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Everything posted by imajeep

  1. Big Agnes has some good barrels and rectangulars. We just got a couple for car-camping.
  2. How else are you going to know were you are after the crash? Hey--maybe there's a TV series in that! We could call it "Not Lost"
  3. Exactly... they have every right to express their views on any cache find, but the unfortunate fact is that the pitiful views which they have deigned to share with us in these log entries betrays a bizarre mindset of sense of entitlement and whininess, and simultaneously serve as yet one more sign that geocaching is going down the tubes. I hate to sound like a repetitive doomsday fanatic, but, as with other recent cases cited on the forums, I see the two log entries in question as yet one more sign of the beginning of the End of Days for geocaching -- and likely for the entire world as well -- as our sport becomes more and more "dumbed down" due to the unceasing influx into this sport of vast hordes of the unwashed lumpen proletariat masses, who simply do not know any better, whose IQ falls in the single-digit range, who were raised on a cultural diet consisting solely of episodes of the Jerry Springer Show and the TV-mediated pseudo-sagacity of the ultimate buffoon, the unlicensed sensationalistic TV shrink Dr. Phil McGraw, and who believe that happiness comes from taking pills, from shopping compulsively, and/or from finding hundreds of lame urban micros in a week. I feel that this was a great sport when it was smaller and was largely the province of a rather elite and specialized group of aficionados, but now that the idiots have started to enter our ranks in droves due to the increasing popularity of geocaching, we are witnessing the inevitable regression toward the lowest common denominator -- much as we have already seen happen with evening-time network television shows -- in this sport, where lame urban lamppost micros are bizarrely held up as the ultimate standard by which all other caches are to be measured. I fear that the End is near and that at any moment now we shall start receiving reports of sightings across the world of the Six Horsemen of the Apocalypse, named War, Famine, Pestilence, Death, Lame Urban Micros and Numbers Caching. LMAO--thanks for adding some much needed perspective. I'm sure the sport will survive even this!
  4. Yeah, I hear you. I wouldn't post a log flaming someone's cache. Someone goes to the trouble of creating a cache, it's bad manners to bad-mouth it. I have noted in a log if an approach is more difficult than the description suggests. As a hunter, I get frustrated if a cache is described as being an easy hike off the trail, with a 2.0 and what I end up with is a quarter-mile bushwhack through brambles and spider webs. In those cases, I will say something like "The approach was more difficult than I expected--some heavy bushwhacking required to get to it." In the case of Gobbler's Knob, it sounds like the cache hunter didn't pay attention to the terrain rating on the cache. It's rated a 3.0, which I view as pretty fair notice that there is some bushwhacking involved. Just for fun, I ran the cache through Clayjar's rating system?, based on the description and logs. It generated a 2.0/4.0 rating for the cache. The actual cache is rated 2.0/3.0, so I don't see this one as being misleading at all. But, as the previous poster said, you can't please everybody. Some people will ignore the terrain ratings, and they won't check out the cache site on Google Earth. And then they will kvetch that the hunt involved a bushwhack. Sometimes, you just gotta shrug it off.
  5. Do lithium-ion batteries need to be conditioned? It used to be standard practice with rechargeables to charge and fully drain a couple of times before putting them into service. Is that necessary, or even desirable, with the newer generation of lithium-ion batteries? Thanks.
  6. Download them--it's much easier. Keep it simple when you start off. Download the .LOC file for one or two caches to your computer. Then, assuming you bought US Topo 2008 maps for your unit, open the MapSource application. Open each of the downloaded .LOC files in MapSource, then use MapSource to send them to your unit (look for the GPS icons on the toolbar). Once you get the hang of that, there are far more efficient ways to download. But don't worry about them now. You don't need GSAK or ny other software just to download waypoints. Once you've got a few caches under your belt, become a premium member, which will let you create 'pocket queries'. That's where GSAK is really handy, and it will be good to look at then.
  7. Bingo. There's a lot of talk here about chipsets, but a chipset only performs as well as the data it receives. The 60csx quad helix antenna is vastly superior to the etrex patch antenna - particularly in regard to reception under heavy cover. Examples: - In my house, I get at least limited reception almost anywhere. The etrex has to be right next to a window. - In my car, I get great reception just placing by 60csx on the passenger seat. The etrex has to sit on the dash. Coulda fooled me. I use a 60 CSx and love it, and Ms. Imajeep uses a Vista HCx (and loves that). Performance on both units is comparable, unless we're in a slot canyon. Then I win.
  8. Thanks, Larry-- True vs. Magnetic might be just what I am looking for. BTW, congrats on 1,600!
  9. I'm hunting a two-stage multi, where the second stage is a feet-and-degrees projection from the first. I know how to do the projection using my Garmin 60 CSx, but I wonder if I am missing any of the finer points--I DNFed on my first hunt. So, here are my questions: (1) The first stage tells me the second stage is 283 feet away at a bearing of 135°. So I open the Project Waypoint screen and enter the feet and degrees. No problem--but is that all there is to it? Am i missing any of the finer points? (2) The bearing indicator on the Project Waypoint screen shows a small lower-case 't' below the degrees indicator. What does that signify? Is it an option of some sort? Does it affect my projection? Thanks!
  10. Try this-- Record a track on your next hike. When you get home, use the Garmin MapSource application to upload the data to your PC, then save it as a GPX file. Load that GPX into Google Earth, and 'tilt' GE to get a three-dimensional view. We did Yosemite and the Grand Canyon last year, and the 3D views are amazing. We can hardly believe we did that stuff.
  11. We've been using Crank eGel. Easy to carry, easy to get down, no sugar, and lots of electrolytes. We used it coming out of the Grand Canyon last year, and it worked like a champ
  12. The eTrex Vista HCx is a very good model--I'm getting one for Ms. Imajeep for Mother's Day (don't tell her). Darn near as good as a GPSmap 60 CSx, which costs $100 more.
  13. There has been a big jump in GPS receivers in the past few years. Until recently, a GPS would lose signal in a canyon or even under moderate tree cover. A new generation of receivers uses "high sensitivity" chipsets that overcome that problem. The grandaddy of high sensitivity receivers is the Garmin GPSmap 60 CSx (that last 'x' is very important). It's very good, but somewhat pricey. Garmin upgraded their eTrex line last year to add high-sensitivity receivers. The "HC" suffix designates the high-sensitivity eTrex models. The eTrex Vista HCx is the top of the eTrex line, but the Legend HC is also highly-regarded. Keep in mind that you might also need to buy a map set for your receiver. The base map that is included has very limited detail. Topo maps run about $80, street maps are a bit more expensive. And you need Garmin maps for Garmin receivers. Hope that helps!
  14. Also, what type of GPS are you using. Most let you connect to a PC and download coordinates, rather than typing them in.
  15. We started paperless with a Palm Z22--$99. Then we shifted to GSAK on a laptop, using the Palm only if we have to hike in to the cache. Now we cache in real time, using mobile broadband, Geocaching.com, and real-time tracking on Google Earth. We shift back to GSAK if we are going to be caching out of cell-phone range, and back to the Palm if we're hiking in to get a cache.
  16. Welcome to geocaching! The first few hunts can be very frustrating, until you get the hang of the game. Know any other geocachers? Go out with them--they'll show you the ropes. Or, go to the next geobash or meet-and-greet in your area (listed on the weekly newsletter from gc.com). you should be able to hook up with folks who can help you get going. It took me three tries to find my second cache, and a half-dozen tries to find my third. Once you start finding them, you get the hang of it pretty quickly.
  17. "We have a contract with the county to inspect all the bridges along this road for latent defects." "I dropped my keys here two days ago. You haven't seen them, have you?" "We're looking for the space aliens." This one works better if you can get kind of a wild look in your eye. "I bet my wife here that this tree was within fifty yards of the parking lot." And nodoby has ever asked why.
  18. California caches--1750 miles from my current home in Chicago. Or, Chicago caches--1750 miles from my soon-to-be home in California.
  19. Two great ones on the Chicago North Shore: -- Aux Plaines Crossing (GCXE77): A four-part series. All of the caches in the series are two-part multi's centered around 19th Century bridges that are now abandoned, but whose piers remain. Part 1 is a micro somewhere on the bridge remains that gives the coordinates of Part 2, an ammo box with a log and historical info on the bridge. Each of the first three caches also contains a puzzle piece. When they are put together, they present another puzzle. The solution to that puzzle shows the location of Part 1 of the fourth cache, which has the coordinates to the final ammo box. The ammo box contains multiple copies of a CD-ROM that ties the whole series together thematically. A caching tour de force. -- The Yerkes Fountain series (GC14J2V), a series of three fiendishly clever hides by Genius Loci, a well-known cacher in these parts. The first two caches are cammoed minis, hidden on the faces of two large concrete watering troughs from the 19th Century. Each has a puzzle piece that leads to the location of the third cache, with the application of some geo-math. You can read my DNF on the third cache here. Call me the Swamp Thing. If you live in Chicagoland, head up to the North Shore to do these caches. They are a blast!
  20. We recently got mobile broadband for our laptop, so we decided to try real-time caching. I thought I'd share our experiences so far. We are a two-person team (Mr. and Ms. Imajeep) and we had been caching with GSAK on the laptop. One person drives, and the other navigates. We would pick caches in advance, load them into a bookmark list, generate a PQ from the list, and load the PQ results into GSAK and Google Earth. Then we would take screenshots in Google Earth to plan routes between the caches we selected. When we went real-time, we sidelined GSAK. We still pick caches in advance and bookmark them; now, we simply download a KML of the bookmark list and load it into Google Earth. We use the GE Path tool in advance to draw routes between caches, with each path containing the route from the current cache to the next one. We deselect the caches and routes in GE before we hit the road, so that none are visible. On the road, we connect our Garmin to the laptop via USB and enable GE's real-time tracking feature. It works pretty well, although there is a few-second lag in updating our screen position. When we set up the next cache, the navigator simply enables the cache and the route in GE, so that they are visible, and we take off. Very clean, uncluttered navigation screen. En route, we load the cache page from Geocaching.com, so that it's ready when we arrive. When we arrive, we read the description and the logs, then we hunt the cache. When we get back to the car, we log the find or DNF on the spot, then set up the next cache and take off. We could probably get the job done with less advance preparation, but we are both pretty methodical, and we enjoy the prep. The real-time system has cut out most of the drudgery involved in prepping for a caching outing. If anyone is thinking about mobile broadband, we can certainly recommend it for caching, so long as you cache in an area that has good coverage. Since we live in Chicago, that is rarely an issue. We'll keep GSAK on hand for outings to areas that don't have coverage.
  21. Is there any way to add a column to a bookmark list to show the cache ID? Right now, all that is shown is the name. I know that we can manually add the ID as a comment when we bookmark a site, but something automatic would make life easier! We cache using mobile broadband, using bookmark lists and Google Earth. We download the bookmark list as a .LOC file and load that up into GE. Unfortunately, .LOC files only seem to have IDs, not names. That makes it diddifuclt to coordinate between GE and a bookmark list, which shows only names. Any other solutions to this problem? Thanks. David Veeneman a/k/a Imajeep
  22. I saw something on the forums about this a year ago, but I thought I'd share a problem I ran into, and its solution. Ever since my wife and I got back out to cache this spring (three weeks ago--it was a very snowy winter in Chicago), I noticed my GPSr (a Garmin GPSMap 60CSx) behaving oddly. It did okay for urban caches, but it went haywire every time in went after a forest hide. It got to the point where I was recalibrating the compass every five minutes, and that still wouldn't keep it on track. Old hands have already figured out my problem, but it took me a little longer. On one half-mile hike in the woods today, the GPSr almost completely broke down. The needle swung wildly, it pointed the wrong way, and it wouldn't register any movement, even if I tuned a complete circle. No matter what I did, I got the "Hold Level" warning. I finally sat down on a log and started going through every setting on the unit. I found my problem in Main Menu > Setup > Map. There are several pages in Map Setup. The first page has an option called 'Lock On Road', and somehow, that option had gotten set to 'On' on my unit. So, no matter where I went, the GPSr locked onto the nearest road and tried its best to show me as being on that road. I'll bet it was as frustrated as I was! I set the 'Lock On Road' option to 'Off', and the problem disappeared immediately. Oh--and I discovered the cache I was hunting was in the log I was sitting on. The moral of the story is this: If you have a Garmin 60CSx and it misbehaves or bahaves strangely, check the 'Lock On Road' setting before doing anything else, like hurling the unit off a cliff.
  23. Is there any way to bulk-download a gpx of caches on a bookmark list, without going through the pocket query mechanism? When Ms. Imajeep and I cache, we typically start by picking a couple of dozen interesting-looking caches in a particular area. We bookmark these, then bulk-download a GPX of the caches to take in the field with us. Right now, we use the "Create Pocket Query" option to do the download. Is there any way to do a bulk download without having to generate a pocket query? If not, that would be a helpful feature to us. And I imagine it would cut down on whatever load the PQ servers are bearing. Thanks.
  24. I'd have paid money to see that last one!
  25. That's actually a pretty simple math problem. Just convert the coordinates to decimal degrees and take the average of the two components from the two waypoints. In other words, lat3 = (lat1 + lat2)/2, lon3 = (lon1 + lon2)/2. Then you can convert the result back to degrees decimal minutes if needed. I thought about that, but I missed the step of converting to decimal degrees. Thanks!
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