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The VanDucks

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  1. I've also had several bad cases of poison ivy from geocaching in the spring before the leaves were out on the PI; but all parts of the plant can give you the rash: roots, stems, and dried leaves. If you've had symptoms for a week and are getting worse, you should call your doctor right away. You may be given RX steroid pills, as I was, and possibly an antibiotic to prevent infection. My doctor also prescribed taking Benadryl to help with the itch, and soaking my arms and hands ( where I had the rash) in a solution made with "Dombro" powder; it may be available at some pharmacies. A good web site for information on poisonous plants is http://poisonivy.aesir.com/view/medicine.html
  2. A few of our caches have been muggled; one in particular has been muggled three times in about three months (we've just moved it to a different location with new coordinates). It was very helpful that the geocachers who didn't find it posted DNF logs and in several cases also sent us a message through the geocaching. com network. Since all our caches are close to our home and jobs, we usually go out to check on them by the next day. I think whenever you find something obviously wrong with a cache you should notify the owner, either through your log entry or by the message system (click on the owner's name and go to his profile page to send him an e-mail), to give the owner a chance to fix it. To post a "Should be Archived" seems rude to me, since it's implying that the owner won't take the time to fix the cache. Most of us have invested quite a bit of time and effort to place our hides and want to keep them going; occasionally an owner may be out of town or incapacitated, but we should give the cache owner a chance to correct the problem.
  3. We usually read the cache description before deciding whether we'll go look for it, and I print out a hard copy if the cache requires finding some information at the cache location to make the final find; we carry a PDA too, but I just think it's easier to work from the paper (probably shows my age!) I do think that the cache owner should check over their written work very carefully before publishing to be sure words are spelled correctly - I've seen a few that are almost unintelligible. It's also wise to be concise, so geocachers will want to read the page and not get bored by too much verbiage. I usually skip the cache descriptions that go on with a fantasy type story for several pages; I like to read books but geocaching is my "exercise" hobby, so I prefer to spend the time on the trail rather than reading about it. It's also important that the description have enough "white space" on the cache page; i.e., spaces between paragraphs, rather than one very long block of tiny text. That makes it easier to scan the page to see what is involved in finding the cache. Many cache pages are wonderfully funny, or contain fascinating bits of local history. It's great to see how much creativity geocachers put into this pastime!
  4. We really enjoy geocaching together; we started the hobby almost exactly a year ago. Our youngest daughter was just about to graduate and would be staying to take a teaching job in NC, where she went to college. We were worrying a bit about the "empty nest syndrome" so geocaching was a great new activity to get us out of the house on the weekends. We aren't the fastest cachers around, but we usually spend one weekend day on it, weather permitting. We've hidden 11 caches of our own in our local area and enjoy reading the log entries for those, too. I'm a little surprised that more married couples don't geocache together. We don't treat it like a competition or worry about how many we have logged. Most times, we celebrate with a nice dinner at a restaurant on the way home from a geocaching day! (We just celebrated our 38th anniversary.)
  5. When I find a cache that has some sort of problem, such as being soaked with water, or having a lid that is broken, or anything that doesn't seem right, I post a log as usual, but I also send a note to the owner. What I didn't realize until I had hidden some caches of my own is that the cache owner gets an automatic e-mail each time someone posts on the log page. In some cases I didn't want to be too specific about the problem I noticed, especially if it would give away too much information about the cache location. So I click on the name of the cache owner, at the top of the cache page; that takes me to their profile page, and usually there is a way to e-mail the owner to give him or her any other information I didn't want to post as a visible item in the cache logs. If you only post a "needs maintenance" the owner may not realize it's a serious problem and needs to be taken care of quickly.
  6. We - husband and wife - cache and log using just our one name - The VanDucks - which is plural, of course. We have never geocached separately, because this is a hobby we enjoy doing together; the male half of the team runs the electronics, and the female half does the paper work, finds most of the caches unless they're high off the ground, and writes the log entries. It's interesting that we usually don't like the same types of activities, but geocaching has so many different aspects that we can each enjoy different things about it. Our three kids are grown and out of the house. If they're with us when we geocache, I usually note in the log that we found the cache with other people. One of our daughters and her boyfriend are active geocachers and they also cache using a plural name, as we do. We aren't very interested in getting a high number count of finds. What we enjoy most is going to a place we've never seen before and having adventures, some scary, most funny. We laugh about the mistakes we've made, our comical attempts at being inconspicuous while searching in a public place, and the sudden "aha!" moment when we understand how the cache owner was thinking when the cache was placed.
  7. I voted twice because my husband and I geocache together using one name, and we fell into different age categories on your chart. It's interesting to see the results - thanks for posting this survey!
  8. We'll nominate Dot Plotter, who reviews in the Virginia area and has been extremely patient with our mistakes and questions!
  9. We just started placing some caches of our own in some parks in the town where we live. I first called the town to see who would make the decision about allowing caches. I finally got in touch with the correct person, who is the manager of the Dept. of Parks and Recreation. She didn't really know anything about geocaching, but seemed interested in finding out about it. I prepared a file folder of basic info., most of which I copied off the geocaching.com website; the section entitled "Geocaching U." has some great material. I also found a local newspaper story about families going geocaching in our area and copied that off the newspaper's web site. I printed out a brief (one-page) description of the five geocaches I wanted to put in five neighborhood parks. Also, I printed out the cache pages of two caches in a nearby area so she see how they appear on the web site. Then I went to her office to introduce myself and leave the file for her to review. I followed up with a phone message about a week later asking her to call me if she had any questions or wanted to go around to the parks to see exactly how I would place the caches. I didn't hear back, so about two weeks later I sent an e-mail asking how it was going, and, very politely, mentioning that we hoped to put the caches in place while we still had some pleasant fall weather. It was almost a month after my first contact with the town that I got an answer; apparently she had been out of town for a conference for several days, and also had to meet with her boss, the Director of the Department, to get his approval too. They gave the go-ahead for three caches and had some questions about the other two, which I responded to with more information; I'm still waiting on those. The basic question you need to answer for approval, is how will your cache impact the park? You must show that there are benefits; and that if any problems occur you'll take care of them. You need to be patient, polite, and very appreciative of their help. They have a lot of other things going on, and your request for placing geocaches won't be their main activity. After we got the e-mail from the town approving the caches, we placed our caches and sent them in for approval on the geocaching review site. One was not approved by the geo website, because there is another cache in that park; which we had no way of knowing about, because it's the final stage of a multi-cache located somewhere else. But the others are up and running, and we've gotten lots of favorable log comments on them - so it was well worth the effort and the time involved! Good luck - I hope you'll be successful with your town approval too!
  10. Let me admit that I love finding funny little animal figures, and I will usually take one if I see it in a cache. I have a collection of them sitting on my kitchen windowsill. We started out geocaching by leaving little rubber duckies, sort of our signature item, that we buy very cheaply on line. (I don't know if the other geocachers in our area are getting fed up yet with finding so many ducks everywhere!) I have seen some posts that people who are geocaching with their children say the kids love to choose some sort of treasure as a prize, and that is reason enough to me to leave something in a cache. We don't always take something, since we are adults only, unless a funny animal catches my eye! I agree with one of the posts above, that it's a good practice to leave the cache in better condition if you find it full of water, or with trash in it. I carry some extra zip-loc bags and some paper towels for emergency repairs. I only throw away something if it's wet and moldy or so rusty from water damage that it would be unusable. If there's very little swag, I might leave two or three things in the cache (we do have some non-duck items to leave.)
  11. It's been very interesting to read all the comments since I posted this question. Some of the answers have given me a lot to think about. Although we've found 145 caches so far, we are still beginners compared to some of you! (By the way, we are about to list some caches of our own, and yes, I do mention parking in each of them!) From looking at the many answers above, I've begun to think that it really depends on the area of the country where you are caching. In our area, in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., many caches are placed along county walking trails in narrow "ribbons" of parkland that run between housing subdivisions. There are usually no signs, no parking areas, and very few trailheads to reach the pathways. That was really the impetus of my "rant" - that there is almost no method to find a way to get on the path, other than walking through someone's backyard, which would not endear geocachers to the general public. Yes, driving up and down every cul-de-sac on the map might lead to a trailhead, but not very often. And, unfortunately, our local traffic is fast approaching gridlock even in the non rush hour parts of the day, which makes aimless driving around pretty difficult. Those of you who live in areas with abundant public lands, with perhaps less chance of trespassing, are fortunate; although we do have an advantage in that there are so many caches in our area. Thank you for taking the time to express your opinions, and I hope that at least some of you will choose to provide a clue to parking when you feel that it is needed, and let each geocacher decide whether or not to use the parking clue.
  12. One of us is 60, the other is 58. We would have started geocaching much younger if it had been around way back when! We introduced our daughter and boyfriend to the hobby - they are 21 and 22; and they've gotten some other people hooked on geocaching now. We love seeing young families out geocaching together, and we often see people our age too! It's a great hobby since people of any age can participate, and we hope to continue caching for many years to come!
  13. We went to an unfamiliar part of our very congested suburban county to look for some geocaches, but the traffic was terrible and we spent more time in the car than actually geocaching. If only the cache owner had posted a place to park, it would have made the day much less frustrating. (You know how your GPS will helpfully tell you you're right at the cache, as you're driving along an interstate with no exit in sight!) I guess the person who hides the cache assumes that everyone will be familiar with his area, but we really need to give parking coordinates for caches in busy urban or suburban areas. It's also very helpful to give the name of the local park if the cache is in a public park, so the seekers can look for a street sign and know where to turn. We use a car GPS while driving, and a handheld GPS and a PDA while out of the car, but none of those electronic tools can tell us where to park to avoid a ticket or a tow if the trail to the cache begins in a neighborhood with restricted or nonexistent public parking. We're hoping to place a few caches of our own soon, and I'm going to have a parking coordinate listed for every one of them!
  14. We'd like to get three if you still have enough available.
  15. 90 degrees is actually a bit cooler than what we've had recently in northern Virginia. We have been wearing long (cotton) pants, though, because the poison ivy has been terrible this year. An article in the local newspaper said that poison ivy is especially poisonous and widespread now because of higher CO-2 levels from global warming. That isn't very encouraging; also the tick population seems to be increasing around here. We have been looking mostly for urban caches or those right off paved paths, and saving the wilderness hikes for better weather in the fall.
  16. We enjoy reading all the creative geo-names in the postings! When we were trying to come up with a good name, the first couple of names we thought of were already being used. We finally made a long list and agreed on a few; the one that got through is the one we are using. It works for us because when we were dating back in our college days - please don't ask how long ago - we used to go to a park to do our homework but we always ended up feeding the flock of ducks on the lake instead of doing our schoolwork. And now we drive a van, so we are the ducks in the van. Oh, we also leave little duckies as our signature trading items!
  17. Printing is also working fine for us now. (We use the same version of Internet Explorer: 6.0.2900.2180_xpsp_sp2_gdr.050301-1519.) Thanks very much!!
  18. 1. Finding new parks, neighborhoods, historical markers and pathways in this area where we've lived for 37 years and thought we had "seen it all." 2. Allowing the male member of the team to carry an array of electronic gadgetry such as a GPS, camera, cell phone, 2-way ham radio, palm pilot, etc. into the woods while the female member of the team carries the pen and admires the trees, flowers, birds, and clouds while planning the next stop to be a really nice restaurant for lunch or supper. 3. Finding "hidden treasures" such as beautiful places, interesting containers and locations for them, log books with signatures of people from all over the world, and the occasional "take" of a funny rubber animal or an intereresting coin. 4. Making our adult kids think we've finally flipped out since we're not just sitting at home waiting for them to call us every weekend! 5. Feeling superior to all the "muggles"! (once we realized they were not "muggers"!
  19. We are pretty new to geocaching and were having a great time introducing the relatives to it over the Easter weekend. In my excitement at trying to find the third and final cache of a rather complicated multi-cache, I was turning over a variety of rotten logs in the woods and completely forgot to check for the dreaded poison ivy. Here in northern Virginia, poison ivy grows everywhere, especially along pathways and edges of lawns. I felt a little itchy two days later, and the rash rapidly spread over both my arms, with blisters and oozing, as well as a red area almost like a burn. I tried the usual methods of home treatment, but the rash kept getting worse. After a week, I finally called our HMO and went in to see the nurse. She told me you should always call a doctor if poison ivy doesn't get better in just two or three days. (I had poison ivy every summer as a kid, and just rubbed in calamine lotion to stop it, but maybe it gets worse as you get older.) If it progresses as far as mine did, you will be given steroids, lotions, and still be itchy for another week or so. Just want to warn the rest of you to watch out for poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Here's a great web site about all three: www.poisonivy.us Do get medical help if you can't get rid of the rash quickly. From now on, I'm going to carry an old long sleeved shirt in my geocaching bag to wear when I'm searching in the woods!
  20. We've never had this problem before, but tonight, when we try to print a page from geocaching.com, the buttons on the left side of the page ("Track Travel Bugs,", "My Account," etc.) don't print. Other items also don't print such as the maps on cache pages or the Difficulty/Terrain stars, etc. We don't have this problem on forums.Groundspeak.com or any other web site. We see this on two computers, both with Internet Explorer and the AOL browser. We haven't changed anything in the browser or other software. Is anyone else having this problem?
  21. We drive a Honda Odyssey van - hence our name! Just wanted to put this in to make a change from all those big SUVs listed above! We have just been geocaching in our suburban/urban area but I don't think we will ever be driving across the tops of mountain ranges, through swamps, etc. It's fun to geocache without making it a wilderness survival event.
  22. Thank you for the speedy answers. When my husband got home, we both puzzled over it for a while and then realized it was probably just what we were seeing at our end! But thank you for your help! We have had so much fun already that we wish we could spend every day geocaching!
  23. We're newbies, and I've been going to the cache homepages to log in our finds (we've only found 12 so far). I noticed today that after I logged in our finds for this past weekend, each entry had added the lines "view/edit logs/images on a separate page" and "upload an image for this log." However, I have not put in any images and I feel embarassed to be taking up so much unneeded space on the cache homepages. How do I get rid of these extra lines so it will look like the other postings with just the line "view this log on a separate page"?
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