Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2005-08-14

Musings about Geocaching

Thursday, August 18, 2005

A new "Found Caches" map from GPS Visualizer

Since the site .gpx map broke, I had to find another place to create a map with the cache locations on it. I still prefer the look of the Keen People map, however, until they get it fixed, th GPS Visualizer site will work great to get a look at all the areas of the county we have traveled.

After a whirlwind two days of caching, I have 561 caches

Tuesday P.T. and I got started an hour later because we were going to the Bobby McFerrin concert at Humphrey's that night. I needed the extra time to load my kayak on my car and get all the stuff together I was going to need.

I went to the new "Not My Fault Earthcache" first and then we walked down to a cache P.T. had already found. From there we got in my Geomobile for a change and made a circle around from a cache in the Clairemont area to some in the Pacific Beach area to a three in Mission Beach. We had one DNF on a puzzle cache final location before heading back to the parking lot to retrieve P.T.'s car.

The concert was great. Bobby McFerrin can do so much with his voice. There is new management at Humphrey's and they added some plants that block the view from the water. You can still hear the entertainers just as well and we had a lot of fun. Paddling back under a nearly-full moon on the quiet, smooth water was a wonderful experience.

The next day I met P.T. at our usual rendesvouz place in El Cajon and we set out to find a few caches in her neighborhood. Then we hiked .60 of a mile to a new cache in the Marian Bear Park along Highway 52. We were walking and talking so fast, our GPSrs beeped that we were nearby before we even realized we had walked so far.

After getting back to the car, we took off for the final location of the TriWizard cache. This was going to be our third visit to that location and this time, in the daylight, armed with a generous hint from the cache owner, we found the coordinates to the final cache. Once I found the cache, the hint made a lot more sense.

On our way up towards our meeting with Parsa and dhsundance, we thought we would grab a couple of TheRamonaGirls caches. They are always easy finds.

Uh, strike that "easy." We looked for two of the new "Tranquility" series caches and struck out on both of them. We did find an unusual hide behind some buildings where the cache was attached to a metal piece that was stuck in a tree. This was a tree that had grown around the support post placed when it was originally planted as a sapling.

The other great one was at the AAA building. Great cammo on that one. I hated to write in my log that I found it quickly because it really was a good job and shouldn't have been that easy to spot.

On my GPSr I could see a cache only a few blocks away from our meeting place up near Vista. I was sure we could find it and still be on time, so we ran part way up the hill .15 to the "Vista del Casa Birdlegs" cache where I found another TB to add to my "collection." We ran back down the hill and made it to the meeting place with two minutes to spare.

dhsundance arrived first and then Parsa arrived. We walked over to the well-cammoed "Patriotic Quiz" cache and signed the log as a group. After figuring out our next cache, we took off, with a radio in hand to hear what was going on in the two vehicles in front of us.

I soon discovered that these guys were serious. When we arrived at the next cache location, they didn't even turn off the engines of their vehicles before racing off for the cache. Parsa already had the cache in hand before I arrived. Wheeeeu!! This was going to be exciting.

And, it was. We found 15 caches in just over three and a half hours, plus I got the info for three Locationless caches during that time. In fact, Parsa pointed out the El Camino Real bell at one of the cache locations and said it hadn't been logged yet. Since he is the owner of that cache, he should know. dhsundance took my picture to comply with the cache rules. He also took my picture in front of another unique mailbox. I got the pictures of a flag at another location.

During those three-plus hours, where were we? I don't know. What roads did we travel? I don't know. But we sure had a lot of fun. Thanks Parsa. Thanks dhsundance. And of course, thanks to P.T. for driving all that way.

Monday, August 15, 2005

DNF on a "Locationless" cache

A local cacher told me about this cache, "A Cache of Palindromes," yesterday.

I've always been fascinated by word palindromes, so I started figuring out what this would mean in terms of coordinate numbers around here.

Much to my surprise, there was a location not very far from my home, and it looked like it was very close to Wisecarver Truck Trail.

So, before I washed the car today, I drove up that dusty gravel road in great anticipation as the numbers on the GPSr were going down. However, I soon realized they weren't going down quickly enough as the road got rougher and narrower.

Finally, at .19 miles from the location, the road was blocked by a big wrought iron gate with "Keep Out" on it.

So . . . I have to go back to Mapsource to see if I can figure out Palindromic Coordinates I can access.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Off to Santee to find those DNFs from last week

A friend invited me to have lunch, so I drove down the hill to El Cajon. After a nice visit, we went our separate ways. I turned on the GPSr and found the next nearest cache and set it to navigate by road. What an interesting route it took me over to "Hillside Park Pears III."

When I arrived at the park, there were two police cars in the parking lot. The officers had a guy sitting on the grass in handcuffs. I acted casual, glancing down at the GPSr occasionally and taking the long way around to get up on the hill where I found the cache easily.

I left a TB in the cache that the owner didn't want to go to the Event Cache next weekend. Then I took some pictures of the "pears" on a nearby cactus plant.

On my way down the hill, following gaps in the vegetation more than an actual trail, I saw two AA batteries on the ground. I thought Geocachers were supposed to Cache In/Trash Out, not contribute to the trash that is already out there. Of course someone else could have dropped the batteries, but I can't think of a "normal" person who would have been up there on that hill replacing batteries . . .

I picked them up and put them in the trash can that was about 50 yards away, on the way to the parking lot . . .

The next cache was one I drove by the week before. It is in a light industrial section and all the buildings have large "No Trespassing" signs or "Video Surveillance" signs. Thinking there was a different way in, I drove up in the nearby residential area, but there wasn't any access from there afterall.

So, I finally drove back down to the business park and walked past a somewhat-intimidating sign to the cache hidden at the back of the parking lot.

This was a TB exchange cache where five TBs are supposed to be imprisoned at all times. Since I no longer had a TB, I just signed the log. I don't think the owner of the TB, who didn't want it to go to an event, would have wanted it to go into a TB "Hotel" either.

From that cache I went to one I couldn't find the week before. I had looked the area over thoroughly, but today, even armed with the clue, I couldn't find it. When I got home, I found out the owner had disabled it that very day because it is actually missing. If I had remembered to log that DNF the week before (I couldn't remember which one it was because that hider's caches have similar names), maybe its missing status would have been discovered earlier.

Finally I followed the GPSr arrow back to the neighborhood where there is a walk/bikeway down by the river. I asked a young woman about a bridge across the river and once I found it, I was on my way to "Not Another Santee Micro."

I found what looked like a trail for a little ways, but then it was just semi-gooey mud with only four-legged critter's tracks in it. I sure wouldn't want to be wondering around down there at night.

The cache was extremely well-hidden. I actually walked right over the top of it. I didn't look for it for too long however. Something caught my eye and I moved the leaves and dirt and there it was.

From there it was onto "Santee Stroll." I had the hint, but even with that, I wasn't having any luck finding this nano-micro. I finally sat down on a rock and was watching the ants walk on the board along the bottom of the chain link fence. Something caught my eye. It was the ring on the top of the micro container that attached it to the fence.

I unscrewed the top and found what the most recent finders had seen. A wet log that has turned to pulp. Even though I carry tweezers with me, I wasn't going to try to get the log out. I'm sure it would have just crumbled. I took a picture of the log in the container, as well as the container back on the fence.

There was a cache in GSAK that I seemed to remember having problems, but I hadn't ever looked at the cache page. So I set out trying to find it. In GSAK, the visual representation of its condition was four green squares, meaning it had been found by the last four cachers to visit it. Only when its waypoint wasn't matching up with any streets did I go back and read the many logs for it.

It turned out that the coordinates were off by more than a mile . . . and it had been placed on private property. So, I finally gave up on that cache (which turned out to have been archived. I have to change my settings for my PQs so that information will be updated). I went onto another cache that was in the cacher's front yard. It was very cute.

I also went back to another cache I DNF'd the week before. I had been looking in the right sawgrass plant, I just hadn't "renovated" the area enough last week. This time, with my walking stick to aid me, I got inside that plant and lifted up those sharp-edged grass blades and found the large Lock-n-Lock container, in which I found another Travel Bug.

Finally it was time to head back home. On the way, sort of, I looked for and found another micro cache located in that "Traffic Calmed" neighborhood just south of Highway 94 near the Avocado exit.

I probably would have found this one using the GPSr alone, but since it was nearly dusk, and the walkway leading to the cache location had a "No Trespassing -- For Residents Only" sign, I read the Past Logs. I soon learned it would be easy to spot because it wasn't well-cammoed. And, it was.


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