Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bad Tour Guide

I wrote back awhile ago that I wanted to play tour guide to some travel bugs. I wanted to do something special with the travelbugs with photos. I figured that would give the owner a bit of a thrill. But I guess I'm a bad tour guide.

I got an email last week from a travel bug owner asking me to move him along. He said the TB is only 2 months old and I was only the second person to enjoy it. Sure enough, I had the bug for 5 weeks. Man I suck. I felt really bad about it. I was going to move it along to LA, but my caching adventures didn't pan out. I told him that I'd move it along this last weekend and I did. I found a Travel Bug Hotel at the Chamber of Commerce. I dropped it off in hopes that it will move from this city to another. I also told him that I'd post a picture of my dog, as that was the goal of this TB. I couldn't get a nice pose of my dog and the TB, so I'll just have to dig into my photos to find a good pic of my dog.

The second one was this ginormous stuffed heart. This is the one I mentioned in a previous blog entry. I was hoping I'd be able to move him along. But because of his size, it was hard to find a cache that would hold him. It turned out I had him for 2 months! I didn't realize I had him for so long. I was able to get the picture of him on my Birthday Caching Adventure and Photoshop'd him the following week. I made him look like he was about to destroy Billings. I also stuffed him into the TB Hotel. He took up a good bulk of the space. I hope nobody gets mad at me for such a huge TB.

I guess next time I pick up a TB, I'll make sure I can move him in a timely manner. If not, he's staying behind.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Missed Log

Today I went out to the local park near the Yellowstone River. Its a great wildlife refuge with nice hiking trails. I knew there were a couple of caches that I have yet to hit in this area, so I thought I'd grab it.

The first was a quick park 'n grab. It took a bit of time to track it down, but when I found it, I felt a little stupid. It was a film canister and it was full of water. The log was soaked. But on the plus side, the log had a lovely blue tie-dyed look! Anyway, I spread the log out on my car. Since it was in the upper 80's, I figured I could probably dry it out while I searched for another cache.

I found one in the GPS and it looked familiar. But why would GSAK list it as unfound if I didn't find it? So I stared to go after it. I took the hard route and bushwhacked to the cache, only to find out that I have already discovered it awhile back. My name was in the log book. Well, I thought it was a GSAK bug. But when I got to work to double check if I logged it, I realized I didn't. Lucky for me, I had this blog to back me up. I looked for my log entry in the blog so now I know the date I discovered the cache. Log one more for my numbers. It only took me two trips to log it!

When I got back to the car, the log from the park 'n grab was dry. I signed the log and put it back where I found it. I guess that's my good deed for the day!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Chores vs. Playing

Now that I'm back, I had a ton of chores to catch up on. Today, I was going to be responsible and get some parts for a broken toilet during my lunch hour. But at the last minute, I decided I'd rather get a couple caches instead. I had to unload my POI's and Caches on my GPSr and my Palm before heading out. I was able to do that pretty quick and I grabbed a couple. They were pretty easy finds. The first one was in a park. The second was near my home that I've been meaning to grab. But its near a baseball field and usually full of muggles. But today it was quiet. It was a really cool container. It was a nano container with a built in magnet on the bottom and a screw top lid. It was about the size of two Cheerios stacked. The log was horizontal, which is a really great way for this kind of cache. Pretty cool.

I attempted two other caches. One I just drove by so I'd know the location. I'll go back for that one later. The other one was near my work. My lunch hour was winding down, so I didn't have much time to look. But I gave it about 5-10 minutes, but with no luck. Perhaps tomorrow, I'll take a nice long walk on my lunch hour and track that one down.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Scheduled Caching

Well, we got back from our little vacation yesterday. I racked up 3000 miles on the car. As I stated before, it was a family trip and geocaching would be limited. I ended putting 2708 caches into the GPSr and my Palm. I was hoping that if I was in an area, I'd be able to see if there was a cache nearby. So you'd think with that much info at my fingertips, I'd find a lot, right? Nope. I found only 2.

I was expecting to find most of my caches at rest stops. I was a little surprised that the majority of the rest stops didn't have any caches! I thought those would be prime cache locations. I guess not.

Instead, I ended up getting a couple of LPC's in LA area. One was in a grocery store parking lot, and another was in a mall parking lot. Say what you like about LPC's, but when you are in a pinch, hurting for numbers, or just need a quick fix, LPC's are where they're at. If it wasn't for LPC's, I would have found nothing on this trip.

So my vacation was lacking in the geocaching department. I'm a little disappointed despite the fact we had a great time on the trip. I just wish I could have gone out and grabbed a few more. I guess next time, I'll have to schedule some caching time for myself. Otherwise I won't get any done. Oh well. Lesson learned.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

How to Hold More Than 500 Caches in your GPS

My Garmin Venture Cx will only hold 500 waypoints. But this trip I'm taking, I had 2700 waypoints to load! What to do! Well, Garmin has a program called POI Loader. Basically it makes custom waypoints. These custom waypoints are saved on the MicroSD card, so you can have as many as the card will hold. It took a little looking, but I figured out how to do it. Here's what I found:


  1. Go to View - Add/Delete Columns
  2. Uncheck everything except Longitude and Latitude.
  3. Select TWO other data columns that you would like included on the GPS (I chose Waypoint Name and Container)
  4. Click OK
  5. Make sure "LOCK FIRST COLUMN" is unchecked (upper right above the first column)
  6. Rearrange the columns in the following order; LONGITUDE, LATTITUDE, Data 1 (I chose Waypoint Name), Data 2 (I chose Container).
  7. Save the View by going to View - Save Current View and choose a name
  8. Go to File - Export - CSV or Text
  9. For filename, browse to a place on your C: drive that you'd like to save your file to. When you name your file, be sure to add the extension (.csv)
  10. Make sure that USE DEFAULTS is checked.
  11. Click Generate

In POI Loader
  1. Make sure your GPS is on and hooked up to the computer.
  2. Launch POI Loader
  3. Scroll through the Find Device
  4. On the next screen, you can Load New POIs on your Device or Remove Previous POIs. Delete any custom POI's if needed.
  5. Choose Load New POIs and click Next
  6. Browse to the directory GSAK created your .csv file to.
  7. Make sure Express Mode is selected.
  8. Click Next and your Custom POI's will be loaded!

That's It! One more mystery solved!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Ready for a Road Trip

It's been a busy last few weeks. We are preparing to go on vacation to CA. So we've been getting all of our ducks in a row, including getting our garden and yard in shape before taking off for 2 weeks. What does that mean for me? Yup....no geocaching! :(

Well, we're taking off tomorrow for our long road trip. Last week, I got our itinerary and started mapping our our route in Google Earth. I want to do a pocket query along a route. It looks as if the pocket query can only do 500 caches, but I wanted more. I wanted as many as I can have in my GPS so that if we stop somewhere along the way, I can look to see if they're any caches nearby. So I ended up breaking my trip from Billings, MT to LA, CA into 8 segments to look for caches .5 miles along my route. I ended up with 2400 caches! Hopefully I'll find a few in the reststops along the way. I also did some pocke queries on the locations I'll be staying. So perhaps I can grab a few on an evening stroll.

I'm looking forward to it. This isn't a caching trip. It's a family vacation with our schedule jammed packed. So all my caching will be done if I happen to be at the right time at the right place. Hopefully I'll bag a few. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Birthday Caching

Yesterday was my birthday! So, naturally that means I get to take the day off work and do some geocaching! I went out at 9am and cached for about 3 hours. There was a travel bug that I wanted to get my hands on located on the Rims. Plus there are a bunch of caches up there too. So I thought that would be a great place to target. What a great area. I haven't been up here in 7-8 years. They have really nice paved paths. I think I'm going to bring my family up here in the near future.

Anyway, the first 25 minutes were a bust. The first few caches were beyond the Rims and in the valley. Since I have no interest in plummeting to the bottom, I had to write those off. But it wasn't long until I found the caches I could get to. I think I ended up logging 6 new caches. I probably attempted 10 or so. There were some that were in a dangerous area, a puzzle cache, or I had no interest in getting to (micro in the woods don't appeal to me).

I had a really great time. It was only 3 hours. But for a lunch time cacher, that is a very successful day. I brought my camera with me and took some pictures of some wildflowers.

Since the Rims are all sandstone, the trees sometimes have a tough time finding their rooting. I saw this crazy tree practically growing sideways.

I was also able to get a couple of pictures to use for my ginormous travel bug I'm playing host to. I'm going to doctor the pix up a bit in photoshop to make it a bit more fun before moving on.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What It's All About

Today was pretty overcast with nasty looking clouds. It has been raining off and on today. But I haven't been caching in like 10 days, so I thought I might as well get out and try one. I was going to do a quick Park 'n Grab, but there were too many muggles around. But there was a cache not far from here along this trail.

What a neat area. I never knew this spot was here. It looks like a nature preserve much like Riverfront Park. It has some nice maintained trails that snake around this island in the middle of the Yellowstone river. Such a cool spot. I think I'm going to have to come back and hike around a bit more. I'll bring my wife and son so we can enjoy this area a bit more.

I would hear interviews of cachers and they say they enjoy geocaching because it shows them places they never knew was there. This is one of those moments. Did I find the cache? Yup. It was a nice cache. An ammo can with lots of goodies. It was definitely a fun find. But the real treat was discovering this area. A place I would have never known was here, and I found it through geocaching. I guess that's what it's really about. I hope I find more like this.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Big Plans

Last week, I've been covering for a guy I work with. So that means that I had to work through lunch each day, which means no geocaching :( I was hoping this weekend I might pick up one or two that popped up near my house. But our chores got in the way of that. So again, no geocaching.

This week, I should have some time to go out during my lunch time. So that will be cool. Perhaps get a few under my belt. I'd also like to get the travel bug picture taken this week so I can drop him off and pick up a new one.

On the plus side, next week is my birthday! It falls on a Tuesday this year. I'm going to take the day off of work and go geocaching. I'm going to the Rims to get a few up there and maybe into the Heights where they are a little out of my reach on my lunch hour caching. I'm hoping to get a travel bug that I have my eye on that's located up there as well. Then I'm going to go home, smoke a cigar, drink a beer and BBQ. I'm really looking forward to it. Birthdays rock.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Godzilla's Heart

Last Thursday, I decided I'd drop off my GeoCoin I've had for the last couple of weeks. There was a travelbug hotel near by, so I thought I'd exchange this coin for one of those so I could play with it a bit. The hotel was off the road near a bridge. I parked in a city park near by and decided to walk to it from there. It was a nice walk. I discovered a really nice path that I didn't know was there along the Yellowstone River. I think I'm going to take my wife and son there next weekend for a picnic and hike.

At any rate, the ammo can was pretty easy to find. I was expecting a bunch of bugs in there, but only really saw 2. There was a laminated photo of a bridge. It was kinda a lame travelbug. The goal sounded cool as it would like to visit and get pictures of other bridges. But a laminated picture? I bet there's a better bug that could have been used other than a picture. It almost looked like it was cut out of a magazine. Needless to say, it didn't strike my fancy and decided to leave that one behind.

The other travel bug was this giant stuffed cartoon heart. The thing is massive. Probably the size of a small cantaloupe. It was the only interesting travelbug in there, so I grabbed it in exchange for the coin. In hindsight, I shoulda left it behind. Something that big would be a bugger to find a cache to place it in. But since I have it, I'll play with it a bit.

I'm trying to think of a good place to take a picture that represents Billings. Problem with Billings is that it doesn't have any real landmark of note. The pictograph caves is just a hole in the cliff. Little Bighorn Battlefield is just prairie. Plus they're really not apart of Billings. I think because this travelbug is so big, perhaps I'll do some photoshop work and make it look like it's huge like Godzilla destroying Billings! That would be fun, I think. I guess we'll see.

On my way back, there was another cache near where I parked my car. I only had 10 minutes to find it. I decided I'd go after it. It was pretty easy too. This one was a Tupperware container that had a few items in it. The container had a hole in it. It cracked or broke somehow. The contents were completely dry. I guess that's the drawback to some cheap Tupperware containers. It's easy to break. But then again, it's easy to replace. The container had a few items in it. Mostly junk. I took a signature card and I decided I'd throw a few toys in there. A few bouncy balls and a few key clips. Just to boost up the swag a little for the next finder. I'm going to have to find some better swag myself. I'm going to try to avoid the cheap garbage and use something I'd enjoy finding. Probably geared more toward kids. Perhaps I'll put in a toy and a signature item. That way the adults would be interested in signature items, kids would be interested in the toys.

It was a fun lunch hour cache.