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Everything posted by mloser

  1. Last weekend (the 9th) I went out on a whim to hunt some benchmarks. I headed out with a loaded GPS and the thought of grabbing a triangulation station on top of a local hill called Round Top. When I got there I realized it was on State Game Lands and it was still hunting season, and wearing a dark jacket on a cloudy day, I figured thrashing through the brush would not be a brilliant idea, so I headed off for the nearest mark that I hadn't yet found. Well, what ended up happening was that I found the two marks closest to Three Mile Island (previously discussed in this forum) KW0907 and KW0908, a number of other marks along the railroad down the Susquehanna River, saw a canal lock from the Pennsylvania Canal, which was abandoned about 1900 KW2663, saw the remains of an old limestone mining operation at KW0901, found the stem of a mark previously "not found" by the NGS in 1979 KW0888, found a chiseled square previously "not found" by the NGS in 1979 KW0886 and saw the remains of a late 1800s iron forge Henry Clay Furnace in the process of finding the above two marks. All in all, it will go down as a great day for me in benchmarking, possibly the best. The combination of finding 13 marks and the accidental industrial archeology was amazing. It is one of the things that keeps me benchmarking--you get to see and touch history. Matt P.S. Yes, I submitted all of them to the NGS. P.P.S. I passed the 400 mark too!
  2. The same thing will happen in whatever container you keep it in. Flour attracts moisture much more than corn starch and will become goo much faster. Also, if corn starch gets wet it will dry and become a powder, and therefore usable, again (not that the cost is an issue). Finally, corn starch will just wash off the benchmark and not become caked on dough.
  4. I finally picked up KW0906, KW0907, and KW0906, which are all close enough to Three Mile Island to see the towers clearly. The pics are a bit washed out because the day was overcast but the towers ARE clearly visible in two of them. Getting KW0906 was a bit nerve-wracking because it was within sight of the TMI entrance guard shack, and I kept waiting for someone to wander up and ask what I was doing. To add to my fun, I looked on the wrong end of the bridge first and even dug in the ballast for the mark. I nearly gave up but decided to look on the other abutment, and after a short dig, there was the mark. If you look at the pic you can see I didn't even clean all the ballast off. Just grabbed the shot and bolted.
  5. And one referencing the geographic center at http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php...ographic+center
  6. There was a thread about markers at the centers of POPULATION on this forum at http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php...24449&hl=center
  7. Glad to see we are posting cool finds again! Those old ones are great and it is really neat to touch history that way. The best are the ones, like your two, that haven't been replaced by disks, so you feel in touch with the original surveyors and see their work. I haven't found any that old to look for in my area. My oldest was Barry 1885 and was a great experience to be the first person to report it since 1886.
  8. I remembered some postings about Garmin's Image Edit, so I looked a few up. I downloaded it and played with it for, maybe, 10 minutes, but it appeared that I would have to individually change my icons in the unit (maybe I missed something). For more info go to Image Edit for benchmarking and Image Edit for Geocaching (more info on how to use it)
  9. I agree with Evenfall, that milepost 508/24 will have both numbers on it--508 on one side and 24 on the other. The post is 508 miles from town X and 24 miles from town Y. The are not necessarily the end of the line--one of the two is most likely the railroad's hometown. Although it can't be seen in the picture, the milepost in this find LY0259 had two separate numbers on it. Finding mileposts can sometimes be difficult, especially if the railroad is active and has merged. Often the distances would change, significantly or slightly and the mileposts would be removed or their mileage designations covered. In my area none of the old Reading Railroad markers can be found--the merger into Conrail changed the base of measurement and the markers were replaced. The old Pennsylvania Railroad markers remain however. Here is milepost 113 on the old PRR (measured from Philadephia), with a new sign attached to it. KW0880 I have seen these old metal mileposts with a new, reflective marker bolted over the raised lettering of the cast iron too.
  10. jwahl, After some consideration I ended up bidding on and winning that disk. I figured it hadn't been used so I wasn't committing much of a felony, since it had been left unused for almost 70 years. The stuff in the lettering was brass polish, poorly removed. I worked it over with brasso and used a tooth brush to clean the letters out and it looks good now. I believe the mark WAS unused--there is no evidence of concrete on the back of the disk or stem. The top of the disk is scratched, so it may have sat with other marks or tools for a while. It makes a pretty cool desktopper though.
  11. I have about 30 of them right now, and got them all from the USGS website. Their price was the cheapest and shipping was reasonable--if I remember correctly it was a flat ratae no matter how many maps were purchased. And I think the maps were $6.00 each.
  12. 2old... Your experiences are much different from mine--I have about the same number of recoveries as you guys but I have talked to about 50 people in my quests. Many of them wanted to show me the marker, if they knew about it, and quite a few went "above and beyond" by letting me dig in their yard, HELPING me dig in their yard, or telling me about when the marker was set (so far I have met at least three people who's names were the station names, which was really neat). Most were at least somewhat interested in what I was doing, and many were interested in WHY I was doing it (I compare it to "catch and release" fishing--neither of us end up with anything to take home. That usually gets a smile at least) and tell them that I submit the recoveries to a national database so surveyors have an easier time finding them. Many also recall a surveyor coming by at some point to use the marker. I have never been turned down, and have met all sorts of interesting people in my quest.
  13. It is completely legal, as long as you are not trespassing, destroying property, etc. That is why this thread exists--to remind people to get permission to hunt on private property and to be careful.
  14. Nearly 400 markers and I have never been refused. Some I admit I did a quickie, if the marker was evident, but there were quite a few that I got permission for. Everyone has been helpful, from the real estate company that told me to "go ahead and dig"--they at least knew what a survey marker was and how important it was, and remembered the last person who had tried (and submitted a Not Found by the way) to the two families who got out shovels and helped me dig up their back yards, curious to help. In a nutshell--Don't be afraid to ask! But be afraid NOT to ask. You are better off being told "no" than getting arrested.
  15. I tend to agree with the general consensus of the surveying-savvy folks in this thread, most notably elcamino and evenfall. Probably the best way to help future hunters would be to post the coordinates on your NGS recovery to make a search for a scaled mark more accurate. Remeasure and redescribe the mark if landmarks have changed or disappeared. I rarely count on the witness post being in place, even it if is described as such (in fact, this has been to my embarrassment as I started searching based on landmarks and only after standing there measuring distances discovered the quite obvious witness post staring at me, right were it belonged, and quite visible if I had just stood back to take in the "big picture" first. But more often than not, there is no post there). One thing I HAVE done is to REMOVE a witness post, on two occasions, when I found the mark destroyed (yes, truly destroyed and reported as such). Both marks were along a stretch of road and were 8 x 8 precast posts that probably been hit by cars or heavy equipment because they stood 18 inches out of the ground. Anyone want a witness post? I didn't know what to do with them, as throwing them in the woods didn't seem environmentally sound, so I stuck them in my car trunk. Now they sit in my basement.
  16. I have found a few destroyed marks. Here is Ridgeview which was dug up and rolled away from its location. One RM was also dealt with this way. The other RM couldn't be found. Here is a Fire Tower that was removed (recently, since there is a previous post of a find). And finally, here is a disk that (if I recall correctly) Deb accepted as destroyed because it was on a water tower and the tower was gone. I submitted photos of the tower site.
  17. Evenfall, I was just amazed that the word was not common.... truthfully, everyone in my area would be familiar with Macadam as a term for asphalt. The company I saw is in a rural area so they probably had the same name for 50 years. Matt
  18. Evenfall, You had me thinking I was crazy in my reference to MACADAM, and I mentioned that I thought it might have been a local carryover to use that word. Now I think I am not so crazy, as I drive by "Malony Macadam" every day to work. Maybe my use of the word is just a local custom. I know I have used it and heard it used all my life here in the Pennslyvania Dutch area of south central PA. Just had to redeem myself a bit!
  19. Both the name of the station and the lack of a type of station on the description lead me to believe that the original mark was related to that platform in the tower. There is no description of the station from 1886--just the name with "Observatory" in it, which probably was the top of the platform in the tree. The disk is DEFINITELY not the described mark. Some NGS marks were not stamped, but that is usually mentioned in the description, as the stamping is what confirms the correctness in most cases. Use your GPSr to get as close to the coordinates as you can, then look up. If you are in the trees, maybe there is evidence of the old platform. Although it would mostly likely be in poor condition, THAT would be a cool find! If you are looking at sky, the trees are gone and so, most likely, is the station.
  20. A metal detector is a great idea and I have worked with GNBROTZ who has one. He claims it will find a mark about 12 inches below ground surface and while I can't confirm that I do know we found two marks we wouldn't have found without the detector as they were both about 2 inches under ground and the measurement points in the description were not in existence any longer, so we guessed and started 'detecting'. Found them in about 30 seconds too! I DO use a metal probe to find the markers and have been very successful at that, but it is much easier to cover more ground with a metal detector. MUCH easier!
  21. Actually, that "sandblasting" to me looks suspiciously like someone chiseled the mark out. The stone is broken all around the mark, not blasted, as the edges are sharp and not smoothed at all like sandblasting would have done. The color could have been left over from the discoloration of the disk, and a bolt put into the hold and marked with the X. Also curious is the hole at the top of the circle, and the circular indent inside the circle, as if whatever was set in the stone had a raised area in the back, which is not typical of disks I have seen (but then again, I haven't seen the back of a USGS disk). I agree that the building to the left is new, and the location seems to be the proper distance from the (left edge of) the door and the ground. Measuring the other distances would provide evidence as to if this is the described station or not. If it IS the location of the station it should be logged as "POOR/DISTURBED" and the center of the stem could be used.
  22. Good reply Evenfall. I guess that this is like everything I do--once I start it I get a little obsessed about it, and want to do it the "right way"--that is, the way "I" feel is the best way to go about it. In the case of benchmarking, it means I want to feel I have completed the task, and to do that I need to report the find here and on the NGS site so my recovery is of value to someone. If someone else doesn't feel comfortable doing that, so be it. They should do what they feel is comfortable. But at the same time, I don't feel it is too difficult to impose a few rules on the hobby. There should be SOME standards. How would the cachers feel if I didn't follow their rules and blatantly opened a cache in full view, or didn't replace a removed item, or left the cache in the open? I don't fully agree with some of the discussion points raised in this forum, for example the need to go up in the Space Needle in order to claim it as a find (I was indeed in the Needle, but that didn't help me discover the light at the top). However, a lot of the discussion about recovering intersection points raised my awareness, and, after taking the time to drive to the top of a mountain to claim a TV tower and discovering that the tower was NOT the original one described, I am much more careful in my recoveries of such items (I admit that the only reason I went to the top was a USGS mark at the tower, but visiting the base of the tower was an eye-opener). That made me realize that it is important to determine if the structure I am trying to recover IS the structure described. Did I make a few blunders? Sure did! Will I make more? Probably, but fewer and fewer I hope. Do I feel chastised because some of the people here are sticklers for accuracy? Nope. I feel informed! It is up to me to decide if I want to adhere to your level of accuracy or stick to a lower one. My greatest award in this hobby would be to have someone use my recovery to find and use a benchmark for a survey of some sort. I doubt I will ever hear that my work has directly helped someone, but I like to think it has, or will. In the meantime, I will do "hobby" things with benchhmarking too, such as being FTF, finding old marks, marks in different counties and states, and different types of benchmarks, as well as the "numbers game" of how many I have found. That is part of the fun. But once I find them I will report their status to the best of my ability too!
  23. Even if the bridge was rebuilt, I bet that is the same abutment. However, if they were doing work on the bridge and damaged the disk they may have removed it and filled in the spot, especially if they were afraid of getting in trouble. I agree that the abutment is pretty short, but it would be pretty strange for them to measure the longer distance. Not that I haven't seen that, just that it would be odd. I think your only option is to get up on it and look it over. As for the highway bridge, nothing about that description fits any more. I think you found a reset disk that was never measured or stamped. My remark was that it was not a 1990s reset, as the newer disks are larger. See KW1854 for a picture of a newer PADH disk (also unstamped).
  24. A couple of notes: first JW0588 is a PADH disk and is unstamped. The description does not mention a PADH disk so you are correct in thinking the bridge was replaced. Even until recently PADH would replace disks on bridges that were rebuilt but most of them didn't get stamped. Newer ones more closely resemble the USGS disks we find, so I am guessing your bridge was replaced before the 1990s as it has the smaller, older style disk. As for KW0587, did you look all along the abutment? The spot you have the arrow pointed to is at the end of the abutment, but the description says 20 feet north of the south end. Since we are looking south in the picture, the disk would be 20 feet from the right (in the picture, south in real life) end of the abutment. I would think that put the mark more in the middle of the abutment. If it was where your arrow is the measurement would have been stated from the north end. Catch my thought processes here? Matt
  25. PFF, south of the manhole is indeed an angle across the street, but as I mentioned in my (lack of?) recovery, if the mark was to be SOUTH of the manhole it could not be SOUTHWEST of the power pole, since the power pole was between the manhole and the mark location. (I never considered the street's direction in my measurements but just went off compass direction anyway). Something is definitely amiss in that description, and since the station is not showing at ground level it was impossible to find. Sooner or later I will take a metal detector to the site and go over it carefully, then redescribe the mark. Evenfall, the only tree that fit that description was across the street, and although I suspected it was the one in question, deep brush and large piles of dirt prevented me from measuring from it, especially since I was alone. As for renumbering the poles, I have witnessed so little of that in this area that I simply don't believe all the poles were mystically renumbered to be "close" to their old numbers but not exact (poles are often renumbered but one can usually find the old numbers on the poles). I DID measure from the three most likely poles, ignoring their numbers, and came up with the location I first got when I measured from the closest (and newest looking) pole, which had the number that matched most closely (I think a digit was simply left out of the first part of that pole's description). That location put the mark under the asphalt (was that better? I am not sure where I started calling it macadam.. maybe that is a local idiosyncracy). What made the descriptions of the poles frustrating is that the numbers were all CLOSE, as if Mr AK wrote them all down, then scrambled them to make a puzzle of the hunt before finishing the description. And I DID screw up by not reading the datasheet--the position is adjusted, which could have let me trust my GPSr much more closely instead of being just a starting point. It will be a while before I return to that location however.
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