Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Hilton of Hotels

In my 7+ years of geocaching, I’ve noticed that travel bug hotels come in all shapes and sizes. I had a travel bug hotel for a little bit and it was created out of a laundry detergent container. It was more like a travel bug motel, as opposed to a hotel, although the cache name was Hotel Devore. Last week, I encountered a rather large coffee can hidden at the base of a juniper tree up in the high desert. There have been others that come to mind, including a couple of the standard ammo cans.

Nothing, though, really compares to the travel bug hotel that I found about a week ago and then again this Saturday. I took the Tadpole out for a little caching to the east of us and showed him a couple of caches. One was a cache that I’d been back to twice, but hadn’t been able to sign the log, although I’d had the cache in hand one time and hadn’t realized it at the time. The second time, there was too much muggle activity around, so I passed on it. The third time was the charm, as we had the field where it was hidden all to ourselves with the exception of a rather irritated burrowing owl who didn’t like us being in its territory, but decided that since we were walking away from its burrow, it wouldn’t bother us too much.

After finding that cache, I took him up to the Hilton of travel bug hotels, the Trackables WayStation Cache by Losel2. This cache is a puzzle, but the puzzle is fairly easy once you get to ground zero. The Concierge (Losel2), met us outside at the cache site. That’s fairly easy for him to do, since the cache is situated in his driveway. He keeps a log book and records all the travel bugs that go in and out of this cache. We chatted awhile and then traded two travel bugs and two geocoins for four different ones. Now, I’d already seen this cache, so I wasn’t as blown away by the opulence of the facilities, but the Tadpole explored every inch of the place and took his time examining all of the bugs that were in the cache, before deciding on the one he would take. As you can see by the pictures, the cache is really large and very well crafted.

The cool thing about this particular hotel is Losel2’s attention to detail. With that many travel bugs all in the one place, it could be easy for some to be overlooked and just sit there for months at a time. With his logbook, he keeps a running inventory so he knows how long any particular travel bug has been there. If they haven’t moved in awhile, he’ll move them himself. That’s a good cache owner. Nothing’s more frustrating for a travel bug owner than to see his or her travel bug end up in a cache and then sit there for months. With his system, that shouldn’t happen.

That’s a lot of work on his part, but then again, travel bug hotels are a lot of work. In my opinion, anyone who sets a travel bug hotel up should expect that it’s a lot of work, probably more work that regular caches. If the person expects that there’s always going to be travel bugs in their hotel, then they either have to go out and find others from other caches and put them in, or create travel bugs themselves.

I’ll probably come out here and visit again from time to time, probably in late July for sure, since that will be right before our annual summer caching trip. It’s always good to stock up on travel bugs right before you travel. Any that I find in caches along the way will be brought back to this hotel. It’s a nice place to visit, especially if you have one of those silver tags attached to you.

On a side note, the last picture shows the two travel bugs that I placed in the cache, the Monster Car and Lisa the Dinosaur. In my Guilty post, I came to the realization that I needed to take more time with the travel bugs that I found and do something with them other than just moving them quickly to another cache. I felt that was part of the geocaching experience on which I was missing out. I posted the same note to both travel bug pages and attached that particular picture to the respective travel bug pages. Less than five hours later, I’d received emails from both owners expressing thanks for taking a picture of the bug. The owner of Lisa said that Lisa would be very excited to see the picture. It looks like my goal is already paying small dividends.

Pictures were taken at the following geocache:

Trackables WayStation Cache by Losel2

Profile for Webfoot

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