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Everything posted by Bluejaytoo

  1. Several years ago I decided to take the plunge and get a cell phone. Since I didn't plan on spending much time talking to friends/family on it, I chose a prepaid plan, and figured if I find myself using it a lot, I'll commit to a year-long plan. I'm still using the prepaid option. The phone cost me like $50, and I buy airtime every so often. It has voicemail, text messaging, and a few other no-frills features. In the off months, it only costs me $10 a month to keep it active. In the busy months, it might cost me more like $30-40. Which company provides the best coverage is dependent on your area. I think mine (Verizon) gives me the best coverage around here, but if I'm in the mountains, it can get spotty. If you compare notes with others in your area, you'll find out who can give you the best coverage.
  2. I have several approaches, which have met with mixed success. Of course, I've dragged as many of my friends along on hunts as possible; but as has been mentioned here, they'll either love it or have no interest whatsoever. I've invited co-workers along during my lunch hour in search of micros. But the most successful campaign to date is the media. I'm a regular guest on a local radio show called "Afield and Afloat", which covers topics from hunting and fishing to general outdoor recreation. So far we've talked about basic GPS navigation and geocaching in particular, on a couple different shows. I had great success self-publishing a short story on our local CIN (community information network) website. I gave a brief description and introduction to geocaching, then talked about how many caches are currently hidden within a 10-mile radius of our town. That peaked their interest, and has spun off several new members to the sport in my neighborhood. I posted that just a couple days after the site was launched; the people who run it have since suggested that I post the story again, now that the readership has increased. Local newspapers are also always very receptive to doing stories like this, as it makes great filler that they can use any time. Just give an editor a call or send an email, stating that you're an avid local geocacher, and you'd love to give them an interview about the sport and how it relates to the local community. Due to my growing public exposure as a geocacher (wow, that sounded weird), our local county park has expressed an interest in having me put together an introduction to geocaching for the general public as part of their summer program. I like this promotion stuff!
  3. I can't answer your questions directly, since I haven't hid anything on NPS land, but we did a cache back in September here, which is located on National Seashore. There are several similar hides in that area. I have no idea if they got permission from the NPS, but I would think the local approver would require that.
  4. When I bought my Tungsten E, it was an open-box special, and included a hard shell case, so I'm good to go. Thanks to everyone for their input, some folks even emailed me with some suggestions. I'm leaning toward the SD card approach; then I don't even need to sync from my home PC. While it sounds like syncing should work fine, I'd need another set of cords/charger to keep at home as well. By just putting the data on the SD card (my new PC actually has a slot right on the front) I can really simplify the process.
  5. We were the last finders of this cache before the bear got to it the second time. The owner finally gave up and archived it after that.
  6. I've had a Palm Tungsten E for about a year now. I really wanna go paperless, but I have this problem: I use it mainly at work, so I sync it to my work PC. I rarely search for caches on my work PC. I'm afraid if I try to sync it on my home PC, it'll screw up my settings for work. Anyone have any experience with syncing from two different PCs?
  7. Here in Pennsyltucky we have the pleasure of seeing all sorts of fauna. On any given day it's not unusual to spot deer, turkey, grouse, pheasant, raccoon, rattler, copperhead, eagle, heron, even the occasional coyote, bear, or bobcat. One of my favorites is the porcupines. They pretty much don't have a care in the world, and you can follow them all over the place, as long as you don't try to get too close. They just lumber along, looking for a nice tree to chew on. One night my caching partner and I decided to go looking for a hide that was in a secluded area of the forest along the lovely Allegheny River. We set out at something like 11:00 pm, on mountain bikes, since the cache was located near a rail-trail. It involved crossing an old railroad trestle across the river first, then descending down from the bridge to the lower trail along the river bank. The ride across the trestle at night was a treat in itself. Shortly after hitting the lower trail, I began to smell the stench of a bear, real close. We could only see straight ahead of us, with my bike light. She didn't have one, and just stayed close on my tail. After a mile or so, the bear smell went away. Several miles down, our GPS readings took us straight up into the woods, away from the river. Flashlights in hand, we made our way on foot into the thicket to look for the cache. I was a little leary after the bear thing, and I really didn't think we'd find it; but she did. Shortly after the re-hide, I noticed something furry right at my feet. I looked down and saw this little fellow, frozen in my light. He wasn't much more than six or eight inches long. What a cutie!
  8. I've contacted Titusville, PA, police chief Don Owens, asking if he has any tips and guidelines for geocachers who may stumble onto meth lab paraphernalia. He gave a pretty impressive testimony this past July before the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources. I'll pass along any information he provides.
  9. Yes, I live in Venango County, just north of Pittsburgh, and our local paper ran a story on meth labs again just this week. (Wish I had the link; I can't search on archived stories.) For every one they bust, another two spring up. This area is prime for it, because of the rugged terrain and low population. The county just to the north of us is a real hotbed for the stuff. I figure it's just a matter of time before meth dealers and geocachers cross paths, and I hope it turns out ok when it happens. I have yet to find one, myself, but I try to prepare myself for it.
  10. As a local history buff, I love directing people to the lesser-known places, the ones that might be mentioned somewhere in between the bigger stories in the history books. I live in the area that was the birthplace of the world's oil industry. That may sound kind of boring, but it was like the California gold rush during the early days, so it was like the wild west, ghost towns and everything. Right now my newest hide, The Beer Well, is getting rave reviews. And people who like that one are seeking out my older hide, The Brickyard. My approach is a bit different, in that you don't know what the story about the place is until you actually find the cache. Then inside the container is the story, which in the case of these two, is fairly fascinating. There are enough of these little stories that I could keep hiding new caches for ten years solid.
  11. We have a few FTF junkies in my area. I've hidden two caches so far; in both cases, I watched the weather and hid them just before a major snowstorm. On the last one, the FTF came from nearly 2 hours away and trudged through knee-deep snow to get to it, and snag the 1881 silver dollar I left as the FTF prize. That poor sap earned it! And he was not one of our typical FTF guys, so I was pretty happy to see someone new in the area.
  12. I have what I think is a pretty cool idea for a cache I'm about to hide. It's on a site where something historic happened in 1881, so I plan to put an 1881 Morgan silver dollar in the container. I think old coins are great for caches; they're small, don't have to cost a lot, and make great keepsakes. There's a local guy who always places coins, and people rush out to snatch them up. Also, I do 3-D photography, so for this new cache, I plan to go photograph it in 3-D and put a few 5x7s of it in the cache, along with the 3-D glasses to view them.
  13. Ha! My girlfriend was against me using the name "Brickyard" because she said too many people would think of racing. I said, "C'mon, the world doesn't revolve around racing!" Guess I need to quit taking her to all those vintage grand prix events...
  14. Yeah, Dave, it isn't too hard to figure out the coords, but I didn't feel like working too hard to come up with a clue. The house numbers worked out best for that digit. It was sort of an afterthought, when I realized, "Hmm... if someone chooses a shortcut, they may miss what I really wanted them to see..." So if they do try to cheat and find a shorter route, they'll just miss out on the coolest part. Flooding isn't a problem; trust me.
  15. Hey, thanks for the words of encouragement! I had to make it a multi so that people would approach it from the direction I wanted; both to give them the proper view of the site, and to keep them away from an annoying dog. A multi was the only way I could figure out to do that. Also, I decided to keep the historical aspect of the place a secret until people actually find the cache, because knowing what the place is might make it easier than I wanted. 800 hides? Geez, that guy has to be retired! (Or tired...) That has to be like a full-time job. Sorry about the multiple posts; everytime I tried to post I wound up with an error page, so I figured it wasn't working.
  16. Like a proud father, I've just had my first hide approved, and I'm excited. Being given the opportunity to guide people to a place that is very special to me is a cool thing. This place is one that I've been visiting for over 30 years now, and it also has an interesting historical background. One question I have is, of those of you who've hidden caches, how many of you do research on your location and share what you've learned with your visitors? How many of you hide caches specifically to tell a story? Also, how many hidden caches can one person manage within reason?
  17. Hey, it's been like, forever since I've posted here. I have what I think is a pretty unique sig item. I'm a 3-D photographer, and awhile back I did a commision job for the local tourism people. It was a couple thousand sets of 3-D postcards. I sourced all the printing, etc., so I got to keep the printer overruns for myself. I'm starting to run out, but I leave a set of the postcards and a pair of 3-D glasses in every cache I find. So far, they seem to be going over well; they're often picked up by the very next finder after me. You can see what the images look like here.
  18. When it's mounted on the bike, it's in the same exact position as when I'm holding it, so I can't see how it would be orientation of the unit. I suspect it really does have something to do with steel on the bike, although it's an aluminum-framed bike. There must be enough steel there to throw the compass off (it's an eTrex Summit). I'll try turning the compass off next time and see what happens... Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.
  19. It consistently points in the opposite direction until I take it off the handlebar mount and hold it in my hand. Weird?
  20. Hey, I finally logged my first find over the weekend! It was pretty easy, but enough of a challenge to give my partner and I a feeling of accomplishment. And the cool thing is, we were able to combine geocaching with mountain biking. Now I gotta figure out why my eTrex goes nuts when it's mounted on my handlebars...
  21. Thanks for the tips guys! Looks like I'll be investing in some rechargeables. I'm amazed, though, that Garmin would misrepresent battery life by that much. I'm going back for that elusive cache!
  22. Even if the backlight were on (I really don't think so), it's set up to turn itself off after 30 seconds. I didn't check the battery level meter when I installed them, but they were certainly fresh. I just put in two more new ones, and I checked the meter; it shows full power. We'll see how long these ones last...
  23. As far as I know, the backlight wasn't on. But it was a bright, sunny day, so who knows...
  24. They were fresh; my second set. The dumb thing is, I had another set in the trunk of my car, but didn't think to bring them along. Guess I'll watch that little battery meter a little more closely from now on...
  25. Hello gang, this is my first post. I bought my first GPSr the other day: the eTrex Summit. Today I set out to find my first cache. I hadn't really planned on going when I did, but I had a photo assignment nearby, so I decided to go for it when I was finished with the assignment. It's a 3/1 cache, so I figured it shouldn't be *too* hard for a beginner. Anyway, things were going swimmingly until I got within 100 feet and the batteries went dead in the eTrex. I couldn't believe it, since the unit has only been on a couple hours since I put in fresh Duracells. Is this typical with these things? Garmin claims up to a 16-hour battery life!
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