Geocaching, Route 66 Style

The following story comes to us from Pam Monson, Editor of Free Press Newspapers in Wilmington, IL.

Small Towns Hiding Treasures for Visitors to Find

geocaching-wilmington,-il_4566.jpgFour communities teamed up this year to bring something new and different, that the whole family can enjoy, to the Illinois Route 66 travel experience - geocaching.

Geocaching is a worldwide, free, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices, including smart phones and iPods. Cache (pronounced "cash") owners hide their treasure box and publish the exact coordinates so others can go on a "treasure hunt" to find it. Players try to find the hidden containers using longitude and latitude coordinates.

The only rules are:

  • If you take something from the cache, you must leave something, and you write about your visit in the logbook you'll find in the cache. You can also log your find online. The caches you'll find between Wilmington and Braceville are registered at geocaching.com - just search Red Carpet Corridor. (The Red Carpet Corridor is a partnership of Illinois communities who celebrate their heritage along the Mother Road the first weekend of each May.)
  • If you find an item with a code number stamped on it, chances are it's a "traveler," and its owner has selected a destination for it. If you take a traveler from the cache, you agree to move it along in its travels, and log your experience online.
  • You must replace the cache where and how you found it so that the next treasure hunter gets to enjoy the same experience you had.
  • The Wilmington and Braidwood chambers of commerce, Godley Red Carpet Corridor planning committee and village of Braceville have each hidden a cache within a football field's distance of Route 66. Each cache name begins with Route (or Rt.) 66 Red Carpet Corridor, so participants will know they are searching for a cache in a series.
  • Once you find a cache, sign the logbook, and if you wish, trade an item from the box.

The caches will be in place year-round.

The photo above depicts a trackable item called the Sauerland Coin, which began circulating between caches in September 2012 in Germany, came to the United States, was brought back to Germany, and then back to the East Coast and Midwest. By early May when it was dropped in the Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor - Wilmington, IL cache, it had traveled nearly 23,000 miles. Needles to say, it's on the road again, with a goal of visiting as many states as possible.

Visit geocaching.com to learn more about the game, or to download one of a number of available apps for geocaching.

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