Monday, February 28, 2005

Monday, February 28, 2005

Today I found 69 cents. . . 19 pennies & 5 dimes. I also found an elongated penny. Sadly, the elongated penny does not count towards the days totals.

I started the day in Bradenton, FL watching the Pittsburgh Pirates practice and after that was over I drove to Port St. Lucie to watch the Mets. Autographs were not very good today, but I did manage to get Jason Bay, the Rookie of the Year in 2004 and Gary Carter, a member of the Hall of Fame. Besides the small successes it was not that good of a day.

In Bradenton I found 6 cents (all pennies) at a British Petroleum gas station, 2 cents at a no name car wash, 5 cents (all pennies) at a Race Trac, 31 cents (three dimes & a penny) at an Arby’s Drive Thru, 1 cent at a Chevron, and 10 cents (a dime) at a no name car wash. Driving to Port St. Lucie I found a dime at a Winn-Dixie in Lakewales, FL, and once in Port St. Lucie I found a penney at a Shell gas station and another penny at an apartment complex.

The excitement for the day was at the Race Trac in Bradenton where I found two pennies. One of the pennies that I found was a 1918 wheat penny. It was on the floor by the cash register. This is by far the oldest penny that I have found to date.

The elongated penny was also found at the Race Trac, only it was outside by the vacuum cleaners. It had a dolphin on it and the words "Pier 60" and "Clearwater Florida" on it. The elongated penny will be added to my unique finds cup.

Totals for the day: 69 cents
Race Totals: $6.25

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Today I found 62 cents. . . 22pennies, 3 dimes, and 2 nickels.

There was nothing to do today except look for change. It rained so hard in Florida that all Spring Training practices were canceled. I started the day in Kissimmee, FL, but ended up driving through Lakeland and all the way to Bradenton, FL. I have a friend who is a pitcher with Pittsburgh and I figured that today would be a good day to visit him. Of course a few stops were made along the way to gather discarded change.

I found 12 cents (one dime and two pennies) at a Sonic in St. Cloud, eight cents (one nickel and 3 pennies) at a Taco Bell drive thru in Kissimmee, FL, 22 cents (two dimes & two pennies at a KFC in Kissimmee, three cents at a Steak & Shake in Kissimmee, seven cents (all pennies) at an Exxon in Lakeland, one cent at a Hess gas station in Bradenton, and nine cents (one nickel and 4 pennies at a Splash n’Dash car wash in Braenton.

I must admit that towards the end I really did not want to be looking for change as it was raining quite hard. However, as this is the Race of the Century I continued.

Totals for the day: 62 cents
Race Totals: $5.56

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Today I found 53 cents. . . 28 pennies, 2 dimes, and a nickel.

Today was my first day of vacation in sunny Florida. However, it was not that sunny and somewhat cold. The purpose of my vacation was to see Spring Training baseball games and practices. I arrived in Kissimmee, FL, spring home to the Houston Astros. Although I only got one autograph today (John Franco) I did find a lot of change after the days practice. All of the finds for the day were in Kissimmee and St. Cloud, the small town right next to Kissimmee.

I found one cent by a trash can at the airport while I was waiting for my bags to be unloaded from the plane, a nickel in the paring lot by the Astros training facility, five cents (all pennies) at Krazy Vern’s Car Wash, 5 cents (all pennies) at Water Whirled Car Wash, one cent at multiple places (Shell, Wal-Mart, and Albertsons), seven cents at a laundry mat, two cents at Save Rite Grocery Store, two cents at Winn-Dixie, and 23 cents (2 dimes and 3 pennies) at Race Track.

I had quite a bit of time to look for change since practice was over by 3:00 pm and there was nothing else to do for the day. I’m hopeful that the rest of the vacation will be as productive.

Totals for the day: 53 cents
Race Totals: $4.94

Friday, February 25, 2005

Friday, February 25, 2005

Today I found 41 cents. . . 11 pennies, a quarter, and a nickel. I also found two tokens. Sadly, the tokens do not count towards the days totals.

On my way back from an appointment I stopped at a Sonic and found four pennies. At a Shell station I found three more pennies, and a quarter in a drive through window of a KFC that had not opened for the day. After work I had some errands to do and I found a penny and a nickle in and next to a coin sorting machine at Randalls. Two pennies were found at the post office, where both the stamp machine and the automatic postage machine were broken. My final penny of the day came to me in a washing machine in my apartment complex laundry room.

Both tokens were found by the coin sorting machine at Randalls. One token is for Sky Blue Water (Slogan: "The way it is supposed to taste") and the other token has the word "Tilt" on the front and the number 5 on the back. Both tokens will be deposited into my non-change cup.

Today I was also reminded, just incase I had forgotten, that I live in Houston, TX. Driving back from an appointment I got stuck in traffic behind 20 chuck wagons and 50 horses. That’s right. . . 20 chuck wagons and 50 horses. Today is the first day of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and it is tradition for BBQ cook off contestants arrive at the rodeo grounds the old time way. Only in Texas.

Tomorrow I leave for vacation in Florida. If all goes according to planned I will be watching lots of Spring Training baseball games and getting lots of baseballs autographed. I’m hopeful that I will have access to a computer every few days so I can continue to post. If not, I will keep detailed notes of my change finds and report back when I return.

Totals for the day: 41 cents
Race Totals: $4.41

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Today I found 45 cents. . . 35 pennies and a dime. I also found an elongated smushed penny, a plastic penny, a nondescript token, a St. Pius medal, a wallet, and a coin from Costa Rica. Sadly, the last six do not count towards the days totals.

On my way home from work I stopped at the reliable Kwick Kar Wash and found 12 pennies. While completing some chores I retrieved three pennies from the base of trees outside on of the local HEB’s (a grocery store). An additional six pennies were found in and around the parking lot of a local Sonic. In my largest take of the day 13 pennies and a shiny dime were found at a no name car wash on Louetta Rd. My final penny came in the parking lot outside Cici’s Pizza.

The smushed elongated penny was found on top of a coin sorting machine, along with the nondescript token (which had an eagle on one side and the words "no cash value" on the other). The smushed elongated penny featured a panoramic view of the golden gate bride, located in San Francisco. The St. Pius medal and the plastic penny were found at the Kwick Kar Wash. The mint from Costa Rica, a 10 colones piece, valued at 2.2 cents American, was found underneath a vending machine at the no name car wash.

The wallet that I found was in the parking lot at Randalls grocery store. The wallet contained 40 cents, and no identification. However, there was a piece of paper with a woman’s name and some phone numbers on it. After calling the woman I was able to locate the owner of the wallet and return it to her, 40 cents included. Obviously, the 40 cents are not included in the days totals.

The St. Pius medal was directly proportionate to a nickle in terms of size and color. For a moment I thought it was one. I was saddened that it was not. However, some would argue that finding religion is better than finding a nickle so I should not complain.

Totals for the day: 45 cents
Race Totals: $4.00

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Today I found 34 cents. . . 9 pennies, 2 dimes, and a nickle. I also found an elongated smushed penny and a button that looked like a penny. Sadly, the last two do not count towards the days totals.

First thing this morning I found a dime in the gym parking lot. It seems like this parking lot is quite the fertile change resting ground and I might adjust my workout schedule so I can search each morning. Next I found 2 cents in the parking lot at Katy Mills Mall where I went for a morning appointment.

On the way back to work I stopped at McDonald’s and found the elusive nickle hiding beneath a drive up window. As I retrieved the nickle a McDonald’s worker opened the window and asked if I needed assistance. When he saw that I was acquiring a nickle the window was promptly shut without any type of explanation being requested.

After work I found a dime by the vending machine at work and on the way home I found 7 cents in and around the parking lot at Sonic.

The smushed elongated penny was found in the parking lot at Katy Mills Mall just outside Bass Pro Shop. It had a billfish, also known as the elusive Pacific blue marlin, on it and Katy, TX stamped directly below. The button, that provided me a moment of excitement, was found in the parking lot at Sonic.

I have had multiple false starts in my change finding race, mostly attributed to gum and shiny bits of tin foil resembling the happy dime. This was my first experience being bested by a button. I am hopeful that I will learn from the experience.

Totals for the day: 34 cents
Race Totals: $3.55

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Today I found 10 cents. . . all pennies.

The pressure of my double digit streak can really be felt on days like this. I must confess that as the day wound to a close and I was still a few cents off I really started to grip. Luckily some late change finds put me into the doubles again. Below is my day:

2 cents were found in the parking lot at the gym when I worked out this morning with my retired co-worker John. Both were heads up so I figured it would be a lucky day. I also saw my friend Kim, who I had not seen in a long time.

1 penny was found on the way to work. It was sitting in the middle of the road and was badly mangled. I was at a stop light, but inspired by Baily I opened the door and retrieved the precious red cent from further abuse at the wheels of passing cars.

4 cents were found after lunch. I dined on a Philadelphia cheese steak with my friend Perry. Props to Perry as he brought me some good luck. He suggested that after lunch we go to Kroger so he could pick up some sugar for the office coffee junkies. I quickly found 3 cents on the ground, a 1940 wheat penny in a coin sorting machine, and a 20 pence piece on the ground by the checkout line. Sadly, the 20 pence piece is not counted in the daily totals.

3 cents were found on the way home from work, including one cent by the Taco Bell drive up window. A special thanks is sent out to the guy who patiently waited as I walked up to the window to retrieve the elusive Lincoln. Thanks for not running me over.

Totals for the day: 10 cents
Race Totals: $3.21

Monday, February 21, 2005

Monday, February 21, 2005

Today I found 12 cents. . . all pennies.

I figured today was going to be a good day for change hunting, as it was President’s Day and I did not have to work. Sadly, as the day wore on and my errands began to wrap up I was slightly concerned that my Cal Ripken like streak of double digit change find days would come to an end. However, like the true competitor that I am victory was snatched from the jaws of defeat. Below is a chronicle of the days finds:

1 penny was found at the Shell Station on Louetta Rd. where I briefly stopped hoping to finds some change.

3 pennies were found at a no name car wash on Louetta Rd. where I stopped to check out the prices of a little Mexican lunch cart for future reference.

1 penny was FINALLY claimed from between the change machine and the lottery machine at the local Kroger (no longer will this failure of past haunt me).

1 penny was found at The Woodland House where I met my retired co-worker, John, for delicious all you can eat Chinese Buffet.

1 penny was found at the Salvation Army off FM 1960 where I stopped to donate some clothes that I have not worn for a long time.

3 pennies were found at the old reliable Kwick Kar Wash.

2 pennies were found in my apartment complex parking lot.

Now, my personal message to the lady that nearly took off the back of my car in the Kroger parking lot: Common sense dictates that when a car is 85 percent out of a parking spot (me) the approaching car (evil lady) should stop and let the car (me) out. Just because you have a SUV this does not give you a license to drive like an idiot. Thank you, and Happy President’s Day!

Totals for the day: 12 cents
Race Totals: $3.11

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Today I found 29 cents. . . 4 pennies and a quarter.

All finds were made at the Park & Ride on Louetta Rd. I stopped there as a turning around point from a morning bike ride. Again, it was getting ready to rain so there was not a lot of time for change hunting.

Just a thought about beer and Texas. While riding my bike the past couple of days I have seen a ridiculously large number of Miller Light bottle caps. To my knowledge Miller is not the most popular beer in Texas, so this raises several possibilities: 1) People who drink Miller like to litter 2) Miller is the most popular brand 3) I have too much free time on my hands to notice any of this. I will investigate.

Yesterday’s penny failure continues to haunt me.

Totals for the day: 29 cents
Race Totals: $2.99

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Today I found 76 cents. . . 16 pennies, 2 quarters, and 1 dime.

This morning I woke up and it looked like it was going to be a very wet day. I decided that I would try to get in a bike ride before the skies opened. While riding I went to Tumbleweed, a country western bar that is one of the largest in Houston. I concluded that numerous drunkards would drop coinage while they stumbled to their trucks after a solid night of Friday drinking. I was correct.

All finds were made in the parking lot. At first I found nothing but pennies, but then a dime, and the two quarters (only about 5 parking spaces apart). The skies grew darker and the winds began to blow. As I was leaving I spied one final penny. I welcomed this final prize, but the upbringal of coin to hand was somewhat hasty as I had to peddle quite fast to avoid the oncoming deluge.

Despite the overall success of the day I am consumed by one failure. After leaving lunch with Tara at the Rib Tickler I stopped by Kroger for some eggs to make a meatloaf. Wedged between a coin machine and a lottery machine (two machines that steal your hard earned money) I spied a penny. However, the penny was so far back that there was no way to retrieve it. I looked around for something to sweep it forward with. All I saw was a loaf of french bread, and I could only picture the store manager getting somewhat perturbed with me should I attempt to commandeer his french bread.

I am confident that I will return to the Kroger with some type of stick or something similar to retrieve the penny. Nevertheless, I cannot help but feel a sense of failure.

Totals for the day: 76 cents
Race Totals: $2.70

Friday, February 18, 2005

Friday, February 18, 2005

Today I found 13 cents, each a red President Lincoln.

The first penny was found by the pay phone at a no name gas station along Interstate 45 where I stopped for the sole purpose of looking for coins as I was unusually early for an appointment this morning. This penny was hidden quite well in a patch of dirt, but proved no match for my eagle eye.

The next 7 pennies came via a trip to a car wash along Interstate 45 as I was returning from the appointment. I was somewhat disappointed with this as it was a very large car wash and I expected more change.

Two pennies were found at a Taco Bell by George Bush Intercontinental Airport, where I had dropped off Jennifer for a trip to Louisville, KY (or as the locals refer to it: Looeyville. . . or Luhvul. . . or Looaville). More on that trip in a second.

An additional penny was found when I stopped at Chevron for actual gas on the way home and I found my 2 final pennies of the day in a parking lot by Sears Hardware where I had stopped for some penny nails (honest) to complete some shelves that I have been working on for too long now.

Now, back to Louisville, for just one second. Jennifer is on a very clandestine mission there. So secretive that she feels that she can not tell her own family (she is a grown adult). Sufficed to say, it involves a boy. Anyhow, Louisville is a great city and there are many things to do there. Below is a sample of the fun things to do in the city:

1. Visit the Worlds Largest Bat at the Louisville Slugger factory.
2. Visit the KFC, that’s right Kentucky Fried Chicken, museum.
3. Take a tour of the Baxter Avenue Morgue (they do give tours).
4. Drop by the Louisville Ladder Group, LLC (proudly making ladders since 1946).
5. Take an evening dinner cruise on the Star of Louisville (ph. # 502-589-7827).
Today links were set up to my rival in this change hunt (Change Race--Bailey) & to a New Jersey change hunter who has no rival and serves an inspiration to us all (Change Quest). Check them out!

Totals for the day: 13 cents
Race Totals: $1.94

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Today I found $1.02. . . 22 pennies, 1 nickle, 5 dimes, and 1 quarter (hitting for the cycle?).

What a wonderful day it was. Below is a breakdown of my finds:

3 cents found at the car wash across the street from the apartments.

14 cents found at the Kwick Kar Wash (1 dime, 4 pennies). I felt obliged to stop there again as I saw a bank of vacuum cleaners that I had not seen yesterday.

12 cents at the Shell gas station that I cut through to avoid traffic on my way back from an appointment (1 dime, 2 pennies).

3 cents at three gas stations (2 on the ground, 1 on top of a payphone) that I looked at quickly on my way back from a haircut.

69 cents (1 quarter, 1 nickle, 3 dimes, 9 pennies) in a change counter at Randalls Supermarket (which is owned by Safeway and always had better quality items when it was independent) where I stopped to get money out of my ATM. There was also what appeared to be a Mexican dime in the change, but in good faith I can not count this towards my goal.

1 penny by my car tire as I exited Randalls.

This afternoon I had lunch at the building next door. I have always enjoyed walking over there for lunch as it is close by and their prices are reasonable. Sadly, I am now confronted with a dilemma regarding one of my favorite eateries.

Last week a co-worker went to the building purchase a pack of M&M’s from a vending machine. The machine ate her 65 cents. Attempting to secure a refund my co-worker discovered that the vending machine is owned by the same lady that operates the little lunch spot that I frequent. The lady agreed to refund my co-worker the 65 cents, but over a week later she has still not made good on this promise. I believe my co-worker is entitled to a refund and I am considering a one man boycott until the 65 cent issue is resolved. After all, someone must stand for justice!

Totals for the day: $1.02
Race Totals: $1.81

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Today I found 15 cents, pennies all.

On my way to work today I stopped at the Kwick Kar Wash. Why anyone would spell a business that way I don’t kan’t figure. Anyhow, just a few days ago I would try to rationalize reasons to stop and look for change. Now, it is becoming somewhat of a calling. My Kwick Kar Wash efforts were rewarded with 10 pennies, one of which was a 1956 D Wheat Back.

Lunch today at Hooters (I go there for the food) provided no change. I did feel rushed, however, as I was with co-workers who still do not appreciate the greatness of what I am trying to accomplish.

Stopping at Pete’s Place, a recently closed bar, on the way home netted me two more pennies. I was hoping to find a sign on the door telling me if they would ever re-open. I loved that place and the $5 steak night that they had every week. Alas, I fear it is gone.

An evening walk netted me my last three pennies, two at the carwash next door and one at the call box of the apartments next to mine.

Totals for the day: 15 cents.
Race Totals: 79 cents.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Today I had a feeling it was going to be a bad change day, as I was confined to the office on one of the nicest days of the year. Lunch afforded me the first opportunity to find some loot as I spied a brand new dime while leaving Mamba’s Seafood with my co-worker Jennifer (more on her later).

An afternoon appointment got me out of the office, and not a second too soon since it appeared that my computer was in the process of doing something not very good. Stopping at a gas station to look at a map got me one more penny. Finally, four more pennies were found at another gas station.

Tara and I met for dinner at the Live Sports Café where Jeff Bagwell was doing a live radio show. We each got autographs and Tara suggested that we search for change after words so she would be mentioned in my posting. We didn’t, but I’ll give her the shout out anyway.

Now, back to Jennifer. I’m not sure that all my friends are as supportive of the Race of the Century as they should be. Sometimes it takes awhile for everyone to get on board with greatness. Jennifer, I believe, is one of those people who is not quite down with this yet. She feels I could be doing more productive things with my time.

Time is very important to Jennifer, as evidenced by the fact that she sets every watch and clock she has ahead of schedule. She swears helps her stay on time, even though she knows how fast, to the minute, each clock is. Apparently a lot of people do this. And I’m the strange one?

Totals for the day: 15 cents.
Race Totals: 64 cents.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine's Day. Love is in the air and change was on the ground. I found one penny at the gas station while filling up with gas (too bad I had to spend $23 to earn that one cent). Later in the day I found another penny on the ground by the hamburger stand where I stopped for lunch. It might be in a bit of a rough neighborhood, but if anyone else knows where I can get a great hamburger, fries, and onion rings for about $2.50 I would like to know. On the way home I saw a gas station that I never go to but it had a bank of coin operated air hoses. I stopped in for a drink and walked out with one dime and three pennies.

After returning overdue books to the library I went home and found a single penny in the apartment parking lot. My final take for the evening was the motherload, one dime and ten pennies by the car wash unit in the apartment complex next door (where I was taking a short walk between episodes of The Simpsons).

Totals for the day: 36 cents.
Race Totals: 49 cents.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Last night was certainly an adventure. My friend Tara and I decided to camp outside Minute Maid Park (once upon a time Enron, once upon a time The Ballpark at Union Station) to see if we could be one of the first 300 people in line to get a Roger Clemens autograph on Sunday morning. Arriving at midnight on Saturday we we ended up securing a place in line behind about 180 other people. Come on people, don't you have anything better to do? I didn't, but that's not the point.

After a long night of trying to sleep on concrete and listening to about 600 people talking, we were both able to get autograph tickets. The ground was so littered with trash that I was sure there would be change around. Alas, only two pennies were found. On the way home (Tara driving, me sleeping) we stopped at an intersection on a large road. I happened to open my eyes and what did I see but a dime and a penny. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, or maybe it was the Race of the Century, but I opened the door and got it (thanks in part to a red light).

Totals for the day: 13 cents.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Race of the Century Conceived:

For several weeks my friend Baily and I have been discussing how much change (pennies, nickels, quarters, dimes) are lying around on the ground in America. After much discussion, and some drinking, we have decided to find out. On a recent vacation to Hawaii, where I posed this question to several other friends, reaction was mixed. No one could agree. I looked around the beach for a few hours and found 76 cents. This settled nothing.

We have now given up on finding an answer to our original quesiton, but have devised a new game to play. Finding enough change to equal $100. The rules are simple:

1. The change must be lost (ie. not in a "give a penny, take a penny" jar, or in a fountain).
2. Change totals are added up daily, the honor system is key.
3. It is acceptable to go out of your way to look for change. One can look as little or as much as you want.
4. Once found, change is deposited into a Houston Astros cup. Change can not be replaced or removed for any reason until it totals $100.

Let the games begin.