Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th, 2011 - Speaking of Travel Bugs...

We like our Travel Bugs and Geocoins to travel the world and collect pictures and visit the places that we've never been to as our proxy selves. Sometimes, however, things happen and a Travel Bug goes missing in action. Maybe they get left inside a backpack that is lost in the bottom of a ravine. Perhaps they are thrown out the window by a mischievous little brother. There are even some folks that have taken it upon themselves to find trackables and keep them with the intent of never returning them.
Sometimes life just throws you a curve ball (Ha! Sports reference!) and the Travel Bug you picked up last week in a cache is somewhere in the rubble of your wrecked car or lost along with all your belongings in a house fire.
The point is, Travel Bugs are subject to Murphy's Law times ten. How many other things in your life do you purchase just to leave in a plastic box in the woods in the hopes that another like-minded soul will find it, pick it up and move it to another box in the woods within a reasonable amount of time, over and over again? The very raison d'etre of a trackable is to become lost and never seen again.
But reincarnation is an option...
When you purchase a Travel Bug “dog tag” you get two physical metal tags. The second tad has the word “COPY” written on it but is otherwise identical to it's twin brother. This tag is like the green 1-up mushroom in Super Mario. If your Bug finds itself sucked into a black hole you can bring it back to life with the COPY tag.

Here are three Bugs that I've recently given a second chance at life:

Original release: “Castle Mischief Racing Spoon 'Prince'”

We had this great idea to release five measuring spoons as Travel Bugs- one for each of us- and see which ones would rack up the most miles and travel the farthest. Two of these were stolen out of the first cache they were placed in and never seen again. This taught me something: I don't like the idea of representations of my kids, even plastic spoons, being stolen and collected by some jerk. It kind of bothered me. The saying is “never release something as a Travel Bug that you can't bear to lose forever”. Well, I didn't like the idea of losing little avatars of my wife and kids.

Several years ago there was a promotional release of special trackables in coordination with Jeep. These ran for a few years with a different color of Jeep each year. The promotion is long gone but I can't help but notice the popularity of Jeep vehicles among other cachers. Well, I've never owned a Jeep but I did have a red 4-Runner. This re-released Travel Bug is a blue Matchbox version of that same Toyota.

Original release: "The Keys to Castle Mischief"

Every castle needs a big rusty ring of keys to unlock all the doors, right? That was the idea here. At some point in its history the dog tag and the ring of keys were separated and that pretty much means the death of a Travel Bug.

Re-release: "Bell-Head the Panda Ninja"

If our fictional ring of keys for our fictional castle were to come up missing they needed a fictional bandit to abscond with them. This was a Taco Bell kid's meal toy that is kind of a knock-off of several other lines of PVC figures available on the market. I thought it was cute and I've been hanging on to it for a while, knowing that I would be attaching a dog tag and sending it out into the world.

Original release: "Roll the Bones - A Rush Tribute"

I'm a reasonably large Rush fan (i.e. I don't own a Rush shower curtain but I do have several CDs and concert ticket stubs). This was a set of three dice (one for each of the members of Rush) and an actual dog tag in the shape of a bone with the lyrics from the song by the same name had a goal of traveling to a town in Canada that is seen by many as the birthplace of Rush. It never crossed the US/Canadian border.

Re-release: "Darth Vader's Tricked-Out Ride"

This started out as a Happy Meal toy of a Star Wars TIE fighter. Not the "classic" TIE fighter but the one like a certain Lord of the Sith tries to shoot Luke out of the sky with in Episode 3. It's like the standard TIE with a ground effects package and a bitchin' rad spoiler and "Type R" sticker on it. You know that when Vader saw it for the first time he was like all "oh, that one is mine. Don't make me force choke you for it."

Feel free to click the links to the trackable pages and add these to your watchlist if you're a cacher or simply check back in with them if you're not.

Happy caching, and have a safe and happy 4th of July!

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