Monday, November 2, 2009

Capture the Flag again

This weekend was a very enjoyable weekend.  My first trimester of school ended and because I had all my grades already done, all I had to do was bubble in the grades on our computerized form and turn them in this morning.  Needless to say, the weekend was mine to be had.

Saturday morning, early was devoted to rounding up all of the electronic equipment that either didn't work any more, or had outlived their usefulness in our household.  My wife's school was having a free e-Waste disposal that day, so it made for an easy and cheap way to get rid of a couple of excess monitors and other electronic stuff that had been sitting around the house for awhile.  After that, I decided to go out and find some virtual flags.

Some of you know that GeoVexilla is a virtual flag game that places random international flags virtually around the globe.  Each time you get within a 100 meters of a flag you score points for that flag.  When you find a flag, you generate a new set of five flags.  The first flag is worth 1 point, the second 2, the third 4, the fourth flag is worth 8 and the fifth and final flag is worth 16 points.  Eventually, the flags disappear off the map and are replaced randomly by other flags.  This particular weekend was a bonanza weekend for virtual flags near me as I was able to find six flags, worth anywhere from 1 to 16 points.

Two of the more interesting spots I found flags was on the top of a mini-mall in Long Beach.  The flag of Belize was perched on top of the roof of a Bristol Farms store.  I couldn't quite zero out on that flag, but was able to easily get within 100 meters, so I scored the one point.  That was the first time I've found a Belize flag, so it generated a set of flags for me.  Because of other flags that I've found in the past, I was able to move flags around and actually fill out the entire set that this particular flag generated, which gave me 31 points for a full set.  Of course, since I moved flags around, that created gaps in other sets, but I'll eventually fill those in as time goes on.

Another flag that I found this weekend was a Columbian flag which was flying high on a ridge overlooking an avocado farm near Temecula, CA.  I was able to take roads through an organic avocado farm, then walk up a short paved trail/road to get within scoring distance for this flag.  The views from the top of the ridge were fabulous.  From the looks of it, that particular spot looked to be very popular with the younger set, because of the debris of broken glass bottles that were rather prevalent on the road near the top.  At night, I'm sure the view would be even prettier with the twinkling lights of the city below in the valley.

That's one of the nice things that I enjoy about this GPS game.  Because the flags are randomly generated, there's some unknown quality built in to finding the flags.  It's not like geocaching where you know someone has been there.  With this game, it may not be possible to access a point, because of private property laws, or other restrictions.  Sometimes they end up being placed by the game's computer in the middle of a wilderness area with no accessibility.   Just in the last day, a new Bahamian flag has shown up in the Long Beach harbor.  It looks like the only way to score this one would be to take a boat into the harbor and sail over to the point.   It's the randomness that makes this game fun.

Pictures were taken at or near the following virtual flags:

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benh57 said...

Now that's funny -- we were at that bristol farms in Long Beach yesterday, finding the cache which is on the payphone on the left side of your photo. I thought the store looked familiar!

Personally I'm too into geocaching to drive that far and not grab a cache too. ;)

Webfoot said...

I was pretty sure there would be caches around. I've found, over time, that I enjoy caching with another person. Makes me less conspicuous. Had my son come along, I'd probably have put some caches into the GPS as well.