GCGC: A prolific hider in the GCGC area, bamafan323 is an extremely enthusiastic cacher with a devoted spirit towards all of his hobbies. Bump into him on the trails or at an event and your will surely have a memorable impression as he is rarely gone unnoticed. From his RIAN series to his JAWS series, bamafan323 brings us to new places all over the GCGC area and beyond. He was kind enough to take a few moments to answer some questions for us to share his perspective on caching and his experiences.GCGC: How long have you been geocaching?
I signed my first log on May 2nd, 2005.GCGC: How did you first get involved with geocaching?
My first geocaching experience was back in May of 2005 with T’sali
. we were down at Kure beach with our Sea-doos playing in the ocean and he was all gung-ho to get a cache down at Fort Fisher and dragged me and PantherFan with him. We both thought he was crazy, but we signed up on the website and did one cache. Three years later, we started driving vehicles off-road in Uwharrie and I finally signed log #2. My rate picked up a bit after that (A rare glimpse of bamafan323 as he takes his Xterra off-road caching.)GCGC: How did you decide on your caching name?
The bamafan part should be obvious, especially if you know me. The 323 is in tribute to a former University of Alabama coach, Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant, who had 323 career victories. I use this on a lot of forums, etc. just to be unique. If I could do it again, maybe something shorter to fit on some of those logs (laughing)
.GCGC: Do you have any other hobbies beyond geocaching?
I was once asked in a job interview ‘What do you do for fun?” and the interviewer said I gave the best answer he had ever heard – “What do I NOT do for fun?” I love to go on off-road trails, I ride sea-doos in the summer, I love to travel, I do woodworking and basic home improvement type stuff…I love to be busy doing. I don’t watch much TV (except BAMA football!) so that gives me more time to do the 'important' things like geocaching.GCGC: Do you prefer caching with a group or solo?
Definitely with others. Caching, to me, is a social activity. Having said that, caching alone beats not caching at all.GCGC: What do you love most about caching?
There are so many things I love about our sport/activity/hobby. I love that there is something for everyone, be it hiking, puzzles, easy numbers, trackables, challenges, etc. I love that it can be a full day obsession or a pit stop on the way home from work. I love that it gets me some exercise. I love that I learn so much about new places and see such awesome sights when I am in a new city by looking up popular caches. But most of all, I love that it gives me a chance to take road trips with friends and laugh and laugh and laugh...GCGC: Is there anything you don't like or would change about geocaching?
Bring back Virtuals! They were awesome, although I understand they got to the point they were being abused (much like the new Challenges are today).GCGC: What is your favorite cache or caching experience?
It’s probably a cop-out, but I don’t think I have a ‘favorite moment’ because so many of them have been memorable – either the cache, or the trip, or the company on the cache run. If forced, I would probably choose any of the Delorme runs I have taken with StargateKrewe, particularly in WV. Between the company, the Challenge, the challenges (weather, time, darkness, roads that run through creeks,...), and the humor - those have been fantastic.GCGC: What kind of caches do you most enjoy looking for (size/location/etc.)?
I’m not real picky, although I am not a huge fan of nanos, but more because the logs are a pain with my fat fingers than anything else.
I really like caches with some oddball history associated with them like ‘Bomb Crater (GC1DP23)’ near Florence SC or ‘Battle of the Buck Nekkids (GC13VJJ)’ near Roanoke Rapids NC, or ‘Two Trucks (GCPW9P)’ on Ocracoke Island. Or just oddball things like “That Would Be A Red Tractor In A Pond (GC1CZEY)” which is placed near, of course, a red tractor in the middle of a pond. I also admire the really creative caches - along the lines of those hidden by TermiteHunter / Therapaint / RVStauff or that ilk. The new 'favorites' system really helps in finding these types of caches, particularly when traveling...
GCGC: Describe your ideal cache hunt.
It would definitely involve a road trip with fellow cacher(s). And I mean a trip at least a couple hundred miles.GCGC: Do you have any geocaching goals you are getting close to (milestone number, DeLorme or County challenges, number of states, streaks, etc.)?
Honestly, I've stopped tracking the milestone numbers - I got way too caught up in that stuff at one point. Although I do keep an eye on my number of hides, so I guess I am not completely cured!
I really enjoy the challenge caches – part of that engineer mindset, I guess. I’ve completed the NC and SC Delorme and County challenges. I've done the requirements for the WV Delorme and County challenges and just have to get back up there to log the finals. I’m about 1/3 of the way through with the VA Delorme/ VA County and VA Independent Cities challenges. A few other easier challenges – Mecklenburg Zip Code challenge, Caching A to Z, 100 day streak, 100 in a day, etc have been done. I am waiting for February to finish the ‘366 Day Challenge’.GCGC: Thank you, bamafan323, for taking time to share with us.