Children’s book “The Birthday Cache”; exclusive sneak peak, and giveaway!

Today, we have a guest post from Teacher and Author Amanda Zeiba, and are presenting a sneak peak of the entire first chapter of her new book “The Birthday Cache”, which is on sale now! She has graciously allowed us to give away a copy of the book. Simply post a comment to the post for a chance to win. Seeing as the OCNA blogger is going in for surgery the day after this post, we will leave this contest open for two full weeks; the comments will be assigned a number 1 thru X, and the winner will be chosen on Tuesday, January 31st via a drawing. NOTE: We totally blew the date on that (now corrected); but we will therefore extend the contest until Friday, Feburary 3rd, 2017.


Do you love geocaching? Love reading? Have a young reader/cacher in your life? Looking for a good book to read as a family? If you said yes to any of these questions, The Birthday Cache, the first book in a new geocaching adventures series, is for you!

While twelve year old Mason Miles and his parents love their nomadic lifestyle living and working across the nation in their RV, his twin sister Molly is craving a normal life and scheming to put an stop to their endless road trip. For their twelfth birthday the twins open a GPS receiver and fall in love with the sport of geocaching. When they stumble upon a mysterious puzzle cache will their travels become interesting enough to change Molly’s mind?
The first chapter is written below. Give it a read, then respond in the comment section for a chance to win your very own copy. Gotta have it right now? The book is available in paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon. Just click here: and scroll to find your preferred version.

Author Bio:

Amanda Zieba is a full time teacher, a wife and mother always, and a writer any minute she can squeeze in. She is the author of numerous children’s books and one adult novella.

In addition to writing, she loves visiting schools and facilitating writer’s workshops for young writers.

Diet Pepsi and Cherry PopTarts fuel her beautifully manicured fingers to fly across the page in an effort to share her stories with you. You can find her online at


Chapter 1

Molly stomped through the woods clutching a brand new GPS receiver in her hand. Following the path highlighted on the screen only occupied part of her brain. The rest was busy listing complaints.

Complaints about their life on the road. Complaints about the lack of privacy for a twelve-year-old girl inside an RV. Complaints about missing her grandparents, friends, dance classes, and a thousand other things in Boston. But her biggest complaints were about her birthday.

I wish I was celebrating my birthday with my BEST FRIEND. But noooo, instead I am walking through the middle of the woods, for FUN. I’d rather be with Gabby, eating ice cream or going to the mall, or doing ANYTHING else NORMAL!

Molly paused, looking left and then right. Frustrated with every part of the adventure, she sighed loudly and mentally gave up.

“Here.” Molly shoved the GPSr into her twin brother’s hands. It’s a better present for him than me anyway. She folded her arms across her chest and dragged her feet, letting Mason take the lead. Their parents walked behind them, sandwiching Molly between them and her obnoxiously happy brother Mason.

“Some happy birthday this is,” she muttered.

“What’s that, Mol’ Doll?” her dad asked.

“Nothing.” She spoke a little louder than she meant to, causing a nearby bird to cry out and fly away.

The foursome wove through the trees, doing their best to follow the directions displayed on the GPSr. Mom snapped pictures with the camera that was permanently attached to her hand.

Mason rattled off facts he had learned from the Internet about geocaching. “The GPS receivers use a series of twenty-four low-orbiting satellites to help geocachers find what they are looking for. At first it was only used for military stuff, but in 2000, they started allowing civilians to use it too.”

Molly rolled her eyes, but continued to follow her know-it-all brother. He was always spouting annoying facts. Finally they reached the spot they had been searching for. When they discovered that it wasn’t a traditional cache, Molly’s annoyance grew.

Instead of unclasping the hinges of an old ammo can or prying the cover off a film canister, they stood huddled around a square sign. It read: Original Stash, the first geocache placed here, May 3, 2000.  N 45° 17.460 W° 122 24.800.

A traditional cache was a hidden container that held something you could take with you as a souvenir. Once you picked out an item, you replaced it with one of your own. They’d collected all kinds of things from caches: coins, keychains, and magnets. Here they were stuck with no treasure to find or trade, just a plaque to look at.

Dad pulled his phone out of his pocket and began putting his writer’s research skills to work. “It says here that the original cache was a five-gallon bucket containing all sorts of things—a little money, a book, a cassette tape. Lots of people came here to find it. Unfortunately, a road crew’s lawn mower destroyed it by accident.”

“Bummer,” Mom said.

“Definitely. Instead, they put in this plaque to mark the spot of the first geocache ever. It is called a virtual cache. No treasures, only a location to find.”

“Virtually lame,” Molly said, and then guiltily shrugged when she realized she’d said it out loud.

“Check this out,” Dad said. He continued to read from his phone. “Geocaching urban legend says that if you place your GPSr on top of the plaque, it will grant you   extra-long battery life and super-good satellite reception.”

“Well, we can’t miss out on that!” Mason said and put the GPSr on top of the plaque.

“Do we pray to the GPS gods or do a rain dance or something?” Mom asked.

“Nope. It should be good,” Dad said.

“Great. Can we go back to the RV now?” Molly asked.

“You guys can hang around a bit,” Mom said. “Molly and I will walk back.”

Without saying goodbye, Molly turned around and began walking back to their home on wheels. Mom gave Dad a weak smile and then turned to follow her daughter. They walked in silence for a bit before Mom said, “I’m sorry you don’t like your gift. You guys seemed to really like geocaching last summer when Dad had to try it out for the Outdoor Explorer Magazine article he wrote. We thought you’d be excited to do more of it this summer.”

“The present is great, Mom. It’s just that the only place I want to be exploring is Boston. I know you and Dad work well this way, writing and taking pictures all over the place. But this whole wandering nomad lifestyle is getting old. I want to have a regular home, with regular friends and a regular school. That would be the best birthday present ever.”

Molly’s mother grimaced but said, “Let’s get through the summer, and then we’ll think about regular school again in the fall, okay?”

“Really? You’re not just saying that?” Molly asked, stopping to look at her mother.

“I really mean it,” her mother said and gave Molly’s hand a quick squeeze.

Maybe Gabby’s plan isn’t totally hopeless, Molly thought. She almost told her mother the plan she’d worked so hard on right then and there. She opened her mouth but then closed it when she saw her mother was already several feet down the trail. Molly shrugged. She’d tell her parents the plan later.

For the rest of the way back to the RV, Molly walked instead of stomped.

An interview with Jesenia (of Team Minions J&D), Winner of the SCOTTeVEST Featherweight Vest

On August 15th, when we announced that Jesenia of Team Minions J&D, a cacher from Naguabo, Puerto Rico, was the winner of a SCOTTeVEST Featherweight Vest, we hinted in that post that we had a funny feeling we’d be hearing from her again. That is because at the time, she agreed to do a little interview with us after trying out the vest! We finally got around to sending some questions, and she was more than happy to answer them, and include some outstanding Geocaching pictures as well.

OpenCaching: How did you hear about Geocaching, and when did you start? 
With Skippy The Kangaroo in Australia

Jesenia: We love to travel around the world, so last year we moved to Australia for four months and while doing some Couchsurfing (staying with locals that offer their home to travelers through a website called, we met this amazing Aussie family that were Geocaching addicts. When they first told us about this hobby they were super excited and kept telling us all about the game. And I was like “cool, it is like treasure hunting, this must be fun!”.  It was our first time hearing the word Geocaching and they took us around Queensland to do our first caches. I remember we visited Coombabah Lake Lands where we saw a huge family of kangaroos living happily in the wild. We even got so close to them that we got some pretty neat kangaroo selfies plus some dangerous ones with poisonous snakes. During our first geocaching trip, we did so many and enjoyed it a lot. But the process of logging all the caches afterward was a bit confusing and overwhelmed us at first since we had so many to log during our first day Geocaching. We only did geocaching in Australia while we were with our friends. Then we forgot about it for a while, we kept on traveling and then we moved to Hawaii. And suddenly one day we remembered, “oh, it could be fun to do some geocaching every time we go out for a hike“. We love hiking so we started to do geocaching again, but from time to time. Now that we are back in our island Puerto Rico, I want to see where geocaching takes us. We have discovered so many beautiful places we did not know existed until now.

Read More

5th Anniversary Pathtag contest winners announced!

We have the winners of our 4th ever Pathtag contest, which was billed as “Win some OCNA 5th Anniversary Pathtags part Deux”. All winners responded within about 12 hours of being notified via email on Thursday night, September 29th. As always, we used the website to choose the winner(s). We were inspired to do so by drawings in the past conducted by The Outdoor Blogger Network, which we used to be a member of. Unfortunately, that network no longer exists. You put in a Min. number on the True Random Number Generator (and our Google Docs entry forms start at 2), with a Max. of the number of the last entry on the form, and you simply hit “Generate”.

Our Grand Prize winner, of five of our Pathtags was Tad AKA tubatad, a Geocacher from Des Moines. Washington State, that is, not Iowa.The 2nd prize winner, of three Pathtags, was Paul AKA Kingbee, a Geocacher from Bloomfield, New Mexico. The 3rd prize winner, of two Pathtags was Jason, AKA Bon Echo, a Geocacher from Hamilton, Ontario. Congratulations to all three of them!! Thanks to all who entered the contest as well.

SCOTTeVEST giveaway winner announced!

clipart-winnerWe held the drawing (expertly done by DudleyGrunt here) for the winner of a Featherweight vest by SCOTTeVEST on Monday, August 15th, shortly after 8:00 PM Eastern time, and sent the email informing the winner they had 48 hours to claim the prize at exactly 9:00 PM. In less than 2 hours, we heard back from the lucky winner, who is Jesenia, a member of the caching team minions J&D, from Naguabo, Puerto Rico. And lucky she was, she was the 2nd to last person to enter, on the very last day of the entry period! Congratulations to her. It turns out that single every entrant in the contest is a winner too, though. SCOTTeVEST has decided to reward everyone with a 20% off coupon code! We had said in the rules section of the contest that we would never share your email address, so we will go ahead and send out this coupon code ourselves. Look for an email to the address you used for the contest from opencachingnorthamerica at The subject will be SCOTTeVEST 20% off coupon code. We thank all the participants and readers (there were over 4 times as many readers as people who entered the drawing during the entry period), and once again offer our congratulations to Jesenia, whom we have a funny feeling we’ll be hearing from in the future . We are also eternally grateful to SCOTTeVEST for allowing us to be a part of this promotion!

Win a SCOTTeVEST Featherweight Vest to hold all your gear!

product-threeFor all you cachers out there who carry a lot of gear with them during every adventure, we have just the giveaway for you. Introducing SCOTTeVEST, a clothing line for men and women with specially engineered pockets that keep all your gear secure and close to you, leaving you free to focus on finding that next cache, not where your stuff is (or isn’t!).

SCOTTeVEST clothing can hold all the gadgets and daily essentials cachers normally would fumble through a purse, backpack, or fanny pack to find, and have embroidered pocket icons to help organize maps, smartphones, flashlight, GPS, books, sunscreen, bug spray, sunglasses, water and more.

Every garment includes a patented Personal Area Network (PAN), which is a network of hidden conduits to connect wires to devices while they are in your pockets, including power banks, charging cables or headphones. This feature is key when out away from an outlet – relying on electronics. Never again will your GPS or smartphone die on you before you reach your destination and you won’t get tangled up with wires, external batteries, and electronics all stuffed into one pocket.

All garments feature staggered interior/exterior pockets so contents don’t overlap (or make users look like the Michelin Man); as well as a Weight Management System (chiropractor tested!) to ensure maximum carrying capacity and maximum comfort.

For this contest, we are giving away a Featherweight Vest for either men or women, depending on the winner. This vest packs 14 pockets including some for smartphones, batteries, tablets and much much more. Plus, it is made of super lightweight fabric that will keep you cool during summer trips. More information on how to enter below, with rules, of course:

Rules: To enter, provide your name and email address in the form below. One entry per person, and one entry per email address. (We will never share your email address, and the Google Doc storing the entries will be deleted after the contest). Contest is only open to residents of the United States and Canada. The contest begins upon publication of this blog post on Monday, August 8th, 2016, and ends at 8:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on Monday, August 15th, 2016. The winner will be chosen at random from the entries received, shortly after the end time of the contest, using the services of the website Winner will be notified via email, notification being sent from the email address opencachingnorthamerica at (be sure to check your spam folders!), and must respond within 48 hours, or the prize will be forfeited, and another winner will be chosen. Once the prize is accepted, you must provide a valid mailing address, and the prize will be sent out via the U.S. Postal Service  from SCOTTeVEST.


 Contest over, entry form removed!


Win some OpenCaching NA 5th Anniversary Pathtags!

frontAfter many delays, The OpenCaching North America 5th Anniversay Pathtag has finally been manufactured, and is on sale now! They can be purchased in lots of 20 for $20 from under a “club fundraiser” program. You’ll note the page for our tag on their website references us receiving $5 for every 20 pack sold. However, that applies only to registered non-profit LLC’s, one of which we are not (although we have, and still are considering, that legal status), so that $5 is payable only in Pathtag cash. The OCNA team will of course use this Pathtag cash to buy more of our own tags, which we will generously distribute to promote the website.

We will give you an example of that generosity right now. How about we give away 10 of them? Not to one person though, lets spread them around a little bit. We will have three separate winners. The 1st prize winner will receive 5 of our Pathtags; the 2nd prize winner will receive 3 of our Pathtags; and the 3rd prize winner will receive a paltry 2 of our Pathtags. These tags feature the OCNA Mascot Hank The Hawk, and were designed by Nancy of Deadliest Cachers, who also is the designer of Hank himself. They also feature the “free” OCNA Pathtag back that anyone can use for their tags (approved by October, 2105), which, you guessed it, was designed by Nancy. We are very happy they have finally been produced. If you don’t win any, you can always buy some. And remember, people love to trade for Pathtags, and “traders” who don’t even use our site, have bought packs of both this 5th Anniversary tag, and our 1st Edition tag from 2013.

To enter the Pathtag giveaway, fill out the form below with your name (as it says, “Geonick” is fine), and a valid email address. Entering as “Geonick” is indeed funny, but someone did it for one of our contests already, so it would be less funny this time. We will never use your email address, and the Google Document storing all the entries will be deleted after the contest. There are rules, of course, which appear below, in italicized text above the entry form.

Rules: To enter, provide your name and email address in the form below. One entry per person, and one entry per email address. There are no Geographical restrictions, contest is open to anyone in the world. The contest begins upon publication of this blog post on Friday, February 12th, 2016, and ends at 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, February 21st, 2016. Three winners will be chosen at random from the entries received, shortly after the end time of the contest, using the services of the website Winners will be notified via email, notification being sent from the email address opencachingnorthamerica at (be sure to check your spam folders!), and must respond within 48 hours, or the prize will be forfeited, and another winner will be chosen. Once the prize is accepted, you must provide a valid mailing address, and the prize will be sent out via the U.S. Postal Service .

 Contest ended, entry form removed!