Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter egg hunt - GPS style

So it's Easter Sunday and my beautiful girlfriend and our very close friend Judy setup a little Easter egg hunt for Evan and me. Today we were given instructions to meet up at the DART park and ride at the Parker Road Station in Plano to join forces and navigate around the city collecting eggs. At the end of our journey, a treat to share was promised.

So the ladies sent us to the park and ride, each with half of the required coordinates for the first find. Once we met up, I hopped into Evans fly ride and off we went!

It took us a little while to get warmed up, not knowing really what we were looking for but after the first egg.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Someone tampered with my hide

I apologize in advance if this comes across as a rant...

While doing some checking in on caches near my house, I stopped at one of my harder ones to see how it was doing. Everything looked normal when we pulled up. However, after getting out of the car, right away it was obvious that someone who had searched had disregarded the cache instructions and disassembled it. Inevitably, they did not reassemble it correctly. Now, I have disabled the cache and have to head and out repair it sometime soon.

Thank you to everyone who did this with respect to the cache. I have some other, inappropriate, words for whoever broke it.

UPDATE: This was fixed on 6/8/11.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Math school - part one

Lesley wanted to go out and do something active, so while searching in the area, I found this puzzle series called Math School. I printed out the pages - a LOT of math - and headed her way. Thankfully the guys were there too. After about an hour of math fun, we successfully completed the first nine coordinates in the series. We did not have much luck with the more advanced stuff, but we'll come back to that another day.

Since our heads were now sufficiently sore, we decided to head out and find the caches. They were actually pretty easy - the ones we could find.  Some PNGs, some worth spending a little more time at, some we couldn't find at all.

Our favorite was the one with the friendly llama, Stanley.  The cache was about 20 feet from him, and he sure was a friendly llama.  I'm betting he has seen a lot of us cachers, and he sure seemed to enjoy the attention we gave him.

All in all, that part of the series was pretty simple, and we'll finish up the others when our heads recover.  Mainly we just have one left for each of them anyways.

After that series, we made a few quick walk-in grabs near the Muddy Creek park (great park with some night caching, too).

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Caching in Arbor Hills

After a recent adventures, we figured we'd go out and make a nice afternoon of caching. We planned a route and started on our way. I had already been to this park and found some of the caches, but all were new to the rest of the group. So, we swung by a few of those that were on the route as well.

There was a lot of walking, a lot of tree climbing, a lot of sun, a lot of poison ivy...a lot of everything. I am going to let the pictures do the talking on this one.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Powertrail at night

Last night we set out to finish the power trail we started a couple of months ago with Lisa and James. This particular series is meant to be PNG, but we prefer walking, so we made a night of it. This meant parking cars at one end, driving one car to the other end, and walking back to the other cars (no pretty loops here - straight shot).

First cache for the series was in a busy intersection, but no one really noticed us because they were so busy hurrying to somewhere. We took the crosswalks here as a chance to cross the road. Sadly, there were no sidewalks for multiple parts of this trip, so there was a lot of walking on uneven ground or in the street. I am grateful for the blinky lights and reflectors I sewed onto my bag.

Made it to the second cache and looked around the area for a bit before we spotted the cache. Very neat fake sprinkler. If there weren't two more right next to it that were real, I may not have noticed it. I saw it, Evan grabbed it, and the wind threw dirt into Lisa's face. There was a note on the cache that the next three were the same type of container, so we moved towards those confident of our abilities to find them. However, no luck at #03 and #05, even after moving most of the camo a landscaping crew had placed.

Getting past the mud, we proceeded to the final two caches in the series. These were both quick grabs, for which we were glad after not finding two.

There were three more caches between us and the car that were not part of the series, but we grabbed them along the way. All were easy light post grabs, so a pretty upbeat (if boring) end to the searching for the evening.

Turns out we had good timing on the end of the search - less than five minutes after we arrived home, we got some nasty weather, including 60mph winds and golf ball sized hail. Very lucky we weren't stuck out walking in that mess!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

2011 caching goals

You could call these my 2011 new year resolutions for geocaching - I made some at the new year. But, in reality, they are an evolving target. I started the year with one simple goal: find 100 caches in 2011. That would mean 2 per week, and when I made this resolution, it seemed very reasonable. However, looking back now, I should have known that I could do better - it is only April and I've already found 154 this year!

Needless to say, this required me to update those goals. So, I thought about it, and in mid-March I set some new goals:
1 - find at least 250 caches in 2011.
2 - find caches in at least 5 different states.
3 - start my own travel bug.

I am not off to a bad start - now I just need to get to another state. Evan, James, Lisa and I are going to Hot Springs, AR for Memorial Day, so that is one chance. I also anticipate going to OK for some reason or another (one always comes up). So, where should I head for the other two?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Caching with cops...and other curiosities

Every time I head out caching, I expect to see interesting things and have a good time. Today certainly lived up to those expectations, and hopefully next time around I can handle things as well as I did today :-)

We started Saturday with a goal of finding 15 caches. Mainly, since my allergies are acting up and I'm on a ton of meds for them, we decided to stick to park and grabs. A very nice way to ease back into things. We grabbed 11 of them pretty uneventfully - the 12th was when things got interesting.

We pulled up to GZ, shifted into park, and a cop pulled up behind us. She comes up, asks why we're there since the nearby business is closed, and Evan decides to just tell her. Of course, he does this by saying "we are out geocaching, and there happens to be one in that lamp post." She stares at him like he's crazy, then he explains what geocaching is, shows her our map, the GPS, etc. Meanwhile, I grab the cache. I am SO glad it was actually there. I'm also glad it wasn't just a pill bottle, as is normal for lamp post caches. This one was a decent size and has a few goodies in it she could look at. She seemed to get a kick out of how many people had signed the log. When I signed, she headed back to her vehicle and left. Pretty easy to deal with, but HUGE adrenalin rush. I was always worried that my first encounter would go poorly, but I am glad Evan made the decision and we went with it.

We headed to one more park and grab then met up with some friends (James and Lisa) to help him move his travel bug eastwards. Drove east above 45 minutes then did a quick look for a large cache that we could drop the bug in. Found just what we were looking for near the Lake Lavon dam. It was a little odd to walk around out there near a tiger refuge with so close by, but we long ago purchased some bear spray...which was at home. As we climbed down the hill and walked across the field, we kept our eyes open. Needless to say, nothing really happened. When we got close by, it was pretty obvious where it would be, so I climbed to the center of a bunch of cedar trees and made the find. Then James climbed in to actually get it (I am not a fan of sticking my hands in holes...). Let the bug and helped move it further along in its goal.

In the end, we made 14 for Saturday. Not too shabby!

Sunday we had plans to meet up with James and Lisa again and go on a 'cache walk'. I made a path for the John Carter Park in Plano. It is a nice park with a ton of caches hidden along its paths. I made a path with ~20 caches on it and a loop, with the option to head back halfway if needed. Sent the starting address to James and packed up my walking gear.

Since there was still time to kill before meeting up, Evan and I went out for a few more park and grabs. First thing, we pull up to the GZ and there is a cop in their car sitting there. Needless to say, we decided to save that one for later. Did not need a repeat - how many times can you get lucky before having problems?

Hit up a few more park and grabs in the area, most were nothing special. The last one we found before meeting up with James and Lisa was my favorite - it was in a neighborhood park that was oddly empty (it was beautiful out!). I think I might go back and chill there with Dylan some day when I need something to do with him.

Then we headed to the park. Sprayed/applied the sunscreen and bug spray, made sure water bottles were full, and went on our way. Every cache we found was different from the others, and it was very enjoyable. After our 7th cache, we decided to exercise that 'cut back' option and leave the other half of the trail (well, slightly more than half) for another day. At that point, we had found 7 of 7 caches we'd searched for, although some took more time than others.

On the way back to the car, we searched for the last cache on the way - Rusty Bridge #4 (you have to be a paid member to see this one). The other ones we've found in this series weren't easy, but they were not like this one. We ended up looking for an hour and not finding it. After reading the logs, seems that is not abnormal. I'm sure we'll be back when we hit up the rest of the trail.

24 finds for the weekend. Not our best weekend, but definitely not our worst!