Thursday 30 March 2023

Caching again

Caching again

Everything was ready.

I have three working Mio Digiwalkers. One I use as a TomTom satnav, one with MemoryMap and the third one is a spare. Actually, all three of them can do either TomTom or MemoryMap.

The bike is fettled and ready to go. Brakes, tyres, batteries and panniers, and a very nice holder for the Mio. I have a substantial bike helmet (actually it's a skateboard helmet) and leather gloves. For lighting, I have a powerful headlight that also shows a red light behind my head, so if it gets dark, I'm still visible.

I had solved several puzzles and multis, and the Mio was loaded up with all the info.

So, first I went to pick up a cache near Shardeloes. I'd worked out the coordinates, verified with Geochecker. I had failed with this one before - and I failed again. Not a good start to the day.

Then I drove to the local clinic, parked there and walked to another cache, which I did find. Better!

Then I drove (still with the bike) to Raans Lane, to pick up a Church Micro that I had solved. Parking was easy; there was a restriction of no parking from 11am to 1pm (which stops commuters from using it), but it was 4pm so I was safe to park there. I grabbed the cache, and then unloaded the bike.

To do that, I put the wooden ramp in place, undid the straps holding the bike in place, and wheeled it down the ramp. I connected up the batteries, and I was ready to roll.

Riding a bike is a bit like flying! Instead of plodding from cache to cache, the bike whisked me around in no time, which was a great saving on my energy. And, of course, parking wasn't a problem, you can leave a bike anywhere. Touring round Amersham, I picked up nine more caches, and had one DNF (but the cache owner said that it was gone, and since I'd looked in the right place, I could log it as found). So, altogether I logged eleven finds.

That's small beer compared with what I used to get in a day's outing, but given my current state of unfitness, it was very good.

After the last one, I made straight for Raans Lane, back to the car. Wheeling the bike up the ramp to the bike carrier was no problem. I strapped it on firmly and drove home.

I was really exhausted, but I still had to get the bike off the carrier (no problem) and put the batteries on charge. 

One of the Mios had persistently claimed that it had "very low battery" so I went on to eBay and ordered a new battery for it. I know they're easy to fit.

I also have two Looxes that work well; they have the advantage of using a better screen than the Mio (640 by 480 instead of 320 by 240) and a bigger memory card (16gb instead of 4gb). And those 4gb cards (which mustn't be HC) are hard to find these days, although I have found a source at £20 per card.

Another thing that I have now that I didn't have before, is an iPhone. Before I had a very ordinary Nokia phone, which could make phone calls and (just about) do texts. The iPhone can also run the geocaching app, or MemoryMap, and has a HUGE memory for maps. But it's a lot heavier. I carry it as a "just-in-case" but it's not as good for caching as the Mio. But the iPhone is good for "Adventure caches".

By the way, you can still buy second hand Mios for £23. The 4gb card is £20, a new battery is £11, and I think that gives you the best geocaching handheld that you can buy today.

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