Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Yellow Jeep

For the past three years (at least that I am aware of), Jeep Chrysler has released a limited number of colored Jeep travel bugs as game pieces in a contest they have sponsored. I talked about this contest in an earlier entry, where I was discussing this year's entries with the Green Jeep. There were 5600 Green Jeeps released last year. I have "discovered" eleven of them - meaning I had my hands on them long enough to get their tag number - and have actually possessed two of them that I took pictures of. Well, recently it came to my attention that there was a Yellow Jeep listed in a cache that I had found recently, some ways from my house but in an area that is "cache rich" and that I had been steadily working on in terms of finding all the caches. I have "discovered" one White Jeep at an event once, but I had never seen a yellow one. I was determined to get this one for the icon* at least, but I also wanted to take pictures of it.
I convinced my husband to take us all down there on a family caching trip. My oldest son and I traipsed into the bushes, and he checked out the other travel bugs in the cache while I snagged the Yellow Jeep, leaving a geocoin for trade. I was so very excited to have the Jeep, but my excitement was dampered when we had to cut our caching trip short due to a dirty diaper and a call-in from my boss.
I was very curious about why it was so rare to see a Yellow Jeep, and so I did some research. The Yellow Jeeps were released in 2004 as part of that year's contest. There were originally 4000 released, but at this time, I cuold only find 17 of those still in circulation. The theory out in the caching world is that people keep the Jeeps as souvenirs, as part of their private (but must be secret) collection. If they took them to events, at least more than once, they would be ousted as a travel bug thief. At least that is what I believe.
We have this discussion a lot, us cachers, about what happens to travel bugs or geocoins, or for this matter Jeeps, when they disappear from circulation. The coins are supposed by some to join someone's private collection, but most of the other cachers at events are like me, and like to bring their collection of coins to show off to others. We like to share the coins and numbers with each other, so that everyone can get the icon that you obtain by "discovering" (which means you touch or see it and record the number to get credit for the find, but don't actually keep) or by moving them. If I was holding someone else's coin, the others would be recording that they saw it, which means the owner of the item would still be getting postings and know the whereabouts of their item, and it would then be in circulation. Often a coin or cool bug gets dropped in a cache and just goes MIA. Nobody knows exactly where they go, just speculate about personal collections and/or muggles.
SO I took the Yellow Jeep to an event on Monday and I really expected to be like the hero of the event and have everyone oohing and ahhing, but stragely that didn't happen. I had it sitting at my table but nobody even commented on it, so I began taking it around and showing it off, pimping it out. I went from table to table and it was a good way to break the ice and start mingling, a conversation starter if you will, and I talked to some people I never met before and others I had. I felt sort of dirty, like I was asking them if they wanted to pet my breasts or something, prostiuting that thing like that. It was strange.
Although no one just jumped estatically over the introduction of the Jeep, there were a few people who were interested in logging the number and doing a discovery. The other cachers would tell me of their experience with the Jeeps, and some had see them before. "Snoogans", aka Mark, the champion travel bug mover, told me that was not the original Jeep that was attached to that tag. He said, and some other cachers agreed, that the original Jeep was the same size and shape, but possibly a different model and/or hood color. One couple that I have seen before but who have never been particularly friendly, said they had had that exact same Jeep before. I am about to go check that out because, as I told them, it looked like that Jeep had just gotten into the area a short time ago. More on that soon.
I will post the pictures I take soon as well.
This particular event, nobody was even interested in logging coins. My theory on that is that this is like the sixth event that has been held in the same place over the past eight months and these people I think have seen each other's coins and it is no longer as interesting, kinda like old married couples I think. Which is a shame because I had some cool new coins to show off as well.