September 19, 2010

Road Trip

They say planning a trip is half the fun of the actual trip itself. So far, that seems to be true. A caching buddy of mine and I will be taking a few days off work soon to head north to try and find as many new caches as we can that fall within the boundaries of the individual pages of the Northern California DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer

For years, we've had this long-term goal of completing the California DeLorme Challenge (Northern) cache. And we figured while we're at it, why not simultaneously work on fulfilling the similar requirements of the Golden State DeLorme Challenge as well? Note that the latter cache does not allow you to claim caches found for the former, so we'll need to find a separate cache for each page of each DeLorme Atlas book.

To plan our little adventure, we're making use of every tool imaginable, including of course, the DeLorme Atlases themselves, GSAK and the handy little Challenge2 macro (that analyzes your cahce find data and reports/displays your progress on various DeLorme Challenges and USGS Quad Challenges for a range of geographic areas), Google Earth and the Geocaching Google Earth Viewer, and Google Maps to plan our route.

With just a few exceptions, my buddy and I need to find caches in roughly the same polygons as each other. But it becomes a logistical challenge trying to decide the best approach given our limited time frame. For example, should we do a big east and west zig zag across the state, or take more of an up and down approach? The more we delve into this, the more we realize that a straight shot up one route and down another is not an option, as we're going to be forced to venture out, and then double back, to the main trunk line just to make sure we cover as many DeLorme pages as possible. 

And then of course there is the dreaded page 62 to deal with - a DeLorme page that is about 95% Pacific Ocean and 5% land, and is home to a mere two caches:

Regardless, if the actual trip is half as much fun as the planning of the trip, then we're in for one sweet adventure.

Cache On!

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September 11, 2010

Schmoozing With Geocaching Superheroes

Well, I was completely out of my element last weekend when I attended a couple of geocaching get-togethers, and found myself surrounded by caching superheroes. 

First up was the Castro Valley Meet and Greet, hosted by one of the nicest geocachers you'll ever meet, IrishJen. The event attracted a virtual who's-who of East Bay Area geocaching lore, including the likes of oneangrypuppy (11698 found), Materus (22882 found),  BuckyD (3700 found), frivlas (11697 found), and the top dog,  Alamogul (45162 found). It was great listening to the exploits of such fabled geocachers while munching on pizza and enjoying the raffling off of a variety of top-notch schwag items.

Speaking of Alamogul, as if being in the presence of such legendary cachers wasn't enough already, many of us (and many others) were invited to descend upon Alamogul headquarters for barbeque and more story-telling and socializing. I wasn't sure what to expect as I stepped through the front doors of the Alamogul fortress - would I see walls lined with cache containers and cabinets full of GPS receivers? To my surprise, it was simply a nice, typical home. But then again, I didn't see what was hidden in the basement...

But as I stepped out onto the patio, it wasn't long before I realized I was truly in the presence of the upper echelon of the caching elite, many who traveled from far away to be here. I got to meet hynr, the author of some of the best GSAK macros anywhere, and Berkeley Boomers, author of the wildly popular Fifty Parks Challenge cache. Many other geo-studs and studettes were present, and it was a pleasure meeting them all. The food was pretty darn good, as well.

Cache On!

September 4, 2010

Why A Blinky?

Often times you'll run across a cache description or hint that states something like, "you're looking for a well-camouflaged blinky". Okay, fine. What does that mean? Am I looking for something that lights up, a reflector, or a traffic signal? 

Well, after finding enough of these things, I finally figured out that a blinky is another name for a nano cache (I tend to be a little slow on the uptake). But I've always been bothered as to why that is. Well, I finally found a decent definition from GeoLex that satisfied my curiosity: 

Blinky – Often used as another word for Nano. In reality, a “blinky” is a small light, using a button battery and micro LEDs. They are intended to be attached to clothing, or even as earrings. They come with a powerful base magnet, and a similar removable magnet, to allow it to be attached to clothing without the need of puncturing the fabric. The electronics and battery can be removed in order to create a Nano cache with a magnetic base.

Sounds like the perfect accessory from the 1980's. Glad to see they've found new life in the geocaching world.

Cache On!

(image courtesy of