February 2018: Road_Trip
1. Tell us about your caching name.
When I started, I used BobHolcombe, obviously just my first and last names just kluged together. I had no idea that your caching name was meant to be creative or anything other than to identify who you are. About a year or so ago, I changed to “Road_Trip” as I like taking long trips by motorcycle or car and gathering caches along the way.
2. How were you introduced to Geocaching and what was the first cache you found?
My daughter (PurpleOwl) was into caching while she was attending JMU. She tried to suggest I try it a few times before I took the plunge, but I declined, thinking that it just didn’t really sound interesting. Anyway, she persisted, and while we were in Rhode Island for our Christmas vacation (my wife’s family comes from that area) in December 2009, with little else to do, we went out in deep snow to find a few caches, and yeah, I was hooked. My first official cache was Warren Historic Cemetery #1 in Warren, RI (now archived). I had actually helped (?) in finding a few caches before that time with SrchnResQ, but didn’t have an ID at that time.
3. Tell us about your receiver and any other “tools” (hardware and software) that help you cache..
I have done nearly all my caching using my iPads or iPhones over the years. I like being able to get the various maps on the smart devices, and the accuracy seems very good. Surprisingly, I do own several “normal” receivers, but they gather dust. As for online tools, I use Geocaching Swiss Army Knife (GSAK), and more recently have been using Project GC to find challenge caches and determine if I qualify for the caches that I do find.
4. What essential items do you always carry in your cache bag?
Don’t really have a cache bag. When in my car, I have a bin of containers I can throw out (hence my “junk caches”), but don’t usually do any significant planning for the caches that I find (nor the ones I place). Nor do I have a bag or knapsack I take with me. I guess my style can most charitably be described as “minimalist,” or, less charitably, “un-prepared.” It works for me.
5. Do you trade items in and out of caches?
Yes. My problem is that I tend to hold on to the trackables, so I make an effort to only have a few in my possession at any one time.
6. Do you have any signature items or ones in the works?
No.. I’ve thought for a few seconds about a pathtag design but haven’t gone any further with that.
7. What is your favorite thing about caching?
I like caches that are associated with something historically significant, or in an extremely scenic area. So, to get to those, that’s when I have to get on the bike and ride.!! I suspect we’ve all thought “if it weren’t for geocaching, I would never be in this place”. For example, I never knew much about the Civil War when I was growing up in northern NJ, but have become very interested, and informed, these past years as we live in an area with such rich historical significance.
8. Do you cache by yourself or with another person? How often do you go caching?
Most caches are found while caching solo. Some of my big number days were with TeamSlugVA when we take a day off and hit a local power trail or park. Looking at my stats, I go caching, on the average, 42.7 % of the days. Since the end of December, I’m hoping to continue an informal/casual mini-streak to see how far I can take it.
9. What is your favorite type of cache (traditional, multi, puzzle, virtual etc.)?
Hands down, it would be virtual caches. They tend to have the most historical significance, or something else of interest. And you don’t need to molest bushes and lamp-posts to get the smiley 😀 . When I go on travel for work, I tend to first check out the local virtual caches.
10. Tell us about your favorite cache.
Wow… I can’t point to one that far surpasses all the rest. When I think about the fun I’ve had over the years, I always seem to go back to the caches I’ve found out west. I guess because the climate, foliage, culture, landscape, and history are all so different than what I’m familiar with around here in Northern VA.
I tend to grab the virtuals, and also the oldest caches. I guess the one cache that left a “mark” on me was Phil's Memorial Cache (Oldest CA. Cache). That smiley involves hiking a mile or so into Cleveland National Forest. Instead of what you’d expect in a “forest”, this landscape was mostly desert with scrub pines and lots of short cactus. You truly have to watch out for rattlesnakes. At some point in my hike-in, I brushed up against a harmless looking leafy plant, only to find that the leafy plant had serious needles.
One needle stayed in my leg for a week or so, until I got back to VA and saw my doctor. I had figured it would just work its way out, as splinters often do, or at least present itself to be pulled after some time. Anyway, once I sought professional help, the doc was poking and prodding at the site of the wound to try to get a grip on the end of the needle and had successfully nibbled away at the exposed end a millimeter or two at a time. When he turned around to get another tool, most of the needle (an inch or so) suddenly popped out and surprised him when he turned back around to look at the leg. He laughed for a minute. I guess it was a medical equivalent of a jack-in-the-box popping out like that.
11. Tell us about a memorable caching experience that you have had.
Like I say above, I like caching out west. Nothing smells like the air near the Black Hills National Forest (smells better than any pine stick we’ve ever had in the house). There’s also a smell in the desert southwest, which I guess is the sage. The air seems pristine, and low in allergens and dust. The caching there is also generally more pleasant as there’s not a lot of bush-whacking through the woodsy underbrush, vines, and thorns. The scenery is just fantastic and there’s a lot of wide open spaces. As for specific caches, I’ve loved pursuing the VA state-wide challenges (Delorme grids, all virtuals, and counties/cities). A great excuse to get out on the road for a day or two at a time.
12. How many states and countries have you cached in?
I’ve cached in 47 states; only missing Hawaii, Alaska, and Idaho. I hope to get all three in the next several years. Those are probably my next bucket list items.
My stats show that I’ve cached in seven countries. The European visits have all been due to our travels overseas on visits to our youngest (non-caching) daughter who was serving in the Navy in Naples, Italy. I was able to grab a Vatican City cache as it was on the outside of the wall of the city, but still part of the city. Thought that was pretty cool. My daughter is still serving today, but thankfully is now stationed stateside in VA Beach. So I can see MANY visits to VA Beach in the next year or so.
13. If you could take a vacation anywhere to cache, where would you go?
In general, I’d like to go far, far away. Northern Europe would be nice. However, it would be so cool (pun intended) to go to Antarctica and cache there. In addition to seeing another “world”, and finding caches furthest from my home, I’d also finally be able to claim some of SeaDog’s challenge caches for caches across lines of latitude
14. Tell us about your other interests or talents.
My other main interest is long-distance motorcycle riding. Hence the caching name! I always say that geocaching is a reason to go places, and motorcycle riding gives me a fun way to get there. So they work together. As part of my riding, I’ve also been associated the last year or so with a group of Facebook riders who visit memorials dedicated to the heroes in our armed forces, as well as firefighters, law enforcement officers, and emergency medical folks.
I’ve had the honor to serve as the Treasurer for the Aquia Harbour Volunteer Rescue Squad (AHVRS) for most of my 11 years at that station, and still serve on the board there. I’m also the book-keeper at our church.
In my past lives, I was a competitive runner in High School and college, and for years after, until hobbled by gout/arthritis/injuries. I am still a certified EMT with the AHVRS, but not able to be operationally active due to that time commitment and my work schedule (as well as realizing that that’s a young person’s job). I had been active in ham radio for a dozen years or so.
15. Have you set any goals for yourself this year related to caching?
As mentioned earlier, I’m trying to maintain a caching streak as long as I’m able. We’ll see how long that lasts. Also, I’d like to focus more on non-traditional caches to get my totals for several other types (earthcaches, multi-stages, and events) up above 100 this year. I hope to make a run out to Geowoodstock (and then return quickly to participate in Rolling Thunder the next day here in DC). Finally, I hope to visit a new area of the country on my annual summer ride out west. In recent years, I’ve been getting together with some HS friends who meet annually at Lake Tahoe. That’s a beautiful area. If all goes well, that’ll be this year’s annual ride. Lots of great caching as you cross the country.!!
16. What would you like NoVAGO to focus on in the future?
No kidding, I think you all are doing great. I can’t suggest any changes. You provide much more structure and energy to a geo-organization than I think I could muster up. I love the frequent events, the awards, the photo contests, and the body of knowledge and geocaching expertise in the group.
Always great to learn something new about cachers you've known for awhile. Remember Phil's Memorial Cache as well. Did with my oldest son a few years back. Had a lot of fun with that one.
Well done article, for both of you. I'd take a geocaching road trip with you sometime. A short one though, as I have a 1980 Harley Sportster (that I've had since 1981) and my old body doesn't like the constant vibration as it used to.
A fun read! I was actually wondering what ever happened to BobHolcombe?!? And now I know. Thanks for sharing!! Keep on streakin!