Saturday, February 05, 2005

Portland adventure

Today I had my introduction to terracaching and geocaching, Zorg's newest hobbies. Geocaching bills itself as "the sport where you are the search engine," in which case I probably need a tuneup.

Caching starts with someone hiding a box of goodies, including a log book, and recording the cache by GPS identity at one of the official caching sites. The participants, who register with one of the sites and carry GPS devices, go in search of the cache. When they find it, they sign the log, and when they get home they go online to record the find.

We were doing a variant of terracaching in which you look for something that has no definite location. Such as a Jeep completely covered in mud. Or a sign that includes the word "Terra." To document your find, you take a picture of it, including in the picture the coordinates displayed on your GPS device.

After a visit to Zorg's grandmother, we spent the afternoon looking for something called Antica Terra in Portland. Zorg had chosen it because he thought it might be an antique store, and thus appealing to me. Eventually we arrived at the address, in a picturesque neighborhood just a few blocks from a not-so-picturesque neighborhood. It was an unmarked residence. Hmmm. The phone number for Antica Terra had been changed, and when we called the new number, we got the home office of the owner of a winery...called Antica Terra. He sounded puzzled, but we didn't try to explain.

Poor Zorg. My luck was even worse, because we found the pizza place I'd been looking for (routine restaurant hunting, not terracaching) and it turned out to be utterly undistinguished, except for the salad.

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