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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 11:13 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:03 pm
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Location: Abingdon, MD
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Interview Date : February 28, 2018

Caching Name : flamingo_girl

Real Name : Vickie Ruzicka

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

I began geocaching in August 2010. It was the 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts and my son, jdog523, was a Webelos Scout. The Baltimore Area Council held a weekend long Star Spangled Camporee at Fort McHenry. In order to earn a special BSA 100th Anniversary medal, the Scouts had to complete a variety of different activities from a menu of choices. Geocaching was one of the choices that seemed easy enough to do so I set up an account and found a cache that was close by in Gunpowder Falls State Park. We took the GPS out of the car and started walking around looking at the numbers going up and down to figure out which way to go. I had no idea we could put coordinates into the GPS, or change the mode to walking! I guess we were lucky we found it!


2. How did you choose your caching name?

My original caching name was varmsb. Not very exciting, and definitely hard to say since it’s not a word. At some point, I got tired of saying a string of letters when asked what my caching name was and changed it to flamingo_girl. I have always loved flamingos, and if you have seen me at an event, you may have seen some of my flamingo attire.

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3. How many caches have you found so far?

I have found 1,850 caches as of today.


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

My first GPS was the one from the car. I wrote the cache coordinates on a paper or my hand and then followed the numbers on the GPS. I walked in a lot of circles! Learning that I could put coordinates in the GPS was life changing! Learning that I could put the GPS in walking mode was a nice bonus too! My second GPS was a Garmin etrex. I used that one the same way I started out with the first one…..writing the coordinates on my hand and walking around until the numbers went my way. It’s amazing I found any caches at all! My current GPS, a Garmin e20, was a Mother’s Day gift several years ago.
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5. What programs/software or hardware (PDA/laptop/phone) do you use to make caching easier?

Google maps is a huge plus! It helps plan caching days and it has helped me solve some puzzles that I might not have solved otherwise. Root of the Problem (GC168T9) was all about Google maps and Google earth. It was the first time I successfully used some of the tools Google Earth has to offer. I like to create lists on c:geo on my android. No computer or downloading needed. I use c:geo a lot.


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

I enjoy seeking out all of the different kinds of caches, they all have their unique points. I enjoy puzzles and seem to gravitate to them when they pop up. Only 63% of my finds are traditionals, so I guess maybe I do have a preference for seeking out non-traditionals.

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

This is a really hard question! I would have to say that the majority of PUC cache descriptions I have read have been mentally challenging because as I read the descriptions the little voice inside my head is screaming “No way!” I have found a mere three of them and had to put on my big girl caching pants (or Tyvek suit) to complete them. My biggest challenges physically and mentally have been a series of caches in PA. The entire War of the Roses Series is AWESOME, and yet challenging in every way possible. I would totally do it again!
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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?

Favorites in Maryland. Wow. I could list so many! Narrowing it down to a few doesn’t take anything away from all the others I loved just as much….

Caching in Zork 2013 (GC46JCT) is pretty unique. I enjoyed solving this one, although I hated the game when I was young. 4 Evil Grins (GC5Z53B) is a really fun cache. Getting to the last stage and getting to the container was something I will always remember with a grin! As High as a 7th grader (GC2WYVX) was my first tree climb. Death Wish Dave hooked me into a harness and talked me through using the equipment. I loved it and immediately went out to buy more pieces of gear. I enjoy all the SMA caches in Harford County. Lots of creativity by the students at the Science and Math Academy.

Nearby favorites is an easy question! The entire War of the Roses series in PA!!! I worked through these with Shrinerr and Death Wish Dave. This series has it all! Puzzles, terrain, challenges, terrain, beautiful views, puzzles, did I mention terrain and puzzles? This is the kind of series you will be sad when it’s over and you want to forget how you solved and found everything so you can do it again!
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9. What’s the most unusual thing that you’ve ever found in a cache?

Ummmm. I remember it was a LPC behind a supermarket, maybe a Lion King. I found “Protection”. I removed it and threw it away.


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

I am 3 squares away from my first Fizzy and 9 dates away from my 366 Hidden calendar. I hope to get those completed this year if the stars align. Mingo was my impossible goal cache for a long time. I was able to get it this past summer while on vacation!
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11. How many caches have you placed? Do you have a current hiding goal?

I have placed 5 caches and they are all currently active. My first cache was in honor of my sweet dog that had crossed the rainbow bridge the day before I placed it. It is a pretty location in the spring and I wanted to hide a cache in her memory. I don’t have a hiding goal.


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

First, get to know the area by finding several caches. Traveling this past summer I found that terminology and even D/T ratings can be somewhat regional. Find a good variety of caches to get a feel for the D/T ratings so yours will be accurate. When I place a cache, I hang out at my potential gz and let both my Garmin and phone settle. I make sure I check the accuracy of the satellites and compare the two. I usually get pretty accurate coordinates, although my cache Pishkot tends to have some bounce.


13. How often do you go caching?

This varies depending on what else is going on in real life. I am usually able to cache a few times a month in my local area. I also take advantage of errands to grab a cache or two that in the area. For big caching trips that start and end in darkness, the caching group has to find a common available date and then I have to run it by the family. These caching runs happen less frequently, but are so much fun!


14. What advice would you give a beginning geocacher?

Find a variety of cache types and D/T ratings to find out what interests you the most. Don’t get discouraged or give up. You will learn about different hiding places all the time! Go to events and meet people, I haven’t met an axe murderer yet…..


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

Yes. I completed CAM in 2016 and 2017. I loved 2016 with the National Park connection! CAM is a lot of driving and a pretty big commitment with everything else going on, so I do enjoy earning a geocoin for the effort. I also like the aspect of forming teams and spending long days with my geo-buddies as we have a great time together.



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

Yes. I have a couple of favorites. I just bought a beautiful flamingo trackable that is perfect! I stumbled across it on etsy, of all places. I also have a beautiful coin celebrating Leap Day 2016 that I bought to celebrate filling in my 366 finds calendar, which happened to be on Leap Day. Of the coins I have earned, my favorite is the one for the Heart of the Civil War Geo-trail.


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

Snowsox will laugh at this, but my hiking pole. I almost always have it in my car, but when I jump in her car for our caching trips, it is still right in my car….. Things that are pretty much always in my bag are a couple of tweezers, some small replacement logs, sharpies or pens, an extendable magnetic wand, gloves, spare batteries, my GPS, and a gerber pocket knife. Things that float in and out depending on need….. flashlight, headlamp, gaiters, and UV light. Just today I bought a grabber pole for a cache I plan on getting at the end of the Month while visiting colleges – it fills one of those D/Ts I am missing.

18. What is your most memorable caching experience?

It’s not a single caching experience per se. Last summer my family took a driving vacation from MD to the southwest. I didn’t want to go on the trip, I hate driving. To sweeten the pot, I was promised Mingo. Then I was promised a cache in each state we passed through, provided it was not out of the way and easy. Once we were out west, the tide started to turn. On an 11 hour drive day someone would say “It’s only 45 minutes out of our way to the Nevada border, do you need a cache there?” Why yes…yes I do….. So off we went. That scenario played out a total of 6 times, and it always seemed to be on our 10+ hour drive days. When all was said and done, I picked up 15 new states on vacation. My family was very understanding and I tried to focus on virtuals, earth caches, and caches near hotels so we could enjoy our days and hikes in the parks.
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19. What is your best caching story?

I spent time working on the Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer series (final in the series GC1HEAF). I really wanted to take the kids and grab the final on Christmas Eve as it seemed like it would be the perfect time. I set out with the kids and my parents (visiting from Florida) to find Rudolph on Christmas Eve. As I always do, I thought I knew which trail the cache was on. We headed down the trail and my GPS started to get a really nice bounce to it. Assuming I was on the wrong trail, we bushwacked to the trail that runs somewhat parallel. We followed the GPS until it was clear that it was being stupid, it couldn’t have been me, and then bushwacked back to the original trail upping the terrain by at least a star. At least a star and a half if you talk to gemprincess who was in crocs because she thought that would be a good idea - in the woods – in December. While all this was going on there wasn’t another soul in sight. It was quiet and still and then it started snowing. On Christmas Eve. Perfectly wonderful!! (seriously). Gemprincess, in addition to crocs, was donning her antler headband. In the woods. At some point we started to hear rifles; probably from the nearby farms. You need to picture an older lady, wandering through the woods and clutching her pocketbook. She hears gunshots and sees her precious granddaughter wearing an antler headband. After you picture that, imagine the blood-curdling screams directed at the precious granddaughter to take the antlers off. I think the deer 5 miles in either direction got the message to run way. Of course she got mad at me because instead of protecting gemprincess, I was laughing at her  Later on during their stay, my parents told me walking in the woods on Christmas Eve while it was snowing was their favorite part of their stay.
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20. What do you like about geocaching? What keeps you going?

The people and the adrenaline. I have made some really great friends through caching. Snowsox has helped my family out in a pinch and is a great caching buddy! Shrinerr fostered my love of puzzles and Death Wish Dave set me on the path of doing things I didn’t think I could do! There are so many more awesome people I count among my friends!! You can’t ask for anything better from a hobby! The adrenaline rush is something I get just before I do something like climbing something. I feel butterflies and teeter about the thought of going on or backing out (although I haven’t yet). I hope the sense of excitement and nervousness never becomes ‘normal’!


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

Ha! If you ask my family, they will say I don’t like to do anything else. In reality, I love to do anything that helps the activities or programs my kids are involved in. I currently coordinate the raffle baskets for the Drama Company in my kids’ High School, I am a merit badge counselor for my son’s Boy Scout Troop (yes, geocaching is one of them), and I volunteer now and then at the Harford County Humane Society.

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

Not really anything. I guess it might be interesting to see who people met early in their caching careers….. I was at the Sweet Air section of GFSP and was getting ready to try to find a cache with jdog523. Someone kept looking at us, he finally walked by us and said “caching or hiking?” 72Whalers was the first cacher I ever met in the wild. The cache was Beat the Clock (GC1HEAF) in August 2011. For the record I finished Beat the Clock at the end of May 2014…..Why rush these things 

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Al Woltz (AKA: FatBaldOldMan or FBOM)


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:36 am 
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One of my favorite caching buddies ever. You probably thought I was an axe murderer when I first met you following you in the woods early on a weekday trying to get FTF on Snowsox's C2E cache!!!

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:36 am 
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Geocaching would not be the same without you! We have had lots of fun and exciting adventures together. Let's just try to forget about the time I pulled a tree down almost on top of you. LOL! :)


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:54 am 
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I'd rather forget about the flip you did descending off of the pillar at Double Trouble. I've never been more afraid in my life.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:08 pm 
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Death Wish Dave wrote:
I'd rather forget about the flip you did descending off of the pillar at Double Trouble. I've never been more afraid in my life.

Oh my gosh. I saw that flip from above. I still haven't quite recovered!!


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