FTF

13 09 2011

During the past few weeks I haven’t done a lot of caching so there hasn’t been the number of blog topics that I had hoped for. My intention to do some caching this past weekend didn’t turn out as planned but was non the less successful in it’s own way. On Friday I downloaded the current unfound caches in the Gävle area to my GPS with the intention of looking for a bunch of them between Söderfors and Östervåla on the Saturday.

Early Saturday morning I started to install an upgraded APRS setup in my car with a new GPS. As anyone undertaking such a job knows, there are two routes available. The quick and dirty route which is cheap and cheerful or the “proffs” route which is often time consuming and not so cheap. I opted for the latter route as I hate having cables all over the place in the car, holes drilled here and there and expensive gear in sight to attract itchy finger individuals. Luckily for me it was a dry sunny day so it didn’t take long before half of the interior of the car was lying strewn around the garden and I was swearing from the one contorted position to the other. The end result was good with one exception. GPS receivers with a USB connector do not work with systems that require clean NMEA signals. I discovered this after making an adaptor from the USB GPS receiver to my Kenwood TM-D700 radio and taking power from the car battery via a 5V converter.

By the time I had completed what I could of the installation it didn’t seem as though a day of caching was on the cards so I decided to go out on the Sunday instead. First thing on Sunday morning I saw that two new caches were released so I downloaded the information directly from the geocaching site to my Oregon 450 and left it at that. One was on my planned route and the other wasn’t too far away from home so it got added anyway. Because of the USB GPS problem I decided to return the unit, which made my planned clockwise caching loop impractical as the shop I wanted to visit (in Valbo) would have closed before I got round the planned circuit. I decided to reverse the loop and started by dropping off the GPS receiver and getting my money back. That’s when the fun started. For some unexplicable reason my Oregon was reset to it’s factory defaults. Duh! You know, with things like statute miles and farenheit. The time zone was set as Vladivostok, which beats me. The worst to come was that the only caches visible were the two I had downloaded in the morning. The rest of the caches I had planned to look for had gone!

There were two courses of action. Give up and go home or go for the two caches that had been released late the previous day. Usually, caches close to Gävle don’t stay in their virgin state for a long time so I had no hopes of getting any FTF’s. As we were already on the road to Hedesunda we continued on to Kyrkstigen 8. I assumed that this was one in a series but had no idea where the others could be as they weren’t published yet. We were able to park about 400m from the cache, hoping to find the church track (kyrkstigen). We didn’t so had a 400m bash through the bush to the cache which was easily found and logged at 14:30. Were we FTF? Yes, amazingly so. Perhaps all the local cachers were at the GCU Höstevent near Storvreta?

FTF at Kyrkstigen 8


We then continued on towards home but via Söderfors, Tierp and Skutskär. For those who know the area or look it up and a map will think we had got lost but there was method in our madness. We arrived in Skutskär at five in the afternoon and parked 30m from Älvodaspåret I didn’t expect this to be an FTF as it was already so late but to my great surprise it was. Two FTF’s in the same day is great. Finding them several hours after they have been published made it even more fun.

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