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 !


1 comment:

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