Hot Rod2

January 17th, 2016

A year ago I lost my best friend, my brother Rod. It has been a long, slow journey this past year. I think I am finally to the point where I can think of him and not want to crawl into bed and make it all go away. However today I did exactly that. I crawled back into bed with my purry Nala kitty and had a long nap so I wouldn’t have to think about it. Alas, I had to wake up and face reality.

This is the Eulogy I wrote for my brother and read at his memorial service…

Rodney Edward Gowen was born on November, 14, 1965 at Grace Hospital in Vancouver. Not only was he was my baby brother, but after my children and husband Rod was my best friend. Rod passed away as a result of a “coronary event”, during the autopsy it was discovered that he had a heart far to big for his body. This information is rather poetic as anyone who knew Rod knows he was always ready to help anyone who needed it. Rod could always be relied on to rescue us when we had vehicle breakdowns, from our Honda Civic wearing out an alternator to our van breaking down at the top of a mountain, Rod would always come to our rescue. He was our 911.

I only have a few actual memories of Rod as a baby and small child, looking through the photos he was adorable, I love his curly blond hair. He was a very, very active child, eventually diagnosed with severe ADHD he kept everyone on their toes. Our mother didn’t believe in medicating him so she tried cutting out the foods that were considered triggers for his ADHD. I don’t actually remember him ever being still, it’s remarkable that so many photos were taken in focus! Since most of the photos of us when we were small are in B&W I’ll let you know that Rod was usually dressed in red, it made him easier to spot as he darted between the various things that caught his attention.

As you will see in the slide show Rod was always happy, it seemed everyone wanted to be near him. I am so glad that this lasted through his entire life.

Our summers were filled with outdoor activities like camping, fishing and as we got older water skiing. As teenagers nothing would have made us happier than spending our entire summer water skiing. Rod and our dad continued to enjoy fishing together right up until our dad passed away 5 1/2 years ago.

The Christmas Rod was 5 or 6 he received a train set. This kept him and our dad occupied for hours… They eventually built a “train room” in our basement that was basically a plywood table from wall to wall to wall. It had a square hole in the middle so Rod could crawl under the plywood and be in the “centre of his train world”.

Our mom tried various activities for Rod to keep him and his energy occupied; Scouting, Baseball, Soccer, Ice Skating & Swim Club were a few of them. My favourite memory of the Figure Skating Club was the year Rod was cast as “Snoopy” from the “Peanuts Cartoon”. Due to his very active personality the instructors couldn’t get him to “follow a routine”. Finally they made him “Snoopy” so that he could just skate around the rink avoiding the “Red Baron”. He even had a dog house on the ice rink that he would climb on and lay on top just like Snoopy did in the comics.

In his teen years Rod learned to play the accordian he was good enough that he would preform for our grandmother’s church. He also joined the Surrey Square Wheelers, a square dancing club that our parents belonged to, they would travel around the province to various square dancing events. For those of you old enough to remember where you were when Mt. St. Helen’s blew up Rod was in the Okanagan at a Square Dancing Event with our parents.

Rod also belonged to a church youth group while he was in his teens. It was a great group, they did lots of outdoor outings. The biggest of which was hiking the “West Coast Trail, something Rod was always proud of having completed.

Rod worked at various jobs during his late teens and early twenties. The job that eventually became his career was driving commercial trucks. He loved the driving part and as anyone who was his friend on facebook knows was not at all happy about the sitting around waiting to be loaded and unloaded parts!

As some of you may know Rod loved country music. Today we are playing a very small selection of his rather large CD collection.

Near the end of 2007 my husband, Kevin, a few friends & I introduced Rod to geocaching during an epic all day long,morning till dark typical day of geocaching for Kevin & I. Rod was instantly hooked, set up an account for himself on geocaching.com as “Hot Rod2” and quickly went out and bought himself a GPS. Since that day we were lucky enough to spend more epically long days geocaching as well as our “Friday Night Caching” where I would bus across the river on Friday afternoons and we would geocache until very, very late at night! We also enjoyed many 4×4 geocaching adventures with Rod in his Ford Explorer, his new Toyota Tacoma as well as in our “Wrong Side Drive” beast. Rod had found 2270 geocaches when he passed away.

The geocaching adventure we were the most proud of was hiking to the Gold Country Seton Ridge Cache on Sunday, September 28, 2014, just 4 short months ago. Seton Ridge follows the height of the land with dizzyingly steep drops of nearly 1600 meters to either side. The hike to the geocache is 2.3 km long with an elevation gain of 1825 feet. It took us 3 hours to hike up and 2 hours to hike down. About halfway down we realized that we had forgotten the stickers up at the cache, thankfully the more physically fit Kevin went back for the stickers as Rod & I made our way back to the truck. Lets just say that the food at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Whistler that night was the best we ever tasted. For some extra entertainment read Professor P.’s (my husband Kevin) log on the Gold Country Seton Ridge cache:

As a few people on facebook mentioned Rod was always ready to “down a pint” with a friend. With this in mind when you are safely back at home please “lift a pint” to Rod.

Here is a poem I found online that I think fits the passing of Rod the best:

You can shed tears that he is gone,
or you can smile because he has lived.
You can close your eyes
and pray that he’ll come back
or you can open your eyes
and see all he has left.
Your heart can be empty
because you can’t see him,
or you can be full of
the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow
and live yesterday, or you
can be happy for tomorrow
because of yesterday.
You can remember him
and only that he’s gone,
or you can cherish
his memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back,
or you can do
what he’d want:
Smile, Open Your Eyes,
Love and Go On.

Author Unknown

Below is his trackable number from the back of his truck. If you knew Rod and would like to share a story please do. If you have also lost someone and would like to share a story I would love to hear from you either on the blog or a personal email. FFRBQ4

Scout / Guide Week

March 20th, 2013

As some of you may know my husband and our 3 adult children are very involved in Scouting, my husband and son since 1993 and our daughters more recently. Last month there was a very important week in the Scouting and Guiding community, Scout/Guide week. Specifically Feb. 22 which is know as “Founders Day” or “Baden Powell Day”. The events written about below are one of the ways some of the youth celebrate it and promote Scouting at the same time.

Most of the following is taken directly, word for word, from an email to me from Mark. I have reworded parts of it to put it in the 3rd person so it is more like a story.

A few years ago Kit went to a Jamboree in the Netherlands. At the Jamboree part of the opening ceremonies was for all the Scouts to go out into the surrounding town and area and put their necker on statues, monuments and sometimes people.

Kit took a picture and that’s where Mark got the idea from. He wanted to do something for Scout/Guide week, and wanted it to involve Rovers (ages 19-25). This seemed to be a perfect fit. The Neckerchief is one of the most recognizable icons in the world and is the one thing that links a Scout from Australia to Canada to the Netherlands to the United States with a Scout in Zimbabwe. They wanted to promote Scouting and encourage people to join. Put A Necker On It (aka Neckerbombing) is also completely leave no trace ~ they come and clean up the neckers that haven’t already been removed after the week is done.

Kit and the Miracle Mile Statues ~ Photo Courtesy of Mark Burge 2013

In early 2012, Mark started this thread: Necker Bombing YVR and history was made.  They procured some fabric and a bunch of rovers from the North Shore, Abbotsford and Vancouver set out in their communities to Put Neckers on statues. Below are Mark’s Three Rules for Neckerbombing or the “less suspicious” term Put a Necker On It:

1. Do not put a necker on Religious, Indigenous or War Memorials. Also, If you’ve got security guards coming out to ask what you’re doing, be completely honest: Explain what and why you’re doing it and in our experience they’ll turn a blind eye for awhile.

2. Be super safe about it: A lot of statues are very old and can’t support the weight of a Venturer or Rover climbing on them to put a necker on them. Plus, the activity gets cut short if we have to take you to hospital.

3. Have fun.

This year Scouts Canada has made #putaneckeronit as a major social media thing. Venturers in Kelowna have neckerbombed, an Area back East is holding a competition, Vancouver Rovers have stepped up and made the news, and Mark heard and saw more and more photos and reports of people Putting a Necker on something. As he tweeted that week: for the Vancouver statues it was 60 dollars in materials, 15 dollars in gas, 3 hours of prep and 3 hours of activity = 1 minute on provincial television. That’s better than any commercial buy on the market.

This year my husband and our kids participated in the Put A Necker On It campaign. Here are a few photos of their statues.

Photos by Worldcaching

Happy Belated Birthday Lord & Lady Baden-Powell
Hope you were able to enjoy a nice cuppa tea while looking down and smiling on the ingenious youth of today!

Thank You to Kit for bringing the “Put A Necker On It” idea home to share. And a special Thank You to Mark for his help in writing this blog post and allowing me to use his photo.

#NeckerBombing #PutANeckerOnIt #RoversDoStuff

Happy New Year 2013

January 3rd, 2013

Happy 2013!

On Tuesday we attended our local Geocaching Association’s Happy New Years Event and enjoyed catching up with many cachers we haven’t seen in quite awhile. It was nice to go as attendees rather than take Worldcaching as a vendor for a change so we could visit more and work less. The weather was fantastic for the Pacific NorthWest; nice and sunny and not so cold that our fingers would freeze!

Photo Courtesy of Scruffster

We stayed and visited for an hour or so then did some power trail caches with a few caching friends. From there the usual 3 of us (myself, my husband & my brother) went and followed another power trail that had a great non-power trail cache on it: “Geo-Rebel Alliance Death Star”. The cache container was actually a Lego Death Star… How cool is that! Sorry, no spoiler photos will be posted.

A geocaching friend of ours was on the same trail as us earlier in the day and saw the same heron we saw in the dusk. Of course I left the camera at home so have borrowed his photos. He’s an amazing photographer. Isn’t his photo is awesome?

Photo Courtesy of Scruffster

I hope the first day of the New Year was filled with family, friends and a great day like ours was. Wishing your family the best in 2013 from our Worldcaching family.

My New Years Resolutions are:

~ To post one blog per week (preferably on Wednesdays)

~ Keep up with my geocaching logs in 2013

~ Log my backlog of geocache logs from the last 3 years (yikes)

~ Get into better physical shape!

The Last Few Weeks of Night School!

April 2nd, 2011

The past month has been extra busy with final projects due for both my night school classes.

The Worldcaching Business Plan is all finished and handed in, wow, was it a lot of hard work! All I have to do for that class is finish organizing my presentation then stand up in front of the class and give my presentation! I have some of the fun geocaching containers, coins, travel tags and of course Worldcaching’s own Muggle Cards to show the class so they will get an idea of what geocaching is.

I had my last Social Media class last nWight. I will miss all the people and the instructor for that class, they were all amazing! We learned so many practial ways to use social media to promote our businesses. I plan to use and keep up on many of the different ways to promote Worldcaching that I learned about. The instructor for my social media class, Rebecca Coleman, has her own business with some amazing blog posts that everyone can learn from.

The various topics we coverd in the social media class are listed below along with some of the ways I plan to implement them. Website basics was the 2nd class and after looking at a wide variety of websites as well as what works on websites and what doesn’t I have decided that the Worldcaching website needs a complete overhaul. I look forward to any and all suggestions on what we could do to improve the website for everyone. Check out our April sales on the Worldcaching website!

E-newsletters was another entire class, I have an e-newsletter almost ready to send out. All I need to do is research different websites and decide which provider I am going to use. When I have sent out the e-newsletter I will tweet it and post it on facebook. Blogging… as you can see I enjoy writing the blogs and now that my night school classes are finished I should be able to meet my goal of posting a new blog every Wednesday!

Facebook and Twitter, both of these I had up and running before I started my classes. With everything I have learned I will be working on improving and updating both of them on a regular bases. I will also start to have some fun contests every so often on both sites. YouTube was another fun class and we just finished our first YouTube video. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Traci Penner (aka Groovy Owl)


Worldcaching: Studying, Studying and More Studying!

February 27th, 2011

This past week has been busy with homework and studying. I am trying to get my blogs posted on Wednesdays, since this is Sunday I am clearly behind!

I wrote a midterm last Thursday night, the first in many, many years! I am waiting with baited breath to find out how I did. In the same class I am busy writing a Business Plan for Worldcaching with 2 class partners. We have divided up the various parts of the plan and hope to compile them back together into a comprehensive plan to take Worldcaching into the future.

My Social Media class is lots of fun. We learned about Twitter last Tuesday night. Right now the Twitter name for the store is “WorldcachingCom”. However the Com on the end sounds silly to me so I am asking everyone for suggestions on what I can change the last three letters to. I want to keep Worldcaching as the first part but have to add something to it as my store name was already taken on Twitter. I only have room for 3 more characters and I welcome any creative ideas you have to offer. After I get a number of suggestions I will put up a vote up on both the Facebook page and on Twitter.

I have a newsletter almost ready to send out for March 1st. And will be looking through my inventory tomorrow so I can decide what will be on sale for the month of March. If you have any ideas of what you would like me to put on sale please let me know.

Traci Penner (aka Groovy Owl)


Learning About the Business of Worldcaching

February 16th, 2011

One of my goals for Worldcaching is to keep the old fashioned standards and expectations that I had for my small home daycare (see previous blog) and still have for my family. I hope my customers will feel they are receiving an old fashioned, high standard of product and service.

It was a fantastic personal accomplishment and the beginning of a great adventure when I purchased Worldcaching last August. I learnt a lot about the business by simply jumping in with both feet. We moved the merchandise from Nina’s house to my house on August 15. We spent a few days unpacking & counting the inventory and being amazed by all the fun things Worldcaching sells. To cause as little inconvenience to our dedicated Worldcaching customers we have kept the website up and running and continued to receive orders while we were setting Worldcaching up in our house. I had my first “in store” customer on August 18 and shipped my first order out on August 19!



To make Worldcaching all it can become in the future I am taking two night school courses at BCIT to learn about the business world and ultimately to serve YOU, my customers better.

Both courses are in Marketing. The course with the most homework and the difficult learning curve for me is Small Business Development. In it I am learning how to do research and write a Business Plan so I can define where I want to take Worldcaching in the future complete with a plan I can follow to do that. The other course I am taking is Social Media for Small Business. This course is quite fun, but still a bit challenging at times as I am learning about all the different ways to market Worldcaching using facebook, twitter, blogs and many of the other types of social media out there. So far I have written a practise newsletter which I am hoping to have finalized and on an online platform to send it out to everyone by the beginning of March. We covered blogs a couple weeks ago and last night we learned enough about facebook to make my head spin, and I am already a frequent facebook user!

The part of the Business Plan I am working on right now with a couple of partners from my class is writing customer profiles and a competitive analysis of other geocaching supply companies. To do this I have asked Worldcaching followers on facebook, twitter and even on my website to volunteer to answer a list of email questions. We are hoping to get at least three distinctive customer demographics, hopefully from different countries. If you are interested in helping out please email me at traci@worldcaching.com.

I am looking forward to learning more about Social Media, what researching for my Business Plan will teach me and of course reading all comments written by my blog readers

Traci Penner (aka Groovy Owl)


Worldcaching Has a New Owner

February 9th, 2011

Hi everyone, my name is Traci and I am the new owner of Worldcaching. I thought my loyal Worldcaching customers would like to know a little about me…

For many years I was an old fashioned stay at home mom & wife. Kevin, my husband, and I have three children; Doug (22), Nicholle (20) and Danica (16). I’ll tell you a more about each of them and their individual roles in Worldcaching in the future.

When my children were small I ran a very small home daycare, usually only 3-4 children along with my own. I ran it in such a way that my daycare children were treated like my own so that they would feel like they were at their 2nd home while mom and dad were at work. As my children grew up and all started school full time I switched to having part time jobs. When the last place I worked shut their doors forever two of my children had graduated and the third one only had a few years to go. Now that I was forced to finish growing up I started to seriously think about what I wanted to do with my life!

In 2007, for Kevin’s birthday I gave him a small, low model GPS… well that certainly put a stop to any ideas of growing up either of us might have had. Learning about geocaching made us realize that there are still far too many adventures out there!

Our biggest geocaching adventure so far was attending GeoWoodstock VIII for the beginning of our two week family geocaching vacation/adventure. While in Carnation Washington we went to as many of the events as possible including the Street Party put on by Groundspeak and found as many of the geocaches the area had to offer as we could find time for! After GeoWoodstalk VIII we went to Mt. St. Helen’s in Washington State for a couple days of exploring and geocaching. Next came Crater Lake in Oregon State, a truly amazing place to visit and of course geocache. From Crater Lake we went straight to the beaches of Oregon and geocached our way back to Canada.

Mission 9

Finding One of the GeoTriad

While we were at GeoWoodstock I helped Worldcaching’s then owner Nina sell products in the Worldcaching booth. I had a lot of fun and also learned that Nina planned to sell! Now to say that put a bug in my ear would be an understatement. After we returned home from holidays we started the process of putting in an offer. On August 15, 2010 I became the proud new owner of Worldcaching!

I am looking forward to where Worldcaching will take me in the future and reading any comments you may write or ideas you would like to send me…

Traci Penner (aka Groovy Owl)