Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ambiguous Waypoints

ambiguous waypoints waypoints that make you use your noggin.

try thinking of ambiguous waypoints as being geocaches hidden in an area where you have no familiarity and there are no directions on the cache page to reach the cache-site.

no problem; right?

we’ve all done it.

we may have had to pull off to the side of the road for a minute or two to dope the thing out, but we eventually do.

there are several things you can to do to keep your team on-course and on-time while working an ambiguous waypoint.

first: don’t freak out when you see you have an ambiguous waypoint coming up.

set a goto to the ambiguous waypoint and notice the direction the pointer says to go.

ok, so the road that you are no on doesn’t go that way. now what are you going to do?

where is the next cache you need to find? Perhaps that will help you fill in the blanks.

now, before you go heading off in a direction that’s going to get you somewhere you don’t want to be, grab your map.

how far off is the ambiguous waypoint?

let’s just say 14-miles, for the sake of argument.

if you didn’t bring a ruler or measuring device with you in your map case, use your knuckle. check the length of it on the maps scale. if you’re using a delorme nevada atlas and gazetteer you’ll find that one-inch/one knuckle equals 4-miles.

3 ½ inches, or 3 ½ knuckles, equals 14-miles.

since you should be periodically checking your position with the map, you already have a rough idea of where you are on the map.

your gpsr will tell you in what direction.

translate that onto the map.

now, measure out 14-miles.

there should be a road at, or very near, that spot.

don’t worry about being exact; just get it close enough so you can reason it out.

now, trace that road back until you find the road you’re on. if you can’t trace it back, look for another road; your measurement could have been off a bit, or you may not have the exact location on the map.

another thing to keep in mind about ambiguous waypoints: i’m not going to make you find your way into someplace. i’ll get you in!

you may need to try to figure out how to get out.

now, that’s not saying that you won’t come across ambiguous waypoints while heading into an area. most likely, you will. but, between the caches along the route and the optional roads, you should have no choice except for the obvious one.

don’t forget to read the road; look for the signs of other vehicles using it. even if you’re in the front of the pack, you should see some signs of recent traffic. rick and i have spent the last few months out there getting this course ready. if you come to a road with little or no signs of traffic, you may want to reconsider your choice.

don’t make a snap decision you may regret later!

take a minute or two to compare your best navigational guess with the map book and then make an educated guess instead of a blind stab.

if, up to this point, you have not made any wrong turns, and you are still consistent with the average speed for the present leg, you will only lose two-points for taking two minutes to think about it.

you might even be able to make up that time by finding the next couple of caches a little faster and getting back on time.

once you make that wrong turn, however, now you’re not only about to get lost your mileage will be incorrect. therefore, you will never know if you’re on time, early or late, even after you do find your way to the correct waypoints.

take my advice and take the 2-point penalty instead of the wrong turn and a 20- or 30-points loss.

the rally in general and ambiguous waypoints in specific, are not meant to confuse; they are not intended to get you lost or trick you.

they are only meant to challenge you!

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