Monday, May 3, 2010

I Smell A New Family Hobby Brewing

This weekend we tried our hands at a little outdoorsy adventure with some friends and the kiddos. As they have gotten a bit older, daddy has been chomping at the bit to get them outside and into the wilderness, to re-enact all of his days of scouting and tromping through the woods. Visions of backpacking, hiking, camping and "roughing it" have danced through his head for years now.

When the boy entered scouts last year the excitement started as a dull humming, but has consistently built to a near deafening roar in the last several months. Insistent that we stay true to his childhood memories, he has scoffed at all of the new fangled conveniences that have come onto the market to make "roughing it" more like "temporarily-relocating-your-fancy-modern-ass-outside-ing it". Not surprisingly, he has long contended that GPS devices are one of the great evils of the world, and that we should all throw them out and just learn to use a *&^%$#@ map.

Seriously. You would not believe the long winded rants that this man has embarked upon for the singleminded purpose of extolling the many flaws and evils of the little box with the voice on the dashboard.

Some of his sparklier gems of wisdom include:

"That thing will tell you that you can drive from here to Paris if you let it!"

"If it told you to go off a cliff, would you?"

"It can't even pronounce the street names correctly!"

"All of you GPS users are lemmings!"

Many a time have I been severely chastised for either using a GPS, associating with someone else who uses one or even doing something as depraved as printing out and using directions from Mapquest. But then I am just an ugly sinner like that.

But I digress...

It seems that we have finally found a place in his world for GPS. We went geocaching with some friends yesterday and had a blast. Our local council scout camp has a geocaching course that is open to the public, so we hopped in the car and drove up...

using a dashmounted GPS...

which, (wait for it)... kept giving the wrong directions...

making the hubby simultaneously crazed and smug...

and leading him back to his original assertion that we should just use a compass and a map...

which threatened to turn this first foray into a torturous endeavor.

Thankfully, he was quickly taken in by the ease and simplicity of just following the darned
directions. (One has to wonder if his own constant mantra to the non-computer Geeks of RTFM was echoing somewhere in the back of his head)

Armed with the trusty handheld GPS of our fellow treasure hunters and dear friends, the kids were able to uncover many a fine treasure and even a few trackable items. For the uninitiated, geocaching is a form of modern day treasure hunting. Cachers post coordinates of a cache box on the geocaching website, and intrepid hunters then embark on a journey to find said cache. Inside there can be any number of items, including a log book, where one can record their visit to the cache, small items that you can take, as long as you replace them with another similarly small item and even numbered items that can be tracked on line, and delivered to other caching locations around the globe.

The kids found many small things, such as a baseball, a sewing kit and an emergency flashlight.
The also uncovered a couple of trackable treasures, one of which was a rubber ducky, that is a "travel bug". Cindy Duck has been stealthily making her way around the globe since 2006, and comes to PA from the Netherlands originally. This was, for the kids, the single coolest thing that could possibly have happened!

Seeing how many miles this simple toy has traveled and checking out the points on a map was a great (fun) lesson in geography, and one that they are excited to be a part of. We have plans to go again, and I can see this quickly becoming a part of any family roadtrips in our future.

Of course the next time that we go, we will probably not use the dashboard GPS to get us to the general spot, since it apparently can't read a map.

1 comment:

Ambitions of a Trophy Wife said...

Okay, so you totally have peaked my interest... seems like we might have to check this out ourselves! Summer is approaching fast and I will need something for these boys to do!