(Los Angeles, May 16, 2005) — During a cross country map research trip this month and in June, the Automobile Club of Southern California will be hiding 12 caches for travelers to find at a variety of locations along Route 66 as part of a geocaching treasure hunt.
Geocaching, a combination of "geo" for geography and "caching" for hiding a cache, is a 5-year-old high tech scavenger hunt using handheld Global Positioning System (GPS) units. The units are used to hide and track down "geocaches," containers filled with goodies and sometimes valuable objects. In the geocaching world, hunting and finding the location of the containers at scenic sites also count as prizes.
Geocache coordinates that Auto Club travel writer Dave Brackney and Auto Club staff photographer Todd Masinter get using GPS units while updating the Auto Club's Route 66 map, will be posted on the Auto Club's dedicated interactive web page, www.aaa-calif.com/travel/promo/campaign/route66.asp. The web page will track the 22-day map expedition.
The Auto Club geocaches on the "Mother Road" could include Hertz rental car coupons, logo T-shirts, travel guides, children's games and automotive items, according to Auto Club Editorial Director John Austerman. There also will be several virtual scenic site caches as well, he added.
The web page also describes the Auto Club's historic contribution to the creation of Route 66, biographies of Brackney and Masinter, historic images from the Auto Club's Corporate Archives and photos from a previous Auto Club Route 66 road trip.
Brackney and Masinter will begin their expedition in Chicago on May 17 and finish at the Santa Monica Pier, the western end point of Route 66, on June 7. Once the trip gets under way, the web page will be transformed into a daily journal with entries and photos sent in electronically from the road. Progress will be tracked on an online map of the road. Members also can send in their own Route 66 memories and questions to the pair at Route66@aaa-calif.com.
Hertz and Ford Motor Company are sponsors of the vehicles that Auto Club representatives will traverse Route 66 in: a 2005 Ford Mustang coupe and Mustang GT convertible. The GPS units are courtesy of GPS manufacturer, Garmin.
Before the federal government took it over in 1927 and renamed it U.S. Route 66, the original transcontinental byway was called the National Old Trails Road. In 1914, the Auto Club signposted the multi-state roadway. Using shovels and sledgehammers, the Auto Club signposting crew installed 4,000 directional signs between Los Angeles and Kansas City, Mo.