Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Premium Membership....

Well, I got signed up at geocaching.com for a premium membership. I have to say, even if there were no benefits to the premium membership, I would recommend signing up just to support the site and ensure it's availability for the years to come. I have had many hobbies through the years, but I truly love geocaching. The basic services that are provided to the free membership alone are worth the $30 dollar a year fee. I've not been anywhere on the web that provides this level of service for free.

I enjoy Navicache and Terracache, but the participation levels just won't ever equal that of geocaching.com. I mean, GC.com has over 230,000 caches listed and more than 24,000 cachers have logged more than 145,000 caches in the last 7 days !! That is just nearly impossible to top. The forums alone are worth the fee. I've learned more about geocaching reading the post on the geocaching.com forums than I've learned reading 100 other websites. The people their really know there stuff.

Now that I have made it clear that the free membership is well worth the $30 dollars, let's talk a little about the benefits that you receive when you sign up for the premium membership. I am a new premium member, so I have just scratched the surface of what is available to premium members. First and foremost, having a Pocket PC or Palm device will truly allow you to take full advantage of the premium membership.

The first benefit to having a premium membership is pocket queries. This allows you to download caches to your PC from GC.com based on numerous parameters that you chose. These queries can be sent to you up to five times a day, every day of the week, although, you would have to be a pretty hardcore cacher to need them that often. This feature is aimed at cachers that want to do paperless caching using a Palm Pilot or Pocket PC. I assume that there might be other uses for queries, but that is what I will use them for. I will probably set up a query to run every Friday for my weekend caching followed by a query the evening after I cache to update my finds.To take full advantage of these queries, you obviously need software to get them on to your handheld device. I will discuss some of those options in a later post. You can go with free software or shareware to accomplish this. Hint: you get what you pay for on this deal. It is doable with free software, but there is some very inexpensive shareware out there that makes a world of difference (GSAK).

The second benefit of being a premium member is the geocaching maps available on the GC.com website. These are really cool and well worth the money. They show the caches on a good quality map and you can zoom, pan, and print. Very nice !

Third is an unlimited number of watchlist. I really like adding caches to my watchlist if I DNF (do not find) the cache. When you have a cache on your watchlist, you receive an email evertime someone logs to the cache. This has resulted in me finding a cache that I DNF'd twice. I kept reading the logs of people that were finding the cache and once day someone said something that made something click in my mind as to where to locate the cache. Sure enough, I went out the next day and walked right up to the cache. Another advantage is seeing that others are unable to find the cache. This may clue you into the fact that the cache may be missing. That can prevent frustration and unneeded trips out to find something that is not there. With fuel prices as high as they are, this can be a money saver! Something else I enjoy is reading the logs of people that find the cache behind me if I placed something cool in the cache. It is really nice to read the response of a fellow cacher when they trade for a nice item I left in the cache.

Next is the Bookmark List and Ignore Feature. I have yet to try this out but it looks useful. I will report on it once I give it a shot.

Instant Notification Feature. If you like being the FTF (first to find), this is a must have! You can set up notifications based on a number of qualifications. You will receive notifications based on your selections instantly to your selected email address. If you use a cellphone email address, you can know immediately when a new cache has been placed in your area. Too cool.

The sixth benefit to a premium membership is members only caches. There have been some discussion on the forums lately concerning the merits of member only caches, but honestly, I like the idea. Some cachers want to reward those that support the site and place caches that are only visible to premium members. The plus side to this is that the caches "should" be of better quality and are less suseptable to being trashed out. Additionally, if a cacher is going to put an expensive FTF prize in the cache, they may initially set the cache to member only and open it up to the general public once the FTF has been claimed. I intend to do this with my next cache. I feel it is important to support the geocaching community and I will place a nice FTF prize to reward those that support the community. Once it is claimed, I will open it up to everyone.

There are a few remaining features, but you will just have to join to see them : ) Basically, I wanted to cover the most important features, and I think I have accomplished it here. $30 a year is not much to support a sport that we all love. Think about it, cut down on one soda a day for a month, and you have payed for your membership. Cut out one trip to McDonald's one day a month for 8 months, and you have payed for your membership. It may seem like a lot of money at the moment, but it is worth far more than $30 a year in my opinion.

Support the geocaching community and sign up for a premium membership soon !


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Geocaching with Team ARC Minus One...

Mike, Robert, and I had planned on getting out and diong some geocaching today. Unfortunately, we ran into issues early on. First, Robert ended up having to go into work to do some initial qualifications on some computers going into service in the morning (I'm very thankful that he took on that chore !). Next, when Mike and I met up at one of our work locations, they were having computer issues and we ended up spending an hour there working that out. Lastly, we had a software glitch that resulted in me being on the phone fora large precentage of the day while we attempted to geocache ! Somehow, we managed to grab 10 caches anyway. Once again, I forgot my camera !

After we got the computers up and running, we headed out to our first cache, "Where Do I Park". Trust me, it was named that way for a reason. When we figured out where we needed to park, we set out on a short hike across a retention pond area. Once we were in the area, we quickly spoted the cache. We signed the log, hiked back to the truck and headed off to the next cache.

"Hidden Park" was next on our list. This was one that was difficult to figure out how to access. Once we found a way in, it was just a short hike to the cache. It was an easy find and Mike saw it right away. As always, keep your eyes open for things that just look out of place ! We did not take anything on this cache, but left several foreign coins and signed the log. We walked back to the truck with 15+ dogs barking at us.

The next cache "Would be Prophet" was actually very close to the last cache. Unfortunately, there was a fence between us and the cache so we had to drive around to this cache. This one was a virtual cache where we had to locate the headstone of a "would be prophet". It was an interesting find in that it was the headstone of a very famous person who had started his adult life as a preacher. I had no clue he was buried in Tulsa.

At this point, we were thirsty so we headed to Quik Trip for some Gatorade. After filling up on some liquids, we headed for "East Park Tract". I have never experienced that many dogs barking at me all at once. It sounded like a dog symphony or something. To say the least, we located this one quickley, signed the log and got out of there ! The cache was pretty wet as well and some of the stuff had rusted.

Next up was "Troll Bait". This one is just down the street from work and is in the same parking lot as my very first find. This was one of those caches that you can drive right up to and walk about 15 feet to locate. I grabbed a cool wooden signature nickel and traded an Incredibles squeeze light on a carabiner.

"West Bank" was an interesting cache located on the west bank of Mingo Creek. We had a wino on a park bench that we irritated with our presence. After he got up and left, we were able to locate the cache and make our trades.

We went on to find "A Hole in One", "Lunchtime Cache #18", "End of the Road #16", and "Wizmedic's Quicky Cache II". I ended up with some neat trade items like a Geocaching.com pin, a Texas Numismatic Association medal, and a sig card from iculungman. We had a great day all-in-all. Hopefully, next time my phone won't ring 50 times with work related calls !!

We logged63.1 miles in 2 hours and 14 minutes in Mike's truck.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Paperless Geocaching

I have ventured into the world of paperless geocaching....on the cheap. There are many different ways to do paperless geocaching. Most of which require either a premium membership to geocaching.com and software that you have to pay fro such as Cachemate and GSAK. I want to try paperless geocaching, but on a free basis. I was quite pleased to find that it was doable. However, it takes some time and work to accomplish. If you are a penny pincher like I am, that will be okay.

What I want to do with this post is show you how to cache paperless without paying for a membership or extra software. Obviously, the first thing you need is a Palm device of some sort. I am using a Palm TX. You can get away with a device of much less expense. I see people posting to the geocaching forums using Palms that cost less than $30 on eBay. If you don't have a Palm device, I highly recommend searching on eBay for one. Just be sure you check feedback ratings and from what country you are purchasing. I highly recommend a feedback rating of at least 98% and either Canada or the USA for the country.

Once you have your Palm device, you will need to download and install some freeware software. The program you will need is Plucker Desktop for your PDA and your desktop. This program will grab the cache pages, convert them to a format readable on your Palm device and transfer them to your Palm.

Once you have the software installed, you can use Plucker Destop to save the cache pages and transfer them to your PDA. Once on your PDA, you can open them with Plucker. The pages should look just like they would on your home computer depending if you have a color PDA or not. My PDA is color, so the cache page on my PDA looks just like it would on my home computer.

Okay, we have now suceeded in getting the cache pages to your PDA. Next we need to get your waypoints to you GPS. I use GPSBable and EasyGPS to accomplish this. Both are freeware programs. Geocaching.com allows non-members to download .loc files to their computers. I find it easiest to search based on zpcode and check off caches on the search page. I then select "download" and transfer the .loc files to my computer. I open them with EasyGPS and convert them to the Lowrance format, .usr, using GPSBabel. Once that is done, I transfer them to my GPS SD memory card. I now have the waypoints on my GPS using the standard GCXXXX format and I have the cache pages on my PDA named in the same GCXXXX format. I can look at the map on my GPS, decide which cache is closest, pull up the related cache page on my Palm TX and head for the cache !

That's pretty much it. In other news, I am in the process of buying a premium membership and some of the pay for use software, so I will let you know how that goes, as well. I should end up with the same results I get in the above article. It will just be less tedious !


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Geocaching Tools

One of the most frequent questions I see on geocaching.com is "What should I Carry When Caching/". There are thread after thread discussing what people carry when out caching. I will start this off by discussing what I carry when I go geocaching. I recently purchased a cheap fanny pack at an Army Surplus store to carry my caching "goods" in while out caching. I think it cost me a total of about $9. I quicky disocovered that I needed a "butt" pack to accompany my fanny pack. A butt pack is a military issued pouch that attaches to a belt, such as the one on my fanny pack, and is about 6 inches, by 10 inches. They run about $3 at an Army Surplus store. See below for my list of what I carry:

  • Fanny Pack
  • Swag(also known as trade items)
  • Cache restocking items like spare notepads
  • GPS, of course, iFinder H20
  • Friends to keep me company
  • Gatorade...I always need something to drink!
  • Cache printouts, although, that is about to change(paperless)
  • Cellphone, just in case
  • Pen, to document my finds on the log and my cache printouts....I can't remember everything !
  • The Groundspeak Geocaching Printout in case I run into any police
  • Zip lock bags in case a cache is wet
  • Signature items
  • digital camera

That sums up what I carry. Now for some items that other cachers carry:

  • a hand towel to dry soggy caches
    extra ziplock bags
    extra pencils
    extra batteries
    a notebook to help me remember condition of caches and what I traded
    a separate container or bag or something for TB's so they don't get lost in the shuffle of stuff
    kleenex would have been useful today

  • a pair of tweezers (for getting logs out of very small containers)
    a mirror (for looking where you don't want to put your hands first)
    a flashlight
    a multi-tool
    my digital camera and an extra battery for it
    a "bag of swag"
    plastic bags for carrying out trash, cans, and bottl

Monday, January 23, 2006

Useful Geocaching Information..

I got the SD card from Mike today at work and posted the pics from this weekends geocaching, As you can tell, we had a lot of fun. Stories are great, but I think photos add so much to a post. It helps to be able to visualize the location and people involved ! By the way, my second cache should be ready to hide this next weekend. It will be a small cache in a decon container. Now to decide where to hide it.

No, that wasn't the useful geocaching information. Up until now, I have stuck to posting about my adventures geocaching. I've only found fifty caches and placed one. I am still very much a newbie. But, I am learning a lot along the way. I have also learned much just hanging out at the forums at geocaching.com. Not to mention, the wealth of information I've picked up visiting hundreds of various websites. In the near future, I am going to start posting articles on geocaching here on the blog. Most of these articles will be about things I've learned or experienced while geocaching and compilations of information I've picked up from forums, websites, and blogs. Of course, I will properly credit and gain permission when necessary but I don't intend to do a lot of direct quoting. Mostly, it will be editorializing of what I encounter. I will also include reviews of equipment, websites, and blogs. One thing I've noticed is that the forums seem to contain the same questions over and over. I hope to compile some of that useful information in an informal FAQ type posting.

My intent is to make my blog more useful to my readers. Right now, GPSOkie's is purely for entertainment value....hopefully, in the future it will still be entertaining but contain some useful information, as well. You will see some new categories on the right side column where I will place permanent links to these post. The categories will include "Reviews", "FAQs". and "Articles".

All that said, keep reading about my geocaching adventures, as well !

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Team ARC Rides Again...

Well, minus one of our team members, anyway. Robert was in OKC attending a birthday party so that left Mike and I to get me my 50th find. We had a beautiful day for geocaching once again. It was a bit cool, but other than that it was great. We met up and loaded my stuff into Mike's vehicle. Unfortunately, I left my camera at home, so no photos for tonight. Mike did have his camera and we took photos, but I will have to get them from him before I can add them to the blog. After a quick errand, we were off to find our first cache...or so we thought.

We parked about .2 of a mile from "Skullcracker" and took of walking. From the discription of the cache, we were able to spot the likely hiding area from a ways off. Once we arrived, we started looking. The cache is hidden amongst a bunch of large rocks so there was many potential hiding spots. After 30 minutes of searching, we finally gave up. We had a mission and didn't want to spend too much time if the cache was truly missing.

After walking back to the vehicle, we plugged in the coordinates for the next cache, "Action Packed". As we were arriving at this cache, I realized that we would have to walk right by "All Keyed Up" to get to our destination. Since Mike had not found "All Keyed Up" yet, we swung by there and he located it quickly. As we continued down the trail to the next cache, we seemed to upset a large dog in someones back yard. He barked the whole time we were walking to the cache. The two caches are located along a stream that runs through a residential area. The property belongs to the city but there are houses located on both sides of the stream. It is pretty heavily wooded, though. Once we were in the cache area, we located the cache quickly. It was an action figure themed cache so we just signed the log. I may have left a foreign coin, but I can't remember now.

Next up was a new cache called "Please CITO Me". CITO stands for "Cache in, Trash out". It is part of geocaching in which all geocachers should participate. When geocaching, you should carry a garbage bag with you and pick up trash to carry out of the area. Once we parked, we again had a long walk to reach the cache and there was significant elevation changes on the way. We got our exercise on this one! As we closed in on the cache, we figured out that it was in an area of heavy brush and trees. I have to say this is the worst encounter I have had with thorn vines. It took a little while to cover the last few yards to the cache. The cache was well hidden but I look in what I thought was the most obvious spot and there it was. We signed the log, left a foreign coin, and took nothing. We quickly found a route out of the brush that was a heck of a lot easier than the one we took in.

"Lunchtime Cache #17" was a quicky cache that was right off a major road. This one required no exercise and was only 15 foot from the car door. This was a micro, so we quickly signed the log and headed out. We had wanted to get some caching supplies, so we headed over to a local army surplus store. Mike bought a couple of ammo cans and I grabbed a Decon Kit to use for a small cache. We also picked up some inexpensive cache items to place in the cache. I got out for less than $6 in caching supplies. I was suprised that the Decon Kit was only $2 !

Our final cache for the day, and find number 50 for me, was "Centinial". This was a virtual cache located in downtown Broken Arrow. It was a set of life size bronze statues representing a family; Mom, Dad, and Boy. Once you locate the virtual cache, you have to email the owner of the cache and tell them what the boy is holding. We wrapped things up after finding this cache so Mike could get to a dinner he had planned and I could go home for dinner, myself.

It was a nice, relaxing, slow paced day of caching that was truly enjoyable. It was nice to reach another milestone and I look forward to my next milestone, cache 100.

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Friday, January 20, 2006


I didn't get to hunt for ANY caches in the DFW area this week. I had really hoped to find at least one cache and even had printed off a cache sheet for a cache about .2 of a mile north of my hotel. Alas, it was not to be. My intent was to hunt it down last night when I left work at 5pm but I ended up sitting in our HR department until after dark. Today was a repeat of last night and I ended up rushing out of town to get back to Tulsa in time. Oh well...next time, I guess.

In the mean time, I'm printing off a load of cache pages and Mike and I are going caching around noon tomorrow. I should be able to easily hit my 50 finds milestone today. Pics and such to follow.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Dallas Bound....

Well, I'm sitting here in Dallas in a hotel writing to my blog from my PDA. I'm here on business, but you can bet I will find at least one cache while I'm here! I'll let you know how it goes : )

Monday, January 16, 2006

Interesting Story

I was a t a meeting at work today and after the meeting, on of my co-workers came up and set a coin down in from of me. She asked me if I'd ever seem a coind like that before. I knew immediately that it was a coin much like some of the coins that I had left in some caches. I said "yes" I recognized the coin. I asked here where she had found it and she just smiled at me. Next, I asked her if she had found it in a cache and she said "yes". Come to find out, she and here family have been caching for some time. Her brother collects coins so she had picked it out of the cache. Apparently, she had figured out some time ago that I was GPSOkie and was just waiting for the opportune time to clue me in that she knew I was a cacher, too. Small world !!!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Geocaching with Team ARC

This was the second weekend geocaching as a team. We decided to adopt the name Team ARC. I'm sure we will have our core group (Mike, Robert, and me) geocaching together most of the time, but there will be others that cache with us on an occassional basis. I say this because there are others at work that have expressed an interest in joining us for a day. Everyone is always welcome to join us as I go by the idea "the more the merrier".

Robert, Mike, and me started of this morning around 10:45 and set out on our first hunt. It was a Multi-stage hunt located in Bixby Oklahoma. Well, at least, it is listed as a multi, bit I think it was more of a puzzle cache than multi as we had to travel to different locations and gather clues to decode our final destination. The cache we were hunting for is called "Bixby History Tour". We headed to the first clue and found it quickly. We went through each clue relatively easily until we had decoded all the numbers for our final coordinates. I punched them into the GPS and it told us we were 5.1 miles north of our final destination. Hmmm...this was a little concerning as all the clues were in a fairly concise area. Off we went to check out our coordinates. When we arrived, we were obviously in the wrong spot. We decided to try and figure out where we had gone wrong. To make a long story short, we ended up checking two different final coordinates and neither was correct. This was not how we wanted to start our day. We had burned two hours and had yet to find a cache. My goal was to locate ten caches bringing my total up to 50.

After giving up on the puzzle cache, we head over to "Bentley Park". This was a nice cache hidden near a sports complex. I was glad it was winter as it would have been a bugger getting to it in the summer! Mike spotted the cache first and grabbed it for us. I saw a BLM pin that I wanted and Mike wanted a Statue of Liberty Patch that was in the cache. I traded a travel bug called "Thomas Whistle" and Mike traded a foreign coin. As a side note, it appears I have violated a geocaching rule without knowing it. (I just read a post on the geocaching forums about travel bugs not being trade items. I had never thought of it, but it makes sense now that I read the post and thought about it. Travel bugs are for moving, stuff you buy is for trading.) All of us signed in on the log and we moved on to the next cache.

We headed for Lake Bixhoma for our next cache. This is a lake located southwest of Bixby and I believe it is their water supply as well. I had been there once before to hunt fossils. It has an exposed are which was once a shallow coral reef and there are lots of criniod stems and brachiopods to be found. Once we parked the vehicle, we were off to find "Megan's Stash Cache". First off, let me say that this is rated as two stars on terrain. Well, it's two stars if you take the correct path to the cache ! Unfortunately, I think we took the four star route. The end result was me falling and taking a chunk out of my knee and having to stop and catch my breath. It was quite a climb up to where the cache was located. About 80 feet or so higher and we were there. This was a very nice cache that was in great condition and well hidden. I didn't do any trading but Mike made a trade for a signature card. Once we had placed the cache bak in it's hiding spot, we hiked back to the truck. We took the easy way back this time. It was about 1:30 by now so we decided to catch lunch on our way to the next cache.

After a quick bite to eat, we headed east to south Broken Arrow. The next cache was located in Ray Harrel Nature Park. The name of the cache was "Beaver's Playground". I assume it was named this as there are plenty of beavers in the area. It appears that they have built habitats to to encourage the beavers to stay in the park. This cache would have been easier if we had read the cache discription or looked at the map at the enterance of the park! We did neither and the result was a much longer walk than expected. THe walk was through rough terrain, as well, so we certainly got our exercise. Once we figured out our mistake and made it around to the right side of the beaver pond, the cache was a quick find. Unfortunately, the ammo can had leaked at some point and the cache was damp. The log was dry enough to sign, but we made not trades. We hiked back to the truck and punched in the coordinates to the next cache which we knew was close. Little did we know, we had walked past the next cache, "Cache #1", on the way to the last cache. That got a good laugh out of Team ARC. At the request of the team, I went ahead and put in the other cache in the area, "St. Patrick's Pot of Gold", and sure enough all three of the caches were in the same park ! We made quick work of the remaining two caches. While we were at the last cache, we heard a woman hollering at us from across the beaver pond. Although a bit startled, we hollered back. She wanted to know if we had found it and we immediately knew she was a cacher as well. She walked around the pond while we signed the log and made our trades and met us at the cache. She was one half of the team known as The Sooners. After introductions, we had a really nice visit with her about caching. Her and her husband have over 1000 cache finds and over 100 hides. It was great to meet up with a very active cacher ! This was a nice cache run getting us lots of photos and 3 caches and the opportunity to visit with a fellow cacher.

Once we wrapped up at Ray Harrel Nature Park, we headed back toward Bixby for the final three caches. I won't bore your with the details, but we were quite tired by this time and we got skunked on our last three caches. We decided to call it a day with my count up to 45. Not a problem, I will hit 50 another day !


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Caching Through the Snow...Part II

Okay, I didn't actually geocache in the snow today, but I would have loved to do so !! Unfortunately, work was my first priority today and between that and trying to round up a couple of troublesome prescriptions, I was pretty much occupied from dawn to dusk. It is hard to believe that it was 74 degrees two days ago and this morning we have nearly 2 inches of snow in some places.

The good news is that it will be back up in the 60's this weekend, just in time for more geocaching ! I think we are going to do another team hunt like last weekend but with one more person. I would like to get at least 10 caches this weekend so I can break the 50 mark. I'm also thinking about putting together another cache. I might go with a small cache this time as I've found several places I'm interested in placing a cache.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

My Best Day Geocaching Yet

I hope you are up to a long post ! I found a record 8 caches today...well, it was a record for me, anyway. I had to go into work for a while today and one of my friends, Mike, was going to be there as well. You remember Mike, right? He was one of the people involved in rescueing me when I locked my keys in my truck. I had told him yesterday that when we were done at work, we should go do some geocaching. He had expressed an interest earlier about trying out geocaching. Shortly after I arrived, Mike and his son Josh arrived with another friend of mine, Robert. We did our work and finished that up around one thirty or so. Since Robert rode in with Mike and Josh, he got to go caching along with the rest of us.

The night before, I had done a search for geocaches in the vicinity of work. I filtered out the micro caches. I enjoy micros okay, but I didn't want to mess with them when I was taking people out that hadn't cached before. I think I ended up printing out about 15 geocaches or so.

The four of us loaded up in Mike's Suburban with the GPSr and the printouts. Unfortunately, I left my camera in my truck! We headed off to our first cache of the day. It was "East Tulsa Travel Bug Institute". When we arrived, there was little activity in the park. There were just a couple of kids playing with a soccer ball and they were not near the cache area. I was really suprised that there were not many people out today as it was almost 70 degrees. It is very rare to have weather this nice in January. We walked toward the trees where the GPS was pointing us. We ended up having to circle around to get to the cache. I was the first to spot the cache and Josh retrieved it for us. The cache was in good shape and contained two travel bugs. We left the bugs as I already have one that I am delinquent in moving along. We signed the log, took nothing, and left a 1959 foreign coin.

I have been leaving a lot of foreign coins lately and you may have noticed. I don't think this is a "normal" trade item as you don't see stuff like that very often (unless you cache behind me). They are not excessively valuable but some of the older ones I trade do have some value to them. I never really intended to use foreign coins as a frequent trade item. I collect coins and I'm facinated with foreign coins as some of the shapes and designs are great. The first time I left a foreign coin was kind of an accident. I went caching one time without my usual trade items (I had left them at home) and when I got to the first cache, I discovered they were missing. Well, I wanted to be able to trade and I noticed I happened to have a small ziplock of these foreign coins with me so I used them as trade items that day. I had no clue that I was going to get the responses I got ! Over a week period, I recieved multiple emails about how much people had enjoyed the coins I had left. I think this will end up being a bit of a signature item for me. Even when I carry the usual swag, I will trade the coins as well. I'm trying to come up with a way to incorporate foreign coins into a signature item with my name and location on it.

Next, we headed towards "Jingle Feldman Park". The challenge of this geocache was finding a place to park! You would think that a park would have SOME type of parking. No such luck. We took a short walk to the cache and Mike spotted this one first. We took nothing, left nothing, and signed the log. The three new geocachers with me seemed to be having fun at this point.

We loaded back up and drove a short distance to "Hot Wheels Exchange". This one proved to be more challenging to find. Our search resulted in major dog barkage as we were in a retention pond area and the cache was located near someone's back yard. We spent about ten minutes looking for the cache and were about to give up when Robert spotted the cache. We were so close but at the same time not even close. I can't explain without spoiling the cache hide. Robert retreived the cache. The cache had a really cool sig item in it. It was a coated foam promotional item shaped like a car. It was a promotion for Lowrance's iWay GPS. it had the name of the cache owner (BasicPoke) and a date on it. We snagged it and traded several foreign coins.

We proceeded just down the street to "Road Block on 19th Street". I can't remember who spotted this one first, but we found it quickly. There was a wooden signature coin in this one and I traded some foreign coins for it. We signed the log and replaced the cache.

Next up was "Tulsa Cache". It was a neighborhood cache. In other words, it was located in a residential area. We were able to drive right up to this one and I immediately knew where to look for the cache. Josh retreived the cache and brought it over. We signed the log and took nothing.

The next cache was just a short distance away. We drove to the general vicinity and parked in the parking area. We got out an walked towards the cache. Josh noticed something out of place and was able to quickly recover "McCullough Park" geocache. We signed the log and left a foreign coin. We took nothing.

We then drove over to "Bur Oak". This was the first REAL exercise we got geocaching today. We parked .3 of a mile from the cache and the walk required some significant elevation change. it also entailed crossing a small river...or creek. Most of us used the pedestrian bridge, but Mike choose to brave the rapids and cross on foot. This cache was in some pretty heavy tree and ground cover and took quite sometime to find. I think the coordinates are a hair off, but it could have been the tree coverage that was messing with my GPSr. One of the neatest things about this cache was the cache container. It was some tubular surplus container with a waterproop o-ring seal. Mortar container? I wish I had brought my camera ! On this cache we took nothing and left more foreign coins. (Yes, I have quite a supply of these coins).

Next up was "Eastland Cache". This was quite an adventure. We approached the cache from the wrong direction....and that is an understatement !! We didn't realize that this cache could be approached from a park to the east and we ended up approaching it on foot from the west. It was .2 of a mile through some very rough undergrowth. I am scratched up from head to toe because of all the thorns we walked through on the way to this cache. Robert and Josh ended up out in front of mike and I and found the cache first. Again, another cool tube like container. This one was made from PVC. It was painted in cammo and must have been in plain sight or it ould have been very hard to find. We signed the log and Josh took some Final Fantasy magnets and I left more foreign coins. We took the long way back to Mike's Suburban to avoid some of the thorns. I think both Mike and I were bleeding pretty good at this point : )

Last but not least, was "You Got Mail". Imagine my suprise when we walked through all those briars to get back to Mike's vehicle and I punch in the coordinates for this cache and it is almost right on top of the last cache !! At this point, we were not about to walk a half a mile round trip back through that stuff. We got back out on the road and tried to find a better approach. Sure enough, there was a park to the east of the cache and we were able to park and hike to the cache with minimal thornage. Interestingly, we were hiking throught the woods and encountered a couple getting aweful friendly with each other. Guess they weren't expecting geocachers near sunset : ) This cache was unique in that it was a mailbox nailed to a tree. We took nothing, left a foreign coin, and signed the log.

All in all a great day !! Both Robert and Mike are great friends of mine and I truly enjoyed spending time with them and Josh. I logged my finds to night as found by Team Arc. I hope that we will get to do much more caching together in the future. I think we all had a great time and I think I converted a couple of muggles : ) Actually, Robert text messaged me and he has already signed up for an account at Geocaching.com. You can see his profile here. To have friends and family is to be truly blessed.


I just cannot believe that weather we are having right now! It is the first week of January and it is supposed to be in the mid-seventies tomorrow. I am not going to complain, of course, because it is perfect geocahing weather. I have a project in progress at work, so I have to work tomorrow, but afterwards, I am taking at geocaching newbie out for his first hunt. I am in the process of printing off caches right now. I am printing of about ten caches and hopefully we can hit five or so tomorrow. Of course, I will post an update tomorrow evening about what we found :)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Great day to Geocache

I can't believe it is this nice the day after New Year's. It was up around 55 degrees and a perfect day for doing some caching. I had some errands to take care of, so once again I incorporated them with geocaching. I ran two errands first and then headed towards my first cache. It was located at on of the many retention pond parks located around Tulsa. It is called "Lunchtime Cache #26". I parked the pickup and started walking towards the cache. As I got about half way there, I had the general area picked out where the cache would likely be located. Unfortunately, it was covered up with muggles. I hung around a bit, but they were not going anywhere soon. I decided to pack up and move along to the next cache. I can't blame the muggles as it was a beatuiful day and a park was the place to be.

Next, I was off to find "All Keyed Up", a theme cache. When I parked the vehivle, I noted that I was .4 of a mile from the cache. Hmmm...I wondered if I was parked in the right spot. This was located in a nice little park and I could tell it was at the furthest most reach of the park. At least, I hoped it was still in the park. I needed the exercise, so I took off walking. As I reached the back of the park, it was apparent that it was located in a wooded area just ahead. As I started into the wooded area, I became aware of a ravine and a creek ahead of me. I sure was hoping that it was on my side of the creek. At I approached, it became apparent that the cache was not on my side of the creek! So, I kicked into "problem solving" mode and began looking for a route across the creek that wouldn't result in my early demise. After a few minutes, I did locate a low spot in the ravine. I quickly discovered that it was going to be an easy crossing. The creek even had stepping stones to cross to the other side. After making my crossing, it was just a matter of getting up the other side as my GPS was indicating tha the cache was "on top". I made my way up and discovered a parking lot about 100 yards away. Oh well, like I said, I needed the exercise. It only took a few minutes to locate the cache after that. It was a key chain themed cache and I had brought a Dachshund key chain to trade. I ended up taking a non-themed item. There was a really cool pin in the cache for the US Department of Interior in the shape of Utah. After making my trade, I started the hike back to the truck.

By the time I had reached my truck, my back was killing me. I was hurting bad enough that I wasn't sure I was going to make it to the truck! As a side note, I've known that I had a ruptured disk in my lower back for some years now but the pain comes and goes so we have never done anything about it because I am well far more than I am in pain. Recently, they did another MRI on my back and discovered that I have a total of four ruptured disk. Three of them are up high between my shoulder blades. I'm having a procedure on the 13th to hopefully alleviate some of the issues I'm having with my back.

Anywho, I decided to call it a day as it was getting late and windy. If you have been following any of the nation news networks, you are probably aware that the whole state is currently on fire. If a LEO sees someone even throwing a cigarette out the window, they can arrest them. Hopefully, we will get some rain in the future and be done with this fire hazard stuff! I have a friend who is a voluteer firefighter and he has been working non-stop fighting grass fires.

I logged 38 miles in one hour and seventeen minutes today.