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RedwoodPDX

Lost Trackables

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Hi everyone. A few months ago I bought my first trackable to release onto the world and it has gone missing. I am curious about your personal experiences with yours going MIA and how often this occurs. I know that the first time I found one in a cache I didn't realize what it was for a few months, but once I did I made sure it went towards it's journey.

I would be very curious to here your percentage of success with trackables too. It is frustrated to go to a cache that says it has a trackable, but for it to not have any at all. Recently went to a cache that said it had 5 of them and it actually had zero. I left one in it that started in Finland. Hope it is doing well.

 

Thank you all for your feedback!

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I am moving this thread from the Geocaching Topics forum to the Travel Bug forum.

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We have 18 TBs, releasing our first a year or so ago.... I have serious concerns about two, one seems lost in Spain, the other picked up by a weekend wonder cacher and still logged to them 5 months later. The rest have had recent logs, and seem to be cruising around....

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Unfortunately, that seems to happen A LOT. I have had a couple of my travel bugs disappear from the very first cache where I released them. Others have been moved on. Many cachers are new, and maybe don't know or understand how they are supposed to log when they take or move one. Some cachers are too lazy to log it correctly, some have good intentions; but just forget. Sometimes people confuse the trackables for SWAG and think they can keep them. And some people are just jerks. They know they aren't supposed to keep them; but they do anyway. Then that's just stealing.

 

But it is always the risk you take when you release a trackable. And I agree. It is frustrating and disappointing. I know some people who just don't release their travel bugs at all. They just carry it with them and "dip" them in each cache they themselves visit. I feel like that kind of defeats the purpose of a tracksble. I release mine. And yes, some have gone missing. But I've heard plenty of stories about how tracksbles have reappeared months or even years later. They have been moved around and nobody logged them correctly. Finally some good cacher finds them and goes online to log correctly. Yay!

 

So don't lose hope. Just know that it is VERY likely that your tracksbles might go "off the grid" from time to time.

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We noticed that when the free "Intro" app came out it was really bad, and seems to now run in cycles.

Maybe depends on how well marketing's doing at the time. ;)

Folks playing a weekend without bothering to read anything about the hobby, then quitting ("It's outdoors"), taking the trackable as a souvenir maybe.

"I know that the first time I found one in a cache I didn't realize what it was for a few months..." kinda enforces the fact it's still happening. :)

 

Today, we believe just as many are hoarded by long-time premium members using 'em for "visits", to be discovered at events, or collected and placed in one of their new caches (we know of one of them nearby).

Guess the idea those trackables are someone elses property doesn't mean much these days...

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8 sent out into the wild, in my early days of caching.

 

1 still in the hands of its finder (after 9 years...)

 

1 missing after a CO placed it in their replacement cache after the cache was recently muggled.

And the replacement was instantly muggled...

 

1 placed in a water filled cache, after the finder emptied it first...

 

1 missing after traveling worldwide (42,133 miles) and the holder "Threw this TB in a cache in the middle of xxxxx State Park."

 

1 still out (38,968 miles after 10+ years) stuck in a Mystery cache, but gets the occasional Discover...

 

Others MIA.

 

Send out any more? No thanks!

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13 released, 12 missing along with 3 proxies. I gave up collecting them as well. :( I don't recall the last time I saw a real geocoin in a cache, most are just those dog tag TB's now.

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Send out any more? No thanks!

 

I'd agree. I've sent out 43. 31 in 'unknown'. 1 moved this year. A cacher 'took trackable', but did not log it. 8 'in hands of', 1 since 2006. 1 was a large TB that got left at an event at a bar.

I did have one that moved 53000 miles! And 6 others that moved over 10000 miles. Most of this was over four years ago.

I will admit to putting out this year, in a cache that hadn't been found in over three years. Figure that one might last a long time!

I've also pretty much stopped moving trackables. It's sad when I put one in a cache and it disappers.

Though I did pick one up from a cache that hadn't been found in three years, though it was not listed as being in that cache. I gave that to my nephew to move to Australia.

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I still love playing the trackables game. I own 46; one is my personal trackable and the other 45 have all been sent out into the world. I keep reissuing them whenever they go missing--when they haven't been heard from in 1 1/2 years. I do not send out the original coins anymore, only proxies of one type or another; sending out an original coin is like leaving the keys in your car--an invitation for it to be stolen. Whenever I find one in a cache I take it and move it along.

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Thanks everyone for the replies. I am going to cross my fingers that the next one I put out as good luck. Seems like it is a bit common though for them to disappear. If only there was a good way to combat this. What if attaching a simple information sheet on it, like how some caches explain what geocaching is.

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Thanks everyone for the replies. I am going to cross my fingers that the next one I put out as good luck. Seems like it is a bit common though for them to disappear. If only there was a good way to combat this. What if attaching a simple information sheet on it, like how some caches explain what geocaching is.

 

All of mine have a simple info sheet. Doesn't help. If anyone wants to keep the coin or whatever, they will keep it regardless. If they even read the sheet. I have some that say to keep them in the USA, but one took a trip to Germany. I think the info sheet might have been helpful it having it returned to the USA. Good luck with your trackables.

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Have you ever skipped stones on a pond? Think of it like that: sometimes you get no skips, sometimes you get a few skips, but you keep doing it because once in a while you get a hundred skips. The only difference is that TBs cost a lot more than stones.

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I have 15 trackables released (plus 3 I received for Christmas but not yet released).

 

One makes my geodog "Pebbles" trackable.

 

Two were dropped in caches and later finders of the cache reported they were missing so are now in Unknown Location.

 

Six are recorded as being in caches. One MIA as in an archived event. Three probably OK as zero or one finder of the cache since dropped. Two have logs on cache/trackable page showing may actually been grabbed (one in April so probably MIA, one this month so may turn up).

 

Six are recorded as held by a cacher. One has visited caches this month. The other five have been held for months (two by the first cacher to grab the trackable).

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We have a lot of trackables, and have not bothered to keep a database for most of them. On our profile, 823 are listed, but many of those are geocoins that have never moved. Our Zombie Travel Bug (ZTB) project, which started about four years ago (it will be four years in February) has 353 separate ZTBs thus far. of those, about 30 are missing over that time. Go here: ZTB Dispersion Map and you can toggle through them (arrows under the map) for some basic stats (number of caches they've been to, miles travelled). That may give you some rough idea.

 

Our experience has shown that:

 

- All TBs will eventually go missing.

- Some TBs re-surface, even after many years of being off-the-grid.

- There is a size to success ration. Our trackable bowling balls and bowling pins, as well as the harpoon and full scale mannequin, and the microwave oven have travelled, but not as much as those smaller items that fit in more caches.

- Over time, the average cache size has gotten significantly smaller on all continents. That means there are fewer places to for cachers who respect and try to help TBs to place them.

- When Groundspeak introduced the "discovery" type of log, it had a significant negative impact on TBs traveling. Some TBs (the sticker on my car, the tattoo on my leg) are meant to be discovery only, but most are intended to move. A lot of cachers do discovery, few read descriptions and goals.

- Manage your expectations well. Forest fires consume caches that contain trackables. Floods wash away caches that contain trackables. Earthquakes bury 'em. Entropy happens.

- People steal them, lose them, forget them in the bottom of the cache bag, or under the seat of their car. They attach them to their keys, drop them in caches but keep poor records and don't log them because they can't remember where they dropped them. Entropy happens and humans accelerate it.

- Our experience has shown that Europeans are more conscientious about TBs. If your TB gets over there, it will be more likely to travel and stay alive than anywhere else.

 

If all this sounds too negative....

 

We had somebody fly with one of our bowling balls from New England to Italy, and then bring it back because they couldn't find a chance they could fit it in there. One of our bowling pins has been in someone's wedding pictures. We've had a ZTB pass through a cache in Vatican City. We've had TBs re-appear after having been missing for over five years. Dedicated cachers take them directly to their goals, in other states, other countries, other continents. They can be a lot of fun.

 

Patience, grasshopper.

 

When i die, my ashes will be sealed in lucite, and I intend to carry on caching as a TB, or a few of them. That, by the way, is not an original idea, there's cachers out there now that are still traveling in that form.

 

Here's a few fun ones:

 

Blue Rules One of our earliest bugs

 

Yet Another Pinhead

 

Cache Harpoon

 

Casey the Cacher

 

Well you get the idea.

 

Project-GC has a travel bug rescue page, where you can register "rescue missions" for your TBs that have been stuck in a cache for awhile. Do this routinely, and you will likely have more success as well.

Edited by Zekester & Simon

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I have 3 my first one is with a cacher who has had it for 2 months now and is not moving it on or visiting caches

I am new to geocaching and I am finding that more often or not most times when a cache is reporting as have a tracker in it its gone

this is such a shame as I think what decent Geocacher would do this

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Yes, they do go missing! About half of our travelling trackables - that is, excluding our vehicle and our name-tags - have gone missing. And we agree, the reasons include inexperience, lackadaisicalness (yes, it's a word!) and maliciousness! With respect to one of these missing trackables, we sent e-mails to all the cachers who had visited the last cache where it had been placed to ask about it and a number of them answered but some didn't - which, of course, narrowed down the list of possible delinquents - but that was as far as we got in tracking it down.

On a brighter note, we had a trackable travelling in Europe - in Germany, in fact - and it was in a cache which was destroyed by a violent storm in which trees were ripped out of the ground and so on. We know that, because the owner of the cache wrote us to tell us the fate of the cache - and, of course, our trackable! He spent some time searching the area for the cache but in vain. In due course, we arranged with him that if we supplied a replacement, he would place it in a comparable cache in the same general area and it has travelled on since being placed. So that was a very positive experience - and we now know a cacher in that part of Germany whom we would have no hesitation in contacting if we were going to be in the area!

The trackable concept is a great one and it is fun to follow them. So we continue to put them out from time to time but we spend less time than we should, probably, in keeping track of them!

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The trackable concept is a great one and it is fun to follow them. So we continue to put them out from time to time but we spend less time than we should, probably, in keeping track of them!

I do almost no "keeping track" at all. Occasionally, a coin surfaces from the abyss (I guess someone died and someone was born with honesty absent in the rest of the family). Or a "Took-It-To" cacher somehow accidentally places my captive coin into a cache container and logs the Drop. But the coins then almost always evaporate immediately afterward. It's cool while it lasts. If it's a Geocoin or an extra securely attached TB, it may turn up again when a taker dies. Soon, I hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I mean that I hope it will turn up soon. Not that the taker dies. But I won't complain if he does. I'm not sayin I'm just sayin. :ph34r:

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That reminds me, I need to go make some more voodoo dolls. I mean, clean up my TB inventory.

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