Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Chaz the Spaz

I’m probably going to jinx this guy as soon as this one is posted, but I have to write about Chaz the Spaz. Chaz was a fuzzy little guy that was given to me by one of my students almost 6 years ago. I told this student that I was going to make him into a travel bug and send him out in the world, perhaps never to be seen again. As anyone who has ever released a travel bug or a geocoin into a cache can attest, those words are aptly spoken. There are probably a million different ways travel bugs can disappear, so expecting them to live long and prosper can be a crap shoot. Getting them to their destination? That can be even harder to achieve in most instances. Unless the travel bug is huge and unmistakable like Cindy (the Cinderblock), or Spare Tire, eventually, it’s probably going to disappear. But every now and then, you get a travel bug that takes a life unto its own, like Chaz the Spaz.

I released Chaz July 5, 2002. In the 5 and a half years he's been traveling, Chaz has been to some very interesting places. He started out in a rather nondescript cache off a mountain road in Los Angeles County in California. From there, he went several other places and then suddenly zoomed to Texas 1185.3 miles away.

Chaz was now racking up the miles, but I figured since he was in the urban area of Austin, he’d probably jump around from cache to cache in the city and not really get much mileage. OK. I could live with that. Actually, I really didn’t have much of a choice unless I changed his page saying that Chaz wanted to come back home. I think that would defeat the purpose anyway, so I decided to enjoy his travels. He bounced around, traveling 7 miles here, 20 miles there. One time he was placed in a cache and when he was retrieved from the same cache he had moved 53 feet. Go figure that one out, but it shows up on his cache page.

Chaz stayed in Texas from August 2002, until September 2003. Then he needed to get a passport. His next stop was 5654.3 miles away in Italy. Immediately after that he was in Germany and then three months after that, he was in the Netherlands. Once in the Netherlands, he started to do the Texas Two-Step, not straying very far from the first location he had been placed. Chaz spent 10 months touring the Netherlands and then he got on another plane.

His next stop, 9369.6 miles away was in Queensland, Australia. From October 2004 until October 2005, Chaz toured around the outback and along the coast of Australia. He was removed from a travel bug hotel in October and promptly disappeared. 8 months later he resurfaced again, this time back in Europe in Germany. The last cacher to find him in Australia apparently never logged him back into the cache that he was placed in, so the only reference we have of him is a log by a cacher in Germany stating, “Don't know how it came back to Germany...but today I found it in this cache (Auf dem Polle (visit link) )” This German jump added another 9928.5 miles to Chaz’s trip total.

Within two months, Chaz was back in the Netherlands and stayed there for over a year, 8 months of which were in another cacher’s possession. By August 2007, I started getting discovery notes for Chaz. That was good because it told me he was still out there, but it was also bad because he wasn’t moving. I should have known better. On August 19, 2007 Chaz was picked up. Two weeks later he was placed in a cache in Japan. Ten days later, he was picked up from Japan and is now resting comfortably in A Silly Story in the United Kingdom. Total mileage for Chaz as of this writing is 41310.8 miles.

Other interesting stats for Chaz.

He’s disappeared twice and resurfaced twice.

The oldest cache he’s been in is Bull Creek Overlook GCFE9 – yep only three digits in that GC number and it’s still active.

Chaz has seen the insides of 38 geocaches, half of which have since been archived. He’s also been posted to one virtual cache for mileage purposes.

For comparison purposes:

Cindy (the Cinderblock) has been out for 4 and a half years and has traveled 11851 miles.

Spare Tire has been out for almost the same length of time as Cindy and has traveled 1891 miles.

I guess the point I’m trying to make here is don’t give up on travel bugs. Yes, they disappear and many are shortlived, but every now and then you get a jewel of a travel bug like Chaz the Spaz and it all becomes worthwhile.

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Queen Ladybug said...

I'd really love to have a stat bar of sorts for TB's! It is very interesting to compare the different TB's and see all the miles they've racked up. My first TB has gone missing and I've lost a couple of coins (they were taken by non-cachers at a school event where my son was showing them off though), but a couple of mine are still moving right along. Prince Dragonfly's class set off a TB called Clicky Mouse that is doing fairly well so far and he has a coin that is racking up some pretty good miles too. TB's are a LOT of fun!

Webfoot said...

That would be fun, but I could see where that stat bar could be abused unfortunately. That seems the nature of the beast. I almost didn't get into travel bugs because our very first bug was stolen from the second cache the bug landed in. The cachers refused to acknowledge my emails to them and went so far as to close that account and open another one. Good thing it didn't bother me that much, otherwise, I'd never have seen Chaz's journey.

Steve Natoli said...

Delightful piece. I think Chaz's wacky yet cool appearance is the key to his longevity and success.