjoyed and finding caches in other countries is always fun.

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

How many countries have you cached in? We’ve been able to geocache in 21 different countries and hope to add more to that list.
Bonus Questions:
Al Woltz (AKA: FatBaldOldMan or FBOM)
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Former MGS Officer
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Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:00 am
Location: Waldorf, MD

Re: September 2018 Member Spotlight: JJPew

Post by coupleocachers »

Great up. Can't wait to meet you on the trail.
We are now Mr. And Mrs. Coupleocachers and Proud parents of AmeliaGrace
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