Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Who Is That Guy?

I found a geocache hidden near this statue in a small park in Kin Village (the cache shares the name of this post). The park is just a stone's throw off of route 329, and not far from gate two of Camp Hansen. You can click the picture for the full size version.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Where NOT to Hide a Geocache

Head Hard Hat tells it like it is.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Swag Giveaway

Erika Jean is having a giveaway of some goodies. Click here to check it out. She's giving away a bag of trinkets to put in Geocaches. Neat idea!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Indiana Jones Strikes Again

I took a stab at a new cache today after getting out of work early. It is a mystery/puzzle cache, and I solved the cipher very easily (a simple shift, with the name/clue given in the description). It's named after Indiana Jones, so I just had to give it a shot.

I had a bit of a walk ahead of me to get to ground zero, since the closest road travels through an off limits area. It was a nice walk on the beach, but the secluded spot left me with what looked like a bit of a climb, and I was all alone. I was worried that if I fell, I'd lay there with nobody to find me (and the tide would eventually come in).

Anyway, there were a couple of small caves to explore, and several nooks to search. I looked around for close to an hour, but all I got out of the deal were wet shoes and pants. Well; that's not true. I got to explore a very cool area, and the locals that I saw on the way were very nice (more kelp farmers).

Here's a couple of pictures (click for full size). Those of you familiar with the island may recognize this beach, since it's a little northeast of Kin Blue.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cabela's Disappoints

I made an online purchase last month, and I'm still waiting for it to arrive.

My wife told me that I have no room to complain, because I didn't bother to check on Cabela's
shipping methods prior to ordering.

I should have checked. It's been over a month, and I still don't have my lensatic compass that I ordered.

I prefer a lensatic compass, because that's what I was trained with (they're very handy). I can't believe that I still don't have it yet; a month is a long time for the USPS to be dallying around with a box that is probably the size of a coffee cup.

It makes me wonder why Cabela's doesn't use Priority Mail? Why would they send stuff to military addresses using a notoriously slow method? Don't they know that many of their military customers are avid outdoor enthusiasts? I guess I'm accustomed to the businesses I've dealt with in the past that DO use Priority Mail as their default shipping method for FPOs.

Cabela's has lost a customer. I'll use other online venues before I ever dream of shopping with Cabela's again. They have officially let me down, and I should have read the shipping description. Sound like a familiar gripe? How ironic, right?

UPDATE #2: I got a nice email from Ken Steffen, a Cabela's Executive Assistant. He stated that they were told by military postal system representatives that the method of shipping makes no difference once a package is in the military system, and that all packages are expedited by the military. He also stated that comments such as mine indicate otherwise (as would anybody with an FPO/APO address). I hope they do begin using Priority Mail in the future; their military customers will have a much better experience. Oh yeah; he said that they are sending me a replacement unit via Priority Mail, and that I don't need to send the first one back. Hard telling which one will get here first at this point, but my money is on Priority Mail. Thanks Ken; your efforts are appreciated.

UPDATE #1: It looks like an employee of Cabela's stopped by my blog to leave a snarky (and misguided) comment. I'm betting it's one of their IT guys that found my link to their site.

Domain Name
masergy.com ? (Commercial)
IP Address
64.47.54.# (Cabela's)
Masergy Communications
Continent : North America
Country : United States (Facts)
State : Nebraska
City : Sidney
Lat/Long : 41.148, -103.0633 (Map)
English (U.S.)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Geocaching Meme

I got this one from Erika Jean. Sounded like fun, so here goes:

1. What is your name?

2. What is your GC name?

3. What kind of GPSr do you use?
Garmin Colorado 400t

4. What is your favorite feature on your GPSr?
Paperless caching, or the ability to view the entire cache page on my GPSr, with the five latest logs.

5. What is your best memory of geocaching?
Finding my first geocache, after three tries.

6. What is the farthest from your house you've ever found a cache?
This island is only 60 miles long, and this is the only place that I've cached. Looks like 31.7 miles is the farthest.

7. What is the hardest cache you ever found?
Sinister Series#1- Ring Thing A difficulty 5 nano hide. Yep; it was a difficult hide for sure.

8. What is the most amount of caches you've completed in one day?

9. How did you get started in geocaching?
I read about it in 2002 and then forgot about it. A friend mentioned trying it last summer, and I just decided to "google it," and give it a shot. Before long, I was hooked.

10. What is the silliest mistake you've made while geocaching?
Leaving my bug juice in the car.

11. What memorable animals have you encountered on the trail?
The most memorable is probably a habu; the local species of venomous snake. There have also been plenty of spiders that were big enough to carry me away.

12. What is your favorite earthcache?
Haven't done any yet, and will not be able to until leaving Okinawa.

13. When do you geocache most often? (Season? Time of day?)
Usually weekends in the late morning. I've only been at this for right about a year, but fall and spring are the best here.

14. Who do you usually geocache with?
My kids, mostly, but a friend of mine is a newer cacher too, and we team up on occasion.

15. Have you ever logged a find on one of your own caches? If not, would you?
I never have, since it violates the guidelines (I was present when they were hidden), and it just doesn't seem right.

16. What is the most consecutive days you've gone caching and had a find?
Five days in a row.

17. How do you feel about people who "collect" trackable items?
If it isn't yours, don't keep it; that's still stealing. Collect pictures instead!

18. Is it all about the numbers for you?
No, but I'd certainly love to find more caches, and an upcoming trip to California will be a perfect opportunity to boost the numbers a bit. For me, it's mostly about the neat places I've found, and the hunt.

19. What have you learned since you started geocaching?
The list is long, but mostly that easy caches can be hard to find, and difficult caches sometimes just seem to jump out at you.

20. What is the most interesting travel bug or geocoin you have discovered?
"Cuckoo Cache," a grandfathered traveling geocache. That was neat; a travel bug tag attached to a geocache container.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

New Geocaching Guideline Changes

The fine folks that run the Geocaching website have decided to further restrict the guidelines for hiding a geocache. In the past, a certain category of cache, known as a puzzle or mystery cache, could have what was called "additional logging requirements," or ALR. ALR caches might say something along the lines of, "you must send the cache owner an email with the text of the plaque," or some other additional requirements in order to log a "find."

Groundspeak, the company that runs the website, has decided that many of the ALRs are getting out of hand, and they have completely removed the ALR aspect of the game. All cache hiders must remove any ALRs, but can keep suggested "optional" activities. Since the bulk of the ALRs were in place to either add some fun to the game, or ensure that someone actually found the container in question, this new rule stomps on the fun of many a cache hider.

The Groundspeak forum post on this topic is afire with hot debate over whether or not this is a good move. I think it's nannyish in its design, and it merely restricts the activities of some geocachers, while ensuring that a few others won't have to think for themselves.

Many a cacher was arguing that if they don't bother to read the cache description before trying to find it, they wouldn't be able to log a "find" with an ALR in place. I would ask, why on earth would you not read the description, particularly for a puzzle or mystery cache? That's like going to a Chinese restaurant, and then complaining that you can't order Italian cuisine, because you didn't bother to find out what type of restaurant it was prior to going. YOUR FAULT, NOT THE OWNER'S!

I'm sure that there are some behind the scenes convenience issues for the volunteer reviewers of the geocache listings. They will now have their volunteer hands full of complaints about whether or not a listing is a prohibited ALR cache listing. Good luck with that. The statement that many of the ALR caches were "absurd," is just as absurd. There are plenty of other types of caches that many would claim are absurd (lamp post skirts at a wally world?). These "absurd" caches bring the hider enjoyment too, remember?

I think that Groundspeak does, overall, a great job. This latest hand holding decision is just a bit much to agree with. What happened to the idea of, if you don't want to search for a particular type of geocache, don't search for it?

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Like an Oasis

It has been a while since I did any caching. I was finally able to stop on my way home from work on Monday afternoon and find a newly hidden geocache at a beach near Kin. The beach isn't far from where I work, and it was a two part "multi-cache." Part one wasn't very tough to find, but the surrounding materials were sharp, and I left a small blood sample.

Today, I was able to hit a few caches while out with my wife doing some running around in the Awase area. A couple were at some small parks, one was at a Japanese department store and a local was sitting right in front of it, so I couldn't even search for it.

The last one I found was at a large "sports park." There were kelp farmers there, and it was low tide. Apparently, there is a specific type of sea weed here (algae maybe?) that is used to wrap sushi rolls, and another type that is supposed to be very rare. This particular geocache was hidden in the roots of a tree that was covered in thorns. I gave another small blood sample there, and my wife and I were on our way.

It was nice to get out and about again, since the weather has been pretty wet lately. I've also been dealing with a problem with one of my feet. I'll have to hope it gets better soon, since I can't afford to be laid up on one hoof.

Here's some pictures from today (you can click for the full size versions):

It's low tide!

Kelp farming

At the park, but I can't read it

The Kin power plant in the background