The schemer logo
The schemer logo

I recently found myself with some free time in Topeka, after the final appointment for my “subepithelial connective tissue graft” (aka gum graft) got done early.  That whole process is probably worth its own post, but the short version is: some gum tissue had to be moved around in my mouth, and everything went fine (it’s a pretty low-impact procedure).

Anyway, not wanting to drive back immediately (since the drive takes nearly an hour) I decided to explore Topeka.  In the past I would have looked for a nearby or highly-rated geocache, but I didn’t feel like digging around and trying to be sneaky.  Instead, I thought I’d try out schemer.

Schemer, which advertises itself as “The beginning of everything worth doing” is pretty similar to geocaching in spirit: you identify places you want to go / things you want to do, do them, and then mark them as done.  It’s entirely crowd-sourced — that is, the places to go and things to do come from other schemers — and you can go as fast or as slow as you like.  It’s a google project, so it integrates really tightly with google+, and has excellent mobile support.

I chose two schemes to start with — the first, to get a shake at an old-style soda fountain, was foiled when I got there at 4:15 and it closed at 4:00.  The second, to visit the great mural wall of Topeka, was more successful.  The mural itself is pretty neat (you can read more about it / see more pictures on their website) and quite large.  The whole scheming-experience is pretty smooth, too — you pick your scheme, navigate to it, and then check it off your list.

Sure enough, once I got there, there was a geocache at the mural too.  I was able to find it relatively easily, but getting the cache itself was another story — I tried for about 20 minutes (and probably looked pretty shady as I was trying to get at it) but eventually heard a siren and decided that was my cue to leave.

All in all, schemer worked quite well (oddly asymmetric mustache-logo aside), and I had a successful hour and a half of urban exploring.

Part of the great mural wall of Topeka
Part of the great mural wall of Topeka


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