Sunday, August 30, 2020

Creative Cache Lifecycle

 With overnight temps occasionally dipping below 90 degrees, it's time to get out and do my annual visitation to my geocaches, assuming they don't get consumed by one of our many forest fires first. This year, I have a number of caches on my list that I'm considering for archival.

I removed Shave & a Haircut. While the log was easily accessible, the inner container (which was a play on the title) was stuck in the water bottle when the bottle shrunk due to the Arizona heat. This one lasted 33 months, but wasn't one of my better ideas.

Surf's Up had a good run, lasting 48 months before I decided to remove it. Since it was a puzzle cache, it didn't get as much traffic and the majority of people that did find it struggled to get it open which suggests they didn't get the SharkBite brand reference (push-on plumbing fittings) for the container. The idea for this one developed from a cache in Flagstaff that utilized a SharkBite(tm) fitting.

Pegleg's Black Gold was a nice idea but lived a very hard life. This was the original, before it was placed. It leveraged a worn out shoe and the leg off a worn out pair of blue jeans. Even though it was cabled in place, the original got stolen (or the pack rats ate the cable as well as everything else!) This was one of a set of three that were placed at the same time. Capt. Kidd's Treasure lasted less than 18 months. This cache lasted a total of 56 months but was rebuilt a couple times. 

When I rebuilt it, I used a heavier boot which stood up to the pack rats although they did seem to appreciate the laces and the hooks. The blue jean portion was replaced at least three times but the caches has gotten to the place that the pack rats appreciate it more than the cachers. With one little shred of jean left, it's time to archive this one. The third one of the set (Lost Dutchman) remains in play. It's container looks like it could survive a year yet.

At one time, I had two bone caches. Both used sundried calf bones that we spotted when we were out caching one day. Online naysayers said you couldn't use a bone, but turns out they weren't right. This one, Dust to Dust, lasted 53 months, using a bison tube for the log container inside the hollow bone. It's time to free up the spot for something else, whatever that might be.

Button, Button, like it's Now What? siblings, was constructed of wood. Unlike the others which are still in play, I've never been totally happy with this one since I couldn't get a consistent fit with the dowels. Most often, it would fall apart when you picked it up. No fun having a field puzzle that solved itself! 'Sides that, ground cover was no longer adequate, but it did survive for 4 1/2 years. The ammo can will likely be used again someday for something different.

The cache description was the key to this one. It was placed fairly early in my geocaching experience and has done much better than I had any reason to expect. Once again, an oddball container with a "punnish" description worked, but now it's time to open up some space for something different. Shooting in the Desert had a good run - 57 months.

It hasn't all been archiving. I did find a place for Signal's Travel Planner. It's a gadget cache based on some concepts from the June Gadgettalk podcast. I'm hoping folks enjoy it.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

More Silver Subie mods

After the June trip, I had a couple more mods that I wanted to add to the Silver Subie outfitting. It needed more ventilation, shade, and a spot to sit while logging geocaches or doing research for upcoming trip waypoints. A shelf assembly could help while reducing the amount of slope on the bed.

While I was making stuff in the shop, I fabricated some magnetic strips. My first attempt with screens for the windows had used flexible magnet strips but they didn't work well at all. This time I made them from 1/4" plywood with rare earth magnets epoxied in place and covered with a layer of fiberglass.

The shelf assembly was designed so that it could stay in place even when the back seat is up in the "normal" (at least for most people) position. It still has 10 inches remaining when you get to the black stripe. It works well to hold the computer and I can sit in a folding chair without banging my knees against the always dirty bumper.

The next trick was some shade. I consulted with the smart one in the family about building a shade / netting structure for the back of the Subie but by the time we were done penciling it out, the material, zippers, and other accoutrements were approaching the cost of a ready-built option.

It's MUCH bigger (8x8 would be a better match) than I would prefer and the height makes it a bit challenging to put the rainfly on by myself, but it does provide much improved ventilation. It also vastly improves the glare on the computer screen. A side benefit is that it can stay in place to reserve the spot if I'm basing from one location for more than one day.

There's one more significant addition in progress, but I just discovered a couple torn CV boots that put the additions on hold while the Subie get a pair of spanking new axles.

Meanwhile, I finally got permission to place the last of a set of five field puzzle caches that I built a couple months ago. Not to worry, there's a newer one in the shop that's also waiting for property owner permission.