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The VanDucks

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  1. Maybe you should place your cache in a public library instead; you could make it a "premium members only" if you're concerned about too many cachers finding it. We've found a few caches in public libraries (one was a nano, another a small magnetic keycase; both were the end stage of a multi cache) If you do place it in a building that's only open certain hours, you should post the hours in the cache description.
  2. Well, maybe because we're a couple in our sixties, we must appear to be confused when looking for caches because we often have bystanders stop and ask if we need help! Of course, if you are a kindly looking senior citizen, no one will suspect you of doing anything illegal!
  3. I'm kind of surprised we don't run into fellow cachers more often, since there are so many geocachers around here! If the cache is a new one, it's more likely that we'll see another cacher in the vicinity. We always say "Hi" if we see they are carrying a GPS and looking all around. If we just finished re-hiding the cache, we may ask if they need a hint if it was a very hard one to find; most people want to find it for themselves, of course! It's great to talk with fellow cachers, since regular friends don't always understand this obsession!
  4. I don't care how geocaching looks in the year 3000 - as long as I am still geocaching, I will be perfectly happy!
  5. I can't tell you how many "waterproof" containers we've found that were wet inside! The problem is that a cacher finding the cache in the rain or snow is not aware that he or she may be adding some drops of moisture right into that nice dry ammo can or lock'n'lock as they sign the log and trade the swag. And what about the cacher who leaves a tiny bottle of bubble blowing soap - one of my pet peeves - those wedding favor bottles are not watertight! We found an ammo can once that someone had put a red stamp pad set into, and the whole can was red and wet! So even when we place a new cache with an ammo can or a brand new lock'n'lock, I put the log in a zip lock bag and often put any swag that might be damaged by moisture into the little individual zip-loc bags that can be bought at craft stores. No matter the quality of the plastic baggie, they are not designed to be opened and closed 25, 50, or 100 times, and they will all wear out and split after a while. I carry a supply of several sizes in my caching bag and replace any torn bags that we find in caches.
  6. I had posted this note as a new topic, and then my husband noticed this thread to report problems, so I'm copying my first post here: I may be old-fashioned, but I like to print out the Google map, with the caches numbered on it, and a list of the caches so we can drive more efficiently from one to the next when we're on a geocaching run. Now the Google map will only print as a full page map, and the list of caches, shown to the side with the ID numbers on the webpage, leaves out the top part of the list when printed. This is frustrating, and I hope it can be fixed to print out the page as you see it on the website, as it used to print. I have tried on two browsers, so I don't think it's a browser problem.
  7. I may be old-fashioned, but I like to print out the Google map, with the caches numbered on it, and a list of the caches so we can drive more efficiently from one to the next when we're on a geocaching run. Now the Google map will only print as a full page map, and the list of caches, shown to the side with the ID numbers on the webpage, leaves out the top part of the list when printed. This is frustrating, and I hope it can be fixed to print out the page as you see it on the website, as it used to print. I have tried on two browsers, so I don't think it's a browser problem.
  8. OK - I'm technically challenged so won't even try to post a map of my home caching area in northern Virginia - but I can tell you that there are an unbelievable number of ? caches - puzzle caches - around here! Search on the 20147 zip code if you don't believe me!
  9. We don't have any yucca plants here in northern Virginia - not growing in the wild, anyway - so a cache hidden in one of them around here would be very popular!
  10. Coordinates for a microcache that are off by 50 feet or more because the owner didn't take the time to measure good coordinates when placing the cache, and then has the nerve to post on the cache description page that "the coodinates are off to make it more fun to find"!!!
  11. If the little wooded strips are in the public right of way, or on parkland, that would be fine; and it is a great idea to give a parking coordinate; many geocachers omit that step, but it certainly adds to the enjoyment (i.e., less stress) to know where to park for a cache. If the cache is along a busy road, you may want to add something to the description such as "not suitable for small children", or to "watch children closely." I'm not sure where in NY state you are located, but we enjoyed finding NY caches in "public fishing access" spots in the central state area near Syracuse/Utica. Those locations always had a small parking lot and were usually pretty scenic.
  12. One more suggestion: If you take a travel bug or geocoin, be sure to log it out correctly, right away; and do try to move it along within a few weeks at the most, or send a note to the owner if something prevents you from keeping it moving for a while. I speak as a cacher who has seen many, many of our TBs and coins disappear, never to be seen or logged again! It's nice if you can move the travel item in the direction of its goal, if one is given; but the main thing for most of these is to keep them moving! The owner receives an e-mail each time the travel item is logged in or out of a cache.
  13. Sorry - editing for duplicate post - slooooow on the site so thought the original post was lost!
  14. Yes! We also collect pins - my favorite type of swag! I especially like to find pins with logos of geocaching clubs on them. I pin them to my big geocaching backpack, although it's gotten so heavy that I usually leave it in the car and carry a smaller bag when we get out to look for the caches! I often order geocaching-themed pins from cafepress; they are pretty inexpensive if you order a quantity at a time. Our local geocacher club has their design for sale on cafepress, and I always take a bunch of them to leave as swag when we go on caching trips outside our own area. Gift shops at tourist attractions often sell inexpensive pins; my limit to pay is $2.99 or less. They will fit as swag in the smaller type containers that are used most often in our urban area. I like the banner idea of displaying pins that a previous poster showed; that is probably what I should do with my collection since it's getting a bit too much for the backpack. Enjoy the game, and keep on "pinning!"
  15. Congratulations on your first find! It is such a great family hobby - you'll have lots of fun! Be sure to take some photos too!
  16. Gift cards - usually a $5 card to a local fast food eatery, are our favorite items to put in for the first to find. On some of our longer, multistage caches, I've put in new, unactivated geocoins. One cache that had a theme of high school theatre had a new "High School Musical" DVD for the FTF. (It was so kind of the actual FTF'r, a single lady with no children, to leave that prize in the cache where it was found and taken by a family with a child who was a big fan of that movie.) On a cache along a trail in a forest, we put in a tree identifier book for the FTF prize. I don't list the prizes or swag in our caches; since, as noted above, the list becomes outdated quickly.
  17. Actually, the photo does look a lot like a hairdryer I had, way back in the late 1960's, before hand held hair dryers were available. Mine had a top part like that in the photo, that you placed on a table; it plugged into a wall socket, and the other end had a flexible corrugated tubing, about 25 inches long, that attached to a sort of large plastic bonnet that you placed over your hair. The round flat part was like a fan, that blew hot air through the corrugated tubing. This was in the days when we girls rolled up our hair in very large rollers, and I remember I would have to sit under my "somewhat portable " dryer for at least an hour to get my long thick hair dry. The holes on top allowed a little bit of air to escape, and that was meant to be where you held your freshly painted fingernails to dry them. My guess is that someone was cleaning out their closet after a very long time and dumped it in the woods!
  18. If we find a cache with some sort of problem - i.e. wet or missing log, broken container, left exposed on the ground, etc., we post a regular log on the cache page and then send a separate e-mail to the cache owner stating what the problem was. I prefer to do it this way because if you post a "needs maintenance" log you may keep other cachers from seeking that cache; and it seems unfair to take someone's cache out of play for a fairly minor reason. I do think cache owners have a responsibility to read logs and to maintain their caches; if a cache owner has so many caches placed that they can't keep up with them, maybe they need to archive a few or let someone else adopt them. If we can't get by to take care of a problem with one of our caches within a week or two, it's easy to just sit at the computer and temporarily disable the cache, then post a note saying we'll fix it soon.
  19. My husband recently started a geocaching blog; mostly because he likes every high tech method of communication that exists, but also because he is a good writer, not always a common talent among engineers! I also added an article to his blog. We don't update it very often since work and family obligations have taken precedence over geocaching experinces recently. I do think it's great to read about other geocachers' adventures! Our blog is at: http://thegeocachingexperience.blogspot.com/
  20. For our first few hides, we wanted to hide caches in some of the small neighborhood parks in our town in Virginia. I knew that some of the parks were owned by the town itself, and some were owned/administered by both the town and the county. I called the town parks and recreation department and asked about geocache policies; they had none and didn't know about geocaching. I made an appointment with the deputy director and went to talk to her, bringing along some printed material from the geocaching.com website and also some examples of cache containers. I described the caches I had in mind - where they would be, and what they would look like, and also gave her a printed list with the same information. She was polite, but busy, and seemed mildly interested; she said she would have to think about it. I followed through with a letter the next day, thanking her and asking her to contact me if she had any more questions. Two or three weeks went by, and then I got a letter saying that the department needed more specific information on the location of one of my proposed caches. I provided that information, and in another two weeks I got a letter saying I could go ahead with the caches. For the two parks that were jointly owned with the county, I also applied for permission from the county; they actually had a geocache review board in effect and their approval was much easier. (Unfortunately, a year or two later the county policies were changed and now it is much harder to get permssion to place in the county parks.) Inside each of the containers, I put a small laminated card saying that the cache was placed with permission from the park authority. All the caches are still in place, are visited often, and I've never gotten any complaint calls from the town or county about them. I do check on them from time to time but have not seen any problems or big geotrails around them( but they are all placed fairly close to trails or in natural areas near mown grass.) I also placed a fairly elaborate multicache in another larger park in the county; for that one, I was told to get permission from the park manager. I basically followed the same procedure; calling for an appointment, chatting with the staff and showing samples, providing printed explanations, etc. That approval also took a few weeks, but it did go through. As you can see, getting permission from government officials takes persistence and patience; they have other things to think about besides your request, so being very, very polite and helpful is really necessary! Sadly enough, when I asked for permission from a real estate company selling townhouses to place a cache on a part of their property that was actually designed as a public garden area with benches and a fountain, right next to the street across from the public library, I was told very rudely "No, our residents don't want strangers walking over this private property, and our insurance won't allow you to put anything here!" I gave up on that cache!
  21. Whoooa - you guys above are so lucky to be able to hide big ammo cans full of swag! Almost all the caches in my congested suburban area are micros or very small containers - there's just not enough open space for the big hides around here! It can be a lot more challenging to leave good (but affordable) swag in a small container - and no, I don't suggest $100 bills, although they would fit in just about any cache! For our rather small sized caches, I usually start them off with a FTF prize such as a $5 gift card to a local fast food spot, or a local bookstore. When I see inexpensive TB's or geocoins for sale on-line, I will order a few of the under $10 variety and put in an (unactivated) TB or coin as the FTF prize. Since I love to find pins, I also order geo-pins of various designs (from on-line caching stores) and put a few in a new cache, as well as some small toys or magnetic bookmarks (small, flat, and inexpensive when ordered online.) Magnets and small sized keychains are also nice swag, and can often be found in gift shops when you travel ( I don't like to spend more than $2 or $3 on them, but you can usually find them at that price on the sale shelves.) Local magnets or keychains are great, especially if you get a lot of cachers from out of town, as we do around here.
  22. I often buy swag items at our local arts and craft store - if you spend some time looking around you can find cheap small items. We also order little toys from an online company, Oriental Trading - it sells in bulk so toys, bouncy balls, glow sticks, and holiday decorative items are very inexpensive. Hardware, camping, or tool sections of the "big box" department stores sometimes have things like carabiners, folding cups, tiny flashlights, etc at very reasonable cost. Another idea is to find some inexpensive souvenirs of your home location - sometimes drugstores have a section of tourist things such as keychains, magnets, or postcards. I love to find something from a local area to take as swag when we cache away from home. Our local geocaching club has some signature things for sale on CafePress, and I order some of the mini-pins to take and leave as swag when we cache on vacation.
  23. Have to admit I skimmed down the list of posts so I may have missed something above, but my reason as a cache owner for not listing the size of the container on some of our hides is that I want the container to be a surprise to the finder. I enjoy using unusual containers, and I do say on the cache description page to bring a pen if my container is too small to hold one - that should be enough of a clue that it's going to be something smallish! On some of our other caches I state the size as small, or I specify it's a nano on the description page, but on the other caches, I have a valid reason for not disclosing the size. Now, granted, I live in a congested suburban area, where there are a lot of micros just because geocachers here in northern Virginia are running out of real estate to place more new caches! Most of the time, there just isn't an empty spot to place a big container or an ammo can! If a geocacher decides to filter out micros, that's his or her business, but I bet they will miss a lot of good caches by doing so!
  24. The funniest "swag" we found was a large ammo can packed full of black film cans. The log was in one of the cans, so you had to either open all the cans, or try to get lucky (the CO had added some cardboard pieces to some of the cans so you couldn't just shake each one to see if it had the log!) I think we opened about 20 cans before we found the log!
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