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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:08 pm 
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Location: Upper Marlboro
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Interview Date: Feb 17, 2019.

Caching Name: yoursunny.

yoursunny should be all lowercase, even if it's the first word of a sentence, with no space in between.
Yoursunny, yourSunny, Your Sunny, yoursonny, etc makes me sad.
GC830Q6 has additional explanation on case sensitivity.

Real Name: Junxiao Shi.

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1. How did you become involved in geocaching?
It all started from Jenny.

Grocery stores offer discounts with a loyalty card, but I forgot to bring mine on Jul 12, 2013.
I complained on Facebook, and my friends told me that I could give my phone number to the cashier, and they would be able to apply the discounts.
Daniel's answer mentioned that I could enter "area code + 867-5309" as the phone number, and there is usually a loyalty card associated with this phone number.
I did not understand what's special about this phone number, so I started online searching.

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The search brought me to 5208675309.com, in which "520" is the area code of Tucson AZ, where I was living at that time.
I had no clue what this website is about, but it points me to www.geocaching.com, so I curiously followed the link.
I read the description and watched the video about this treasure hunt game, and I thought it matches my interests:
First, I need more activities, because summer is boring when all my friends are out of town.
Second, my phone has a GPS, and I haven't been using it much.

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I set out to find my first geocache on Jul 15, 2013.
It was gopro25's BIG bucket cache, which I carefully selected from the list recommended for beginners.
The cache is located in a neighborhood across the street from my student apartment.
I wrote down the GPS coordinates from the website, entered it into Google Maps app on my phone, and followed the blue dot as I walked toward the cache.
Without much difficulty, I uncovered a 5-gallon bucket half buried on the ground.
Following the instructions I read on the website, I signed the logbook, and traded a paddle ball toy with a shoe cleaning product.

Read my blog post How I Started Geocaching for more stories.

2. How did you choose your caching name?

I called myself sunny boy during high school, because it represents a positive attitude and I enjoyed tanning in the sunlight.
In 2006, when I wanted to register a .com domain name for my website, yoursunny.com was the first name I thought about that was still available.
Thus, many of my online IDs are yoursunny.

3. How many caches have you found so far?

I have 1125 finds as of interview date.
About half of these finds are since I moved to Maryland in Nov 2017.
16% of my finds are hidden by the same CO wearing a red cap.

4. What brand/type of GPS do you use?

What GPS? You mean smartphone?
I currently use a Moto x4 Android phone with a protective case.
I chose this model with geocaching in mind: it is water resistant so that I won't damage it in the rain, and I can wash it when it gets dirty.
My primary app is c:geo because it has the best offline features.
I still do not have an unlimited cellular data plan so being able to find caches offline is essential.
I also have Geooh Live app for Wherigo only.

I also have a Windows Phone as backup, running m:geo app.

5. What programs/software or hardware (PDA/laptop/phone) do you use to make caching easier?

I have a Raspberry Pi 3B running Ubuntu Linux as my desktop.
I use this computer to write programs for solving puzzles.
For example, I solved Latin GeoSquare with linear programming.

Code:
print("MINIMIZE")
print("  obj: __dummy")

print("SUBJECT TO")

# one letter per cell
for row in ROWS:
  for col in COLS:
    print(" + ".join(["C%x%x%s" % (row, col, ltr) for ltr in LTRS]) + " = 1")

# each letter appears once on a row
for row in ROWS:
  for ltr in LTRS:
    print(" + ".join(["C%x%x%s" % (row, col, ltr) for col in COLS]) + " = 1")


I use Project-GC's Map Compare to plan trips with other geocachers.

6. What type of cache do you prefer seeking – traditional, multi, puzzle, virtual?

During my first year, I only sought Traditionals.
The "7 souvenirs of August" promotion in 2014 forced me to explore other cache types, but my preference was still Traditional.

Unlike most people that have a vehicle, I rely on public transit and walking.
I have been reluctant to work on puzzles because the final location could be too far from a bus stop.
Starting 2019, "the dumbest geocacher out there" made a deal with me: he'll drive me around forever if he can get puzzle solutions.
So far we have found seven puzzle caches during three trips.

7. Which caches were the most challenging – physically/mentally?

The most physically challenging cache I've found is Sign of Niles Ohana (SOF Warrior) in Tucson AZ.
The trail head looks like this on satellite map:

Image

The cache is in a drainage tunnel, located 262 meters from the entrance.
I went in alone, twice, and found it on the second try.
My blog post Geocaching is All About Expanding My Comfort Zone has the details about how I found this cache.

There's a baby version of it in Aspen Hill, MD: MH Trail: You Mean I Have To Go In THERE?!?!
I crawled in without hesitation, since I was going to Rock Creek Conservancy's park and stream cleanup that day and would get dirty anyway.

Image

The most mentally challenging puzzle I've solved and found is It's Got Layers, Like an Ogre in Germantown MD.
It requires knowledge not only in modern technology, but also in classical ciphers.
I know my way around mathematics and computers, but I have trouble in those ciphers.
It took some teamwork to come up with the final solution, and I made this my 800th milestone.

8. Do you have a favorite or favorites among the Maryland caches that you've found?
(Feel free to list a favorite for each type of cache)

  • Favorite placement style: Suburban Jungle Continues in Gaithersburg.
    It's on a tree taller than me that I'm not supposed to climb.
  • Favorite creative container: Paul's Scrap Parts #6 in North Bethesda.
    The container is very common, just not as a cache container.
  • Favorite multi: Monocacy Aqueduct in Dickerson.
    It's a tour that allows me to learn a bit of Civil War history.
  • Favorite puzzle: Benoit's Bender in Columbia.
    It took me only 15 minutes, but it demonstrates the beauty of mathematics.
  • Favorite non-puzzle mystery: I Got The Geocaching Blues in College Park.
    I got the rare "wireless beacon" attribute with this cache.

Do you have a favorite in a nearby state?

  • Favorite in DC: ← U ↑ C → D ↓ C? starting from Adams Morgan.
    It's my first Reverse Cache and my 900th milestone.
  • Favorite in Virginia: Ismo Dalgaard Laffybottom: Crow's Nest in Tysons.
    In true letterboxing style, I followed a hand-drawn map to find the cache.
    It was in August and I ended up with 33 mosquito bites.
  • Favorite in Delaware: Cypress Point in Laurel.
    It's in the same park as Delaware's oldest, but has a better view.

9. What's the most unusual thing that you've ever found in a cache?

There's a smartwatch in Wootton Parkway @ Greenplace # RFC4648.xz.
It's there because I put it there as FTF prize, but nobody took it so far.
I hope it gets claimed before water gets into the container.

10. What are your current caching goals?

My 2019 goal is: hide a cache every month.
It has been going well so far.

I don't set finding goals because they would be too stressful.
However, I notice that the lower part of my Jasmer grid doesn't have many blanks, and it would be nice to fill this part.

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11. Is there a certain cache that you can't wait to do?

I have a wishlist that contains caches I want to visit someday.
One of them is Intersection, located at the intersection of Maryland, Virginia, and DC.
I want to go there because of its unique location.

12. How many caches have you placed?

11 in Montgomery County MD as of interview date.
More than half of my hides are non-traditionals, including two AR_ experiments.

Additionally, I had 7 hides in Tucson AZ that have been adopted away.

12. What advice would you give someone that wants to place a cache?

If you place a Mystery in Montgomery County, it will become a lonely cache.
The county has more than 1200 Traditionals owned by the same CO wearing a red cap.
Most people would seek those green icons and ignore your blue icon.
Thus, place your non-traditionals in an area with less cache saturation, so that you won't get frustrated of not receiving enough "found" emails.

13. How often do you go caching?

I had 88 caching days in 2018.
It's mostly a weekend thing, plus some weekday events.
I found exactly 365 caches in 2018.

14. What advice would you give a beginning geocacher?

You'll need a Premium Membership in Montgomery County.
Otherwise, most of the aforementioned 1200 green icons will be invisible to you.

15. Have you completed CAM in the past?

No, and I don't plan to participate in CAM because, like finding goals, it's stressful.

16. Do you collect geocoins?

Not really, although I often show off my Yuma Mega 2017 geocoin at events.
I'm working on earning an Eight Wards of Washington DC geocoin.

17. What type of gear do you carry with you on your caching trips?

  • two pens
  • tweezers
  • water bottle or water bladder
  • one or two phones
  • USB power bank and charging cable
  • Bluetooth headset, so I can listen to PodCacher while walking
  • SmarTrip card (bus pass)
  • a change of clothes, if I'm driving a rental car; sometimes I jump mud puddles to cool off, and I need to keep the vehicle clean

New since 2019:

  • Darn Tough socks, so that my feet stays warm even if I need to wade across a creek; I don't like waterproof boots so these socks are the next best thing
  • replacement log sheets issued by the CO wearing a red cap for maintaining his and his granddaughter's caches; all other COs will continue to receive "needs maintenance" if logbook is full
  • log roller
  • magnetic pick up tool, although I haven't used it

18. What is your most memorable caching experience?

The most memorable so far has to be Yuma Mega, since this is my only multi-day trip primarily for geocaching.

Image

During my return from that event, I encountered a freeway sign pointing to a parking area with "no service".
My instinct told me that there must be something interesting, so I exited the highway and parked the car.
I was right: this is the site of Yuma Area Veterans B-12 Bomber Memorial, in memory of a B-17 bomber crash during a training mission in 1944.
And yes, this parking area has a geocache.

19. What is your best caching story?

In 2018, I noticed that my milestones since 400 have different icons: 400 is Multi, 500 is Virtual, 600 is Traditional, 700 is Event.
Since then, I have been attempting to collect different icons on my milestone page.
I chose a Mystery for 800 and a Wherigo for 900.
When 1000 was coming up, I decided to continue the pattern and find the rarest type: Webcam.

The only Webcam cache nearby is Scott Circle Webcam.
On Jan 08, 2019, I went for a walk in DC Ward 1 and Ward 2.
I not only found the Webcam as my 1000th milestone, but also collected eight icons in one day:

  • 1x Webcam
  • 2x Virtuals
  • 6x Traditionals
  • 1x Wherigo
  • 1x EarthCache
  • 1x Letterbox
  • 1x Mystery
  • 1x Multi

I pulled this off in 9 hours (including 2 hours in museums and restaurants), mostly walking and 45 minutes on a bikeshare.
I intend to log an EarthCache as a future milestone so that I can have eight icons in milestones.

Image

20. What do you like about geocaching? What keeps you going?

I started geocaching as a form of physical exercise, because it makes me go outside more often.
Geocaching also lets me discover new places.
I've found many tiny parks and museums and monuments because there is a geocache nearby.

21. Besides geocaching, what other things do you like to do?

I like to visit museums.
So far I've visited 10 museums in DC and Baltimore area.
I spent 6 days in Smithsonian Air & Space Museum (DC) alone.

Visiting museums enhances my knowledge, and gives me puzzle ideas such as Firstfield @ Quince Orchard # Inka.

22. What question did you expect us to ask but didn't. What is the answer?

How many DNFs do you have?

I have 417 DNFs as of interview date.
I have so many DNFs because I often spend less than 10 minutes on a single cache because I may as well walk to the next cache in the same amount of time.
I even DNF'ed a cache that I witnessed being placed.
I am proud of the existing DNFs, given that Geocaching HQ awarded April 2014 Geocacher of the Month to Dean F for logging more than 50000 DNFs.

However, I'm working on reducing my DNF ratio.
I've been out caching with experienced geocachers, observing how they search for caches and when they declare a cache being missing.
I'm also trying to become more patient, especially for a non-traditional that I already invested time on.

Bonus Questions: How does your family feel about your geocaching habits?

My parents are unsupportive because they think:

  • Looking for magnetic key holders in guardrails is a waste of time.
  • Being out alone in the woods is dangerous.

Nevertheless, they are half a world away so they can't stop me.
They do enjoy seeing photos of colorful homes and interesting parks in DC and Maryland, and I would casually mention that I found them during geocaching.

When my father visited me in June 2018, I took a one-week vacation, driving him around in a rental car.
He is okay with me finding a few caches around the way, as long as the primary goal is sightseeing.
He even helped me taking pictures for The Point at Harpers Ferry, but he let me climb Maryland Heights (part II) alone and elected to wait in the town.

Their attitude turned slightly positive when I'm not alone.

Image


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:49 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:19 pm
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yoursunny should be yourfunny.

yoursunny has no transportation, and I have no brain, so he solves the mystery caches, and I drive him to them. Works out for the both of us.

I met yoursunny for the first time at an event last year. We were talking about him having the FREE membership. His goal at the time was to find all of the caches on the FREE membership, before becoming a premium member. Being he lives in the Gaithersburg area, I had to show him what he was missing by not becoming a premium member. Instead of him taking a bus three miles down the road to get one smiley face, he could walk around the block and get 20. He was happy with his FREE membership, but it was just a few days later I noticed he was Premium. Now if I could only talk him into waterproof shoes.

I've have a fun time caching with him and enjoy his company. I did train him to do minor maintenance on my caches if they need it, which I appreciate a lot. If I could only train him to get away from that metric system. It drives me nuts when he says the cache is 234 meters away. If someone can give me his shoe size (not in metric), I'll buy him some waterproof boots, and I'm sure he'll appreciate them as much as he does being a premium member.

I think one of my goals this year will be to help yoursunny fill in his Jasmer Grid.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:53 pm
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Location: 20878
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Thanks QUE3NBE3 for selecting me. I feel flattered.
The post still has several errors due to format conversion, but I’ll work with OP on correcting those.
I want to convince MGS forum admin to move away from this BBCode and use Markdown format instead; Markdown is the same syntax used in Geocaching log entries.

Quote:
He was happy with his FREE membership, but it was just a few days later I noticed he was Premium.


I joined Premium on the same day, right after the event.
Annual price was a reason I did not join Premium before, but I justified the expense as if I attended one more Event.

Quote:
If I could only train him to get away from that metric system. It drives me nuts when he says the cache is 234 meters away.


Scientists all use metric. See GC81E6A for explanation.

Quote:
If someone can give me his shoe size (not in metric), I'll buy him some waterproof boots,


I am actually happy with wet feet, so I won’t accept the gift. Waterproof boots are of no use when I jump mud puddles. See also this log entry on why waterproof boots are bad for you.

Quote:
I think one of my goals this year will be to help yoursunny fill in his Jasmer Grid.


The portion in the screenshot is not the entire Jasmer Grid, but only the lower part. Things get difficult for 2004 and earlier, because I am one of the bad guys who would push that Needs Archived button. I’ll be happy if I get the four blanks filled within two years.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:14 pm 
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Great interview! I've had the pleasure of meeting yoursunny at some events and also got to cache with him a few weeks ago. I admire his ability to function generally without owning a vehicle and especially geocaching without one. I'm inspired to try some caching and leave the classic Mustang cachemobile at home . . . we'll see if I can actually motivate myself to do that! :-D
I am happy to provide transportation for anyone who doesn't own a vehicle and would like to get to any places beyond the range of public transportation.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 2:26 pm 
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Quote:
I admire his ability to function generally without owning a vehicle and especially geocaching without one.


Functioning generally without owning a vehicle depends on the commute. My commute is 7 minutes walking. Be jealous!

Geocaching without owning a vehicle makes a few goals impossible.
Daily streaking is tough. I achieved a 7-day streak in Dec 2018 using a 7-day bus pass. That week contains 2 weekend days, 1 “national day of mourning” holiday, and 1 geocaching event. On the 3 remaining days, I had to get to Rockville or Kentlands in the evening or early morning, spending 30-40 minutes on the bus just to find one cache.
All kinds of grids are tough too, because the nearest cache to fill the blank could be on the other side of the county, if not in another county. A trip to Brookeville MD is a 30-minute drive for you; for me, it would be 1-hour bus ride plus 1-hour walking.

Quote:
I'm inspired to try some caching and leave the classic Mustang cachemobile at home . . . we'll see if I can actually motivate myself to do that! :-D


All my hides are reachable by bus.

Quote:
I am happy to provide transportation for anyone who doesn't own a vehicle and would like to get to any places beyond the range of public transportation.


I’ll trade puzzle answers for trips, but not my puzzles. list of solved puzzles

Quote:
If I could only train him to get away from that metric system. It drives me nuts when he says the cache is 234 meters away.


I just found PML’s beautiful diagram of metric units. There might be a puzzle, or 33 of them, regarding these units. Let the metric revolution begin!

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