Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Buddy Holly Shrine virtual

After visiting the virtual cache "Holly Shrine" on Aug. 11, 2002, I've kept it on my watch list. I'm always interested in the comments that cachers write about this place. The experience seems to have a significant impact on most of them. It's also very interesting to view the gallery of photos that have been uploaded to the cache page. The time of the year makes a profound difference in how the location looks. When I was there on a hot August day, the place was like a jungle with tall corn all around. Contrast that with the winter photos, where it appears you can see the cache from half a mile away.

If you haven't yet been to this spot, I recommend it, especially on a warm and quiet early morning in July or August.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Are you sure you want to say that?

Over the years, I have seen many cache owners add a statement like this to their cache page descriptions: "Please put the cache back exactly as you found it." However, it's been my experience that that's not the best way to keep a cache hidden the way you originally placed it. Consider what happens when a critter drags a container out of position. (It happens!) Also, it only takes one geocacher to leave a cache out in the open or slightly exposed. If all the subsequent geocachers put the cache back exactly the same way, the container remains out in the open until the owner eventually goes back for a maintenance check.

Here's a better way: prominently place a note inside the cache (such as on a laminated card) that describes exactly how the cache should be hidden. For example, you might write: "Please make sure the cache is concealed entirely inside the hollow tree and completely covered with pieces of bark." That way, each geocacher knows exactly the intent of the cache owner.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Not so much

Well, Windchill and I both overestimated how many new caches might be submitted yesterday. The grand total was
(drumroll, please)
That's right, zero. I guess the weather or at least the threat of weather made people more inclined to activities other than submitting new caches yesterday. I'm not complaining, just observing. I'm sure the pace will pick up again.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A day for hides?

Looks like snow and rain over the western half of the state today, but there may be geocaching activity in the east because of milder temperatures and (so far) no rain, so it's hard to predict how many new geocaches may show up in the Iowa queue today. Just for fun, I'll predict there will be four new caches submitted today. Check back to see how close my guess is.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Further clarification on the 528-ft rule

Hydee (from Groundspeak) recently posted a clarification for reviewers about applying the 528 ft. spacing rule for waypoints of multicaches and grandfathered virtual caches. I thought I would post it here to share what we reviewers are being told:
I am seeing some confusion and being asked a few questions. Let me see if I can clear it up with a few examples.

If you are reviewing a single stage cache and it is placed 200 feet from a grandfathered virtual cache does the saturation guideline apply? NO, we do not care where grandfathered virts or webcams are.

BUT...If you are reviewing a multi stage cache and stage two is a virtual stage and it is placed 200 feet from an existing cache does it matter? Yes. All new virtual stages and Webcam stages must meet existing requirements, but we ignore those that are grandfathered.

AND... If there is an existing multicache with a virtual stage, and someone hides a new cache 200 feet from that virtual stage, does it matter? Yes. The existing multicache's stages should be respected for the cache saturation guideline.
P.S. We just got back from Arizona about 90 minutes ago. Had a great time finding a few geocaches while there. From the air, I could see there's no snow cover over most of Iowa; just some in the NE corner.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Greetings from Tucson

Greetings from sunny Tucson, where we're spending a few days geocaching and rock climbing. I just spent the past hour reviewing Iowa caches at a local coffee shop here that has free WiFi. Technology is cool.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

2 strikes: cemetary vacation cache

There was a cache submitted for review this week that had two strikes against it -- either one of which was enough to disqualify it from being listed, and either one of which could be resolved if the owners so choose. The cache description says the owners were visiting Iowa for a funeral and decided to place a cache in the cemetary "to bring people there." They didn't state whether they received permission from the cemetary owners or caretakers (required for cemetary caches) or how they would maintain the cache (required for so-called vacation caches). I added a reviewer's note to ask them these questions. So far, no response.

P.S. We're leaving for a brief vacation to Tucson tomorrow. I have the PDA and GPS loaded with Tucson-area geocaches so we're set for a fun weekend. We also plan to do some rock climbing. I'll be checking the Iowa queue at times throughout the weekend, but maybe not as frequently as normal.