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Everything posted by CatchyCacherton

  1. I really like the puzzlers like this, but I think the time/effort required to maintain them is to their detriment. For example, here in my lovely city, there was a 7 stage multi called "The Case of Inspector Vector's Missing Cache," which was very epic indeed. The CO spent many hours researching and placing the caches, only to have them all go missing one at a time. Read back through the logs and you'll see that no one ever finished it and in the 3 years it was posted the CO had to go back and replace stages multiple times due to poor choice of placement and other "muggle" interactions. To celebrate my 200th find, my kids and I placed a 4 stage multi which is also fairly tricky--stage one is a fake rock, stage two is a dead-drop bolt, stage 3 needs a 9v battery to display the final coordinates, etc. It hasn't been found yet and its been published for a few months now. We just recently went to check, all stages are still there, but after the fake-rock cache I left in Salmon got 5 DNF's before I had to give someone a hint, the first stage of my multi may be rated too low. I gave the mutli a 4 overall rating, which may also dissuade folks out for a light jaunt from trying to locate it. I guess it comes down to how much you want to maintain complex caches, and how many times you feel like replacing or explaining stages. I haven't had a single ask on my 4 stage yet, but its winter time in Idaho, so perhaps when things begin to thaw out more will be out searching. If you can't/don't/won't maintain a complicated cache, no matter how epic it is, people will skip it.
  2. Wowza, that's a lot of gear, but all useful I'm sure. Here's my every day carrying equipment: Leatherman Micra attached to my wallet (thus its EVERYWHERE I am). Just upgraded to this swank, blue, Idaho Wheat model (it was a holiday gift from them for hosting their webinars all season), had used the silver model for many years and it went in my first aid pouch in my zombie defense ammocan. Zebra Tele-Scopic pen, found one of these in a cache a few months back and fell in love, went out and bought a few. The tip retracts inside the pen when its closed--best thing for stuffed pockets. Finally, I usually have a small 391-xx Rite-in-the-Rain notebook as a side effect of being a Geology student. Always need notepaper in the real world it seems, and in a pinch a page out of the back will make a replacement log. I've upgraded to a GPSMaps GPSr which stores info for caches now, but I still make a lot of notes, sketches, etc. when I'm out adventuring.
  3. For containers, I like the local Army Surplus store or CAL Ranch. For log books/paper, I like Rite-in-the-Rain and generally order it from Groundspeak or Amazon in the form of small stapled-notebooks which I don't mind cutting up; haven't found any of it locally except in hardcover-bound field-books at the University bookstore and I can't bring myself to cut one of those up.
  4. In hindsight, I should have prefaced my reply with, "If you're in the US, where Groundspeak ships, then Groundspeak's shipping is very reasonable." I know outside the US shipping can be astronomical but you still have a couple options, you could order from a company like GeoSwag who charges flat rate International, or you might have a friendly cacher (if you know one) in the US re-mail a package to you. I've used many of the alternatives to I've seen mentioned above; the Sharpie works very well, as does a stencil and spray paint. Finally, the "ghetto" route of a printed item covered in packing tape works pretty well too but it won't last forever. I've had good success printing with a laser printer and using good thick 3M-brand tape, the yellowish tape seems to work better than the crystal clear tape. Depending on what your container is and the environment you're going to leave it in it may or may not stick very well.
  5. Groundspeak's shop.geocaching.com shipping is very reasonable, only $1.71 for small packages and it comes first class mail. I've ordered the afformentioned stickers, a travel tag, and a couple pencils for under $10 including shipping. Its sure fun to get the Groundspeak package in the mail too
  6. If its going to be a hike, I like dill pickle sunflower seeds, gobstoppers, iced tea/water, and peanut butter sandwiches (no jelly, thanks). If its a park and grab kind of thing, usually just coffee and perhaps a cheese danish...mmmm.
  7. Yep, you can do this with any TB/tag/coin you like. I keep my personal coin in with my caching gear and although I have a cache at my home location, I don't bother to log it home between caching runs (that's just how I play, though). shak3zula's Own Private Idaho
  8. I say pay attention to the surroundings. If you don't think its safe, don't keep searching for it and mark it as ignored. If you happen to find it and its REALLY not safe, then alert GS or a reviewer by posting the appropriate log type or sending an email. Just because YOU don't think its safe doesn't mean others share YOUR opinion. Yes, this is a family friendly game, but if you're letting your kids open any kind of electrical box willy-nilly, that's YOUR problem.
  9. I leave hollow bolts: (no log in this one yet) I really like trading for sig items, especially wooden nickels. I have one of Team JSAM's Idaho nickels!
  10. We're Macs at our house, an iMac, Macbook, and a Macbook Pro. Lots of my little handheld gadgets are windows Updating only, so I use VMWare Fusion to run a virtual copy of Windows XP under OSX. If you don't like the $50 pricetag for VMWare Fusion you could look at Parallels (also about $50), or Virtualbox (free), or Bootcamp (from Apple, reboots your Mac in to Windows). I like VMWare as it lets me decide which USB devices to attach and then set it as a preference for future plug-ins. Thus I set my GPSr/PDA/etc to connect to the virtual Windows and just launch it from my dock when I need to use something like ArcGIS, GSAK, ER Mapper, etc!
  11. Idaho is blessed with an abundance of BLM land, I'm glad they set this up! Wish I traveled out of Southern Idaho to get all these stamps, but the north end of our state may as well be another country for how far it is away from us down here
  12. Welcome to the game--let me say you can cache with just about any GPS you can get your hands on. I use an ancient TomTom One 1gb that I've converted to use a program called ttmaps for satellite imagery but you don't have to go that far. All you really need are the Lat/Long measurements which just about any GPS can show you with or without route info, that and knowing what direction the numbers move based on which direction you're walking in (i.e.: Lat numbers go up if you're walking north, Long numbers go up as your walking west, etc) can find you plenty of caches. When my little TomTom runs out of maps (because it only has 1gb) I just rough it and go numbers only until I find what I'm looking for. Rest areas/Truck Pullouts in Idaho generally all have one or two caches within a few hundred yards of the freeway making finding them with a big-rig doable. Use your DEZL to get you to the rest area, then use the numbers on your phone or whatever other inexpensive GPS you've got to walk to the cache!
  13. Nice Idaho Plates Sometimes we cache in our Hyundai Elantra also with Idaho Plates, though most of the time we cache via Nike.
  14. Without giving away the name of the cache, here's a spoiler for one of my hides: It had a couple DNF's before someone finally found it--if you put a sticker on yours, turn the sticker away from general view
  15. 1: I actually quite enjoy micros in urban settings, the trickier hide the better. Log only is fine too, I don't care to do swag unless I come across a signature item. 2: Sign with a pencil or sharpie, usually have one or the other with me. 3: I haven't really got any friends who I speak with often enough to rib me about caching. As for my wife, she's got the same attitude towards me and caching she does towards me and my other hobbies; they are all generally too geeky and she'll go read a book instead.
  16. Sure 'tis all a game, but wheres the fun in not keeping score?
  17. I think you will really want a vice. If the drill bit grabs or binds, it is going to set the whole thing spinning, and you could get hurt. Yes, if not a vice, at least get a C-clamp--thats what I use and it was pretty inexpensive; if I recall it less than $10 at Sears. Once you put the bolt through the wood to hold it stable, clamp the wood to the table. I actually let the bolt hang off the table, so the rest of the wood can be level with the table top for the best stability.
  18. The way to tell softness is by the markings on the top of the hex end of the bolt. If it has no markings or a manufacturer's logo/initials its grade 0 which is the softest. SAE hardness marks are lines like | radiating inward from the hexagon points. Generally the more | the harder the bolt. The bolts above had only manufacturer's logos on the top or nothing at all. They came from CAL Ranch which is a hardware/home+garden kind of chain, but no where near the size of HD/Lowes. I'd suggest you try an Ace or TruValue if you have one near by, these were in bulk bins for $2.99 an lb. (BTW, the above picture took exactly $5.00 worth of bolts/nuts). The bolts I used are galvanized I believe which is why they are shiny, as knowschad said its just an anti-rusting agent. CAL Ranch had the darker raw-iron looking bolts next to these in the same bin rack--I just preferred the shiny ones. I'm trying to rust a few with H2O2 and vinegar, will let you all know how it goes in a few weeks. As for tips on making them hollow, here's what I did: Making each bolt takes 2 bolts, one at the desired length of the hollow portion and one to cut an end off of to make the end nice and clean. I used 1" or 1.5" bolts for the hollow section and 1.5" or 1.75" bolts for each single hollow bolt. Make a mount to hold the bolts while you cut/drill them. I used a piece of 5/8ths thick wood which I drilled various sized holes in to accommodate each bolt. I used the nut for each bolt to hold the larger of the two bolts in place and clamped the wood vertical on my worktable with a c-clamp. Saw off the end of the longer bolt to your desired length, this end will stick out of the cap. I used an 18tpi hacksaw to do the cutting. Now change the longer bolt out for the smaller and mount the board horizontally on the worktable with the clamp. If you scroll back up, there's a picture of this with the nylon bolts I tried first. I started with a 1/8th inch bit, black oxide, nothing special. I go up sizes in 16ths of an inch in each pass using a Dewalt 14v cordless drill. I used an awl and hammer to ding a small center point (though even so, they don't always end up completely centered) in each end then drill it out. Give the bolt a couple minutes to cool off between each drilling. I read that a bit of machine oil would be good lubricant for this, but I had none so I used some 5W-30 that was in my basement that I usually put in my chainsaw. It worked fine--going slow and dipping the drill bit in the oil before each drilling pass, nothing ever got *too* hot. For the cap, simply use a bit of epoxy/superglue/jbweld to hold the cut end inplace and screw it in about 1/3rd of the way in to the nut. I bought a bag of O-rings, also at CAL Ranch and very cheap but they are a tad too thick for the caps the way I'd designed. I used some bathroom/kitchen silicone sealant smeared in the top of the cap and left to dry overnight and it seems to hold the water out pretty well, my son and I gave the bolts a dunk and the logs stayed dry. For the log, I clipped a bit of paper-clip to the size I wanted the log to be, then superglued a strip of Rite-in-the-Rain to the end. This allows the log to be rolled up nicely by the finder and slid back in. A tiny bit of magnet glued inside the top of the cap could help to pull the log out or in the bottom of the hollow bolt to hold the log in place. Don't be afraid, go make a couple of these! I've decided to use them as my signature items. They are a lot of fun to make, and pretty cheap considering what they go for in caching supply stores.
  19. Ha! I second Rick Steves, I think he's the most inconspicuous travel-show host. He could get away with sniping a cache in plain view, explaining what he's doing and no one around him would pay any attention.
  20. This is the US Geological SURVEY we're talking about here, not a Bureau. There's a lot of difference when it comes to wielding governmental power within the title of the group. The way I understand it, USGS research is the science behind the decisions made by various Bureaus (like the BLM or the BofR). The USGS research is most certainly bought and paid for with revenue--and the BLM has final say on policies (law) implemented.
  21. This is pretty amazing to me...USDA's updated a good deal of the rural US in the last year and the new imagery is in beautiful high resolution. The new Google maps in my neck of the woods shows the trampoline we bought last summer in the back yard! As for the markings good/bad, I say its relative. If this was a swath of Hell's Canyon or the Costal Rain Forest in WA being clear cut by machete wielding cachers there may be cause for alarm. Out by Rachel, NV though? Ever driven out there? There's a LOT more desert in NV that can be left pristine--I think the trails being visible on the USDA images is astounding, and as long as they are simply footprints in the desert I'm cool with it.
  22. My retriever loves to go out... "Wanna go geocaching??" has become the new "Wanna go to the park??" for him: His name's Manchester and he is trackable (can you read the number on his collar? )
  23. Here in Idaho, I'd say a good 75% of the "large" size caches located in our ever-present sage and rocks are 7.62mm cans and most "TB Hotels" are the .50 cal cans. However in the city typical hides are film cans and on the city fringes you usually find peanut-butter jars, water bottles, and lock-n-locks. Both styles of USGI boxes are available in huge quantity locally at $10 a pop for either size. I personally think that's not too bad a price if the can sticks around for a year or longer. Real ammo cans hold up in our high-desert SO much better than anything plastic. I don't have any problems with CO's who lock them to something with a bike chain or similar as long as I can get the cache open without it being stuck 2 feet over my head on a branch in a spruce tree
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