Amor for Zorro, Geocaching and the Long Beach Reads One Book Program

1 Mar

So begins another adventure, as adventures often do, with a friendly email and bit of luck…

I was contacted by the organizer for the Geocaching Challenge in this year’s Long Beach Reads One Book Program held by the Long Beach Public Library Foundation. I get lots of requests for donations to charity and community events, but this message was crazy-friendly and she signed it “Di (Di pronounced in Spanish, not English – Dee, not Die)”.

A woman after my own heart. 

In her words: “Each year they host an event called “Long Beach Reads One Book” (now in its eleventh year). A book is chosen by a committee, and then for roughly a week in March, several activities are scheduled, such as lectures/presentations/discussions, demonstrations, nature walks, etc, etc, etc. In short, this year’s book is Zorro by Isabel Allende…. If you have read the book, then you know that the story has several themes, among them mission life during the early 1800s, rancho life, life in early Los Angeles, relations between the Spanish and the Native Americans in the region, pirates, the Napoleonic Wars, Spanish history/end of the Inquisition, secret societies, etc.”

Awesome. I love Isabel Allende, my mama is a retired librarian, and I’ve listened to the entire unabridged Zorro audiobook, (loved it) a few years ago! So, other than that, the next thing that caught my eye: geocaching. What is that?

Again, in Di’s words: “This year, in addition to the “traditional” types of activities and events, the Foundation is adding GEOCACHING to its lineup, and that’s where I come in. If you have never heard of geocaching, please click here and watch 8 minutes worth of video If you don’t have eight minutes, hopefully you have at least six, in which case watch the first and third videos. My husband and I have been charged with creating the “Geocaching Extravaganza” for this event. In all, we plan to hide anywhere from six to ten caches across the city, to be found by community members, young and old, during the month of March.” 

And so it was that I came to meet Di and I talked myself into cutting over 100 mini papel picado flags for a geocache in a Long Beach Public Library as “loot” for fellow book lovers.

I also scored a couple of tickets for my me & my mama to go see Isabel Allende speak later this month!

These are the flags I made for the Zorro Geocaching challenge.

We settled on a romantic design for the flags as they represent the festive spirit of the residents of El Pueblo de Los Angeles (as depicted in the book), and specifically the marriage of Don Alejandro and Regina (parents of Diego/Zorro). Click here for the Foundation’s webpage for the One Book Geocaching Challenge.

But, when it came down to it, I still wasn’t sure what this whole geocaching business actually was. At Di’s urging, Fernando & I went to the official Geocaching website, signed up for a free membership and did a search for any cache near our home address. We were floored when we saw that the nearest one was less thank 2 blocks away! We excitedly fumbled for our smartphones, found a GPS-enabled geocaching app, and downloaded the free trial. 5 minutes later, we were walking out the front door with our son, Elias, in tow.

Our first geocache! It was a "nano" magnetic, bullet-sized canister that unscrewed to open.

The logbook inside the cache was a strip of paper that unrolled to reveal 34 signatures from previous geocachers.

It takes a special kind of nerd to enjoy the thrill of the hunt for nothing more than bragging rights and a higher tally next to your Geocaching profile name. Turns out, I am one. And, even better, I married one. We are hooked. Elias, however, is skeptical because he’d been secretly hoping for buried treasure.

We are looking forward to finding more caches. It’s a fun and free activity for families (a rare thing these days). Plus, you get to work together as a team. It was Elias who actually found the cache- we were stumped!

One last thing: there is a Geocaching 101 workshop this weekend being held at the library where my flags are hidden. If you are near Long Beach, I urge you to give it a try and please let me know how it goes!

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6 Responses to “Amor for Zorro, Geocaching and the Long Beach Reads One Book Program”

  1. Di March 2, 2012 at 3:35 am #

    I love it! I hope we get lots and lots of participants out there this Saturday, including some of your local readers. So glad you’re a part of this!!!
    -Di (Dee, not Die)

  2. Di March 2, 2012 at 3:51 am #

    To Elias: Don’t give up! In highly-populated urban areas, it’s harder to find good places to hide a cache that’s large enough to contain “treasure.” Difficult, but not impossible. However, in rural areas or out in the wilderness, it’s a different story. You’ll find geocaches the size of artillery boxes, or even buckets, filled with all sorts of random swag! I once picked up a “mysterious” cassette tape from a cache at Slab City near the Salton Sea. It turned out to be the most horrible country music EVER, but super funny, and worth the trade for a bouncy ball. Keep searching… you’ll find something “good” one of these days. ; )

  3. Julianna Robbins March 6, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    Hi, your blog post came up in a Google alert for Long Beach Library. The papel picado are just beautiful!
    ~Julianna (Long Beach Public Library)

    • Di March 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

      Julianna, go find it! You can pay your colleague, Nancy, a visit while you’re there. Hint: Frisbee. And then hit up the other three branches while you’re at it. : )

    • Ay Mujer shop March 6, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

      Thank you! I was wondering where the traffic was coming from. And I agree with Di- go find it, if you have a chance! My mom & I will be up in Long Beach later this month for the Isabel Allende talk and we plan to find at least one of the caches.

      • Di March 7, 2012 at 3:07 am #

        “At least one”? Pshaw! No way, lady, you have to find at least four! There are six total, but we’ll let you pass with four. : )

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