Trying New Mapping Options – umap+OpenStreetMap

This is more of a test post than anything. I’m trying out methods of placing interactive maps in my blog posts. Yes, Google Map imbeds are one obvious option but I’m hoping to find something open source. Google Maps is always changing something up creating havoc for maps created in the past.

I recently became aware of umap/OpenStreetMap. Credit to a RVing blogger Wheelingit who just posted about how they just switched to this method of mappng their travels.

After creating an online account, I was able to quickly create this simple driving route map.

It was fairly simple to import a gpx file I already had stored on my computer. I’m anxious to also try importing a geocaching gpx file.

Route to Eden Ridge Lookout from Powers, OR.

A more complete map would, of course, have some mile marker waypoints and road name labels.


GSAK Macro’s Make Blogging Easier

All bloggers have periods of being unmotivated. I am no exception. This past entire year I was just not “feeling it”. There are many factors this happens but one, for me, is the time it takes to create a blog post I’m happy with. I’m a detail person and don’t feel like it’s a good post unless I have useful and easily-accessed information. Information like a map showing my hiking path and/or the geocaches I found or a list of the geocaches complete with hyperlinks. In the past, creating posts with this level of detail was time consuming and thus one of the reasons I just chose not to write a post.

Recently, I discovered a couple of GSAK macro’s that make quick work of placing this information in posts. Yeah!

Copy_to_clip: This macro enables you to copy either the selected cache or list of caches so they can be easily pasted into forums, IRC chat, or an HTML page. Linking this macro to a toolbar button makes posting cache info much easier.

Oh my goodness, this is a time saver! With a quick sort in GSAK and a couple of clicks I have a list of geocaches ready to paste into my blog post! It has a few options for how much information about each cache to display….

Copy_to_clip Macro Display Options

Copy_to_clip Macro Display Options

Sample List

Sample List

Secondly, HTML_GoogleMapsNearestV3: This macro takes a selected list of geocaches and creates a customizable map. Once the map is created I just use my PC’s snipping tool to capture the image and copy it to my blog post……like this one.

Geocaches Found (Name Label Only)

Geocaches Found (Name Label Only)

The map is displayed in GSAK by making use of either the Split Screen or Dual Screen viewing options. My preference is Dual Screen which produces a separate window making it easier to capture the map area I want.

If not for these two macros, I may not have pulled out of my inspiration ‘funk’. They cut the time it takes to produce a post I’m happy with and am, therefore, more inclined to keep my blog up to date!

And now I’m off to go find some geocaches!!!…….

First Paddle of 2015 – South Slough

On a chilly sub-forty degree morning, I joined four others for a kayak and geocaching outing in the lower reach of the bays south slough. I didn’t need to get any of the caches because…..well, because I put them there! I came along to record video and snicker when or if they might have trouble finding them. These were seasoned cachers so that didn’t really happen – except one was missing. Geocache, that is!

Crew: Darren, Ronnie, Randall, Cindy and myself.

The video doesn’t show, but we saw significant splashing to the north way up (nearly a quarter mile) by Valino Island and thought maybe it was whales. Randall paddled closer but was still too far away to get a good look – he thinks it was a flock of birds diving. The others were convinced it was whales. Tide was running out and nobody wanted to paddle against it to confirm. We will never know. That’s ok, it makes for better story telling.

After returning to boat launch, we were joined by several other local cachers for lunch across the road at Fisherman’s Grotto.

A good day. Paddling. Geocaching. Food.

Reflections on 2014

IT’S NOT ABOUT THE NUMBERS……except when it is!

What do I mean? For me, getting outdoors and/or hanging out with other geocachers is, by far, the more enjoyable part of geocaching. However, the ‘numbers’ can help tell that story.

For instance, one statistic I’ve been watching for a few years now is the number of days geocaching. Yes, it’s a number I want to see increase because it means I’m getting out more often to geocache. I prefer geocache hunts that involve hiking trails so more days geocaching means more days out on a trail! Sadly, that number dropped this year. Purchasing an RV mid-October might have something to do with diverting my attention away from geocaching at the end of the year!

Comparing 2013 and 2014

Comparing 2013 and 2014

Geocache Finds for 2014

Geocache Finds for 2014

Memorable Accomplishments:

Finding GC12 & GC17 (two of Oregon’s oldest caches) helped with progress on a couple of challenge caches like The Oregon History Challenge and The Oregon Jasmer challenge.

Finding enough hiking geocaches in the Columbia River Gorge to qualify for Columbia Gorge Hiking/Caching Challenge, Part 2. There is indeed a Part 3 and I look forward to hiking more trails to complete that one as well!

Finding a geocache that hadn’t been found for five years! Rock Cove was a fun hunt in one of my very favorite areas to explore and hike – Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor.

February marked the Sixth Anniversary of our local, weekly gathering of geocachers for early morning banter, coffee and comaraderie! This is a testament to the nicest people I’ve ever met in the geocaching world. We don’t take ourselves or this game so seriously that it causes rifts…. our dual motto’s : You Meet The Nicest People Geocaching and We’re Awesome Like That!

Celebrated my Ten Year Geocaching Anniversary in July 2014! Over a decade of outdoor adventure and making new friends. On to Twenty, I say!

 What’s Next?…..

Our 2011 Four Winds Serrano 31V

Our 2011 Four Winds Serrano 31V

Twenty Fifteen represents a BIG change for my wife and I as she retires and we hop aboard our RV and begin a new chapter! For a time, we plan to pull up roots and travel these United States full time. I have no idea how long we will do that but I have a feeling we are really going to like it!

As far as geocaching is concerned, I am so looking forward to new places to explore! Particularly places with less rain! Oh yeah! Here’s to coloring in that United States map!!