Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Headed Southwest

Well, I'm headed to Lubbock tomorrow ! I'm not sure if I will get any caching done on the way down because I will end up leaving late. However, I do plan on some major caching once I get to Lubbock. My dad is working Friday, so I will be able to get out and cache most of the day Friday. I have also committed to taking my brother and my neices caching on Saturday.

If all else fails, I will cache my way home on Monday. I look forward to seeing my family and caching in Texas as much as I can !!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Return to Winter....

Wow, you never stop being amazed at Oklahoma weather ! I had hopes of getting out and geocaching this last weekend, in spite of the fact that there was a high percentage chance of rain. It's Oklahoma so if they are calling for a 100% chance of rain, chances are, it won't rain. Now, if there is only a slight chance....look out, it's coming a gully washer.

Well, they were right this time :( It has rained for three solid days now. Not that we didn't desperately need the rain, but that combined with the highs in the 40's definitely kept me indoors. All that said, some crazy people from SW Oklahoma came up for the TAG monthly meeting and found like 40 caches ! They are tougher than I.

On an even weirder note, it is supposed to snow tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday night. I don't think I've ever seen snow this late in the season here in the 13 years I've been here. Of course, it has yet to happen at this juncture.

I'm taking some vacation time later this week. I plan on heading southwest to visit my parents and brothers in Lubbock on Thursday. Of course, I plan on plotting an ARC and letting GSAK do it's thing. I probably won't do much caching on the way down, but once I get there, I will cache. I also plan on caching my way back to Tulsa. Hope everyone has a great week !!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Road Trip...

Well, not really. Road trip implies fun and this was a work trip. Not that I didn't have fun, I just didn't have as much fun as I would have if it had not been a work trip. Being that I only had time to do two caches in three days, I obviously was working too much. All that said, I drove down to Dallas Monday and returned to Tulsa today. I was determined to get a cache in Texas so that I could add another state to my map :D. Not to mention, I am a Native (yes, capitalized) Texan and it is a shame to be approaching 100 caches without a single Texas cache under my belt! I know, people get tired of how proud Texans can be but we can't help it. I can't, anyway. I spent the first 23 years of my life there. I would hope that most people are proud of their home and heritage.

The good news is that I won't hit 100 with only one Texas cache. I am returning to Texas next week on a true road trip to visit my family and I intend to do some serious caching around Lubbock. That reminds me, I need to run a Pocket Query for the area.

One good thing about this trip was that it gave me my first real opportunity to "cache along a route". As many post as you see on the geocaching forums about this topic, I assumed it was very difficult to do this. I couldn't have been more wrong. With the help of my already eastablished paperless method and a single website, it turned out to be quite painless. I had done some research and knew that I needed to use the ARC method and GSAK to isolate caches close to my route of travel. I also needed to have the caches along my route downloaded to GSAK.

I'll start with getting the caches loaded to GSAK. The easiest method I was able to find was to do PQs using zipcodes along my route. In other words, I looked at a map and wrote down the towns along the route. I googled the town names for zipcodes. For example, my search on google would be "Atoka zipcode". After gathering the zipcodes, I created pocket queries using these zipcodes that overlapped each other by setting the PQ search radius. Once this was done, I dropped the GPX files into GSAK and wallaa. (This really is less painful than it looks)

Next you need to filter using the ARC method. In GSAK, this basically means you need to copy and paste a list of coordinates into the filter under the ARC tab. Where do you get this list of coordinates, you ask? Well, I'm glad you asked that question because I have the answer. One way is to use MS Streets and Trips. Personally, I don't own that software so I used option number two. This involves heading over to Golden Horseshoe Geocachers website and loading up the ARC Builder page. This is an interactive map that allows you to click and create points along your route. Once you have all your points you want on the route, click on GPX File and you have what you need. Just copy and paste these coordinates and run the filter. I was amazed that it was this easy. Of course, I'm a computer geek so it seemed easy to me.

Back to the trip. On the way down, I was suprised at how sparse caches were through areas south of Tulsa. Of course, I did have my limit set to 5 miles from my path of travel. I guess I just expected more caches along a major hiway. I noticed an easy to snag cache in Calera Oklahoma, so I wandered of the beaten path by about 100 yards and grabbed "SCIFI-Stuff". That was it for that day as it was soon dark.

Today, I was preparing to depart Dallas to head home for Tulsa and I noticed that there was a cache about 2 blocks from work. It was "All by my Lonesome". I cruised over an judging by the name, it was obvious where the cache was located. I walked up to the cache, signed the log, and headed home. I feel much better now :)

Needless to say, I am very excited about the thought of geocaching around my old stomping grounds. The cache density is nothing like here in Tulsa, but it will keep me busy while I'm there. I would like to introduce some of my family to the sport at the same time. I'm sure my neices will love caching and I can't help but thinking my brother will like it as well since he is a gadget guy like me. If not, his wife is an IT person and I know she like gadgets !


Saturday, March 11, 2006

Beautiful Day to Geocache !!

We finally got out and did some caching today. Team ARC consisted of Robert, Mike and me today. We got started around 10:30 and we were able to find 3 caches in about 15 minutes right off the bat. The bad news is that I torqued the hell out of my knee on one cache. It was listed as a 4/4 and they were not lying. Between my knee and the pint of blood I lost from the thorns, I think it may need to be listed as a 5 on terrain !!

We ended up with 8 finds and 1 hide today. It was our first hide as a team and I hope to see it listed soon. I didn't find any pins today. I seem to have started a bit of a collection. My wife bought my a cork board to place them on along with my wooden geonickels. Well, I take that back...I did find one pic, but it was very religious and I ended up not taking it. I did find something cool today, though. At two of the caches we visited, we found some handmade pottery things. They were little ashtray type things painted in rainbow colors. I thing they were made by a younger person, but it was cool to find something handmade so I grabled both of them to add to my collection of stuff. Not sure what I will use them for but I like them :)

The weather was interesting today. It was warm...80ish..but we also had some thunderstorms in the area so there was some occassional sprinkles to cool us off. Most of the heavier storms were to the east so we just caught the edges. Hope everone has a great weekend. I am working from home tomorrow so my weekend is pretty much over. I have to head to Dallas on Monday, as well to meet with my counterpart for Texas. Should end up being a busy week, but I plan on catching a a cache or two while I'm there. I've already downloaded the caches in the area and just need to put the waypoints on my GPS.

Oh yeah, we also hid our first team cache today !!! It is called TARC Cache #1. Hopefully it will see approval in the near future.


Friday, March 10, 2006

It's On....

We have officially scheduled and planned a geocaching outing for tomorrow. The weather is supposed to be beautiful and I cannot think of anything that could possibly get in the way of our caching trip tomorrow ! Now to sit down with GSAK, my Palm TX, and my Lowrance H2O and get ready for the outing. I've downloaded my PQ, loaded it into GSAK and should be ready to transfer everything. Yes, I'm psyched about going caching tomorrow :D

On a related topic, I think I have become addicted to geocoins. My collection has grown to 5 metal geocoins and 3 wooden geonickels. I even participated in my first trade this week. I traded an Oklahoma TAG coin for a PCFrog coin. What was really cool was I traded with someone in the Netherlands, no less ! I've seen many people on the forums talking about geocoins and I really never understood the craze. Then I ordered my first geocoin, the Texas Bluebonnet coin designed by a fellow Texan names Chris Crake and when it arrived, I knew it was all over but the crying. I was hooked from the start. It will be hard to find a coin more beautiful than the Bluebonnet, but I will do my best to try ! Honestly, if you are going to collect something, it is hard to beat geocoins as most are around $10. It is an affordable hobby and some of these things end up worth a lot of money. I saw one on eBay go for almost $300 recently. Of course, I won't be bidding on coins like that but I will by new ones as they are issued for seven to ten dollars. The real fun is buying two and trading the second coin for another coin.

I will try to post some photos of my geocoins soon.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Happy Birthday...

to me :D Yes, I just had a birthday yesterday. It was one of the big one's, no less. I turned 40 years old. I'm officially past the half way point according to most statisitics. I want to be bummed out about that, but for some reason, I'm not. I think the average age of death for men is like 78 years old, which, of course would indicate that I am more than half way there. I guess I am pretty happy with my life up to this point. I was a Paramedic for 8 years out of high school. I moved to Tulsa to go to flight school because I wanted to be a pilot. I had spent a couple of years as a flight medic prior to that and it seemed like a natural progression to me, at the time. To be honest, I had wanted to be a pilot most all of my life. My dream was to be an Air Force pilot, but I never really pursued that because I had asthma so bad as a child and didn't think I had a chance.

Once I decided to pursue it through the private industry, I was very successful. After only three years, I had my private, instrument, commercial and CFI ratings. Of course, it was to good to be true. I started having neurological problems shortly there after and was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. That was the end of a dream for me. I could no longer legally fly an aircraft. I was afraid I would be bitter about it, but I never was. In the long run, I always felt that I was quite priviliged to have just have gone through the training and have spent so much time flying. My Dad once asked me if I regreted spending so much on my training when I couldn't use it and I had to tell him that I did not. I am very fortunate to have got to fufill my dream of becoming a pilot. Even if it was short lived, I accomplished something that I never thought I would accomplish.

What does this have to do with my birthday, you ask? My friends took me out the other night to celebrate and I sliiped out for a few minutes. While I was outside, an MD-80 passed overhead. At that moment, it truly hit me that I was not where I had planned to be at this point in my life. It hit me that I would never reach the goals that I had set out for myself 15 years ago.

None the less, I am so fortuante to be doing something I love. I have reached somewhere I never saw myself reaching with the company I work for today. In spite of my bad luck...I am very lucky.

All that said, I am going geocaching this weekend, come hell or high water !

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Ugh....I didn't even try to cache this weekend ! My friends took me out for my 40th birthday and I just kinda sat around and chilled this weekend.

I did watch a cool movies this weekend, though ! I watched "I walk the line" which is a movie about Johnny Cach and June Carter. It is a must see, in my opinion !