I'm not entirely sure how I became a TAR Detective. A willingness to search through tons of information for an occasional useful fact, I guess. I lurked around here for several seasons (probably TAR 10-14) and enjoyed reading all the stuff that was being found about the races. I looked it up lately and I had one "Gosh, you guys are amazing!" post back then.
Then one night at work I had some free time during a graveyard shift and had been following the hunt in the early stages of TAR 15. After the second leg in Japan ("Wasabi!"), the trail had grown cold. I decided to take a look at Twitter (which I hadn't used before) and see if I could figure out how the searching was done. I don't think I found anything the first night, but the next night, I stumbled across a tweet from a woman vacationing in Vietnam that had seen the teams racing there. I passed it on to RFF and the next night, the same woman saw Phil in a restaurant in Cambodia. So, I came in with a splash of helping spoil two consecutive legs. That got me hooked. It turned out that searching during the middle of the USA nighttime was an advantage because hardly anyone else was up and searching then (except Puddin (I miss her - I hope she's doing well) and Peach - they apparently never sleep
). Also, that was when the teams half way around the world were in daytime and racing. I also got so I was willing to spend time searching blogs and photo sites and wade through tons of unrelated material for the occasional scrap of information. So, I had a series of small successes in TAR 15 and TAR 16. It also helped that TAR 16 had it's final leg in San Francisco where I grew up. I knew the area inside and out and was able to make connections from the information as to what some of the locations being used were.
Somewhere during that time, to my great shock and surprise, I was named a TAR Detective. I'm not sure I'm as worthy as the other TAR Detectives that have gone to great lengths, even considerable expense and much greater sophistication to figure things out, but I enjoy having the title. I haven't been quite as successful the last couple of seasons or this season. Most of the stuff I pass on to Peach turns out to be something that was already known. I'm not working graveyard shifts as much and have less free time these days so I'm not searching as much as I used to. Also, I think we have more people in other parts of the world looking (which is great) so looking at night is not quite as unique as it was a year or two back. I still keep working at it. It's a bit of a thrill to sit at my desk and figure out something happening around the world just using the internet. It makes me feel a bit like a detective in a mystery story. Maybe it's a bit weird. My wife thinks I'm nuts to be spending time doing this, but she has her mild obsessions that I don't quite understand too, so it all evens out.