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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Just Ducky

Miss Geoness reaches high to get a ducky cache out of a tree. Geocaching in Cary, NC today.

Well it was a rather cool day out today with 40 mile an hour winds and the wind chills in the teens. We picked up a few quick caches before calling it quits. Miss Geoness tends to get Broncitis and I did not want to push it. Was fun and more walks on the gazzilion green ways in the Cary, North Carolina area. Good times on the last day of 2008.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

HooHaa TB Race - Electric Bug Shoots Like A Rocket To First Place - Cartoon

HooHaa TB Racer Electric Bug shoots off like a rocket for a 6000 plus miles jump to first place. After spending the last couple of months in Japan, EB is now in the States and we will see how he fairs here.

Wishing everyone a very healthy and happy 2009!!!
You can see all of the HooHaa TB Race Cartoons and the current race standing at the bottom right of this blog.
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HeadHardHat's Ingenious Cache Inventor

Friday, December 26, 2008

HooHaa TB Race - The Little Cap That Could

Gunny's Electric Bug only had a smidgen over two miles to show it's efforts in the HooHaa TB Race. HeadHardHat had shown it as a host of different types of "caps" in many of the HooHaa Cartoons shown weekly and Gunny has taken it all in stride. (The photo above shows EB as a Stayples Easy Button)

Now Gunny has his moment to do some serious "Nanner-Nanner" to the rest of the Travel Bug Racers with it's latest move from Japan to TwentyNine Pines, California. This gives Electric Bug a grand total of 6517.7 miles and first place of the HooHaa race.

Congrats to Gunny and his missile based Electric Bug.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

#400 For HeadHardHat

Miss Geoness and I in high winds were making an attempt of showing 400 in finger sign. Great Christmas Eve Day geocaching.

Only had a few moments to go out for some quick park and grabs. It was about 68 out but very windy. Had fun using the Geocaching Navigator application on my Blackberry. It was spot on for all of the caches which I found quite nice to use. I still don't like using my phone for a GPS device for geocaching because it simply is not durable for weather, dirt and being dropped. On the other hand for those times that you are out of your expected caching area and want to have instant access to geocaching information this is the way to go. I will be putting out a full review of Geocaching Navigator soon.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

GeoSnippits - Update About My Latest Geocaching Tutorial Videos

(This video is Part One of Paperless Geocaching)

Been a while since I updated my latest geocaching tutorial videos known as GeoSnippits.
Most recent deal with the following:

  • Logging Geocoins and Travel Bugs on Geocaching.com
  • Moving Digital Photographs From Your Camera To The Computer (digital card reader)
  • Paperless Geocaching (Part 1 and Part 2)

You can go to my blogs or You Tube Channel to see all of them. http://www.youtube.com/user/headhardhat

Oh and I just recieved permission from Google to do tutorials on enhancing digital photographs with Picasa3.

These will be out soon.

All for now... -HHH

Friday, December 19, 2008

HooHaa TB Race - Easy Rider Takes The Lead In A Big Way!!

There's a new sheriff in town and he goes by the name of Easy Rider. TripCyclone's eagle based travel bug has landed in Hawaii. His current mileage is now 3848.3 miles and Easy Rider is quite happy to be in such a tropical place after just being in Missouri where they just had how many inches of snow?

You can follow all the HooHaa TB Racing stats in the bottom right of this blog.

First Cache With Geocaching Navigator

Tried out the Blackberry Geocache Navigator. Not bad for a phone app.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

HooHaa TB Race - Post Your Holiday Wishes Here

Well I just couldn't wait until Friday to put this weeks HooHaa TB Race Cartoon. I originally wanted to see how well I could make a northern light background. Next thing I know I had added all the components and racers. Finished up some lighting techniques I know and ta-da!

I would like to take this time to wish each and everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and every other holiday blessings out there. Feel free to leave your holiday wishes and post for all to see!

See you next year everyone.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

GeoSnippits Video: Tutorial About Digital Cameras and SD Cards

Here is the latest and greatest GeoSnippits tutorial video out on You Tube. Host HeadHardHat shows you an alternative way of getting your digital photographs out of your camera and onto your computer.

The GeoSnippits series is an ever growing collection of videos designed to help Geocachers and people who are interested in GPS and digital devices learn more through example. You can see the latest video by clicking below or you can enter headhardhat or geosnippits in You Tube's search field.

Monday, December 15, 2008

All HooHaa TB Racers Are Now Out The Gate!!!

Well it only took two months but all of the world famous HooHaa TB Racers are out of the starting gate and into the race. Gunny's Electric Bug was discovered half a dozen times this weekend after being placed at an event in Japan. Hopefully he can now start cranking those miles out.

Current Rankings for the top three racers are:

2nd Just A Nut 212 miles

All of your favorite HooHaa TB stats and information is available at the bottom right of this blog.

Check back often to see our weekly cartoons, current standings and root for who you think will win this year long race.

Friday, December 12, 2008

HooHaa Cartoon: Week 8 - It's Cold as Shell Out!

Geocaching Online's HooHaa TB Racer "GoGo T. Urtle finds itself in a tupperware jar buried in the snows of Nova Scotia, Canada. It might be a very long winter stay.

Be sure to see all the HooHaa TB Race Cartoons down in the lower right of this blog. Come back often and see HeadHardHat's weekly additon to the series.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Geocaching Wishes and Holiday GPSs To You

Dear Santa,

I have been extra good this year. Like every time I find a new geocache I re-hid it just as good or better than I found it. I tell my loved ones where I am before going deep into an isolated terrain by myself. There is something special that touches my heart when I trade items by replacing the item taken with something just as good or better. Finally I will help travel bugs and geocoins with their goals even if I don't have one to trade. I have been oh so very good this year Santa, will you fulfill my geocaching wishes?
Santa wanted to be sure that he was getting exactly what geocachers want for this year so he went to two geocaching forums and asked flat out. What geocaching thing-a-ma-bob do you want from Santa? Below is the top ten from dozens of responses. Now sure, jet packs, helicopters and tree climbing monkeys are all well and good, but, c'mon, let's get real here.
Counting down from 10 to number 1:
#10 - Palm PDA
Many geocachers want to go green when it comes to geocaching. Not just because it saves trees by not printing out all our geocache information and maps but the ease of having all the information you need right in the palm of your hand makes this a nice gift. Figure about $300.00 for a Palm TX.
#9 - Travel Bug Tags
These specially marked travel bug tags holds a unique ID number which makes every travel bug special. Every travel bug that is registered on geocaching.com receives it's own web page not only giving a full description and goal of the TB but maps showing where it has been as it goes from one cache to the next. Every request used words like loads, bunches and tons to describe how many would be great to be found under the tree or stocking. Average price for a travel bug is about $5.00 each.
#8 - Cache Mobiles
Be it Jeeps, Humvee or Hummers many geocachers would love a vehicle that will get them from here to the most remote caches on the planet. This pricey request would set back Santa some serious reindeer feed but it is on the minds of many geocachers this year. A 2008 Wrangler could set you back around 20K for starts. Better be extra good for one of these.
P.S. most cachers also requested an gas pump with endless fuel as well.
#7 - Digital Camera
I wrote an article just a few weeks ago about deciding on what kind of camera to buy for geocaching. You can find it here and it looks like a great article to read with all the requests for digital cameras this year. We geocachers love to take all sorts of photos of all the interesting places we have been, cool things we have seen and all the other geocaching things we do. Nothing tells a better story than a good digital picture. Digital cameras have come down in price quite a bit and you can get a great low to mid grade digital camera for about $150.00.
#6 - Hiking Boots
Okay you have me here. I too want a good, comfortable, well rounded hiking boot. When geocachers go out into the wild there is every kind of terrain imaginable. We are talking trails, woods, swamps, streams, deserts, mountains, the list goes on and on. That kind of terrain also entails potential dangers like snakes and other critters not to mention the wear and tear of all the hiking. So a good pair of hiking boots is just the ticket for the outdoor enthusiast in all of us.
Good boots can range from $150 and up. This is an item you may want to take your gift recipient with you when buying.
#5 - Buckets of Geocoins
This was stated over and over even when something else was also requested. Many geocachers just love geocoins. Like travel bugs, geocoins have a unique id number that can be registered on geocaching.com and you also receive a special web page to promote each coin. I don't know what it is that draws geocachers to geocoins, maybe it's because of the pirate booty feel of it when you hold them. Sometimes it is the special memory or place it represents. All I know is there are a whole lot of personal geocoin collections where they never see the wild except when taken in quantity to a nearby geocaching event. The average geocoin will cost around $10.00 each. Like any collectible it is up to the holder how much it is worth to them. These make great stocking stuffers or that special accent on any geocachers present.
#4 - Global Positioning Systems or GPS
The following three countdown items on every geocachers list all pertain to basically the same thing but there were such drastic demand for certain types of GPS units I broke them down by popularity. This countdown item is for all geocachers out there that want a GPS unit but do not know which GPS unit they want. To help you out I wrote an article a few weeks ago about which brand of GPS unit was found to be best this year. Coincidentally, the request for GPSs matched these results as well. You can read my article by clicking here. GPS units by far are the backbone to geocaching as we know it and whether we say it or not this is the gizmo we want most!
#3 - Delorme PN-XX GPS
If you go to the article stated in #4 you can read all about the Delorme series of GPS units. They have only really been making handheld units for little over the year but they have the potential of becoming the king of GPSs. This may not quite be their year but that does not stop the mainstream of geocachers out there wanting them big time. The price of a Delorme PN series can fetch you anywhere around $500.00. Be sure to read that article I put out before investing that kind of dough. You will be glad you did. Read it here.
#2 - Garmin GPS (any series)
No sense of denying it. Garmin is the king of handheld GPS units. Be it the high end flash of the Colorado, the complete and reliable workhorse 60CSx or the low end but highly used Etrex series you really can't go wrong with a Garmin. Of all the GPS units requested this year Garmin beat all the other brands combined. You can get a low end Etrex for under $100.00 and up through the high end Colorado and Oregons around $550.00.
#1 - Time
Funny how these surveys and polls turn out some times. It wasn't the flashiest gizmo or the most expensive thing-a-ma-bob that almost all geocachers asked for. Nope it was to have more time doing geocaching. We live in this always connected, hyper fast, must do more with less society and what we all crave is that blissful few moments of quiet. Sitting next to an ammo box or Lock and Lock box for a quick moment of bliss. Signing a log and rummaging through trade items, travel bugs and the rare geocoin. Noticing the wind as it gently raises the leaves or parts the clouds to expose that valley below. No it's not all the cool toys we love to play with, but the extra time to go out and do what we enjoy the most. Thank you Santa we would just love to have some of that wrapped with a bow as well.
Thanks to everyone from the forums of the NCGO and Geocaching.com. As usual you are the best for finding out what geocachers really know and think.

It's The CRINKLESCHNOTZ 5000. Order now.

Hey anybody can do a GOOD holiday gift list, but what about the BAD geocachers out there?

Read on...
Just in time for the Holidays and brought to you by the same disgruntled elves that created the Double-Hangover-Flingy-Doo. We give you this season’s greatest GPS gadget the CRINKLESCHNOTZ 5000.

This is the gift giving present every geocacher is going to want under their tree. Just look at these amazing features:

Ultra Sensitive Digital Compass – which automatically points to the nearest face level spider web or impenetrable briar patch.

Extra Long Lasting Battery Lifespan – guaranteed to work right up to the point where you either are 75 feet from a cache or half of a mile out into the woods.

Super Clear Audio Alert System – It won’t play your favorite MP3 tracks but it is loud as all get out when it belts out “Flight of the Bumblebee” any time you are near a muggle prown geocache.

Moisture Activated Notification - Never worry about getting your CRINKLESCHNOTZ 5000 wet. The MAN automatically jolts the user with a tazer force bolt of electricity whenever directly above any water source.

Secure Anti Theft Functions – Don’t worry about ever having your CRINKLESCHNOTZ 5000 getting stolen. Simply place it on the ground and a cloaking shield envelopes the GPS with invisibility and then randomly moves up to 45 feet in any direction.

So order now while we still have the amazing CRINKLESCHNOTZ 5000 in stock. They are going fast.

Dial 1-800-353-8447 that’s 1-800-ELF-THIS.
Do it now.

All offers are final and price is adjustable to whatever the hell we feel like asking for at the time of the order… Don’t like it? Elf This!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A True Christmas Holiday Oxymoronism

Was in a local grocery store today and spotted this particular holiday libation.

Yes, before my very eyes was a container of holiday cheer filled with liquid and written on the container were the words "Southern Comfort". My first knee jerk reaction was "Oh, I have got to get me some of this!"

At closer inspection of the label was a different reaction closer to "WTF?", followed by, "Who the heck would do this?" It's a cruel and awful trick somewhere to the level of the Grinch.

Click the photo above to see what I mean....

Let Me Count The Ways

Oh little silver bison tube in the grape vine. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways................... One.

My eyes are not as young as they used to was so finding bison tubes is not much fun for me. My goal is to reach 400 and I am only three away so I endure when needed. Luckily in December the vines are dormant even though in this case it didn"t matter much. Fun fun fun.

Finally Found Over The Hill

It only took four tries to find this cache in a briar patch. Yeppers, think of a small hillside covered with 25% Kudzu and 75% briars. On the first three attempts I scratched up my arms and legs that took a couple of weeks to heal. This time it was personal and I bound and determined to find this prickly pest.

Armed with my walking poker and heavy gloves I poked and prodded for a good five minutes before finding success. Ahh, sweet success... It is so nice taking this one off of my list.

Monday, December 8, 2008

JUST A NUT Back in the HooHaa TB Race and in 2nd Place!

The mystery is a sol-ved. Just A Nut a racer in the Great HooHaa TB Race was officially missing for several weeks now.

In my recent article Have You Seen This Nut??? a full investigation by the GeoPolice was undertaken. There were very little clues except for one lead. It turns out that the lead was good and Just A Nut has been found. In fact, the big lug has been placed in a cache near Crofton, Maryland. This gives Just A Nut 212 Miles and a firm second place in the race.

You can follow all the HooHaa Travel Bug Racers by watching our score board at the bottom of this blog.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Great Day of Caching in Cary, North Carolina

It was a spectacular day geocaching in Cary, North Carolina today. If you caught my earlier posts from my phone you can see that I was out with Daughter Geoness working on our latest milestones. I want to reach over the 400 mark by the end of the year and Miss Geoness wants to get her first 200 geocaches found so she can officially be ranked in the state. In case you didn't know it, a geocacher can be ranked by State, Country and the World if you so desire but you have to have at least 200 caches minimum. The website for you to check your ranking is here.

Anyhoo, it was quite crisp out. We have been in a cold snap for a few weeks now and today's high was only around 45 degrees. The sun was out in force and we had a few moments of some gusty wind but with us tramping around in the woods seemed to cut that down quite a bit. Today we visited several parks and greenways. The micros were kept at a minimum and so only a couple of skirt hides were found. The majority ended up being small and regulars in the woods. Where we like to hike the most anyways.

All total we found 16 finds and three DNFs. Even managed to see an assortment of squirrels, rabbits and birds today. I know I will be sleeping like a baby with all that fresh air. Miss Geoness is already catching Zzzzzzs. The best thing out of it all was we had a great time and had fun hunting caches together.

Miss Geoness In Deep While Caching

Miss Geoness out caching with dad Headhardhat today in Cary, NC. It was a chilly day in the Peidmont today. Sunny with a high around 43 and some bone chilling winds. Fortunately that was intermit. Pictured above Miss Geoness emergece from an evergreen with the cache in her hand.

Finding Cary, NC Hides

Skirt hide in parking lot. I don't like finding a ton of these but every once in a while...

Ahhh Tupperware in Da Woods

Can you think of a better way to be using a billion dollar satellite system? This is bliss for a geocacher. Miss Geoness and Dad Headhardhat out in the woods finding geocaches on a nice crisp Fall day in Cary, North Carolina. Featured above Miss Geoness goes through a regular sized cache. We ended up trading some objects and left one of my signature first aid kits and traded some travel bugs as well.

Cache found Cary, NC

First find of the day.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

HooHaa TB Race Cartoon - Week Seven - Just A Nut is Missing!

The HooHaa Travel Bug Racers received shocking news this week.

Just A Nut, a late bloomer in this race has officially gone missing. You can read all about it in this post here. In this week's cartoon Gunny's TB Electric Bug meets up with an old friend. The setting takes place in an ammo box somewhere in Japan.

You can visit all the weekly HooHaa Travel Bug Race Cartoons created by HeadHardHat found at the bottom right of his blog: GeoCache: I'm NOT Obsessed... Right?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Which Brand of Handheld GPS is Best, a Real Boxing Barnburner

Lets get ready to rumble!

You can feel the tension in the crowd of this jam packed arena which extends from the rafters all the way down to the center ring. This epic match that has been building for years with the outcome determining the best brand for handheld GPS units. GPS which stands for Global Positioning System is a fancy way of saying, “You Are Here” on a map that exists in the GPS handheld device itself. When you move, the pointer keeps track of where you are and the map underneath digitally moves when you do. That way you can always know exactly where you are on the planet. Now back to the match as the units get ready to show their stuff.

The announcer grabs the mike hanging ring center.

“In this corner, wearing black with blue trim. We give you brand Magellan.”

Magellan is a very popular brand that has been around as other companies since 1994 and did not take it's current name until around 2001. It is extremely well known and boasts the creation of the first commercial handheld GPS receiver.

“In the opposite corner wearing black with white and blue trim. We give you brand Garmin.” The favorite for this evening Garmin has it's origins around 1989 and sold it's first panel mounted GPS for around $2500.00. How things have changed. When discussions turn to GPS devices you will most likely hear the brands of Magellan and Garmin.

“Finally in corner three (hey, it's my article and I want three opponents) wearing blue with white trim. We give you brand Delorme.” Now the possible underdog in this fight has it's roots going all the way back to 1976. Though the majority of it's efforts appear to be more into digital map making rather than the hardware making of GPS units. It's first handheld did not come to market until 2007.

The referee walks up to the three bruisers of the GPS world to set up the match and give the rules.

“Okay we want a clean fight. There is to be no smoke and mirrors on functionality which means what we see is what you've got. No promises of premier Customer Support that actually wouldn't know a way point from a sundial. Finally, In case of a low battery or memory card full condition go to your respective corners and wait for further instruction.” .
Now you can see on their displays that Garmin and Magellan have been around for quite some time and this is not their first time in the ring. Delorme on the other hand is trying to remain calm but you can see his pointer is shaking a bit. Lets find out how the new kid stands up to the top two GPS titan brands. The match begins..

All boxing puns aside, all the information today was provided by experienced Geocachers who take their caching equipment very seriously. Geocachers not only look for the accuracy, dependability and durability of their GPS units but also it's ease of use in the field and more importantly how it interacts with computers and third party software that load all that information in and out of the GPS. You can have the most impressive handheld in the world but if you always have to manually insert multiple waypoints, what good is it? I correlated all of the data from two of my favorite Geocaching site forums. Also included was a question poll asking straight out which brand was best.

Here is what I found out:

Magellan has it's Triton Series of handhelds which range from $129.00 to $500.00 depending on the unit of choice. Surprising to me I found Magellan to be the least liked and had the most defectors from the once very popular brand. The customer support was commented as not being up to par and lacking. Initially they had a very good string of constant upgrades and improvements but over time has dwindled. Several posts voiced their disappointment by stating the Triton Series was not ready to go out into the wild but Magellan decided to sell them anyways. This created a host of very unhappy customers. Out of the three brands discussed here I have to say Magellan is buns up on the canvas this year.

Delorme even though initially thought to be the underdog of the match is showing some true grit. I noticed a growing want to convert over to the PN series but there are some major hurdles keeping them from doing it. The PN-20 and PN-40 range from $250.00 to +$500.00 in price which makes them on the high end of the scale. Let me say right from the start that Delorme is the king of high density and amazingly crisp maps. You can't own 44% of the CD mapping market and not be very good at what you do. One cacher zoomed into a geocache on the map and saw by the placement that it was under a lamp pole; it's that clear. On the flip side the biggest drawback is the learning curve to get the GPS unit itself working. Over a period of three days I personally have seen three very experienced cachers almost in tears trying to get their individual units running as expected. Now Delorme's customer support is being very responsive but since they have only had these devices out on the market for only a year they appear to be scrambling to flesh out all the bugs. I also read several comments that the Delormes were off on accuracy about 30 feet on a consistent basis. It does not sound like much but if you are out trying to find a pinky sized bison tube in a pine tree you want to be sure you are actually looking in the right pine tree. Final note, kudos for the paperless features of the PN series there were many positive comments for that. So what do you end up with? A brilliantly crisp set of graphic and aerial image maps in a unit that has a very high learning curve attached and very low compatibility with existing computer applications which is responsible for loading key information into the unit itself. Looks like for this year at least Delorme has the makings of a top notch GPS handheld but it has some serious issues to address before they will draw a good user base.

According to our user poll Garmin is three out of four the most used GPS unit out in the wild. The pricing spreads nicely across the board and depending on your budget you should be able to find a good one in your price range. For example the Etrex series which is several years dated is still a very common site on the trail. But if you want to experience the true workhorse of GPS handhelds you have to own the 60CSX. It has great accuracy, durability, reliability and compatibility which will fill almost every need you will ever have. The interesting issue with the 60CSX is it too is dated and Garmin is trying to push the fancy new bells and whistles of the higher end units. Unfortunately in this case newer does not constitute better. Case and point Garmin's Colorado which being a high end price tag item has been consistently been compared to, well, doggie-poop. Big steaming piles of poop, in fact I could not find a single compliment in any of the posts. My advice, stay away from this one. The Oregon had many nice statements about the touchscreen, the screen size and the paperless functionality. The drawbacks was the dimness of the screen when outside and the lack of being able to customize it like some of Garmin's older models. So is the grief of making it your own worth the large price tag?

Well the ring judges have sent in their tallies and the winner of this match and the best brand for this year is Garmin. I will be very excited to see next year if some of the lesser known brands can be good enough to enter the ring or will the powerhouse brands of this year get their acts together and put them down for the ten count.

How's es hängend, Peter?

Where In The World Is Pete The Parrot?

Pete my party animal of a travel bug has landed in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. After flying north 848 miles from Islas Baleares, Spain. My blue feathered buddy is spending the holidays in the area around Essen.
So far Pete has travelled 9878.4 miles and is not showing any signs of stopping.
You can follow Pete the Parrot by watching his travel bug page here : http://www.geocaching.com/track/details.aspx?id=1484152

Monday, December 1, 2008


Just A Nut is MISSING.
(GeoPolice Photo used for identification)

The HooHaa Travel Bug Racer was off to a slow start in the Great HooHaa TB Race GeoChallenge but never failed to bust a nut. Even after many weeks of sitting at the starting line Nut passed the time with fellow TB Racer Gunny's Electric Bug. Their humorous banter that of epic slapdownmanship.

After regailing once again about being part of an actual racing car Nut decided to spend some time in the neighborhood Travel Bug Hotel in Oxford, North Carolina before trying once again to get on the road with the HooHaa Race. That was when everything apparently happened.

I found out about it after I received an email from a fellow geocacher who read about my travel bug racer not moving and wanted to take it to Pennsylvania. Much to his dismay the hexagonal traveller was no where to be found within the cache.

I visited the well known travel bug hotel and confirmed that Just A Nut was indeed gone. So since it was past the normal 48 hour wait period. We called in the authorities; the GeoPolice.

After a thorough investigation and about ten minutes of effort it was concluded that there is not enough evidence to conclude a conclusion.

Even with nearby witnesses who wish not to comment at this time (damn you SpongeBob) the authorities could only speculate the approximate location of Just A Nut before being taken.

The logbook was dry, well kept and even though many people had signed it, no clues to the disappearance had shown inside. There is though one lead of which the GeoPolice are following at this time but refuse to comment about.
I currently am at a total loss and can only hope that Just A Nut will be found soon. Was the travel bug muggled? TB Napped and to be held for ransom? Only time will tell, for now I can only hope it will be dropped soon... Into another cache that is...
Stay Tuned...