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Thread: How do you plan a day of caching?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Orlando, Florida
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    Default How do you plan a day of caching?

    I am not sure if this is the correct place to post this question. If it is not, please let me know!

    How do you go about planning a day of caching?

    I have a book of Maine Scenic Drives and I plotted a route from it in to Google Earth, then uploaded that to geocaching.com to find caches along the route. I think I did something wrong, though, because the route my Garmin came up with to visit all of the caches was significantly different than my original route.

    Other than that one route, all of the caches we have found have been by chance. We have 500 nearby caches loaded in our Garmin (we used PQs and the GSAK software) and whenever we drive by one it beeps. If we hear a beep and have time, we stop and find the cache.

    I suppose I could drive down random roads and wait to hear the beep, but I would rather do something that takes us further off the beaten path. Any suggestions? Do you just go on geocaching.com, pick a spot on the map and hit all of them? Is there a more organized way to do this?

    Also, if you can suggest specific routes/areas in Maine we could plan geocaching day trips around I'd really appreciate it.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Bangor, ME
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    6,061

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    You should get several different responses to this question, we all approach it differently.

    I've come to my own conclusion that if you have an objective to go somewhere, then plot a route and do the caches you want along the way. Doing this has the disadvantage of missing a nice cache that might be just outside the limits of the route, and having to decide in a short amount of time if you feel a particular cache is worth stopping for at that time.

    But if your objective is to cache, then you should search for some caches that are the quality and style you'd like to search for, and adjust your route to those. The cache density of many areas makes it hard to decide while which ones strike your mood for the day while on the road, it helps to do a bit of homework ahead of time.

    GSAK makes it easy to browse through all Maine caches in a particular area, or you can use import PQs into Google Earth and look for potential caches in the areas you'd like to visit. (There used to be an add on for Google Earth so you could view all caches without loading a PQ, but that feature has just been removed from the site). You can also use the Geocaching.com maps.

    When I do go caching in state, I have all my unfound Maine caches loaded in the PDAs as well as the laptop if we take it. Now that I have a Nuvi, I load all unfound Maine caches on that as well. I load as many caches as I can onto the GPSrs, centered around the area I think I am going. This method allows us to change our minds and go in a different direction and still have access to all the caches.
    Last edited by brdad; 05-07-2009 at 09:58 AM.
    DNFTT! DNFTT! DNFTT!

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Hampden, ME
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    uhhhh........I think you covered it very well.

    Quote Originally Posted by brdad View Post
    You should get several different responses to this question, we all approach it differently.

    I've come to my own conclusion that if you have an objective to go somewhere, then plot a route and do the caches you want along the way. Doing this has the disadvantage of missing a nice cache that might be just outside the limits of the route, and having to decide in a short amount of time if you feel a particular cache is worth stopping for at that time.

    But if your objective is to cache, then you should search for some caches that are the quality and style you'd like to search for, and adjust your route to those. The cache density of many areas makes it hard to decide while which ones strike your mood for the day while on the road, it helps to do a bit of homework ahead of time.

    GSAK makes it easy to browse through all Maine caches in a particular area, or you can use import PQs into Google Earth and look for potential caches in the areas you'd like to visit. (There used to be an add on for Google Earth so you could view all caches without loading a PQ, but that feature has just been removed from the site). You can also use the Geocaching.com maps.

    When I do go caching in state, I have all my unfound Maine caches loaded in the PDAs as well as the laptop if we take it. Now that I have a Nuvi, I load all unfound Maine caches on that as well. I load as many caches as I can onto the GPSrs, centered around the area I think I am going. This method allows us to change our minds and go in a different direction and still have access to all the caches.
    Everyone has the right to be an idiot at times. Just don't abuse the privilege.

  4. #4

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    Like you, I have 900+ unfound caches loaded into my GPS all the time. Not being a premium member due to the amount of time I have to cache, I don't have access to the PQ's, rendering GSAK useless to me. (It's confusing anyway as I haven't taken the time to learn it) I just keep a map loaded with those 900+ caches and just remove the ones I've found. I'm sure PQ's would be much faster but it sounds like we do the same thing in keeping a bunch of locals loaded.

    I search and download about the first 30 screens worth of caches surrounding 04401 as I live in Brewer. I leave out puzzles, virtuals, and some multi's as I usually wont have printouts or cache info. I do the same for the other three zips where family members live, but I only download about 10 screens worth of each. Once I am done, to close out the gaps, I usually will pick a zip in the middle of the two areas to get some random ones. I usually update the map / GPS on a weekly basis so that I always have fairly current info. If I am going somewhere else, I'll create a map for that particular area and grab a few screens worth of downloads. Some of the pages I'll print, others aren't really needed.

    Again, I'm sure this is the hard way but where time is usually a factor for me, I try to pick one particular area and get everything around rather than long stretches along a route, primarily because once you get children napping in a car, you don't want to wake them up if you don't have to.
    There is a very fine line between 'hobby' and ‘mental illness'. ---Dave Barry

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Gainesville, Georgia
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    [QUOTE
    (There used to be an add on for Google Earth so you could view all caches without loading a PQ, but that feature has just been removed from the site). [/QUOTE]

    Yeah so much for the so-called 200 people who used it according to GCcom. I was among those who used it to.
    Just smile it won't crack your face

    The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four persons is
    suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best
    friends -- if they're okay, then it's you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Augusta, Maine
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    I go to geocaching.com and go to the home site. I click on the map icon on the right. I put a check in "omit caches I have found" and a check in "omit Caches placed by me". Next I use the "hand" tool to drag the map over the route I plan to travel and pick caches that appear along the route. You can click on them and read the description. If you want to do it I put it on a paper list. I will do this for the whole route, listing them one after the other. You can tell the quickest way to the cache as you do this. Your GPSr may tell you another is closer but you'll know better. I do those caches in the order of the list I make.
    This is good if you are picking an area to do. Pan out on the map and pick the quickest route to each cache. This saves a lot of time and stops a lot of backtracking and yo-yoing. (Is that a word?)
    Also, a list lets you add little notes on the caches you find, like "took TB, left TB ". It helps later, when logging caches in. If you log them in the order of the list, it becomes easy to keep your numbers in order.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
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    Thanks for the tips everyone!

    I think I'll give plotting something on Google Earth a try again, since it sounds like brdad has had success with it.

    The Google Earth caching screen sounds really neat! I'm sorry they removed it (

    masterson of the universe, I tried getting the coordinates the way you do but I didn't think to leave out the multi's, puzzles, etc. so there were a few times that I went to random coordinates and had no clue what to do, haha. Oops! It sounds like you have this down to quite a science, I'm impressed!

  8. #8
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    May 2009
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    Orlando, Florida
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapachi View Post
    Your GPSr may tell you another is closer but you'll know better. I do those caches in the order of the list I make.
    This is good if you are picking an area to do. Pan out on the map and pick the quickest route to each cache. This saves a lot of time and stops a lot of backtracking and yo-yoing.
    I'll try this!!! When I did this before I let my GPS re-calculate an optimal route. We ended up on a lot of backwoods roads. None were marked private, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were. It wasn't TOO horrible until we ended up on a dirt road... the day after it rained heavily... lol. We had to turn around and have the GPS re-calculate a new route.

  9. #9
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    Huntersville, NC
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    For me it is not an exact science. Sometimes, I just opt to go for the closest ones available. Sometimes, if we are going to a certain store or location I will try to find the caches that are closest to that particular spot. My wife and son, while they like to cache, aren't into it as much as I am so usually it is not the only project on any given day, just an added treat.
    "Keep on reaching for the stars. You may find that someday you can pull yourself out of the gutter."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Bangor, ME
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    6,061

    Default Custom Routes

    With Google Earth you are also limited to the closest or fastest route.

    With Google maps you can create custom routes which can be exported to GPX or KML and used in Google Earth or for gc.com PQs. I have done this on big trips, like our recent 2600 mile trip in the south. This way, you can select just what roads you will be on, which makes the proximity distance more efficient.
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