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The Point of Geocaching is...?


Guest Chris Juricich
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Guest Chris Juricich

This controversy regarding 'commercial geocaching' or 'virtual caches'-- what's the point here, bottom line, for us all? Why do we geocache? My answer is below...

 

? it's fun! Am I having fun?

? it gets me outdoors and to places I've never been-- it helps me to discover my world!

? it gives me a fuller understanding of the technology of GPS... expands my experience in general web and other tech... I like gadgets that have practical applications.

? but am I having fun and getting some exercise? There are the keys... for me!

 

If I go to a cache that's commercial-- like the coffee shop in question... if it's labeled as commercial, then fine! I'll take my chances by going. If some guy thinks that the coffee shop is great, well hell! Fine, I don't mind! Finding a place by virtue of GPS tech is the challenge. Better yet would be instructions on the web announcement page to enter the shop and ask for the cache (a real one!) from someone behind the counter. Inside could be coffee drink coupons provided the geocacher/coffee shop enthusiast. That works for me!

 

C'mon guys! Purism is fine, and for me, I don't care if the GPS coordinates are the most gorgeous waterfall in California or some greasy dive in San Francisco that has the best calamari I'll ever taste. Point is, I don't have an address to check-- only GPS coords.

 

If Joe Geocacher likes Coffeeshop X or Restaurant Le Spoon de Greese, I don't mind if he posts it on the site. The getting there is the thing. Still, a physical cache would be damned preferable. I want the cacher to work a LITTLE bit-- talk to the proprietor or staff of the commercial spot s/he likes, and set up a PHYSICAL CACHE. Tell the staff or proprietor to expect occasionally folks with little 'cell phones' coming to the store. Can't be bad for business-- they may even use the service or goods available there!

 

I'm planning a series of waypoints and cache for my wife. I'll start with her going to my friend's house (give her the key) where she will then have instructions to get the GPS I'll leave there with the pre-programmed waypoint stops on her trip toward her final present. I'll send her to a coffee shop I like-- with instructions to speak to the staff and make some identifying request so that she can access the cache. From there, another item she must take to the next waypoint on her schedule. And so forth-- where she finally ends up at the massage/hot tub studio we occasionally go to.

 

Now, I wouldn't post this on the geocaching site-- it's just for her.

 

Look, geocaching is all about having fun, getting out and getting exercise, and seeing the new stuff in the world to see.

 

Having fun. Is there something wrong with the Planet of the Apes search promotion? Naah. It looks like fun.

 

So, ask yourself-- what's the point of geocaching except to enjoy yourself? If coffeeshop owner puts out a commercial cache, that's one thing. You as a poster make your choice. If I see an ad in the paper for a new restaurant with NO address or phone number,other than good food provided at reasonable prices, whoa! Cool!

 

(not good promotion, really, but cool. How many of us have GPS devices?)

 

But, imagine! First it was email addresses, then websites. Soon it'll be... GPS coordinates?

 

Are we having fun yet?

 

Lots of possibilities with this technology-- and I'm already working them into my personal life with my wife. Gives me a chance to be 'clever' and creative-- another cool thing about the technology!

 

Well? Are you having fun? Well?

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Guest xanthari

en it wouldnt bother me any to go in and claim my buy one get one free coupon or a free bottle of water or whatever. In fact wouldnt it be interesting if a small town set up a multi-point cache that sent you to 5 or 6 different businesses where you got a promotional item from each one as well as the next piece of the puzzle...if I owned a sporting goods store I would definately find some sort of promotional item and have geocachers "find" the cache..tell the employees to expect it and even have a log book...come in get a free t-shirt and a bottle of water and some geo-coupons or geo-gift certificates. That would certainly be just as rewarding as finding a cache in the park somewhere and then trying to figure out which item from the dollar store you want to take.

 

For me its solving the puzzle. I dont care where the solution is (well as long as it does not put me and my family in real peril).

 

I see no problem with having a "commercial" geocache....same as having a "virtual" geocache just make sure its noted on the page.

 

Theres my thoughts.

 

X.

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Guest navdog

The idea of using my GPS to find a coffee shop or any store doesn't make any sense. Where is the adventure?. Dont have to look under a log to find it,just have to drive up to the parking lot and get out of the car. Things like that should have their own website for tourists and folks in birkenstocks.

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Guest Chris Juricich

I see your point, navdog. Walking around Berkeley, CA, or driving down its streets in search of some storefront isn't as nice as heading for Volmer Peak to look down at the SF Bay.

 

BUT... where's the adventure in walking into a storefront? What if they required you to do something... ridiculous to access the cache? What if the store personnel were instructed to request the searcher to say or do something silly or embarrassing.

 

"I have travelled far and wide, 'cross hill and dale to reach this spot. My quest is near complete! Prithee give me the cache!"

 

Or whatever! This is something that gets people amused, excited, and interested, and would make your day truly exciting. Physical adventure is one thing-- it's a challenge to your persistence in getting to the cache, but here's an opportunity to challenge yourself in another vein.

 

The possibilities for personal growth are intriguing. Sure, making your way through a thicket and across a creek is a physical challenge that's fun and tests you. But there are other personal challenges to us. Fear Factor (the tv show) has both physical (jump off this building) and mental (eat these lamb eyes). Don't you think that the mental challenge of doing something public in the shop might be fun? For some, simply talking to a stranger or asking a retail clerk for the cache could prove daunting.

 

Geocaching has lots of potential, folks, not only to develop persistence and the requisite physical challenges, but also mental challenges... personal ones.

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Guest mfratto

Plenty of people have done urban caches, yes? I am not close to any large urban areas, but I would think there could be lots of challenge in them.

 

Why do we geocache? Cos it's fun. Part of the fun is finding the cache. We have always hiked, canoed, etc but caching adds a little spice, and it also adds a social aspect to activities we've always done alone -- we would like to get to know the other cachers in our area.

 

Mauri

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Guest c.mathis

quote:
Originally posted by Chris Juricich:

C'mon guys! Purism is fine, and for me, I don't care if the GPS coordinates are the most gorgeous waterfall in California or some greasy dive in San Francisco that has the best calamari I'll ever taste.


 

Well, you must not have read the thread about the Kern Coffee cache or if you did you missed the point. Listing a location that has a street address because you like what they sell is NOT a cache.

 

It opens the door for people listing there favorite place to buy ANYTHING. The geocaching community has made it very clear that they don't want that. We are all certainly entitled to our opinion and I respect yours, but it's not what we want. If you want to start a GEO-SHOPPING web site - go for it.

 

There must be a hundred nice hills from which to "watch the sunset" in San Diego. I'm not going to list them all just because they exist. They are simply "locations" - NOT caches. Now, if one of them had a "cache" placed there - CACHE: "Something hidden from view" - That would be different.

 

Let's not forget what the word CACHE means and how this all got started. We can't let the sport become diluted with every burger stand and auto parts store in town.

 

The owner of the Kern Coffee "location" (its not a cache), also lists a place to watch a boat race as a cache. How ridiculous. Should we start listing our favorite corner from which to watch the Christmas Parade? How about your favorite seat at the ball park?

 

Pay attention folks, it's about CACHING not listing anything you think is cool!

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Guest mfratto

quote:
Originally posted by c.mathis:

Pay attention folks, it's about CACHING not listing anything you think is cool!


 

On the other hand, isn't listing a virtual cache just that? No cache, but listing someplace you think is worth seeing, or fun to see? I could imagine some city-based virtual caches that would be great to make up, and that I would appreciate having, say, as a tourist in a new place -- a multi-virtual cache would be a way for a local to "show me around."

 

Just playing devil's advocate, but I think there is room for creativity here.

 

Mauri

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Guest c.mathis

-- a multi-virtual cache would be a way for a local to "show me around."

 

Just playing devil's advocate, but I think there is room for creativity here.


 

Room for creativity? YES! Definitely.

 

But, if all you are going to do is list a bunch of places that have street addresses, what's the point of using a GPS. Isn't the idea of using the GPS because you can't find the cache without it? Now, people want to dilute the sport with anything and everything.

 

Personally, I don't think "virtual caches" are in the true spirit of geocaching anyway, but I guess they are here to stay. I would just like to see them limited to "special" places. I know, what's special is different to everybody so that leaves the door open for someone to list his "special auto parts store". Heaven help us. icon_wink.gif

 

If you are going to call the statue in the town square a "cache", why not just say, "go look at the statue and tell me you saw it"? You don't need a GPS.

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Guest c.mathis

-- a multi-virtual cache would be a way for a local to "show me around."

 

Just playing devil's advocate, but I think there is room for creativity here.


 

Room for creativity? YES! Definitely.

 

But, if all you are going to do is list a bunch of places that have street addresses, what's the point of using a GPS. Isn't the idea of using the GPS because you can't find the cache without it? Now, people want to dilute the sport with anything and everything.

 

Personally, I don't think "virtual caches" are in the true spirit of geocaching anyway, but I guess they are here to stay. I would just like to see them limited to "special" places. I know, what's special is different to everybody so that leaves the door open for someone to list his "special auto parts store". Heaven help us. icon_wink.gif

 

If you are going to call the statue in the town square a "cache", why not just say, "go look at the statue and tell me you saw it"? You don't need a GPS.

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Guest c.mathis

Let me clarify something. The original topic of "commercial caches" was not about caches JUST because they involved commercial buildings.

 

The concern was over a cache that had no goal other than to visit a commercial establishment because it had "good coffee". Not a cache at all.

 

I've already stated that if a company wants to "sponsor" a cache, that is, provide the contents of the cache (or include coupons) and get recognition for doing so, that's one thing. If the business wants to lead you to their place of business so you can "buy things", that's not acceptable.

 

[This message has been edited by c.mathis (edited 26 July 2001).]

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Guest rebobbitt

quote:
Originally posted by c.mathis:

How about your favorite seat at the ball park?


 

Well, since you asked, I was at the Rockies game yesterday, seating at:

 

N 39° 45.396' W 104° 59.700'

icon_smile.gif

 

Rick

 

[This message has been edited by rebobbitt (edited 26 July 2001).]

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Guest rebobbitt

quote:
Originally posted by c.mathis:

How about your favorite seat at the ball park?


 

Well, since you asked, I was at the Rockies game yesterday, seating at:

 

N 39° 45.396' W 104° 59.700'

icon_smile.gif

 

Rick

 

[This message has been edited by rebobbitt (edited 26 July 2001).]

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Guest bunkerdave

Yes, I believe I see the "launching pad" of "Coors Canaveral" (a la Jim Rome) in the lower right corner of the picture. Nice pic. No, this is not a cache. icon_biggrin.gif

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Guest bunkerdave

Yes, I believe I see the "launching pad" of "Coors Canaveral" (a la Jim Rome) in the lower right corner of the picture. Nice pic. No, this is not a cache. icon_biggrin.gif

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Guest rebobbitt

What if I hid something under my seat (gum, perhaps? icon_smile.gif

 

quote:
Originally posted by bunkerdave:

Yes, I believe I see the "launching pad" of "Coors Canaveral" (a la Jim Rome) in the lower right corner of the picture. Nice pic. No, this is not a cache. icon_biggrin.gif


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Guest rebobbitt

What if I hid something under my seat (gum, perhaps? icon_smile.gif

 

quote:
Originally posted by bunkerdave:

Yes, I believe I see the "launching pad" of "Coors Canaveral" (a la Jim Rome) in the lower right corner of the picture. Nice pic. No, this is not a cache. icon_biggrin.gif


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Guest BGSkierNC

Each person has to decide what they want out of the experience of geocaching. Personally, I don't feel that a coffee shop is a cache in the sense of this sport. It's just an interesting location that could also be found in a tourism guide. True, some virtual caches are interesting locations also. (Some virtual caches are in sensitive ecological areas that would not allow a real cache.)

 

But, the fun in this new sport is using the GPS as a guide on an adventure activity. There are physical challenges that you must solve to find the "treasure". And opening that box is so full of mystery!

 

There *is* room for diversity and creativity in this sport, but (personally) I don't want to see it become commercial or geo-shopping. Besides, what are your kids or dogs going to enjoy in a coffee shop?

 

BG

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Guest mfratto

I guess my thought was not so much to just land people at predictable spots, but that as a local to an area, you may know many good spots (which could include restauarants, etc) but which would, via coordinates not addresses, pul people through some of the more interesting or "non-touristy" spots, the kinds of things only locals know about. I think that would be cool.

 

I didn't think I would like virtual caches, either, and now we did one (we turned one of our real caches virtual after the can was stolen) and I kind of like the idea. I have usually been really into getting to the box, but I have to say, I would do a circuit of virtual caches -- truthfully, there is never really anything all that impressive to be found in ammo boxes, anyway, that make them worth the trip -- but a good restaurant? That would be nice to find at the end of a good hike. icon_smile.gif

 

Mauri

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Guest mfratto

I guess my thought was not so much to just land people at predictable spots, but that as a local to an area, you may know many good spots (which could include restauarants, etc) but which would, via coordinates not addresses, pul people through some of the more interesting or "non-touristy" spots, the kinds of things only locals know about. I think that would be cool.

 

I didn't think I would like virtual caches, either, and now we did one (we turned one of our real caches virtual after the can was stolen) and I kind of like the idea. I have usually been really into getting to the box, but I have to say, I would do a circuit of virtual caches -- truthfully, there is never really anything all that impressive to be found in ammo boxes, anyway, that make them worth the trip -- but a good restaurant? That would be nice to find at the end of a good hike. icon_smile.gif

 

Mauri

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Guest c.mathis

quote:
Originally posted by mfratto:

-- truthfully, there is never really anything all that impressive to be found in ammo boxes, anyway, that make them worth the trip -- but a good restaurant? That would be nice to find at the end of a good hike. icon_smile.gif

 

Mauri


 

That sounds great.

 

You could start another web site but don't confuse people by telling them it's "caching", because it's not.

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Guest c.mathis

quote:
Originally posted by mfratto:

-- truthfully, there is never really anything all that impressive to be found in ammo boxes, anyway, that make them worth the trip -- but a good restaurant? That would be nice to find at the end of a good hike. icon_smile.gif

 

Mauri


 

That sounds great.

 

You could start another web site but don't confuse people by telling them it's "caching", because it's not.

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Guest Cape Cod Cache

places that aren't the usual tourist spots and left some goodies. One bait shop owner has given me a few $2 gift certificates, he was pretty happy to oblige after I bought a couple and he took 2 months getting me a USGS topo map.

My $.02 (now go find the $2 bait!)

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Guest mfratto

quote:
Originally posted by c.mathis:

That sounds great.

 

You could start another web site but don't confuse people by telling them it's "caching", because it's not.


 

While you are entitled to your *opinion* which is all the above is, there is room for more than that, as stated by the words of this very website, in describing a virtual cache, I quote:

 

"A virtual cache is a cache that exists in a form of a location. Depending on the cache "hider," a virtual cache could be to answer a question about a location, an interesting spot, a task, etc. The reward for these caches is the location itself and sharing information about your visit."

 

If you want to check this for accuracy, just click on the little barrel. ;)

 

I personally appreciate this openness and flexibility defining what a cache can and cannot be, and prefer it to your rather restrictive "rule" of what one can and can't be. But then again, you didn't put this website together, did you? You have your definition of "caching" but it is not THE definition. So maybe if you want to be very restrictive about what is a cache, you should "start your own website."

 

(sigh). That's it for me on this one. I hope most people will continue to be flexible and creative about thinking up all kinds of caches for us to find.

 

Mauri

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Guest c.mathis

quote:
Originally posted by mfratto:

While you are entitled to your *opinion* which is all the above is, there is room for more than that, as stated by the words of this very website, in describing a virtual cache, I quote:

 

"A virtual cache is a cache that exists in a form of a location. Depending on the cache "hider," a virtual cache could be to answer a question about a location, an interesting spot, a task, etc. The reward for these caches is the location itself and sharing information about your visit."


 

I think we've all read the "rule", about virtual caches on the web site. As with all rules (laws) they are open to interpretation. In this case they are being interpreted by the geocaching community at large, not you and I, though we obviously have our thoughts.

 

The Kern Coffee cache was removed from the web site due to the outcry from the community. Ultimately, that's what will determine what geocaching becomes. The will of the community, taking into account ALL our opinions.

 

I have already stated that some virtual caches are acceptable due to their nature. If your goal is to interpret a virtual cache to mean "any location", then geocaching will certainly lose the sense of adventure in the outdoors that it started with. I guess that's fine for people who like to spend their time in the city looking for places to eat, but some us were introduced to geocaching in an outdoor environment and are trying to retain that sense of adventure.

 

Yes, I know, for some "adventure" is finding a good place to have coffee in town. That's cool.

 

[This message has been edited by c.mathis (edited 26 July 2001).]

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Guest Chris Juricich

I guess I should read the 'rules' about geocaching on this site, eh? Come to think of it, I haven't!

 

But... let me clarify a bit here-- and that is this: I have no objection to visiting a strictly urban spot that has an actual cache there.

 

Come to think of it, I don't have an objection to visiting a GPS coordinate that has a 'virtual cache', either.

 

My general feeling about geocaching is that the cache is the treasure at the end of the rainbow, or hike, I guess. I like to have that challenge of finding and hunting.

 

Now, I think I'll go read the 'rules' about geocaching insofar as the www.geocaching.com site is concerned!

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Guest AZMark

wait till there are 800 comercial caches to the 5 REAL caches in your zip. and some dork gets into charging local business 10bucks to post a cache at there location and does everyone on the block, you might change your mind on comercial caches.

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Guest c.mathis

the environment. But it evolved into a list of stores that duplicate the local yellow pages. Now, a large part is just a list of restaurant reviews and places where you can buy a cool pair of shoes."

 

 

[This message has been edited by c.mathis (edited 26 July 2001).]

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Guest celts

I agree with the original author of this thread on what geocaching is. We shouldn't really care what other people get out of the sport---as long as it's enjoyable to them. As long as it satisfies a need within THEM. If they want to go find a virtual cache, that"s fine---it's not what I'd prefer to find, but that doesn't mean that someone wouldn't enjoy it.The same with letterboxing--again, not my "cup of tea", but I know lots of people do it.I love making a cache, describing it, and hiding it. I like finding one someone else has spent time and energy placing. Jeremy has apparently designed this site with a good deal of condideration in what would be enjoyable to the masses, and not just to a few purists.

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Guest Chris Juricich

OK, with geocaching, I like to FIND something at the end of my journey. This, to me, is just as important an aspect as the journey itself. Frankly, thus far, the journeys via GPS device have been relatively mindless walks-- though I greatly appreciate the scenery provided, but it's that scrambling around at the last looking for the cache and finding it-- that's the key for me.

 

Plus the exercise, getting outdoors, meeting new people, etc.

 

Now, if somebody goes for the virtual cache, I might not be as interested. Aagghh!!

 

I'm too much of a newbie at this activity to have developed any sort of ethos about it all. But the process on these boards-- now that's interesting!

 

From cmathis who is ardent in his disdain for commercial caches which would have street addresses... hey! That's how he likes it. Me, I'm still thrilled with the notion of finding ANYthing with my device! As mentioned, I'm already planning a Berkeley City Tour for my wife on the way to her final payoff cache-- a paid massage and hot tub at our favorite massage parlor!

 

No, I won't post it on geocaching, of course! But just illuminating an aspect of geocaching that could be fun!

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Guest Cisupete

Alright for you Chris !! (you don't have a single brother, do you?)

 

Anyway, for my 2 cents: When I first started reading this thread, I thought the idea of commercial/virtual caches was a bad thing. But now, I think people should be able to go for anything that "floats their boat".

 

I have to admit, I will be going to see the new "Planet of the Apes" movie, in large because of their imaginative and entertaining posts on this site.

 

Cheers, cisu.

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Guest Khao Mun Gai

I thought the coffeeshop cache sounded fine. I understood the "outcry" against it, but appreciated the idea of the cache nonethless.

 

As long as there is some amount of disclosure (as there was in the coffeshop listing) about the fact that its a place of business and the purpose of the visit then it seems fine.

 

I could see a "virtual cache" to a special dairy farm/ice cream shop being a pleasant diversion for a family during a summer day of "real" cache-hunting. I could also see a virtual cache for "My favorite restaurant in Paris" or "The best place to buy used science fiction in Bangkok" being useful and fun.

 

Lots of people post caches here - some caches are clearly more popular than others. The idea of exercise and an excuse to get outside appeals to most of us and those will likely continue to be the most popular caches, but don't deny the ENTIRE COMMUNITY the virtual caches just because you don't agree with them. Just like on television, if you don't like what you see, change the channel.

 

[This message has been edited by Khao Mun Gai (edited 26 July 2001).]

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Guest c.mathis

quote:
Originally posted by Chris Juricich:

From cmathis who is ardent in his disdain for commercial caches which would have street addresses... hey! That's how he likes it.


 

I'd like to reiterate that I'm not against ALL virtual caches. There are some good ones. If you would have read the Kern Coffee cache you would see what I'm against and why Jeremy had it removed from the web site. I'm not against a cache that has a street address per se. It's the end result of finding the cache. If it's only so you can buy something - it's "commercial".

 

[This message has been edited by c.mathis (edited 26 July 2001).]

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Guest bigkid

Let's flog a dead horse some more:

 

I was originally attracted to Geocaching for its simplicity:

1) Use the co-ord to find something

2) If you take something, you have to put something back

 

That's it.

 

Everything else that has started to emerge has been guidelines like:

1) Hiding caches only on public property, and with permission if on fed/state/park/private land etc.

2) No food, ammo, drugs, etc.

 

and so forth.

 

I think the main guideline is that it is "cool" which I don't even want to go into the dictionary reference for, it's usually subject to the geocachers themselves.

 

So strive for coolness, don't be a dork, and if by accident you are (and believe me, I already have been on more than one occasion), then be gracious and clean your stuff up.

 

Am I close yet or did I just pour gasoline on a raging fire?

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Guest NightTide

Commercial caches or virtual caches should be up front about what they are. I would be a bit ticked off if I drive 2+ hours or to a different state just to end up at a coffee shop and receive a by 1 cup get the second free coupon.

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Guest Chris Juricich

I concur (to some extent) with Night Tide. I mean, thus far, it would seem fairly apparent from both maps and the tenor of the cache web notice what you were getting into. Clarification would be helpful. Kind of like following the signs in the wilderness: pay attention and you'll get an indication of what is being provided. Commercial and virtual. All it might take, fortunately, tough, is one person to log in on a site to set the record straight.

 

"I went there and it was a frickin' dress shop, folks! And the cache was in the dressing room and there were these shrieks from the women...!"

 

Ahem.

 

Let's use our geocaching skills while at the

website-- just to start off on the right path!

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