Thanks to NoVAGO's trusty and loyal leader to help out a fellow cacher in a bind! I am happy to Spotlight him this month and thanks to the others who have volunteered to be in the spotlight in the coming months!
Tell us about your caching name.
Well, not to date myself or make myself seem older than I really am, but my caching name is based on a cartoon show I watched as a growing boy called Ruff and Reddy. In 1957, it became (one of) the first syndicated cartoon shows on TV and was Hanna-Barbera's first successful cartoon show of many. Some twenty years ago or so, I was looking for a good nick and I came across this show in repeats and decided it was the one I wanted. At the time names were limited to 8 characters so I shortened it to rufnredy and have used it ever since.
How were you introduced to Geocaching and what was the first cache you found?
I used to subscribe to several "joke lists". One of them had several parts to it including random internet links. I was reading it one day and saw geocaching.com and a description that talked about using a GPS to find stuff. Since I had an old Magellan Sporttrak that I had purchased for the job I was doing at the time, I decided to go out and give caching a try. My first cache was GC23B6, W&O Trail Mile 29 Cache, just down the block from home in Trailside Park next to the bike trail. After the first find, I was hooked. The rest is history.
Tell us about your receiver and any other "tools" (hardware and software) that help you cache.
When I started out, I was using a Magellan Sporttrak which I still own and regularly lend out to new cachers. After about 6 months or so, I purchased a Garmin GPSMap 60C which I used for a couple years. Following that, I stayed with Garmin for a 60Cx and currently I have the Colorado 400T.
As far as other tools, that also has changed with time. Early on I became a GSAK user and love it. I routinely run GSAK macros to get Pocket Queries from my email, set up my GPS Map data loads, sort databases, and load and unload waypoints, cache data, and POIs. After about 6 months of printing cache pages, I went paperless and carried a Palm 505 with cachemate and all the cache listings, but that need has since been replaced by the Colorado. And did I mention one of my favorite caching tools is the GRNJPTB ??
What essential items do you always carry in your cache bag?
Actually this is a long list and includes: batteries, various sizes of cache logs and zip locks for replacements, both cammo and regular duct tape wrapped around my walking stick, a telescoping magnetic retriever, a mirror, several micros (never know when you might need to place a cache). In addition, I have a raincoat and changes of clothes and shoes in the jeep along with water and snacks for the long hikes.
Do you trade items in and out of caches? Do you have any "signature"swag?
I generally do not trade things in and out of caches. That said, if I see anything NASCAR or Fire and Rescue related, and I have something to trade with me, I will make a trade. I have found over time that, for myself, I trade for something and then almost immediately trade that item for something else and never hold on to an item for very long anyway ... so why trade in the first place?? I just leave things for the next cacher ...
What is your favorite thing about caching?
I think my favorite thing about caching is getting out and seeing places I never knew existed. Little pieces of tranquility nestled in a corner of the urban environment always make me smile. The other thing I love is learning about the area. Historical based caches rank very high on my list of favorites. Then there are the hikes ... Fountainhead, Hemlock, Algonkian, Bull Run Mountain, all are awesome places to "get lost" in and places where I can immerse myself in nature. Seeing the deer and squirrels, listening to the birds sing, the chance sightings of foxes, eagles, and other rare creatures all make the trips worthwhile and enjoyable.
Are you a lone cacher or do you prefer caching partners and why?
Most of the time I cache alone. I would estimate that well over 95% of my finds are solo. That is not to say I prefer to cache alone, but it is easier to just head out at the last minute than to try to set up group outings. I really do enjoy meeting other cachers on the trail and have on many occasions joined up for the rest of the day after a chance meeting.
Tell us about your favorite cache.
This is a difficult question ... If I had to pick one, I would say Eagle's Tour. It leads you through a myriad of awesome parks and has you overcoming challenges all along the way. A very well done cache.
What is your favorite type of cache (micro, multi, traditional, etc.)?
Hmmm... if you are asking me today, my favorite type of cache is one where I don't damage myself hunting for it. If you ask me in another couple weeks, I would probably say that I like any cache that presents a challenge and is well crafted regardless of type of container ... except for those dang puzzles ... I just never know how to start solving them ... Ironic isn't it ??
Tell us about a memorable caching experience that you have had.
I think one of my most memorable caching trips was when I was on a trip working in Malaysia. A coworker and I spend a week on site and had a day off before flying home. A couple of the guys we were working with volunteered to drive us to the closest cache (about 70 miles from the site as the crow flies). Well, after around 3 hours and over 200 miles of driving, we arrived at a national park in the center of the country. I managed to log two caches including a First to Find, and hiked through the tropical forest. While hiking we came across a herd of wild pigs, saw all kinds of colorful birds, monkeys in the trees, and managed to take a canopy trail that consisted of ropes strung between tres and ladders laid on the ropes to walk on that was several hundred feet above the jungle floor. I still think there may be finger marks in the rope hand lines ... but it was an awesome trip from beginning to end.
Tell us about your other interests or areas of expertise.
You mean there are other things besides caching??? By trade I am an electrical engineer and work a lot with radios and RF systems. Radio has always been an interest since early on when I started out as a technician and radio operator before getting my degree. Other than that, I think the phrase "jack of all trades, master of none" fits me pretty well ... I know just enough about a lot of stuff to be dangerous ... but it is a lot of fun trying something new especially when I succeed at it
Have you converted any muggles into Geocachers?
I certainly hope so after all the meetings, events, and calls and emails I have fielded ... seriously, there are at least a few that I have influenced along the way that are avid cachers now and I hope to continue spreading the word and converting more muggles to the joys of the hunt.
I am not sure what else to add here, only that I have really loved being involved in caching in general and with NoVAGO in particular. Working and playing with the great people out there has made my experience most enjoyable. I look forward to continuing my exploits and to running into cachers on the trails and at our events ... did I mention there are events on the 9th and the 20th of July? Hope to see you all there ...