Modern Day Treasures on your Summer Vacation!

Yea!! Finally!  The long days of Summer are here!  Time to let loose, chill out and have some fun.  When you were a kid, did you ever let your mind turn on your imagination and totally immerse yourself into living the lives of a  pirate, or a train robber, or any other adventurous figment of your imagination?

When I was younger, I had a wild and vivid imagination and went on many adventures in my backyard, the areas around my house, and even while riding in the car.  I often dug holes in the yard, as I was positive there was some kind of treasure that would make me rich, and I could get that pony that I always wanted.  But, as fate is fickle, I never found Blackbeard‘s treasure in the middle of Indiana and I remained a dirt poor kid.

Fast forward a few years (all right, more than a few) and that feeling of seeking unknown adventures is still alive and kicking.  Traveling somewhere new is always exciting.  You never know what treasures you will find or new, exciting things you will discover.  A couple of months ago, I read an article about 100 JetBlue crew members and volunteers who not only gave up their personal time to clean up the beaches of South Boston, but they also hid 100 blue Save the Harbor/Save the Bay 25th Anniversary marbles.    Five winners who will find these marbles on the beaches will receive 40,000 TrueBlue points. Talk about buried treasure!

If you aren’t visiting South Boston this year, there are other ways to find treasures.  Often when traveling, I search for geocaches.  Called the “outdoor treasure hunting game,” it is a very good way to spend an afternoon, go places you would not have ventured to before, hone your locating pirate treasure skills, and have fun all at the same time.  I’ve found geocaches in just about every place imaginable from  state parks, along roadsides, in hotel parking lots, city parks, just about anywhere. The charge I receive from finding a small “treasure chest” swiftly takes me back to the same feeling I had as a kid.

There is a lot of information available at the official website.  It’s a relatively inexpensive hobby, as the only equipment you need is a GPS unit, or a smartphone with GPS capabilities.

Download the app on your cellphone, and you can easily locate geocaches near your general area.  You will be amazed of the quantity that these caches are hidden.  Ranging from virtual caches to buried containers, each cache is rated on it’s level of difficulty and it’s terrain. The caches vary in sizes from microcaches to buried containers.

All ages and fitness levels can participate, so pack the baby, grandpa and sister up in the car and head out.  To be honest, my dog probably has found more caches than I have.  I’ve learned to concentrate where he is most interested.  I’m not sure if that’s cheating, but I do give him credit!

It’s quite a feeling when you follow the coordinates correctly and locate cache.  It may be  it is a magnetic container attached to the bottom of a park bench or an ammo container in the middle of a dead tree, or a tiny micro container that you spend 30 minutes staring at before you realize it may be the treasure.  However, once it gets in your blood, I’m not sure you will be able to quit geocaching.

If  digging around and poking for things is not your idea of fun or trying to look for the treasures incognito for the “muggles” (The general public not keyed into geocaching fundamentals),  have no fear, I know another treasure hunting game you may like.

As I have stated before, our parents took us across the United States and back a few times in our young lives.  I always wanted to stop at the oddest places featured along Route 66 and other roadside vendors.  Now, all these peculiarities have a dedicated website where you can plan your trip around these oddities.  Roadside America features many of these “tourist traps” and helps you locate these you may be traveling near.

I’ve traveled a few miles out of my way to visit some treasure that I’m sure will forever change my life. For example, on one trip I found out that I was only five miles from the largest bottle of ketchup. Of course, I felt it was a “must see.”  As we came around the bend and saw that the bottle was up in the sky, I felt that little rush that I get when I find  a treasure.  The town hosting the attraction is Collinsville, IL,  a quaint Midwestern town and we spent an hour or two exploring.  And, I never would have met some very nice people had I not wanted to see the largest ketchup bottle in the world.

So, let me know if you are more of a “hands-on treasure hunter or just like to view from afar.  Let me know where the best treasure you’ve found is from.  It can be from your own neighborhood  (you won’t believe the things I’ve discovered in my own little town) or We can compare stories.  Or, if you are a roadside oddity aficionado.  I’m always looking for the next gotta-go-see.

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