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Featured Cacher For May 2009 - The Pieman

The Pieman of Houston, TX
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What got you interested in caching?
The Pieman: When the Space Shuttle crashed and it's debris scattered over East Texas, citizens assisted in the search for remains of the ship and crew.
Those with handheld GPS receivers who located a piece of debris would enter the coordinates and hand that information over to the National Guard/FEMA. The information given by those few people helped immensely in the recovery effort. I was fascinated by that!
Fast forward a few years to when my friend, Dice Roller, asked me to go geocaching with him. It was not long after Tropical Storm Allison that we went to look in Memorial Park. I know what you're thinking and yes the mosquitoes were horrible to the point that we used up a whole can of OFF! and they still came after us. We were looking for two caches from a guy calling himself Shortypen. We came real close I'll bet, but we wimped out too soon to know for certain. Many moons later my friends Janx invited me to go with them and they were amazed that I had heard of geocaching.
The day was hot. I think it was the summer of 2007 and we found several caches near their home. I thought it was fun and we found a few ammo boxes with some neat SWAG. They were not premium members so the caches available were not too many -not like now anyway- so I didn't think buying a GPS was something I was ready to do. The next year I went with my friends Farsworth and we found caches all over The Woodlands and I was shown some that they had put out. That was really cool so later that night I created my account and then a few weeks later my wife, Andrea aka Pupster (formerly Piewife) bought my GPS. We took it on vacation with us as we drove from Katy to Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, California, and Oregon. There, in Medford we finally got the nerve up to find our first cache. It was called the Rogue River Log Jam. We looked and searched through that pile of flotsam for what seemed like an hour before I found the camouflaged container that looked just like a jagged stone wedged between two logs. I opened it up to a world that changed my life. I was hooked!
We found several more placed by the same guy called Davydude, a biker from Scotland. From Medford, OR we drove to Waldport, OR and just .35 miles (as the crow flies, a dubious distinction when you figure we walked upward around a mountain for more than three miles) from our KOA camp were we found our first geocoin that I still keep track of. We spent the next three weeks caching and camping in three other States and when we got home I placed my first cache, No Toll Here, soon after I became a premium member. So, it was much more than one thing that got me interested in geocaching and a lot of people, places and things keep it that way.

How did you decide on your caching name?
The Pieman: For obvious reasons! I've been rolling crusts and making pies for 38 years. I co-owned a bakery some years ago and primarily made all the pies and pastry.Although I had been making pies for friends and family for many years, the nickname came when a customer asked my partner if we made a German chocolate pie. He just pointed over his shoulder and said “You have to ask the pie man”. The name stuck and when I selected it for my caching name, I neglected to put a space between the words. I liked the way The Pieman looked so I kept it. I like to draw a little smiley face with big eyes rolling back in their sockets (like I just ate a bite of good pie) when I sign cache logs.

When you cache, what equipment do you use? (PDA, Garmin, Magellan, software)
The Pieman: I enjoy the simple pleasure of my Garmin Etrex Venture HC.
It's the unit Pupster bought me. She wanted to get me a mid-level basic GPS to save money in case I got bored with geocaching and it ended up sitting in a drawer. Fat chance of that happening! Every time I have the dough saved for an upgrade, disaster strikes. Except this year I bought an HD television for Pupster's birthday. So we'll wait to upgrade to a Garmin Oregon.

What are your all-time favorite cache(s)?
The Pieman: I guess my first will always be my favorite. The excitement, the view of the rogue river rushing past us, the cool feel of the water spray when the wind picked up, the satisfaction of finding it and the realization that I just had a life changing experience. I love a cache with a view!
Waldport Overlook in OR, Custer's Tracks in WY and all the ones in Ocean Shores, WA have awesome views. There is a great series that takes you just .25 from an active Bald Eagle's nest! I like a well thought out and built cache container. I think the coolest are the ones built by 2bentbikes. I think their Paper House cache was really cool. I got FTF on that by the way. I did one in La Grange called Built For Access that was neat.

Do you have any special caching adventures you want to tell us about?
The Pieman: You mean like the time my GPS batteries went dead in the middle of some really thick woods and it got so dark I couldn't see my hand in front of my face? That was in Washington last summer. I knew I was close to the beach and my wife and her nephew were waiting for me. I used my cell phone and had them build a fire. It worked and I walked out of the woods with the fire to guide me.
Once I was in George Bush Park fairly deep in and as I was sitting down signing the log for Triceratops a HUGE hog ambled near me. I could hear it coming but I was quiet as a mouse and down wind. Soon it was only about 25 feet away off my right shoulder. I snapped a limb and it looked over at me and I think it must have jumped 15 feet straight up before running away like a flash!

Have any "Most embarrassing Geo-moment" you would like to share? Details please!
The Pieman: I had just found Fryed Mason's II were Fry Rd crosses Mason Rd. when I heard the school bell ring. I was signing the log as fast as I could but not before the kids were already starting to cross the street. There I was squatting down behind the wall as the kids were fast approaching me.
I managed to get out and make it back to my truck before I looked like a guilty pervert.

What is your favorite type of cache (traditional, multi, puzzle) and why?
The Pieman: Traditional for certain. I’m no good with puzzles and call me crazy but I think one smiley isn't enough for a multicache, although I had a blast doing 4CL with Great Birds, Fisk5 and Fendmar. I loved the virtual I did with Cook Cachers called Heads Of State. We found it while out doing the Midtown Bike Series, a great one that should be a favorite amongst cachers when the entire trail is completed.

Summer or Winter caching? Why?
The Pieman: Summer I suppose, only because I like warm weather. I seem to move faster and as long as I have plenty of water-no worries!
Winter is fine as long as it isn't windy or wet. I don't mind cold and I don't mind wet but when the two get together, this man is going to be in the house, staying warm. I may, however, have to alter this way of life for another real soon.

When a new cache is listed, are you tempted to go for FTF?
The Pieman: I used to be more than I am now. For a while I thought I would never get a FTF but the morning after IKE hit I was first to venture out and TeamTerz had some that had been published the night before. I think I got like...four in a row. I don't get instant notification like some do. I have to be sitting down at the PC as a new cache is published. Plus we only have one vehicle and Pupster doesn't get home until the wee hours. But believe me if the timing is right, the stars and planets are aligned or if Easygroomer invites me along for some ""Nighttime Ninja"" action, I'll head out and do what I can to get a glimpse of a blank log.

Tell us about your cache mobile.
The Pieman: My cachemobile is more like a cachmobike. I love to ride my mountain bike as much as possible and I've taken it out at night a few times.
My '92 Dodge truck was my first cache vehicle but when the transmission went kaput I did a stupid thing and bought a Mazda that ran on $100 dollar bills. The guy I got it from was a US Marine who was about to go back for his third tour in Iraq. Little did I know he wasn't the actual title holder! He lied to me and before I learned the truth he was gone. We spent almost as much money fixing the truck as I did buying it and it still could not pass State Inspection. It sits alone in an undisclosed location with the title and keys in it, waiting...
Pupster drives a sweeeeet little Kia that she is nice, generous and loving enough to let me wash-if I'm lucky.

What other hobbies do you have?
The Pieman: I like to play with cameras and take pictures. Some say I have a pretty good eye. I like to listen to blues and blues rock. I love guitar music and love to hear live music. I have a nice custom guitar that I play horribly. I would love to acquire a Gibson L6S that I could play horribly as well.
I have two sons who are the coolest cats on the planet. My oldest has just turned 29 and soon his brother will be 24.
I can't wait for grandkids that I can spoil rotten and bounce on my aching knees. I think I can call my sons my greatest vested interest.

Do you currently have any caching goals that you are working towards?
The Pieman: Not especially. I like to find caches at my own pace. I do seem to cache more as I approach the next hundred. For me caching is a pastime that can be both leisurely and exciting depending on my mood swings. I suppose a have caches that I want to do-that I look forward to doing, and I get to them soon enough when the time is right. My last goals were finishing the One Huge Smiley series in George Bush Park and the Midtown Trail series. Of course the 4CL was a goal. One cannot do that with out setting a goal can they?

Is it all about the numbers?
The Pieman: Heck no! It's about the journey and the people you meet and the friends you make. The numbers just add up to chronicle the good times you have caching. Like I said, I do seem to cache faster when I get closer to the next hundred but that's like a horse that trots faster and he gets closer to home.

Thanks for this interview. Is there anything you would like to add?
The Pieman: I was just about floored when I was asked to accept this honor! I had to read the email about six times before I seriously thought it was sent to the right person. Caching really has changed my life-for the better. I have led a hard life that some of you have been privy too. Groucho Marx said something like ""I would never be in a club who would have me as a member."" Geocaching has a meaning that goes beyond popularity. And the pursuit of popularity was the cause of most of the bad choices I made early in my life. Caching is a way of life that is without vice. It also has to do with honesty and chivalry. At least that is the way I see it, plus it is good clean fun! I have met the coolest people in the last year. I can be very outspoken and opinionated and I hope I didn't step on as many toes as I think I have on this forum. I have a deep and true respect for the people here as well as their varied viewpoints. I'd love to call all of you friends as I remember you in my heart.
As I have said Andrea and I are moving to Seattle and I will miss you all greatly.Thanks for all the fun times. I would like to say a very special goodbye to the ones I cached with and who are most special to me. Criffree, Easygroomer, TeamTerz, Cook Cachers, Two Dog Night, Fendmar, Fisk5, ATMA, ggmorton, Great Birds, OHL Hockey Guy, Dice Roller, Janx, Farsworth and last but in no way least the man who came to my aid and helped make my CITO event what is was when I got over my head, Bografan!!