Welcome to my World of Wonderment

Our planet is a neat place, full of weird and unusual people doing weird and unusual things. One oddball thing I like to do is geocache. What other activity is there that makes people travel hundreds of miles to climb a mountain, wade a river, and fight a Bigfoot, just to be the first person to sign a piece of paper rolled up in a 35mm film canister stuffed in the knot hole of a tree? I can't think of any other sport that has such a great mix of technology and the wonderful outdoors. A lot of geocaches are placed in a beautiful setting, or hidden in a challenging or unique way, or in a historical setting. Geocaching allows the finder to share in some of the hiders favorite places, and along the way you get to meet some interesting characters, and occasionally learn something new. While this blog is primarily a geocaching blog, I also use this place to post the occasional funny video or weird news story, or as a platform to rant or rave about something I really have to share. But for the most part this website is about you, the weirdo walking around in circles, talking into your GPS unit like it's a phone, pretending your taking pictures of a phone booth to find find the tiniest micro-cache, or circling your car around and around a light pole in a parking lot trying to retrieve a cache without even getting out of your car.


Fear Mongers

I'm not sure about how I feel about these videos. I'm a little outraged that the U.S. Border Patrol would patrol inside the U.S.. You can almost hear them say in German, "Your papers please." You have to commend these people for standing up for their Constitutional rights to an illegal search. On the other hand, and I guess this is how a police state is supposed to work, I feel a little upset that, in the first video, the first officer lets the guy go so easily. And in the second video, the officer is so polite, (well he never smashes the camera guy's face in on video) that you almost get the feeling that he is the good guy. And he may very well be a great guy, but what he is doing is illegal. Still it would have been hard for me to contain my composure when the office popped my door open, when all I was doing was drive through my own country.

I angrily say all of this in extreme hind sight, because thirteen years ago an outrageous thing happened to me with the U.S. Border Patrol. I was working with my overtly obvious, unwashed, unshaven, dread-locked, tie-died wearing, hippie cousin and his friends, (who were all drug free mind you) vending at Grateful Dead Shows. We had just worked a show in Vermont, and had a few days to kill until our next show. After debating what to do, we decided to go to Montreal. Two of our gang had already been there, and they said it was beautiful.

So we drive to the Canadian border. Probably behind hundreds if not thousands, or tens of thousands of Canadian Dead Heads that went through that check point. (And as I later find out, not one arrest for drugs, those poor depraved border patrol agents) The Grateful Dead at the time was drawing 100,000 plus at every venue they played, and since the Dead hadn't played near Montreal in years, it was a huge Canadian draw.

When we arrive at the border, leaving the U.S. was quite easy, we just drove through. The problems started once we arrived the thousand feet farther north at the Canadian border. I assume both governments were a little pissed off with so many Dead Heads crossing their borders without any arrests. I mean, who would cross an international border with recreational drugs? Only the very stupid, or smugglers. As it turns out, the Canadians and especially the Americans, thought we were stupid.

Anticipating a little bureaucratic hazing while crossing the border, I was nominated to drive. I, unlike my comrades was clean shaven and shorn. That was our first mistake. I drove up to the checkpoint and an agent asked me some routine questions. Where was I going, how long did I intend to stay, are any of you felons etc.... Pretty much routine until he asked for my drivers license. Well after running my license, he asked me once again if any of us were felons. I said no, and he said I was lying. It turns out that a DUI is a felony offense in Canada, and I had unfortunately received a DUI about 3 years prior.

At this point the Canadian border patrol agents tell us to pull over, and for all of us to come inside. So we all go inside, and stupid me takes a camera. While we are in the Canadian border patrol "base" (which was just your standard office cubicle farm) waiting for questioning, I take some pictures, thinking these will make for a good story some day. Well unfortunately, no one will ever see those pictures because an armed border patrol gaurd comes over and starts demanding for my film. And this is where I think things went bad with the Canadians. I say, "What's the big deal? Are you afraid that I'm going to steal some great Canadian "state secrets?" (using air quotes) Are your cubicles made from some sort of classified material?" For some unknown reason this does not go over so well. Henri or Francois or whatever his cute little french name was said, "That is very rude. You should ask permission before taking any pictures here. I can't believe how rude you Americans are." And he thrust out his hand and demanded my film. Since he had a gun I agreed. Then a few minutes later, one of Henri/Francois coworkers came over, and right in front of all six of us, started speaking in rapid fire French. While she was talking she kept gesturing and pointing in our direction, obviously talking about us, in french. And this may be where I caused us to get kicked out of Canada. I butted into their conversation, and said, "Excuse me, but where I come from, it is very rude, to point, and very, very rude to speak about someone in another language right in front of them. I can't believe how rude you people are." Well Henri/Francois did not take kindly to that at all, and evidently had enough clout to deny a bunch of hippies and one jackass entrance into Canada.

So we turn our RV around and drive the thousand feet back to our native soil. Surprisingly enough, even though we have never been out of their sight, the U.S. Border Patrol started asking us the same questions as the Canadians. Where are you going, How long are you staying etc... At this point I'm getting a little upset. Another country just said I wasn't worthy of coming into their country, and now, I am being harassed trying to come back into my own country. I was never even out of sight of the American border. "You have got to be kidding me," I say, "I was just right there." Pointing the few hundred feet towards Canada. "What the hell? Do you think we just picked up some drugs from the Canadian Border Patrol Guards and now we're trying to smuggle them in?"

Evidently this was the wrong thing to say to the American Border Patrol. Immediately some no necked bastard in a black bullet proof vest jumped out of a booth with a german sheppard and started walking around our RV. I watched in the mirrors, and the dog never so much as wagged its tail while the agent led it around our vehicle. But after he made a few circuits, no neck nodded his head towards the border patrol asshole, and we were detained.

The six of us made our way to the American's cubicle farm, while an agent drove our RV into a garage for examination. I wish I could say I had learned my lesson by now, but I hadn't. As soon as we got in their office, I pulled out my camera and started taking pictures, and I was immediately asked by an agent to hand over my film. Which he didn't think was too funy when he opened my camera and it didn't have any film. Strike One.

Then the agent asked why the Canadians didn't let us in, so I told them about my DUI. Strike Two. He immediately started writing in his notebook. Then the questions started, "When did it happen? What did you register? Why were you trying to lie to the Canadian Border Patrol?" This is when I started thinking I was going to have to live in the thousand yard strip between countries. Canada doesn't want me, and the U.S. won't let me back in.

Then the agent concentrated on one of my friends. Did I mention he was dressed as always a little weird? He had on a pair of purple corduroy pants and a bright yellow shirt. And as soon as the agent laid eyes on him, Strike Three. He yelled out to his fellow nazis, "Hey come check out Mr. Green Jeans. You know they're stoners, just look at them." So the six of us endured every sort of search you can imagine, for four hours. We arrived at the Canadian border at 10am, and when we were finally allowed back into the U.S. it was 6 p.m. And to top it all off, when the asshole agent drove our RV into the garage to be searched, he didn't roll in our windows. Our RV had the type of windows that cranked out away from the RV. So when the border patrol pulled it in the garage, they smashed all of our windows. And not only did they break our windows, they turned all of our luggage inside out and everything we owned was just dumped on the floor. So I'm not sure who, as in these videos, was the bigger asshole, me or them. And as I always do when it comes to judging assholes, I pick them.