—Do You GPS??

     What is GPS??  Global Positioning System, the United States Government and various industries have satellites in space circling the globe which you can use to determine just where you are at any time.  The unit I own and use is a Garmin etrex legend model.  It is just slightly larger than palm sized.  By turning it on I can determine exactly where I an by longitude and latitude to within  15 feet.  All I need is a clear shot of the sky, by triangulating with three or more satilites  my position is determined.  If I have been elsewhere and fixed a location into the unit I can call it up and and have the unit show a map on the screen to show its location and show the distance in a straight line to it.  It is possible to start a hike and set the unit up to show the path you have taken from the starting point.  I can type in a address or the grid coordinates if known and get the distance and direction or even a map it.  The units are very reasobable  priced.  It is silly in this day and age to hike in unfamiliar  territory with out one and a little schooling in its use.

     Now to play time,Geocatching!!.  In the world of geocaching people as individuals or groups and clubs hide caches in difficult to find places and then post the locations on web sites or club bullitens with the longitudes and latitudes and often some clues to assist you in finding the catch.  sometimes it is a cache with little goodies inside as souvenirs and always a pad or slip of paper for you to record the time and date of your find.  also often there is a web site for you to visit and  record your find and read others comments.  These caches are usually cleverly hidden.  I have gone with my son on three hunts and I and my wife on several  The first time was a strip  park in La Marida that runs along a little drainage channel  the hidden spot was on the side of the hill where they do not mow and the trees grow.  We located the area but the growth was so heavy it was difficult to see the ground finally he found a piece of PVC pipe with a screw on cap on one end near the foot of a tree.  It had been painted a light tan and had bark glued on the sides to help conceal  it..  The second was the same park but at a different location  there was several fir trees that had branches all the way to the ground.  We knew this was the spot but never found the hide.  this sometimes happens sometimes other people find them and take them either in ignorance of what they are or as a spite-full joke.  We are always cautioned to beware of muggels (nongeocachers) who might be watching you and checking to see what you were doing after you leave.  The best one was we had cause to be in north Brea and wound up behind a row of small industrial buildings.  We knew we were near and one of the clues was when you hear tapping feet you are near.  We could hear tapping coming from a dance studio the unit showed we were right on top of it My son kept trying to find it behind a electrial  panel, he was sure that was where it had to be.  finally he said some one must have taken it.  I asked him for the clue paper again then grinned and said hid you see the final clue?  Watch out for the bitty spider?  He looked at me and I sang Ittissy Bittisy Spider went up the water spout.  He looked at me then went to the other side of the large door and felt behind the drain spout and pulled out a little metal box with a magnet o it.  Inside was the paper and pencil stub.

     My wife and I went to several places around town one next to a horse corral and a small historic house but never found the cache.  But it is good clean fun.  they are hidden on mountain tops in the desert and even under water.  It is international.  I was reading one site where a guy had placed a bunch of small monkeys all around each with its own computer site and number.  One monkey had gone from the west coast to the east coast to Italy and back.         It is a real interesting game if you have the time and ability.  You can check out geocaching.com give it a look and good luck.

      Now in addition to the geocaching I use my GPS unit with my Topographical Maps.  I have been into topo maps and compasses every since High School ROTC where I got my first introduction to them.  I excelled at map reading in ROTC and the Marines Corps and have always had some kind if map on hand every since.  I now use the DeLORME Atlas and Gazetteer Ihave them for several states including Central and Southern Cal.I often just sit and look at and visit places I have been.My friend Steve and I once went to the Red Mountain, Johannesberg, and Randsburg area with our dirt bikes.  I visited the area the other night with my maps and had to laugh when I remembered how we rode our bikes from the 1,000 foot level of Red Mountain to the 1,500 top and were too chicken to ride them back down and walked then down.  I have visited all the Mountain Man Rendezveous  sites, and camping trips.  And just last night I looked up the spot where Bagdad Cafe sits next to the railroad siding, mentioned in the Romance at Bagdad Cafe blog.  I could not pinpoint the exact site where us Marines were camped exactly but could roughly find it.  It is nice to able  to visit these places after so many years and see them in my mind.

   Thanks for listening to my old mans ramblings—ramblingbob

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