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Virts In Washington, Dc


The Blind Acorn
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I know there are a bunch of virtuals in Washington, DC. I will likely be using Grey Line Tours to get into and around the city. What I wonder is does anyone have an "order" they would recommend the virtuals be done in or is randomness easier? Also, has anyone had an encounters with Capitol Police, etc while caching in DC? I would think having a GPS, camera and a notebook would look ok, but I don't want to cause any uproar, ya know? Any advice is appreciated....

 

Thanks...

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We did 29 of them last March. We had plenty of time. Most are on the main mall. Look at my profile you can see how I grouped them together. Virts are safe it's not like your crawling under somthing looking for a mico. We had no problems with police. The one ranger we asked about a clue knew about caching. Her quote was "your one of those gps people".

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I know there are a bunch of virtuals in Washington, DC. I will likely be using Grey Line Tours to get into and around the city. What I wonder is does anyone have an "order" they would recommend the virtuals be done in or is randomness easier? Also, has anyone had an encounters with Capitol Police, etc while caching in DC? I would think having a GPS, camera and a notebook would look ok, but I don't want to cause any uproar, ya know? Any advice is appreciated....

 

Thanks...

 

We've found most of the virtuals in the District by now...there's a fair amount of walking involved if you want to find the ones along the Mall, tidal basin, and West Potomac Park. Getting into town early is best, particularly if you're going to be here in early April (Cherry Blossom Festival), so you won't be caught up in the crowds. I think it's best to either attack the problem clockwise or counter-clockwise from where ever you're going to be dropped by the bus. Having a plan will cut down on the need to back-track.

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I just did 27 of them in what amounts to one day (sort of)

 

I was in DC for a dinner meeting. I did some on the afternoon of 3/7 and the other half on the morning of 3/8 before catching a noon train back to NJ.

 

No police problems, no questions, no problems. I came in from the Capitol, went down the mall, and around the tidal basin on day one. And came from the Capital side down the other side of the mall and ended up at the Korean War Memorial on the second day. I didn't think it was all that much walking.

 

-dave

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I was in DC in September for a conference and took two extra days to see DC since I had never been there. I started out aroun 8:30 am and by 6 pm I had about 25 finds. I started at the Navy Memorial (I forget the exact name, but it's a cache) and went down to the Capitol then straight down the entire mall, to Theodore Roosevelt Memorial, up to the White House area, GW University (webcam cache) and then a little further north of that for another two or three. I walked everything and was very tired, but well worth it. I enjoyed the sites and didn't just quickly move on to nab caches. Truly had a good sightseeing day while getting the virtuals along the way. If you stick to visiting (with a little walking inbetween) all the main attractions, memorials, etc that DC has to offer, you can easily get probably 20 caches with no problems in one day.

Edited by Nando0126
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Also, please don't forget that there are actually some traditional caches in DC! They're not sitting on the Mall like many of the virtuals, but these two are just a short walk a few blocks off the Mall: Coconuts (GCKFCR) and Animal Crackers (GCKFX4).

 

If you want caches that are bigger than micros, your closest bets are probably coming up past the Capitol into my neighborhood of Capitol Hill, where you can find Garfield Park (GCG6JX). (If you're willing to venture a bit further from the Mall, The Silent City (GCQYTG) is really an excellent and fun cache in a weird but neat place too!)

 

All these caches are generally far enough away from the areas where there are security concerns, such that you should not attract attention from law enforcement (especially during daylight hours -- some are not accessible at night), but you should practice some stealth when looking for caches in any urban location of course (think muggles more than Officer Friendly!).

 

There are also plenty of traditional caches in the city in more residential areas in Northwest DC, as well as nearby in suburban Virginia and Maryland.

 

Many area caches are also accessible from the Metrorail (subway) system. For instance, Coconuts is close to L'Enfant Plaza station, Animal Crackers is close between both L'Enfant Plaza and Federal Center SW stations, Garfield Park is near Capitol South station, and The Silent City is near Potomac Ave. station.

 

Just across the river in Arlington, Virginia, from the Pentagon City station, you can head to nearby caches Shopper's Refuge (GCQQDK) and Pentagon City TB Motel (GCRCVZ).

 

(Note that the caches are within the areas shown on these little street maps surrounding Metrorail stations for all of these caches!)

 

Hmmm... I'm thinking I need to put up a page with all this info and more about DC caching for visitors... :unsure:

Edited by kelly@9
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I saw on the news this week that a new bus service has started around the Smithsonians. I don't recall the exact name but it had word circle in the name. It costs a dollar a ride and I think it just circles the mall. That would be one way to get around the mall area.

 

Oops, missed this before... it's the DC Circulator bus service (PDF route map), but note that it really only covers a small area with the new route. If you're a geocacher used to going out hiking regularly, my guess is the only reason you'd consider taking it would be tired feet at the end of the day! :unsure:

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There is also a trolley service that costs $20 but takes you around the sites all day long... you can get on and off as you please. I'll be flying in during April as well (on the 26th) and spending the night and hope to do some that I haven't already hit. Hopefully the weather will be nice AND there will be some near when I'm staying. Don't have much time, just flying in and out pretty quickly... but hey, there's ALWAYS time for a cache!

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Consider the plain old metro as well. The Smithsonian station is centrally located on the mall. Other convenient stations to the area are at Capitol South, Union Station and perhaps the Farragut Square stations.

 

I didn't do any caches today, but I spent most of the day wandering the mall and photographing the cherry blossoms.

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I'm so glad I came across this thread. I'll be at the SHRM conference the end of June, and this is helpful. I was wondering how much walking it would be, and I'm not afraid to walk. But do want to pick up some caches. If I don't get them "all" I won't be upset. :unsure:

 

I just don't want to have to worry about safe or non-safe areas. Last time I was in DC, I was 14, um and that was, um, a few decades ago. :ph34r:

 

I guess sticking to the tourist spots with lots of muggle activity will help. However, I would really like to drop as many travel bugs as possible...... I'll have to figure out how to get to a cache large enough to do so. Unless, a DC cacher wants to meet up at a Virt and grab a few TB's from the west coast. I have 2 months to figure this all out.... :laughing:

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Just got home today:

 

Here are my tips....

 

1. Metro - use it as much as possible, buy a daily pass $6.50, unlimited use and no extra fees for rushhour.

 

2. Tourmobile - waste of time and money, avoid it

 

3. Grey Line Tours - take the night tour if you can, and if you get Art as your driver, you're in for a fun trip. I did this tour and highly recommend it. DC is very pretty at night. You will have a bit of "off bus" time to cram in some virts.

 

4. Walking, be prepared for a lot of walking. If you can, take a camelback or water and/or snacks with you. There isn't much out there that we could find.

 

5. MAPS, take a metro map or find the park service's map. Both are handy and show you where buildings are.

 

6. Safe? Yes I think so, I never felt uncomfortable there. Besides there are capitol police officers on every corner plus the park service has rangers everywhere.

 

That's all I can think of for now. Have fun...

Edited by The Blind Acorn
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All the caches I listed in my earlier post should be in "safe" areas. I use quotes only because no area is truly safe, crime can happen anywhere, but statistically, you're not as likely to be a victim of crime in any of these areas as you are in some other DC neighborhoods. Although some of these caches are available 24 hours, many are available during daylight hours only, which further increases your safety when visiting.

 

As for places to drop off lots of travel bugs... you can leave a few small ones in Pentagon City TB Motel (GCRCVZ), and The Silent City (GCQYTG) is another good one (but be sure to bring a printout of the cache page, it is a multi that requires computations based on formulas on the cache page + numbers off items in the area).

 

If you have a car, of course lots of areas out in the suburbs are open to you as well. If you plan on visiting the Maryland APE cache (Mission 7: Crab Creek (Project APE) (GCEF7), it can hold a lot of travel bugs. :huh:

 

Finally, I'm always open to answering any other questions geocachers have about visiting DC, whether geocaching-related or not. I grew up in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC, and then moved back into the area about 6 years ago, spending 2 years in the Maryland suburbs and then the past 4 as a resident of Washington, DC itself. I'm still fairly new to geocaching, but I am one of the few cachers who actually lives in DC instead of MD or VA, and one of my goals over the next couple months is to find all the caches in Washington, DC. :ph34r:

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kelly@9 this is very helpful to me, as is Blind Acorn's post. I'll be on my own when I am there for the conference, and was wondering about the metro. I decided to not rent a car, a friend of mine who was there recently said that it is actually not advantageous to do so because parking is so scarce. Therefore, I won't make it outside of DC proper nor beyond the convention center and hotel where I am staying. It's good to note that there aren't many places to buy water or snacks, so will raid the mini-bar in the hotel room before I head out. I have 2 months to plan my course of attack (not in the literal sense, only in geo-sense), so I think I'll be alright. I may head off to AAA to get an auto club map too. Or, if I'm lucky, I can persuade the hubby to do a streets and trips from Microsoft for me.

 

Now to find someone to lend me a lap top with wireless connection.........

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kelly@9 this is very helpful to me, as is Blind Acorn's post. I'll be on my own when I am there for the conference, and was wondering about the metro. I decided to not rent a car, a friend of mine who was there recently said that it is actually not advantageous to do so because parking is so scarce. Therefore, I won't make it outside of DC proper nor beyond the convention center and hotel where I am staying. It's good to note that there aren't many places to buy water or snacks, so will raid the mini-bar in the hotel room before I head out. I have 2 months to plan my course of attack (not in the literal sense, only in geo-sense), so I think I'll be alright. I may head off to AAA to get an auto club map too. Or, if I'm lucky, I can persuade the hubby to do a streets and trips from Microsoft for me.

 

Now to find someone to lend me a lap top with wireless connection.........

 

This site should help a bit: http://www.wmata.com/

 

as will this one: http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/wash/

 

or this: http://www.dcvisit.com/

 

or this: http://www.washington.org/index.cfm?blnNav...FTOKEN=13617816

 

I'm trying to find the online version of the NPS map that I have in hand....

 

OOPS one more thing: pickup the metro map of DC while in a metro station it's helpful as is the one showing all the "colors" of the subway lines....

Edited by The Blind Acorn
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kelly@9 this is very helpful to me, as is Blind Acorn's post. I'll be on my own when I am there for the conference, and was wondering about the metro. I decided to not rent a car, a friend of mine who was there recently said that it is actually not advantageous to do so because parking is so scarce. Therefore, I won't make it outside of DC proper nor beyond the convention center and hotel where I am staying. It's good to note that there aren't many places to buy water or snacks, so will raid the mini-bar in the hotel room before I head out. I have 2 months to plan my course of attack (not in the literal sense, only in geo-sense), so I think I'll be alright. I may head off to AAA to get an auto club map too. Or, if I'm lucky, I can persuade the hubby to do a streets and trips from Microsoft for me.

 

Now to find someone to lend me a lap top with wireless connection.........

 

Well, if you're interested in meeting up with other cachers, either to cache with, possibly hang out with, or just to give some travel bugs to, I'd suggest posting on the Maryland Geocaching Society's forums. I think it would be your best chance at finding someone who could meet up with you. You'll likely also get some other "caching in DC" suggestions over there.

 

Maryland Geocaching Society

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I decided to not rent a car, a friend of mine who was there recently said that it is actually not advantageous to do so because parking is so scarce. Therefore, I won't make it outside of DC proper nor beyond the convention center and hotel where I am staying.

 

Good call on the car. If you are staying in downtown DC, parking can be problematic, and you'd likely end up having to pay expensive rates to park at your hotel's garage.

 

If you want to take the Metro just into Arlington, Virginia, you can find caches in near the Court House and Clarendon Metro stations on the Orange line, and they are close enough together that you could start at one, find the 3 or 4 caches along the way to the other, then ride back into town. Or as I mentioned before, find the caches over by Pentagon City on the Blue and Yellow lines as well.

 

If you're willing to ride a bit further, the western leg of the Red line seems to have a few promising stops to walk to for more caches out in Maryland as well -- two in downtown Bethesda, 5 or 6 near Grosvenor-Strathmore, and a couple near White Flint and Rockville.

 

If you did want to make the trek to the APE cache, it has been done by folks taking a taxi ride from the Shady Grove Metro station, where there is a pretty active taxi stand. <_< (Just make sure the cabbie waits for you while you find the cache so you don't get trapped at the park! Wonder if Maryland cabbies can be hired by the hour like DC cabbies can, it might be your best bet...)

 

Also, in case all my links were too subtle, I really like StationMasters online street maps near Metro stations. They also show small areas around the stations, and the distances on the map are all walkable (although the area may not be for some suburban stations!)

 

If you combine the StationMasters maps + Google Earth with the 'Roads', 'Transit -- Local Rail', 'Transit -- Commuter Rail', and 'Railroads' layers enabled and the Geocaching Google Earth Network KML, you can get a good idea of caching possibilities accessible from Metrorail!

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