We took the kids geocaching for the first time yesterday. Geocaching is, as Peter called it, "GPS treasure hunting".
The first step is to head to this website and sign up. Then you plug in your address and the website will supply you with the GPS coordinates of all the hidden containers (called geocaches) in a certain radius and off you go.
We decided to do this on a whim yesterday afternoon. We grabbed some coordinates, the kids who were all "what are doing?" , "how long is this going to take?" , "what kind of treasure will we find? money?" and the GPS and were were off.
20 minutes later we were in the parking lot of what used to be a Winn-Dixie in a strip mall that contained little more than a rundown looking nail salon and one of those "sweepstakes" places.
We hopped out of the car and began searching the parking lot and the sidewalks. We even walked around behind the building. We weren't even exactly sure what we were looking for but we were searching high and low.
Unfortunately, a large tour bus had just pulled in and was unloading. I guess the tour company used the empty lot as a place for their tourists to meet and park their cars. So there were about 40 people unloading the bus and reloading their cars and wondering why we were wandering through the parking lot of this abandoned Winn-Dixie with a GPS like we had lost our minds.
After about 15 minutes we decided that perhaps the geocache had been moved or maybe we just weren't "doing it right" and we tried the next set of coordinates that we had copied down from the website.
A couple of minutes later we were pulled off the side of a service road and were walking into some questionable looking woods. There was a lot of trash and liter in these woods. An old matteress, a shoe, an old dish drainer and us once again looking like we had lost our minds wandering around with a GPS.
We poked around in those woods for about 5 or 6 minutes and I decided that I didn't really want to poke around there any longer. Quite honestly I was afraid of what we might find.
So we headed home, dejected treasure seekers with no treasure.
I had just give Peter a lecture earlier that afternoon about not quitting. He was doing his homework and he was struggling - struggling with the newly-learned cursive, struggling with the fact that it was summer and he was doing homework, struggling because he really wanted to be playing on the computer and I told him that he was almost done and to just finish it already and quit WHINING!. I told him I didn't like quitters and he needed to finish his homework and NOT BE A QUITTER! I believe my exact words were "don't stop doing something just because it gets hard. I am not going to raise a quitter"
And so not two hours later we are leaving the woods dejectedly without our treasure and Peter says, "but we can't stop. If we stop now that means we are quitters."
I guess I should have qualified my statement about not quitting. The not quitting is applicable only when we aren't in a patch of mattress-littered woods off the side of the highway where there may or may not be a decomposing body laying underneath the brush.
So our first attempt at geocaching was not successful but I think we had fun. I am looking forward to trying some other coordinates next weekend.