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Marathon cachers: Robertlipe etc.....How do you prepare???


Snoogans
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OK! I've been in this since March and I'm on the down side of 150 finds.

 

Robertlipe just breezed through the pit and hit near, or over, my total in just a few days.

icon_eek.gif

I know Moosiegirl and The Outlaw hit over 80 in one weekend.

 

My best single day is 15! (and 5 were virts!)

 

How do you prepare for something like that??? I want to know everything including supplies and gas receipts.

 

Snicon_razz.gificon_razz.gifgans

texasgeocaching_sm.gif Sacred cows make the best hamburger....Mark Twain.

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My techniques have changed a little since I wrote the above mentioned posting. I now use pocket queries to get gpx files and load them into a palm instead of printing cache sheets. I also use the gpx files in combination with Watcher to do my pretrip planning and review instead of using online pages. These changes have allowed me to be a bit more flexible while on a caching trip. It is nice to have 500-1000 cache descriptions with you. I continue to carry my laptop with me on caching trips. Having all caches in the whole area mapped in MapPoint enhances this flexibility. However the key for me it to have my day planned out when I start, whether that planning took place prior to the trip or just the night before in my tent. My techniques continue to work for me. I still average around 30 finds a day when I am on a caching trip.

 

One other thing that must be noted, the high number of finds in a day will seldom be done in a cacher's home area... They occur in new areas.

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quote:
Originally posted by Mark 42:

Spend a week or two planning, then call it one day of actual (C8H10N4O2 saturated) caching.

 


 

In my case I usually spend few days planning and then go caching for a week or two. In last 6 months I have done 2 extended caching trips. A 2 week trip to Ok and Tx with 365 finds. A 1 week trip to Chicago/Milwaukee area with 205 finds. My planning/preparation time has been greatly reduced with the use of pocket queries and gpx files.

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Well, I didn't exactly "breeze through". I worked my butt off to have that much fun. icon_wink.gif

 

That trip started off with a free Southwest ticket that was just about to expire. My wife can't travel right now, so she suggested I take a long caching weekend. (Am I lucky or what?) I pulled a list of SW destinations and computed cache density and produced a table that looked like this:

http://ubbx.Groundspeak.com/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&s=5726007311&f=4016058331&m=8636084051&r=16560467#16560467

 

After tinkering with the numbers, I decided that Houston was the best combination of "enough" caches, early flights out, late flights back, direct (and short) flights, and inexpensive hotels & rental cars. So I hooked up with $31/night hotel - all I needed was a shower, a bed, and a place to plug in my charger - and $16/day rental cards and went with it.

 

I pulled a pocket query on Houston of the 500 closest caches and started refining the list. Plunking them down on a map (using GPSBabel to convert to Streets & Trips) I could see the clusters in a big "plus sign" running north-south (up to about Conroe) and east-west. Since I was considering "caches per mile" I narrowed the zone to about 390 caches within a 30 or 35 mile circle. (I used GPSBabel's radius filter to exclude the others from the PQ.) I took that pocket query and fed it into my own software (that's not terribly unlike GPX2HTML) so I could review each and every cache description on my desk - can't use the geocaching.com servers for that; they're too slow and unreliable. I looked at every cache page, considering ones that required specialized equipment (i.e. boats), had too many no-finds, multis that took the finder all over town, extensive puzzle requirements, and so on. My software also allows me to sort by most recent logs, so I could easly see the ones where the most recent logs were, say, 3 NF's in a row. After considering the logs, I'd generally toss those but if the 3NFs were on the same day by the same team and they didn't find it becuase it started raining or something, I'd sometimes keep them.

 

At this point, I was down to about 310 caches and knew that I had basically four days. I used S&T's "find pushpins near a route" feature and tinkered with starts & stops that maximized caches per mile. For that trip, I planned three days with about 50 per day (Cypress creek east of 249, heading north to Conroe; Cypress creeek west of 249, looping into downtown; east of town, looping south of town) and left the last day unplanned for "cleanup" which I used for the southwest loop which peeled from about Sugar Land back to Hobby. For each of these days, I printed and carried the "hit list" suggesting the optimal cache order, but did not bother with turn-by-turns. In practice, I do deviate from that suggested order somewhat and just use those as a guideline. I also print a big 3x3 page map of the area (using Delorme's Street Atlas) with all the caches laid out.

 

For several days before the trip, I watched the logs on insidecorner, watching for new caches, recent no-finds, and so on. (THIS is why I'm really bummed that insidecorner croaked; that's info you simply can not get from geocaching.com so efficiently.) The night before my flight, I loaded two GPSes and two PDAs with all the cache pages and waypoints. I didn't carry a laptop on the trip. I use GPSBabel, so I have the cache type, the difficulty, and terrain in my Magellans; anything else I can get from the PDA.

 

After touchdown, I stopped at a dollar store for water and bug repellant. I grabbed a burger and ran off to the first cache. Repeat until darkness falls and I get booted from the Battleship memorials. :-) I set the alarm to be at Cypress creek parking when daybreak hit, making the first part of the hike back with my LED headlamp. I repeated this pattern Saturday and Sunday. By Monday, my feet were blistered and I was exhausted, so I didn't start caching until about 9 that day and intentionally chose more "cushy" caching.

 

As for a supplies and gas receipts, it was a pretty low-budget trip. Hotel and rental car were about $100 each. Two tanks of gas. Bug repellant, sunscreen, fast food, etc. I stopped several times to get 64 oz gatorades. (they cost less and travel better when hot than drive-through sodas.) When I cleaned out the rental car, I realized I consumed eight of those bottles plus the three 25oz water 'sport' bottles that I refilled with gatorade to carry in the backpack.

 

In the end, I had a great time, so I consider the mission a success.

 

P.S. I've now had a couple of people mail me for additional information. Yes, this is pretty much how I plan most trips. This trip was just me solo. No navigator. No laptop. No additional eyes. Just me and a backpack full of handheld electronics. The only other geocacher I saw during that trip was when I ran into The Muggles at the Magellan hunt. (And they skunked me on that one. icon_biggrin.gif )

 

[This message was edited by robertlipe on August 15, 2003 at 01:46 PM.]

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Thanks for the help. I would sure like to hear from more folks too. There were a few things that hadn't occurred to me yet. Thanks again.

 

I plan to hit Austin as soon as I get my new Meridian. Austin is target rich. My goal is 75 caches from Friday afternoon to Sunday night. I'll be happy with 50 though.

 

Snicon_razz.gificon_razz.gifgans

texasgeocaching_sm.gif Sacred cows make the best hamburger....Mark Twain.

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Joani and I aren't marathon cachers and rarely find more than fifteen on a weekend day (we just go out caching a lot). We've had a handful of days above twenty and one day above thirty (just this last Sunday). We don't do a lot of prep these days. Like BruceS said, with the tools available to play with the GPX pocket queries, it's much less time consuming (from when we used to print out everything) than it used to be. Now I download all the cache descriptions to Joani's visor using gpxdoc. I use GPX spinner and gpsbabel to get the GPX data formatted the way I like it. If I need to merge and filter, I use Watcher, although Robert bugs me that I could do this with gpsbabel (since I already use it for one of the steps). I have .bat files set up that do all the processing at a single click (or is that a double click icon_wink.gif).

 

For a weekend of caching, I'd say my prep time is down to less than an hour.

 

--Marky

"All of us get lost in the darkness, dreamers learn to steer with a backlit GPSr"

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I hope CCCooperAgency will check in. I think they probably hold the record with 115 finds in a day (if anybody has more I'd like to hear about it).

 

To find 115 caches in one day had to take a lot of planning, a great deal of determination, a slightly twisted mind (I mean that in a good way) and some speeding.

 

"Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he'll sit in a boat and drink beer all day" - Dave Barry

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How would I prepare for a day like that? Well, quite honestly I wouldn't. I know "to each their own", but I really have a hard time trying to figure out why anyone would want to “marathon” cache. I have a fast paced, high stress job already. I have found that geocaching is a great way to relax. I take my time, enjoy the scenery, and am never ever in a rush doing it. The idea of racing around all day to find 15 - 20 caches is, to me, very unappealing - and I think would simply just spoil those caches for me - which I would rather find at a comfortably, slow, leisurely pace.

 

I accept that "marathon" cachers obviously get some kind of kick out of it, but I have no idea what.

 

I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me.

geol4.JPG

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quote:
Unless, they were on the side of the road .1 miles apart from one another (slight sarcasm), I'd imagine there was a split up of the team to hit the area collectively. Then again, I'm basing this on nothing, except the reality that it would be dadgum near impossible to do any other way.

 

Not what I heard. Apparently JoeGPS drove the wife around. They weren't split. Hubby wasn't even there for the event.

 

"Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he'll sit in a boat and drink beer all day" - Dave Barry

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quote:
Originally posted by BrianSnat:

quote:
Unless, they were on the side of the road .1 miles apart from one another (slight sarcasm), I'd imagine there was a split up of the team to hit the area collectively. Then again, I'm basing this on nothing, except the reality that it would be dadgum near impossible to do any other way.

 

Not what I heard. Apparently JoeGPS drove the wife around. They weren't split. Hubby wasn't even there for the event.

 

_"Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he'll sit in a boat and drink beer all day" - Dave Barry_


 

ALRIGHT, THAT'S IT!!!! No more simultaneous caching in a parallel universe!

 

Brian

Team A.I.

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The facts are: I sat in the back seat, Lynn the wife and main force in caching drove, Patty Yeager rode in the back with me and Lucy , Lynn’s daughter rode shot gun in the front seat.

 

The caches were all on the north side of town. When the van would stop they would take off running as fast a they could go to see who got to the cache first, I only got out of the van a few times.

 

If you don’t think this can be done ( 115 in a very long and fun day ) come to Nashville and I will ride in the bask seat with you ( Brian - Team A.I. gets to ride in the trunk ), but until them believe what I am telling you.

 

This was not my first rodeo , I did two other runs with other cachers getting it down pat, 58 , and 75 in one day.

 

Robert Lipe cooked all our dada for us and made us fly, with no time wasted.

 

JOE

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