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Jennifer

Calling All Geocachers!

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Good afternoon, everyone! A couple of years ago (on the Yahoo version of our forum), Brian Butko made a post about geocaching. Due to the way we had to import the Yahoo posts, I had a tough time finding it, but searched the post down on the Yahoo site:

 

Tue Aug 3, 2004 7:47 am Brian Butko:

 

Geocaching is a sport where people with GPS locators track down sites using coordinates, or do a reverse cache by listing objects which others find, photograph, and submit. Think "treasure hunt using hi-tech compass."

 

Among the seemingly million cache challenges are Lincoln Highway Markers. A reverse cache, this was intended to be the 1928 concrete posts but people also tracked down new markers and even Abrahman Lincoln trail signs. Still, many concrete post pictures can be found here:

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...=y&decrypt=

 

Another cache is a "Lincoln Highway Bug" (like a dog tag, here with a souvenir mini-post) that travels the route by attaching to vehicles, making the search much more challenging. http://www.geocaching.com/track/track_detail.asp?ID=9309

There are caches for Route 66, Weinermobiles, and lots more road-related topics - search here:

http://www.geocaching.com/seek

 

Any geocachers on the board?

 

Brian Butko

www.brianbutko.com

 

I am reviving the post because recently I have been introduced to geocaching. As many of you may know from my thread a few months ago, I was in search of a GPS unit.

 

A coworker of mine mentioned geocaching several times in the past couple of years, but I had no idea what it was and admittedly, didn't take much interest in it. Now that I have a GPS, I inquired again. As Brian indicated in his post back then, it is basically a high-tech treasure hunt. At Geoaching.com, you search for various types of "caches" hidden by other geocachers. Using the coordinates and other information, you use your GPS to guide you to the general location. Depending upon the accuracy of your GPS, you are typically routed to within 30 feet or so of the cache, which could be a physical container ranging in size from a pencil eraser to a five gallon bucket. Smaller caches usually hold only a paper log which you sign and date to indicate your "find." Larger ones hold the log as well as some items for trade - usually kids items, but sometimes CDs, DVDs or other items.

 

It's alot of fun, because you get to go to new and different places you may have never been or wouldn't think of going. Geocachers place caches to get you to visit a place which might have a nice view, a pleasant spot they enjoy visiting, a historical site or marker, who knows!

 

This weekend, Pat and I went out both days geocaching (in unbearable 90+ degrees heat!) and we had a fun time. We saw an old bridge built in 1885 (didn't find the cache, but still enjoyed the bridge), small local parks, ice cream stands, old cemeteries and more. We are intrigued by the places we have been to, but that have caches hidden nearby. Route 66 abounds with them, as does pretty much any area. A cool feature is that you can plan a route on map software, export the GPX file, then using the geocaching website, find caches along a route. Very cool, and a fun addition to road trips.

 

Anyone else?

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We've been geocaching for a little more than four years now. We're not quite as addicted as some, but we're nearing 400 total "finds." This weekend we are going to visit the new granddaughter in Effingham, Ill., and hope to find some of the 40 geocaches that have been placed along U.S. 40 between the Indiana-Illinois state line and Effingham in honor of the 40th birthday of one of the area's more prolific geocachers. As a matter of fact, several are hidden along the old brick stretches of U.S. 40 Mobilene recently documented in a road trip report.

 

We also enjoy the "low-tech" version of treasure hunting known as letterboxing. It is very similar to geocaching, except rather than using a GPS and longitudes and latitudes to find the "treasure," a set of clues are given which, when followed properly, lead you to the letterbox.

 

We have found that geocaching/letterboxing is the perfect complement to a road trip. While some geocaches are hidden at interstate rest stops and in urban areas, the vast majority are placed in off-the-beaten path places, in parks, cemeteries, near places of historical value, interesting geologic areas, etc., giving us just one more reason to explore the backroads.

 

We have a page at Redhighways.com that gives more info on geocaching and letterboxing and the differences between the two.

 

Also, try Letterboxing.org and Atlasquest for letterboxing resources.

 

By the way, Jennifer, check out the geocaches named Retail Bliss Nos. 1-3 just off I-465 at the Allisonville exit. We did these on New Year's Eve a couple of years ago. It's a nice wooded area with a lake that's tucked in behind a strip mall. Makes for a quiet little hike amid all of the hustle and bustle. Hopefully, they are still hidden there.

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Even though geocaching does appeal to the geek in me, I'm rarely looking for things to fill my time on a road trip so figured that I'd never have the pleasure. But, almost in sync with this thread, some coworkers, learned of a cache in the woods behind our office. But this particular cache has a twist: Several digits of the coordinates are buried inside a crossword puzzle. And the crossword puzzle itself is a bit twisted with every clue defined in terms of another clue. Devilish. By the end of the day, most of the company had copied the puzzle and was looking for a starting point.

 

Not long ago I found such a point and twisted my way through the puzzle. I immediately emailed my solution to several of the others attacking it (to get that email time stamp, don't you know) and thought I'd post the puzzle URL here for anyone wanting to dive in. I'm tempted to head to the woods this weekend but will try to wait to seek out the cache with some others on Monday. I know it's not exactly the "cache by the side of the road" you guys have been talking about but it is a geocache and it will be my first. The puzzle is here.

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We've been geocaching for a little more than four years now. We're not quite as addicted as some, but we're nearing 400 total "finds." This weekend we are going to visit the new granddaughter in Effingham, Ill., and hope to find some of the 40 geocaches that have been placed along U.S. 40 between the Indiana-Illinois state line and Effingham in honor of the 40th birthday of one of the area's more prolific geocachers. As a matter of fact, several are hidden along the old brick stretches of U.S. 40 Mobilene recently documented in a road trip report.

 

We also enjoy the "low-tech" version of treasure hunting known as letterboxing. It is very similar to geocaching, except rather than using a GPS and longitudes and latitudes to find the "treasure," a set of clues are given which, when followed properly, lead you to the letterbox.

 

We have found that geocaching/letterboxing is the perfect complement to a road trip. While some geocaches are hidden at interstate rest stops and in urban areas, the vast majority are placed in off-the-beaten path places, in parks, cemeteries, near places of historical value, interesting geologic areas, etc., giving us just one more reason to explore the backroads.

 

We have a page at Redhighways.com that gives more info on geocaching and letterboxing and the differences between the two.

 

Also, try Letterboxing.org and Atlasquest for letterboxing resources.

 

By the way, Jennifer, check out the geocaches named Retail Bliss Nos. 1-3 just off I-465 at the Allisonville exit. We did these on New Year's Eve a couple of years ago. It's a nice wooded area with a lake that's tucked in behind a strip mall. Makes for a quiet little hike amid all of the hustle and bustle. Hopefully, they are still hidden there.

 

I was just near there this evening, though it was dark by that time. Those caches are still there and active, so I will have to check them out. There's a ton here in Indy, but last weekend Pat and I ventured into rural areas in eastern and southern Indiana.

 

We definitely have found that it's a great complement to road trips (though we specifically went out geocaching this weekend)....we know it would be fun to search for ones as we travel. Plus, it helps you to get to new places, that you might not have thought about or would ordinarily gone to.

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Even though geocaching does appeal to the geek in me, I'm rarely looking for things to fill my time on a road trip so figured that I'd never have the pleasure. But, almost in sync with this thread, some coworkers, learned of a cache in the woods behind our office. But this particular cache has a twist: Several digits of the coordinates are buried inside a crossword puzzle. And the crossword puzzle itself is a bit twisted with every clue defined in terms of another clue. Devilish. By the end of the day, most of the company had copied the puzzle and was looking for a starting point.

 

Not long ago I found such a point and twisted my way through the puzzle. I immediately emailed my solution to several of the others attacking it (to get that email time stamp, don't you know) and thought I'd post the puzzle URL here for anyone wanting to dive in. I'm tempted to head to the woods this weekend but will try to wait to seek out the cache with some others on Monday. I know it's not exactly the "cache by the side of the road" you guys have been talking about but it is a geocache and it will be my first. The puzzle is here.

 

My coworker likes puzzle caches, she said they're fun. Some are easier than others...some require research in advance, and others you need to find a location, where there might be numbers which fit into the coords, or which you have to do math to get the coords - or else letters that correspond with numbers...

 

We haven't done any puzzle caches yet. Some of ours have been by the side of the road, others more off the beaten path and in unusual places. I've done some in downtown Indianapolis during lunch or after work. One thing cool about this cache near you is that it has a travel bug. Those are interesting - they're bar-coded dog tags you attach to an item to put in the cache. Before you do, you register the TB at geocaching.com and then people find it, and take it to another cache, then to another, and so on...you can track its progress through the website and see where it travels - around the country or around the world.

 

With your travels, you could take the travel bug and move it to a new location! Let us know if you find the cache. It really is fun!

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OK. Now you've done it. First this geocache thread and the geocache puzzle from my coworkers then my resistance was weakened by an onslaught of American Roadies. On Thursday, RoadDog was in town, and, although we didn't get in much of a road trip, he did help our table nail a third in the nation finish in a Buzztime trivia game dealing with celebrity gossip. I, of course, knew none of the answers but I did enjoy the Britney Spears pictures. That same night I got a phone call from Baby Boomer Bob who is visiting a friend in Maysville, KY. He suggested we meet for lunch in Ripley, OH, then check out a festival in Augusta, KY, and that gets me back to the geocache thing.

 

I had visited geocaching.com a few times while playing with that puzzle and had poked around the site a bit, noting several more caches in my neighborhood. As I was preparing to head out to meet BBB, I took a look to see what Ripley had to offer in the way of geocaches. Nothing there but Augusta showed one right by the river side. Everything so far had been rather stealthy but getting the coordinates for that Augusta cache required me to set up a free account. I hesitated a moment but was soon signed up and plugging the GPS into the laptop. The site includes a button that pushes location info to Garmin units without requiring the typing of a single digit. Like drug dealers, these guys make the first hit as convenient as possible.

 

So my first geocache will not be the ammo box in the woods behind my office. I've already tasted geocaching on the banks of the Ohio and it was pretty cool.

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OK. Now you've done it. First this geocache thread and the geocache puzzle from my coworkers then my resistance was weakened by an onslaught of American Roadies. On Thursday, RoadDog was in town, and, although we didn't get in much of a road trip, he did help our table nail a third in the nation finish in a Buzztime trivia game dealing with celebrity gossip. I, of course, knew none of the answers but I did enjoy the Britney Spears pictures. That same night I got a phone call from Baby Boomer Bob who is visiting a friend in Maysville, KY. He suggested we meet for lunch in Ripley, OH, then check out a festival in Augusta, KY, and that gets me back to the geocache thing.

 

I had visited geocaching.com a few times while playing with that puzzle and had poked around the site a bit, noting several more caches in my neighborhood. As I was preparing to head out to meet BBB, I took a look to see what Ripley had to offer in the way of geocaches. Nothing there but Augusta showed one right by the river side. Everything so far had been rather stealthy but getting the coordinates for that Augusta cache required me to set up a free account. I hesitated a moment but was soon signed up and plugging the GPS into the laptop. The site includes a button that pushes location info to Garmin units without requiring the typing of a single digit. Like drug dealers, these guys make the first hit as convenient as possible.

 

So my first geocache will not be the ammo box in the woods behind my office. I've already tasted geocaching on the banks of the Ohio and it was pretty cool.

 

It's very cool indeed...I picked up a geocoin yesterday (one with a mission to get to Mass.). Pat and I are driving to Ohio in hopes of getting it closer to it's goal. I just sent you a note, if you are available to meet us.

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Hi Denny - sorry we weren't able to meet up today. Did you find any caches?

 

We did make it down to Pompilio's and we managed to find four geocaches :happyguy: - three were in Ohio, and one was in Indiana on US 52 in a cool old cemetery. The ones in Ohio were all in Dayton...two were in parks, and one was along a fitness trail behind a hospital (that one had quite a climb to it, but we made it without needing the hospital!). There was one we couldn't find, in the UD Girl Flyers ballpark. Pat was determined, crawling under the bleachers, but we just couldn't find it. <_<

 

The ability to get the waypoints to your GPS is cool and very handy. There's a good program called GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife) that will import batches of waypoints and cache information from geocaching.com (you can do a Pocket Query to find alot of caches). You can search from a radius or you can create a route, upload the GPX file, and find all caches along the route. The Pocket Query will e-mail you two files - one is a file of waypoints and the other are the waypoints plus all the cache info. You import that into GSAK and then you can use GSAK in a bunch of cool ways. You can do a filter and export the waypoints to Street Atlas. They can be filtered any way you want - by a state, by the geocacher who placed the cache, within X miles from any location, or along a route and a billion other ways. You can import the same GPX file you used to create the route and then export those waypoints as a Street Atlas text file - then they will show up in DeLorme nicely plotted along your route! I do that, but with the additional step of exporting all of this to my Palm version of SA. It works out well.

 

Another thing that's handy, if you have a Palm or Pocket PC is to use GSAK to export the cache info into a program called CacheMate ($8). That allows you to do paperless caching, because it has most of the information from the cache page at the website so that you will have the description, difficulty, past logs, etc. It also allows you to set the start and end time of your search and record what you left and took, or other notes. This way you don't need to print out any of the info from the website.

 

It's quite a fun hobby! We're hooked!

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Hi Denny - sorry we weren't able to meet up today. Did you find any caches?

No. I haven't quite got geocache research blended into my pre-trip planning yet. I'll probably note a few locations when I do have a destination in mind and some time to scan the online inventory but I doubt I'll get into it too deep. If I know I'm near a county I've never visited, I'll detour a few miles to add it to my count but I've not organized any trips with that in mind. I see my relationship with geocaching as something like that. It does seem like a great way to get to interesting spots you might otherwise not know about and I bet climbing around under the bleachers brought back some memories for Pat.

 

It was a bummer to miss a connect (and a chance to eat at Pompilio's:-( but the weather just wasn't conducive to turning around. I don't have time to post yesterday's drive before going to work but should get it tonight.

 

It's quite a fun hobby! We're hooked!
Like drug dealers, these guys make the first hit as convenient as possible.
:lol:

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No. I haven't quite got geocache research blended into my pre-trip planning yet. I'll probably note a few locations when I do have a destination in mind and some time to scan the online inventory but I doubt I'll get into it too deep. If I know I'm near a county I've never visited, I'll detour a few miles to add it to my count but I've not organized any trips with that in mind. I see my relationship with geocaching as something like that. It does seem like a great way to get to interesting spots you might otherwise not know about and I bet climbing around under the bleachers brought back some memories for Pat.

 

It was a bummer to miss a connect (and a chance to eat at Pompilio's:-( but the weather just wasn't conducive to turning around. I don't have time to post yesterday's drive before going to work but should get it tonight.

 

:lol:

 

Last weekend, we planned it both ways. On Saturday, I planned a route in SA, and then searched for caches along that route. On Sunday, we searched for caches that were placed by a specific geocacher (a TV news anchor in Indianapolis who's totally into the hobby). So, once I had the waypoints loaded into SAHH, we just made our way east and went from there, just navigating to each cache, without the benefit of a specific route.

 

I'm adding a new piece of equipment to my collection - a very simple, grayscale-screen, no-map GPS unit, the Garmin eTrex H. It will show a path between waypoints, and point you to a waypoint with a compass and coords, but no map. I bought it just so that as we make the final trek to the cache we can follow the coordinates / compass to the location. SAHH on my Palm works great to plan a route and navigate around to caches (on a route or anywhere), but it's not rugged enough for me to want to take into the woods! The new unit will take over once we get to the general location and get out of the car.

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