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  1. 10 likes
    Got to thinking about us all here in the area. Here's what I've come up with so far... HGCS / SETX defined: Some people love to sit around gawk at coins and TBs. Others just don't get path tags and coins and trackables. Some people love to talk about geocaching. Some just want to GO geocaching. Some of us love social events. Others see social events as cliquish and useless. Some people love to solve puzzles. Some people think puzzle caches were invented just to torment. Some people love to test themselves physically to find a cache. Some think caching should never be physical work. Some among us love to test our ability to find well disguised or clever hides. Some among us love to create clever well disguised hides. Some among us love to be the first to sign the log of a new one. Some could care less about FTFs. Some among us love to power cache and log as many as we can. Some hate the notion of power caching (numbers run). Some among us would aspire to find every cache hidden on the planet. Some of us really have no clue how many we've found and don't care. Some of us bike, wheelchair, kayak, skin-dive, or stroller our way to caches. Some of us will only PnG w the car. Some of us see a place for skirt-lifter or lamp post caches. Some of us think LPCs are a useless menace. Some among us love trees and trails. Some among us hate trees and trails. Some of us want to help teach and guide newcomers. Some of us think newcomers should discover and figure it out on their own. Some of us LOVE to find difficult caches. Some of us just want to find easy Park and Grabs. Some of us want help clean our waterways and parks. Some of us never go to waterways or parks. Some of us love to geocache at night. Some think geocaching at night is dumb and asking for trouble. Some of us pursue challenges. Some of us cannot understand why anyone cares about challenges. Some of us think caching and kids are a perfect match. Some think caching and kids don't really mix. Some of us love caching w Dogs, Cats, birds or monkeys. Some don't really like pets. Some of us LOVE pink flamingos Some of us just don't love pink flamingos. Some of us are, uh, older. Some of us are quite young. Some among us narrowly define geocaching. Some of us believe geocaching defies narrow definition. I give up! We are like a good campfire stew. But, I wouldn't trade any of it. If I were to relocate I would miss it terribly. We are HGCS. We happen to live in SETX. A varied collection. A true melting pot. Like it or not, we are Geocaching. Personally, I think we are just fine. (Edited to correct bad formatting from Phone App used to post.)
  2. 7 likes
    I received a DNF on one of my caches in Rosenberg yesterday. Kirbydox Left Between H and I. The cache has been out for 3 years and I have NEVER had to replace it. Since I was at my computer at the time, I immediately sent a message to this cacher to look again because it is not your typical light pole cache and not an easy cache for a newbie. They looked again and couldn't find it and replied that I was full of it. IN THIS CASE(!) I had to disagree with the cacher. Today I took the 30 mile roundtrip drive to check on the cache and it was there. The cacher has ZERO FINDS. I channeled BaytownBert and tried to teach this newbie about unusual hides without totally giving it away. On the bright side, the log was full and needed to be replaced, there were a lot of cool songs on the radio I listened and sang to on the drive and I got to spend some quality car time with Wolfie the dog. Oh, and it wasn't raining yet either! I'm also thinking of making all my caches Premium Member Only.
  3. 7 likes
    I told Syd I'd post this. Proud of her accomplishment. Dual milestones atop Guadalupe Peak, Texas' highpoint.
  4. 6 likes
    HGCS not going anywhere anytime soon but I do think about the viability of it a few years from now.
  5. 5 likes
    HoustonControl and I are meeting with the Baytown tourism director to start to plot out exactly how the Baytown Geotour will work. The money has been approved BTW. As with any geotour, the amount of money you spend doing it is very important to document. When you turn in your passport, make sure you document the bucks spent. Zipping into geotour country and zipping out will kill the program. Baytown's geotour will be funded by a hotel/motel tax. I think any city hosting a geotour through GC.com pays $3000 per year to be listed. Now of course, none of us locals will probably spend the night here, but we'll buy gas and burgers for sure.
  6. 5 likes
    Little late here but, my first thought was that this was yet another marketing ploy to bring in more potential paying members. Myself, i'm tired of the gimmicks and tactics GC.com has tried using over the last couple of years to increase quantity of members. They've pushed the phone app which has caused a ridiculous amount of turn over and a degradation of our hobby. Things like souvenirs and badges could have been a fun thing but because so many are pushed out these days, there's really nothing special about most of them. The option to buy premium membership without auto renewal was taken away and is simply another ploy to catch some members off guard.I hate the fact that GC.com knows they have the monopoly and can do anything they want without regard to it's members.TPTB are seeing dollar signs so the main thing is numbers. Because of this, the overall quality of geocaching has gone down and geocaching as a whole, is suffering. I'm sure this is one of the bigger reasons why we've lost so many good, dedicated people over the last few years. Ok, not sure why i got on my soapbox just now. Don't guess it matters much since most aren't reading this anyways because they're using their phones with facebook and the app. Go back to your regularly scheduled program.
  7. 5 likes
  8. 4 likes
    Hi all. Sorry, I decided to shut off all digital communication for a few badly needed days of unpluggedness. THOT: Re: The Digital Compass The digital compass has progressed rather nicely and has improved substantially since the 60 series Garmin handheld receivers. For one thing, they became triaxial, which meant it no longer needed to be held flat to render an accurate bearing. To render an accurate direction, however, it requires regular calibration. The chip used for this triaxial compass has improved substantially in performance and lower cost thanks to cellular smartphones and automobile navigation systems that also use the technology. Garmin uses a very sensitive device in its handheld GPSr units. I believe I described the compass in some detail previously on the board. In a nutshell, if you wish to use the digital compass, in ANY handheld device, and you wish for it to function properly, you must calibrate it regularly. Yes, that includes smartphones too. This is especially true in Garmin 62 and 64 series units because of the rechargeable batteries. Each type of battery affects the sensitive digital compass. Software compensates for the various chemistries. That is why it is important to select the correct battery type in the user configuration settings of the GPSr. It's good practice to then calibrate your unit's compass after changing the batteries out. Also, because of geological differences, it's a good practice to recalibrate the compass when you travel to a different location. Sometimes that calibration process can be a little wonky, but if you do it regularly, it becomes second nature, and it only takes a minute. Muddy Buddies, Stan, by all accounts a very experienced and exceptional geocacher, has told me that he really doesn't care about the compass, at least in the past. And, I agree that, as long as you are moving, and have good satellite lock, you do not need the compass for a reasonably accurate COG and you should probably ignore the compass screen altogether. I counter, that the calibrated compass can be very helpful when you are standing still and you want to know which direction you are facing. The "assist" that a calibrated compass affords the geocacher is considerable in my opinion, so why not use it? Re: Bluetooth The Bluetooth wireless functionality built into the Garmin 64 family have so much potential in my opinion, for wireless connectivity to smartphones in the field, and connections wirelessly to the PC for logging and file exchange. Thus far, to my knowledge, this hasn't happened. So as far as I am concerned the BT doesn't bring much to the party. However, the 64 family of GPSr units are by far the best of the button type handheld receivers yet produced by Garmin. Why? (1) The GGZ file format replacing the GPX format, which allows efficient storage of unlimited geocaches. (2) GLONASS support. The addition of the GLONASS satellites network of 24 "birds" provide for much faster satellite position upon power on, and substantially better fix in Urban geocaching scenarios because there are more points in the sky at any given location. Two satellites are simply better than just one! This has benefitted many newer smartphones too, by the way. (3) Mature software is the product of all that Garmin has gleaned from the previous GPSr units. The 64 series is now a mature and stable platform which performs really well for the price. The accessories are all backwards compatible with the 62 series too which makes the upgrade easier on the pocket book if you have handlebar mounts and stuff like that. My recommendation: Get a 64s and use it with your modern smartphone. The Garmin gets great battery life, is rain resistant, tough, and is excellent in most situations. The smartphone allows detailed logging (I prefer dictating my logs), satellite views in real-time when and can be really helpful. I hope this helps. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year fellow cachers!
  9. 4 likes
    Some photos of our recent Bike and Barge and Geocaching trip to France and Belgium.
  10. 4 likes
    A group from Houston attended the Kayak event at Lake Bastrop last weekend. We were in one group , B5 - searchingsimpsons, Team 150%, mcguyvertwo and Benttandem while in Bastrop Buddies were mspatt, georeyna and rambetta. B5 started on the south end of the lake and Bastrop Buddies started on the north end. We all met later on the north end. Butch, the husband of rambetta, was kind enough to lead B5 in a car shuttle from the south to the north end. We had a great time and found 15 kayak caches. Here are a few pictures. More pictures are on the cache "Don't be Stumped" GC6MDGE.
  11. 4 likes
    Sad? This is something that has gotten my teenagers to go out for walks while we are on vacation! Let me repeat--they are voluntarily going out and walking around so they can build up mileage to hatch pokemon eggs! This is wonderful!
  12. 4 likes
    Some very interesting analysis posted by Kenny & Stan. I myself have noticed the decline in activity at the forums as well, and I am positive it is directly related to the creation of the SETX- & Houston Area Geocachers FB pages. It seems a lot of folks were already on FB and with the creation of these specific interest group pages there was no longer a need for them to go to a separate web-entity. Personally I think it's sad th forums aren't as active anymore, even though I have moved out of the Houston area. To me they were a great source of information and above all a place where I felt welcomed when I moved to the Houston area. Above all, to me the Houston forums were a place where people respected each other and shared the love for Geocaching in a relatively respectful way. There is also a Dutch geocaching forum which I've visited a couple of times, but that seems to be a place mainly for people to bicker and force their opinion (about how one should geocache) upon others. Not a very healthy nor desirable environment if you ask me. So, Jason, in short: thanks for all the effort you put in to keep this site alive, and thanks to all you H-town folks for being the people you are!
  13. 3 likes
    From BlueRajah: https://firennice.squarespace.com/journal/2017/4/9/thanks-to-prime-reviewer?p
  14. 3 likes
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/setxgang/ is a good one. There is a Houston Area geocachers group as well, but I got kicked off of there because, apparently, I'm such a disagreeable human being,
  15. 3 likes
    We will water board ya if you stop.
  16. 3 likes
    http://www.aquanami.eu/#!jetangler/c1qs3 A JET YAK Baby! 32 mph... zoom zoom. Might be useful in GBP or Bear Creek after next "500" year rain storm too. I think HC should get one so I can try it out!
  17. 3 likes
    We ran into a Sheriff at Mingo who had never heard of geocaching. Lots and lots of people from all over the world were there to sign the log and he pulled over to see what was going on. He was very intrigued and was asking a lot of questions and people were excited to answer them. He was very nice and passed out his business cards and said if anyone needed any help while we were out to give him a call and he would come over. He took pictures with anyone and everyone and said he was going to go home and look more into the game. We mentioned to him that since he was an officer he got a FREE premium membership. He thanked us and said he will be creating an account once he got home.
  18. 3 likes
    Just got started geocaching in February 2016 when a family member told me about it. We are from Cypress, Texas (in northwest houston). We have found about 100 geocaches. We went to the Texas Geocaching Challenge in Brenham earlier this year and had a blast. i recently went to a "flying saucer" meeting downtown and got to meet about 15 geo-buddies. We have 3 geocaches hidden in downtown houston and another six geocaches hidden in the hermann park/museum district. We enjoy geocaching in areas that are family friendly and places that you park and spend the day searching for a series of caches.
  19. 3 likes
    How A Geologist Designed The Perfect App For The Window Seat I can't wait to try this out! Earthcaching at 35,000 feet!
  20. 3 likes
    Shout out to TravelingGeek for writing many of the geo-checkers on Project-GC for a lot of the local challenges. I know I don't have the mental capacity to do that kind of thing and he did a bunch for nearly all of my Galveston challenges. Much appreciated!
  21. 3 likes
    Don't forget to mention to LEO's - they get free premium membership! From geocaching.com: "Official representatives of parks, land management organizations and law enforcement agencies are eligible for a free Premium Membership. With the premium member status, you are able to identify geocaches currently placed in your region, receivenotifications when new geocaches in your area are placed, and communicate with the geocachers who are playing in your area. "
  22. 3 likes
    While I try not to go into it with muggles too much unless there is a genuine interest, for law enforcement officers, if my explanation does not seem to satisfy them right away, I show them the app. I go straight to the "What is geocaching?" video in the app, and then show them caches on the map so they can see they are all over. Pull up the one you are looking for and show them. They see an immediate 'realness' about it and know the website to go to in order to look into it more.
  23. 3 likes
    I struggled with crippling back pain for two years. Like you: couldn't walk, couldn't even help care for my kids, in tears daily. Tried medication, chiropractic care, physical therapy. Nothing worked. I finally gave in and agreed to surgery. Got consultations from three different physicians. Picked Navin Subramanian. He corrected my ruptured disc at L5-S1. I woke up from surgery and was immediately aware that my pain was gone. It was miraculous. Three years later, I'm still completely free of pain. It changed my life. The cliche of back surgery (you leave the hospital worse than when you came in) made me put it off for those two years. Knowing how successful it was, I wish I hadn't. Dr. Subramnian is a really nice guy. He operates out of Methodist and St. Joseph, primarily. At least, he used to. My surgery was done at a surgery center on Richmond (that's just where he happened to be the day I scheduled my operation). It was a swanky place. He has office locations both downtown and near the Galleria. I had Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance through my employer (MD Anderson) that covered 95% of the cost. I give Dr. Subramanian and his team my full recommendation.
  24. 3 likes
    Thot: Do not let one prick change your mind about geocaching - especially placing caches. You have a bunch of great caches. Just put that one aside. It's just not meant to be. And do something different and better.
  25. 3 likes
    I almost said something about cemetery caching earlier. CornDoll and I love it, too....day or night. The muggles are always very quiet and unintrusive.
  26. 2 likes
    Interesting. On the Remember the Alamo series of puzzles SW of San Antonio, the cache owner has pill bottles and 35mm film canisters listed as "Small". Geocaching.com used to use a film canister as the example for a micro cache. To me, if you can't put an normal-sized geocoin in the cache, it shouldn't be labeled as small.
  27. 2 likes
    Got the mail today and my coin and other prize-level swag was in the mail from Saturday. I turned in my passport on Sunday by e-mail and got a nice acknowledgment back Monday morning saying the coin and swag would go out that week. They are on top of it! Loved the geotour. Took me to a bunch of places I have been to before, but also a bunch of places I've never been to or seen. There are some fun ones, some good containers, and one or two that were pretty challenging. It was a nice mixture all the way around. We ended up going to the Pipeline Grill. Never been there and thoroughly enjoyed it.
  28. 2 likes
    This thread could help you fix that..
  29. 2 likes
    Makes me appreciate the building achievements of the Ancient Civilizations that much more; Assuming the Ancients weren't helped by advanced intergalactic visitors, or future Us traveling back in time to mess with ourselves in the present.
  30. 2 likes
    I emailed the San Antonio Parks Dept this morning and got this quick reply this afternoon. This is state plane coordinats for the more expensive Survey grade GPS, not your less than hand helds. The accuracy of the gps numbers are to the 1000 of an decimal inch, they geocachers would have to calculate it to what they use. Coordinates for this spot for Geocaching is 29* 29’54.91” N 98* 42’30.71”W 872’ Elevation This beta conversion tool gets you pretty close. http://beta.ngs.noaa.gov/gtkweb/ Received another reply to say the conversion can be down via GoogleEarth. I found another conversion tool but you have to enter the zone number which appears to be 4204. https://gis.tulaliptribes-nsn.gov/Home/FrequentlyAskedQuestions.aspx More on the History of State Plane Coordinates. Used in the US. http://desktop.arcgis.com/en/arcmap/10.3/guide-books/map-projections/state-plane-coordinate-system.htm
  31. 2 likes
    We had a good Thanksgiving in Austin. Lots of turkey, way too much football and a little geocaching. We found four puzzles and one traditional. The attached picture is our grandson Luke at "Le Tresor de La Salle". Thanks to his persistence we found the cache. Grandpa kept insisting in searching the wrong place while Luke spotted the right one and finally talked me into trying it. This is in the Bull Creek off Hwy 360 (Capitol of Texas Hwy) in north Austin. There are lots of good caches in this area.
  32. 2 likes
    While it might be interesting to actually write an obituary, I don't really have the time to do so right now. Much of the activity on this site has dropped off for whatever reason. However, I think the activity will pick up, especially in the private area, once the planning begins for the Texas Challenge. I think that communication is REALLY important and it would be a shame if this went away. I don't post much anymore on this site mainly because I never did initiate many topics, but I have been known to comment on the posts of others. So, if others are posting less, I end up posting less. Since I live on the extreme edge of the Houston area, I have always felt somewhat on the fringe of the group. I'm not yet at retirement age, but will be within a decade, and when I retire I know that we will move elsewhere. For those two reasons, (and my general level of being over-worked at work), I will not step up and volunteer to take over administration of this site. I think it would be a huge shame if it dies.
  33. 2 likes
    Well, at least you didn't get tagged with the needs archived flag! Great post. Some of the newbies have been rather sour and belligerent lately. Bummer. But they still don't cancel out those wonderful logs that show up from appreciative visitors now and then. I understand about the premium thing, but I also would urge you to pick and choose a percentage of good, easily maintained caches you own stay regular and accessible to the newbies. In our densely populated area, rich with hides, publishing as premium has become necessary because of some bad apples. Premium tag is not fool-proof, but it does help with jerk vandals and bored teens. However, I also agree that it is essential that we have a selection of geocaches, good ones, available to the newcomer. The barrier to entry to play this game is still pretty high when you consider the need for tech to play, but it's gotten better with GPS enabled smart phones. Having a good selection of free geocaches must be maintained to help recruiting IMO.
  34. 2 likes
    This weekend we went out and did the Lake Woodlands kayak series. It was hot and I baked a little, but nice, calm waters the whole way. And really different than most anywhere else. Mixture of nice big office buildings and retail, wild and pretty undeveloped areas, and really nice houses. Some of us went and slayed the 5/5 dragon at the far end of the lake, too. And there are one or two land based ones you can easily get out to get. Some fish jumping. Lots of HUGE herons. Strange ducks I've only ever seen in The Woodlands that look like they came from the move Coraline. Was cool to venture up here and do these.
  35. 2 likes
    My son and I have been playing it. We go to parks, he finds the Pokemon, I find the caches, we both get some physical activity and the baby gets to see the sights or maybe run around as well. I don't feel as conspicious geocaching because I figure everyone else thinks I am playing Pokemon. Heck, sometimes I am. I really want some developers or gc.com to make a hybrid application that uses augmented reality for geocaching. It would be awesome if the cache appeared before you on your screen like the pokemon, and then you had to do something to open it, and then when you did, the caches had some kind of cool digital swag that you could collect, pass along, or use for some exchange to become more powerful in the game, like what happens when you go to pokestops.
  36. 2 likes
    Too bad you didn't host an event 30 min before gates open. Could have handed it off to another cacher in FL. Let me ask THIS question. Is the scout here or in Florida? If the scout is here and just wants it to travel, Dip it in each of the virtual caches you visit and you can upload photos of it at each location later. Then bring it back and put it in a cache here. Then it has double miles and some cool caches with pictures at Disney. And from there it will start moving. If the scout is there, consider UBER to an of-property cache. First ride is free on sigh-up usually up to $20 or $30 (google Uber sign-up codes if not a member). I'm sure you can find one of appropriate size that's been found recently before close enough.
  37. 2 likes
    I resurrected 3 geocoins at GeoWoodstock this weekend: https://coord.info/TBPZMK https://coord.info/TBP2KC https://coord.info/TBNQQK All three had been placed in an unpublished cache by a locked member in 2007. They all belong to other locked members (or sock puppet accounts). I'd love to hear the backstory, but it looks like someone gave up the game and just dumped them in the event. Cool old coins, though!
  38. 2 likes
    Thot, when did you move out of Texas?
  39. 2 likes
    just ready my post from 3 years ago and it made me LOL. I'm my kind'a cacher I guess.
  40. 2 likes
    I can't wait until he builds Necropolis IV on Tranquility Base.
  41. 2 likes
    { Off topic : I'm only recently made aware of the shout box. All these years, I've used a bookmark link as a shortcut in my daily workflow that just shoots me to unread posts directly. But, to be honest, it doesn't look like I've missed too much that's important anyway. I think one of the greatest things about HGCS Community are the forums. They may be searched, they have context, and provide a window into topics over time that chat-like services do not fill for me personally. Anyway, I will continue to ignore the chat box, not because I dislike it, but because the forum(s), to me, are superb...even when, especially when, I don't agree with a post. If it's worth saying, please say it in a Forum post....please End off topic }
  42. 2 likes
    Like many others, BFF 2katz and I have had our fair share of LEO encounters, mostly positive. With PoPo we tend to be rather proactive rather than wait n see. For example: When we finally qualified for the CLAPS Challenge, we lost track of time after an event at Clear Lake Park, not realizing park was about to close. That explained the Patrol Car tailing us into the park, towards GZ, even as all others were vacating...which must've looked suspicious. Normally, we would have probably waited to SL, but WE WANTED THIS NOW ;). Long story short, we sped up, jumped out near GZ w motor running, lights (and headlamps) on and doors open long enough to dive into brush, SL only to find, as expected, a VERY curious LEO waiting in his car with window down... After we showed him the App and used the "high tech treasure hunt" approach, he was intrigued and introduced to Geocaching. He also wanted to go home, and needed us to leave so he could lock the park gate :-/
  43. 2 likes
    Sunday, October 16, 2016! http://cnation.squarespace.com/houston/
  44. 2 likes
    I built a new small cluster this morning. We had some retired servers that have been scraped for parts laying around in the lab. Basically just the chassis, system board, cpu, and random assortment of memory. ( I said random... LOL ) Anyway I decided to try my hand at DRBL which is a pretty cool project. Long story short I installed Ubuntu Server 16.04 base install, openssh, and DRBL on the one server I could find drives for, oh, and also the BOINC client. The other remaining servers with no drives were configured to boot from the network card and connect to the DRBL server for the OS. Basically these servers are just thin clients at this point. Ran the BOINC script included with DRBL and away they all went crunching work units. 48 CPU cores total between the 4 machines. So 48 work units can be crunched at a time.
  45. 2 likes
    Welcome aboard. Don't hesitate to ask questions! And do hit an event sooner in your caching career than later. You will not regret it. I wish I had started going way before I did. Great way to get questions answered, meet people to go caching with, tips, tricks, puzzles, see tracakbles, help with a cache you can't find, etc.
  46. 2 likes
    Well, I got a crippled version of my cache approved. http://coord.info/GC6GV6J
  47. 2 likes
    Great Bert -- you can cook yourself something to eat while you wait for the tow truck. GO TOYOTA!!!!
  48. 2 likes
    So for those of you who don't have notifications on this far away -- N CLAPS has been completely redone. The main one is at this link: 01 N CLAPS 2016: Clear Lake Area Paddle Series All CLAPS are good to go right now. If you are missing any S CLAPS caches and want to get them before they get the 2016 redo this is your fair warning to go get them. Soon.
  49. 2 likes
    The Baytown Geotour is NOT dead. It has been delayed, but should start picking up steam very soon.
  50. 2 likes
    Someone needs to toss a couple of manatees in there....... That would be very, very cool. And God knows, they'd have enough to eat. But for them hyacinth is probably like lima beans and only 1 out of 1000 likes it. But can you imagine paddling with manatees? That would rock.