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Featured Cacher For April 2009 - easygroomer

easygroomer of Katy, TX.
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What got you interested in caching?
easygroomer: My wife’s mentor at church has a lot of the same interests as she does. She told my wife (Kymberly) about geocaching and in turn she told me about it. This sort of thing sounded right up our alley. All kinds of activities we like especially the love of the outdoors. It took me a couple weeks to actually check out the geocaching.com website. All we needed now was a GPSr, so we asked Kym’s mom to make one our Christmas 2007 present. She always comes through for us so I was very nice to open it up. The rest is history.

How did you decide on your caching name?
easygroomer: Our caching name comes from when I was still in college. A good friend of mine, Collin, graduated ahead of me and moved on to Vail, Colorado. That was great for me because I had a place to stay for free every winter when I made a trip up there to go snowboarding. Collin is one of those friends who likes to make you do things you are not quite ready for. He introduced me to mountain biking (actually built my current bike) as well as showing me how much better snowboarding is than skiing. When I would fly up for my winter trip, I would get off of the plane and Collin would ask, “So do you want to hit the easy groomers (freshly groomed slopes) or the bowls?”. My first trip I opted for the back bowls. After being winded on the side of a cliff, having to do a tree run, and dislocating my thumb on my first run, I do not recommend this for anyone who hasn’t snowboarded in a year. I learned quickly to grab a few quick easy groomers before going huge trying to show off with friends. Needless to say, I always opted for the easygroomers to warm up with after that.
When you cache, what equipment do you use? (PDA, Garmin, Magellan, software)
easygroomer: Kymberly and I got a Garmin Vista HCx for Christmas 2007, and bought the street map chip for it. We like it very much. At the house we have both an IBM as well as a Mac so I use both GSAK as well as MacCaching. Unfortunately, GSAK doesn’t work with a Mac because I like it the best. Of course I also use google earth, a caching must have. Our paperless caching has changed from using ipod notes to the iphone touch. I got one for Christmas this year, and it has been very nice for geocaching. I use both the geocaching.com app as well as the igeocacher app. I love the igeocacher app. I can have multiple locations loaded in and ready to go. One of the most important pieces of equipment I use is my 1995 Bronco. It has gotten me to many places that would normally take a while to get to.

What are your all-time favorite cache(s)?
easygroomer: I think my all-time favorite cache has to be The Road Not Taken by gabbytabby. It was my first FTF and it was found at night. Two things I love a bunch. I was just putting my daughter to sleep after a needed night off with the family and I checked my blackberry (that is what I had then), and saw that this cache had popped up. I was telling Kym about the cache and she quickly kicked me out to go for Team easygroomer’s first FTF. I had to hike along the dam to get to the woods and when I finally did I felt like Neo with all of my dodging and bouncing around to avoid all of the spiders. All I kept thinking about was that Team Thung would beat me to the cache (He never did, nor will he ever) and beat me to the FTF after all of the work it took to get there. When I finally got to the cool location, I was struck with this new sensation – what was it? Nervousness? Could I actually be nervous about finding and opening a cache? I was and when I finally found the large ammo can and opened it there was a beautiful gold medallion for me as well as my first blank log. I WAS HOOKED! This cache combines many of the things I like: a nice hike at night, a little challenge (spider dodging), a neat location, ammo can, and an empty log sheet. There are many “runner’s up”. All of the House Series by 2 Bent Bikes, Mainstream because it was our third one, and it was pretty deceptive for a newbie, HIPS series, Treasure of Captain Morgan, Nothing to do with Ducks, the A bridge, and so many more.

Do you have any special caching adventures you want to tell us about?
easygroomer: There are so many caching adventures I don’t know which to talk about. I really enjoy the nights out caching after work with the nighttime ninjas: Bografan, Criffree, Indiana Walker (now moved), and The Pieman. The friendships I have made with them are important to me. I am now meeting more and more cachers all of the time, but still have MANY more to meet. The caching community is something special. The “old-timers” I have asked questions of have always been very helpful. I just love the way this group of Houston cachers seems to always be willing to lending a helping hand to any newbie needing it. The ""new kids on the block"" also seem to be having a great time getting into this terribly addicting hobby.

Have any "Most embarrassing Geo-moment" you would like to share? Details please!
easygroomer: I enjoy caching at night and one evening a few new caches popped up. After closing up I head over to the cache area. I slowly drove up on the empty road to GZ and I get to within 25'. I debate on whether or not to hop out, but decide to see if there is somewhere I can legally park nearby. I see there is nothing this late so I turn around, throw on the flashers and run across the road the see if I can quickly grab the cache, as I know what the container is because I got one too. I make the grab and head back to the car to sign the log. As I take 2 steps back I look at the door of the Bronco, and quickly realize that it is locked and I left the keys in the ignition! I hope and pray that the passenger door is open, but alas it is locked too. It was just one of those reflex action things hitting the auto lock on the door. Crap, what do I do now? Call my wife and wake her up (she gets up @ 5:30 to get ready for work) and she then has to get our daughter up to come and get me. Uh, no way would I do that. So I try to pry open the little triangle window. No luck, and now a car is coming. Only one thing left to do. The car passes by and after they are out of sight I punch through the little window and open the door. Now my adrenalin is pumping so I hop in and drive around the corner to sign the log and also wipe some blood off of my knuckles. I drive back and hop out (taking the keys this time) and replace the cache, and quickly take off. Worst of all it took forever to clean up all of that glass because the window just exploded into tiny bits.

What is your favorite type of cache (traditional, multi, puzzle) and why?
easygroomer: I would say that I like all types of caches, although I haven’t done many multis. When I started caching I didn’t spend much time on the puzzles, just trying to get used to caching. When I finally started to look at puzzle caches I really enjoyed some of them and am starting to get the hang of some puzzles now but have a very hard time with the computer related ones.

Summer or Winter caching? Why?
easygroomer: Winter. When I started caching last Spring/Summer, my daughter was still very young and I didn’t like the idea of her getting bitten up by mosquitoes so I didn’t really start getting hot and heavy into this until last Fall. I loved caching last Winter (hey, that’s what it’s called) and that is my favorite weather too!

When a new cache is listed, are you tempted to go for FTF?
easygroomer: ALWAYS! I love the extra thrill I get from the FTF. I work at night and that is typically when the caches get published, so I keep all of my gear with me. It is getting very hard to get them now. If you go out at night it is highly likely that one of the WSFTFC is going to be there. If you don’t make it out at night you know that the MBs, Fendmar or one of the crew has already planned a morning run.
One night a couple of days before Christmas the second set of Noble Trail caches popped up while I was at work. I had done the first part of the series the morning they were published. As I was mounting the bike to do the first set I met Fendmar, who had just gotten the FTF on them. He told me that he expected to see my name on the log when he got there early that morning. This statement resonated in my head as I saw the second group coming in by email. I was going to grab them after work. I tried to park in one spot that I shouldn’t have and as I was about to leave I got busted. I was already geared up for the nighttime ninja run so I decided to park at Fry road and make the ride in from there. It was a chilly night as I slowly knocked them out. As I started my way back after finding the last of the 6 of them it started to lightly snow. Awesome! I said a little prayer thanking God for the beautiful night and made the tiring ride back to Fry road with six beautiful FTFs in my pocket.

Tell us about your cache mobile.
easygroomer: My cache mobile is a 1995 Ford Bronco (w/351) and as long as there is an opening it can get there. I have resigned to the fact that the Bronco will have just as many scrapes as I do. My wife will have to put us both out in the junkyard one day. I have my own definition of park-n-grabs (bronc-n-grabs). Series such as the Mio, Rockstar park-n-grab, & the Green Water Blues fit that definition and are some of my favorites. Something that has to be included in this section has to be my Cannondale mountain bike. I keep it in the Bronco at all times, just in case a cache pops up late one night and I need it. My wife's cache mobile is a Nissan Xterra. Unfortunately my ’76 cj7 has been out of commission since I have been a cacher. That thing could really get to some hard to reach places.

What other hobbies do you have?
easygroomer: I think that should be what other hobbies did I have because it seems like everything goes on the backburner nowadays. I really enjoy sports and watch lots of games. I play fantasy baseball, basketball, & football. We enjoy music very much and listen to quite a bit. We also enjoy cooking & dining with a nice bottle of wine. When cooking, I consider wine a performance enhancing drug. I enjoy reading, camping, frisbee golf, mountain bike riding (like the Klondike trail in Moab), off-roading and going to church, but most of all spending time with my AWESOME wife and new child.

Do you currently have any caching goals that you are working towards?
easygroomer: Not really. I definitely would like to be able to keep up with my 10% find/hide ratio until I hit 1000 finds. I have found a great fondness for getting a bunch of logs in my emails. That is a lot of caches to maintain though but like it almost as much as finding caches. Well, I definitely like it better than micros in the woods!

Is it all about the numbers?
easygroomer: I do get caught up in the numbers sometimes but that isn’t what it is about at all. I really enjoy just getting out, seeing new places and meeting other cachers and people.

Thanks for this interview. Is there anything you would like to add?
easygroomer: I really appreciate all of the kindness from everyone I have met and “spoken” with. A wonderful part of geocaching is all of the relationships you can build with the others you meet. And I would like to send special thanks out to Team Thung for being the first cacher to reach out and talk to me and for also getting me here to these forums. I feel like I know many of you and we still have a lot more to meet!