Monday, September 24, 2012

Travel Bug Hunting

For those that don't know, travel bugs are geocaching items with trackable numbers on them.  These items can then be discovered by other cachers and tracked online.  Some are meant so travel from cache to cache (like my alien race TBs), and some are meant to travel with geocachers.  It is not uncommon for a geocacher to have a trackable number on their vehicle (note that the numbers are not meant to be shared unless you discover them for yourself, so I have removed them from pics in this post).

On Saturday at the NCGO Fall Fling (covered here) I had some down time, so I took my toddler son Zeke travel bug hunting.

We started by checking out the travel bugs at the table inside the mess hall. These are bugs that are intended to travel from geocache to geocache, and normally have an interesting object attached to them - the perfect attention getter for a toddler.   After we finished with the TB table, I explained to him that sometimes the travel bugs live on peoples cars, and we can go find some.   This got his attention immediately.

 I took him out to the parking lot, found a car TB and showed him what to look for.  Then the hunt was on.

We went around the parking lot of the Fall Fling looking at every single car, truck, and SUV to see if they had any travel bugs on them.  Zeke had an absolute blast finding them, and after a while got quite good at it.

He loved it so much that he asked to do it again...  twice.

Our car does not have a travel bug attached to it,  but when asked Zeke said he wanted us to get one.  At the Flings raffle station there was a TB just waiting to be won - so I bought a bunch of tickets and put them all towards the bug.

Amazingly we won! To say Zeke was thrilled is an understatement.  He held onto that bug for a full 20 minutes (an eternity for a toddler) while we  watched the closing moments of the event.  When we finally got outside we headed right over to our van and he proudly put the TB on the tailgate.  There it sits, slightly askew in typical toddler fashion, hopefully for a long time, waiting to be discovered by other geocachers.

It was a great series of moments shared between father and son during a day full of activities.  If you have a young geocacher in your family, I highly recommend you take them travel bug hunting at your next event.

Here are a few more pics from the hunt, starting with Zeke finding a bug on the front fender of a jeep.

Zeke spotted this one from 50ft away.

Our brand new travel bug, lovingly placed on the tailgate of my van by Zeke.