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Everything posted by kelly@9

  1. There are definitely caches in Maryland within walking distance from both the Twinbrook and Grosvenor Metro stations (western leg of the red line). Also, the "there are few/no non-virtual caches in D.C." is a big myth. Most of the caches in the tourist areas around the Mall and monuments are virtuals, but there are close to 40 physical geocaches in Washington, D.C. Many of these are accessible by MetroRail, pretty much all of them by Metrobus if you're willing to figure out the bus routes and schedules. JPatton's bookmark list posted a couple posts up is probably the best list of caches close to Metro. MetroRail is also displayed quite nicely in Google Earth, so if you turn on the appropriate Transportation/Transit layer and use the Geocaching Network KML, it can give you a pretty good idea of where caches are near various stations throughout the D.C. area. If you want non-virtual caches near the Mall, I might suggest 2 caches I have adopted: Coconuts (GCKFCR) and Animal Crackers (GCKFX4). In Chinatown, another cache that tends to prove popular with out-of-town visitors is Spy Hard-Booth (GCWQ4C). With so many people visiting D.C., we tend to get these same questions a lot, I'm hoping to get some info posted on a web site soon.
  2. Maybe not so practical in the "if you can only hit one cache" vein, but wanted to offer at least one non-virtual D.C. cache to this discussion, and that is The Silent City (GCQYTG). It is a bit off the beaten path for tourists, but it is only a few stops away from the Mall on the Metro, and a few blocks walk through a pleasant residential neighborhood. You'll also need the cache page in some form, either on paper or a PDA to do the calculations, as it is a 5 stage multi-cache. This is however the one physical cache in Washington, D.C. that pretty much everyone who has found it that I've talked to agrees is excellent!
  3. Christmas is coming, and I'm looking for someone selling a used Garmin Rino to give as a gift. I'd consider any of the Rino 120, 130, 520 or 530 models in good condition or better.
  4. Well, I was using an IFRAME on my profile page to display a Google map w/ the caches I've found in the last 30 days on it. Now that I can't display it any more like this, how about adding something similar as a premium member feature directly on geocaching.com? Would save me the work of running the query in GSAK and updating the map by hand anyway...
  5. Personally, I hate dipping and will be asking people to not dip any of my bugs on the bug page (and on printed goal sheets), but unless the owner asks you not to, I don't think there is any reason not to. Personally, I think it just seems kinda silly to dip a bug though unless the bug specifically has a distance-related goal.
  6. Put me down for 3. Thanks.
  7. You do not need to go outside Washington, DC to find a cache to drop off travel bugs or geocoins. There are no specific "travel bug hotels" in DC, but there are several small and regular sized caches where you can leave travel bugs, among the ones I'd suggest: Sadie's Secret Spot (GCR7M4) Rose Park (GCHC04) The Silent City (GCQYTG) Sibley (GCGVBH) Note that none of these are right in the tourist areas downtown on the Mall, but they are all (with the exception of Sibley) easily accessible via the Metro (subway). (Sibley is right next to a bus stop though!) Ok, Rose Park is a bit of hike from the Metro, but it is in Georgetown, so lots of options on getting there.
  8. Living in Washington, DC, and caching regularly in DC, Maryland and Virginia, I've gotten to see the full range of secret reviewer identities. mtn-man reviews DC caches, and well, he uses a single account for everything, so no secrets there. DotPlotter reviews VA caches (coincidentally the OP's home state too), and spoke in his official capacity at the recent Richmond Rally III event, so his identity isn't a huge secret at this point, although I'm sure he appreciates some discretion in folks revealing him. Quiggle reviews Maryland caches, and from what I can tell, tries to maintain a somewhat lower public profile (although the rumors abound!), but maybe that is just my perception as a relative outsider among MGS activities!
  9. I only ever run my PQs on demand, I have never had permanently scheduled. When I'm looking for caches to do for the day, I tend to bookmark the 5-10 I want to go find on a "Today's Caching" bookmark list, then I go run a PQ for that bookmark list. It used to take between 5-10 minutes for the PQ to run, now it takes more like an hour. From Jeremy's explanation it looks like I should be creating a new bookmark list each day, a new pocket query for that bookmark list each day, then running it once, and after coming back in from caching, just going ahead and deleting both the PQ and bookmark list after logging. Then repeat the same process every day I go out caching so that my PQs will still run in 5-10 minutes since they're "new". This just seems backwards, since I bet the overhead to make a new bookmark list, make a new PQ for the bookmark list, and then delete both the PQ and bookmark list is probably equivalent to the overhead from the PQ running anyway!
  10. It isn't considered bad form to search for caches with travel bugs and go find and retreive travel bugs in general. It *is* considered bad form however to: Pick up more travel bugs than you can possibly move within the guideline of 2 weeks as the maximum time to hold onto a travel bug before returning it to another cache Pick up a travel bug with a goal that you cannot help it meet or to move it further from its goal
  11. I love that certain other, larger geocoin sellers seem to be doing just fine with Paypal even though they don't promise shipping for 4-6 weeks, but little guys like you get shut down... <sigh> Google just opened up Google Checkout yesterday, guess you could try there
  12. Ok, I know I'm coming in here late to the party, but as someone coming in late to this discussion, I have to admit I find the discussion a bit perplexing. If the idea is just a "met" or "friends" type thing, just do it like every other social networking site and get it over with. Don't make it some complex game, people will just cheat to collect the most friends like on Friendster et al. anyway. But if the idea really is a "social log" type of thing, I think the whole "personal codeword" or whatever adds unneeded complexity. If you let people pick their own codewords, it then also requires policing by TPTB so that people keep it G-rated, it is always trivial to defeat any kind of automated "bad words" filter. So if you're going to go with the "personal codeword" idea, at least make it something that is randomly generated by gc.com to avoid people who can't act like grownups. But the part I don't understand is, why not just extend the existing ad hoc system of "personal" travel bugs / geocoins (just gonna say TB from now on, but assume I mean gc.com-trackable coins in all cases too) that people are already using? Give users the ability to mark one (and only one at a time) travel bug or geocoin that they own and have as a personal tracking TB, which then cannot be "dropped" or "grabbed" or "retreived", only "discovered" by other users. When a TB marked as a personal TB is discovered by another cacher, all the usual TB logging stuff happens as usual, but then some additional magic happens with additional info added to a new database for the "social logging" stuff. Then you could display the info for all the other cachers who've logged a cacher on a new tab and such, as well as all the other cachers who the given user has logged, and by keeping it in an independent database keyed per user, you could let users changed their personal tracking TB in the future without it being tied to the logging of a particular TB (which they might have lost, or they just minted their own geocoin and want to use that). I'd suggest opening this up to any gc.com user, not just premium members. It does have a buy-in cost, which is the cost of a single set of TB tags or any geocoin, but let's face it, that isn't too much to ask people to pay for such a feature, is it? Then for premium members, add some of the things like others have suggested, perhaps for non-premiums, the icons always show up as a Signal or TB icon, but for premium members, it shows up with the actual icon of the item they have as their personal tracking TB (well, ok, this really only works for geocoins, but...). That way people who have personal coins w/ custom icons will always show up with their custom icon in other's lists too. So, am I just smoking crack, or does this make some sense?
  13. I have a Verizon EV-DO high speed cellular wireless data card for my laptop, gives me data access pretty much anywhere I can get a Verizon cellular signal, when in cities and suburban areas you get blazing EV-DO speeds, but it falls back to slower speeds elsewhere. It isn't cheap though at $80/mo. ($60/mo. if you have a Verizon voice cell phone + plan), but thankfully, work pays for it for me since I'm 2nd tier on-call 24x7. Sprint has basically the same offering at the same pricing on their network (which obviously has a somewhat different coverage area). I've been very pleased with the service, and if I had only a single laptop as my only computer, I'd consider it instead of DSL (or cable modem) for my primary Internet access. When I attended the Richmond Rally III (GCVVRK) a couple weeks ago, I was amused to see they were providing WiFi access using an EV-DO card in a special wireless bridging router so that everyone at the event could use their laptop there in the picnic shelter!
  14. I'd suggest The Silent City (GCQYTG), it is a great multi up on Capitol Hill, just a few Metro stops ride up from the Mall (near Potomac Ave. Metro on Orange and Blue lines). Bring a printed copy of the cache page though, as you need to reference it to compute the coordinates of the various stages! Also, be aware that on July 4th, and possibly prior to the 4th, there will be access restrictions to certain areas of the Mall (WWII Memorial may be closed?), which may make some of the virtual caches down there temporarily unavailable. You will also likely have to enter the Mall through limited access points and pass through some sort of security screening, which will at least involve a bag check, and may involve metal detectors. For more suggestions on caches, see my posts and some of the others in this older thread.
  15. May be a little late to help the OP, but just in case anyone else wanders along, I'll Markwell my own post and suggest looking in this older thread for some physical caches in and around the touristy areas of Washington, DC. Further, there are a couple new caches in Georgetown published over the weekend: Spy Hard-Lee (GCWPAF) and Stair Stepper Cache (GCWQZB). Also, a new one in Chinatown: Spy Hard-Booth (GCWQ4C)
  16. The other things I would add are: Either print out the cache listing page or make copious notes of all the important details from it: cache name, waypoint id (gcxxxx), coordinates, difficulty rating (1-5 stars), terrain rating (1-5 stars), cache type (traditional, multi, puzzle/unknown, etc.), cache size (micro, small, regular, large, etc.), type of cache container if mentioned (ammo can, tupperware, 35mm film can, etc.), description (including notes about the area), decode the hint, and read through the logs of other cachers to see if they provide any other useful info, looking at the pictures uploaded by previous cachers can help as well It's also a good idea to look for caches which have been found recently by other cachers, since it is more likely that they're still there, after all caches do go missing! Also, don't be afraid to look at the various mapping resources available on the site, Google Maps in the hybrid map / satellite mode are ususally the most useful for me, but MapPoint (really Windows Live Local now) in the bird's eye view mode can be helpful in urban areas. Finally, don't be a afraid to log a 'Did not find' (DNF) on a cache where you've gone out and not been able to find it. Sometimes the cache owner will provide those who log a DNF with an additional hint which might be just what you need to go back and find it, and other times (especially if several different people log DNFs) it will prompt them to verify that the cache is still in the intended location and hasn't gone missing!
  17. Yeah, there is some caching (in computer terms, not geocaching!) of the travel bug / geocoin pages going on for sure, I've never noticed it taking 20 minutes to update the page, but it often seems to take 5-10 minutes.
  18. Yeah, I've given suggestions about this before and no one from Groundspeak has responded. There are several areas of the site that are just out of date with reality, and someone needs to go through them with a fine-toothed comb and change the text as needed. Tracking of geocoins is a big one. After all, on the FAQ for Travel Bugs, it still says (order of the questions reversed from the FAQ to make a point): In my previous post, I think I even rewrote the wording for them so they could have just cut-and-pasted from my post to fix it. Obviously documentation isn't a high priority.
  19. As a resident of Washington, DC, I'd like to petition for either a 51st cache in DC as part of this project, or else to put the final inside Washington, DC. I'd volunteer to hide and maintain the DC cache, whether final or not. If it is the final, I'd even be willing to maintain its swag level to make sure that finders get something really, really cool, since this is after all a massive undertaking. (I'd also suggest that wherever the final is, that people attempting the final are asked to post a note at least 48 hours in advance of their attempt if possible so that the maintainer can just double-check on the cache!) DC is of course a big tourist destination, so probably easier for cachers where the whole family doesn't cache to convince the non-caching family members to take a trip to DC than it is to convince them to take a trip to somewhere in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the country to find the final cache! The other benefit of DC is that it is relatively small geographically, so if people know the final is in DC, they can pretty easily check their computed coordinates and see if they're totally wrong before making the trip!
  20. 3.5 - 4 hours depending on traffic and the time of day you leave. Coming back could be a 5 or more hours. I would suggest that even 4 hours each way may be a bit optimistic unless you're travelling at 2am or something. Just plugging "New York City" to "Rockville, MD" into directions on Google Maps estimates 4 hours and 12 minutes for the trip. (And depending on where in NYC you're starting from, you might spend an hour just getting out of NYC!) If you are going on a weekday, you are almost guaranteed to hit rush hour traffic in at least one of the cities between NYC and DC, if not more than one. And by "rush hour", in DC at least, we mean "drive very, very slowly for up to 3-4 hours". And if you go on a weekend day, you'll likely hit some weekend beach or other getaway traffic in various places along the I-95 corridor. Also, note that if Friday June 30th is your day, many people may be starting a 4 or 5 day weekend early for the 4th of July!
  21. And just to be totally clear here, there is no option to walk from Dulles Airport to pretty much anywhere beyond the surrounding airport parking lots and office / industrial buildings on the airport property. There are no caches located on airport property, nor are any likely to be approved in the future for security reasons. Dulles is located 25 miles outside Washington, DC, on a large swath of what was formerly farmland. Although suburbs have since stretched out to the Dulles area, the airport itself is still accessible only from a limited access highway (i.e. no sidewalk, no pedestrians allowed). So if you wanted to leave Dulles for a caching excursion, you would need to take some form of motorized vehicle (taxi, shuttle bus, rental car, etc.).
  22. All of the monthly Signal geocoins are either selling really, really poorly or available in a pretty much unlimited quantity. The 2006 CITO geocoins also seem to be in rather large supply and are significantly cheaper than the Signal monthlies. Not sure either one is truly "unlimited", but close enough I'd guess...
  23. I've been meaning to do up a good list of Metro-accessible caches, but haven't quite gotten to it yet... I mention a few in this other thread, and a few more in my later posts in the same thread.
  24. I always mention that the travel bug is missing from the cache in my cache log, as well as go to the travel bug page and 'write note' in the travel bug's log indicating it is missing from the cache it was last dropped into. (Note that you do not need the dog tag number to write a note for a travel bug!) That way, hopefully people going to look for the cache will see my note in the cache logs and know the bug isn't there, as well as people watching the bug will see my note in the bug's logs as well. I'd like to think the owners of the cache and the bug would then be racing each other to move it to an unknown location, but sadly, this doesn't seem to be the case.
  25. There are not many physical brick-and-mortar stores that sell geocaching items, and I don't believe there are any in/near Baltimore. If you cannot order directly online, you might post a note asking other geocachers in your area if they're ordering anything soon, and if they'd be willing to order for you as well to save on shipping.
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