This article is part two of a series of articles I am writing to share the story of my adventure to Seattle, WA to attend GeoWoodstock VIII and several other key geocaching locations. In part 2, I’ll tell you about my arrival in Seattle, my visit to HQ, and a couple of other events I hit on the first day.
I arrived in Seattle on July 1st, 2010 at around 11:30. Took awhile to get my bags and the rental car, but eventually I made my way downtown for my appointment at Groundspeak headquarters. I arrived there shortly before 2 and found a large group of cachers waiting to go upstairs as well. With in a matter of minutes, we all crammed into two elevators and went upstairs.
HQ is pretty small. In fact you basically go upstairs and are shown a very small lobby with a very large trunk container that serves as the actual cache itself.
With a ton of swag and trackables, I dropped off more than 20 bugs/coins that I had been collecting for months. I signed the log, dropped my Zor chip in the trunk, and then snapped a few pictures.
The large “circle” item you see in the photo here is actually the world’s largest geocoin.
There were a lot of people there chatting and looking around but ultimately there wasn’t much else to see, save for one thing: the live logging Google map.
Now although this image is not the clearest, I will have a video of it in action in another part of this series of articles. The jist of it is that they have a live Google map that shows when caches are logged on the site. So when a log is received, it updates the map and shows you what cache they logged, who they are, and what the log said. It updates every 30 seconds and although I didn’t get a picture of it, there was a NB log displayed while I was there. Very cool.
Aside from the live log, there’s a photo booth where you can take your picture and then post it on the wall at HQ. Met a few of the lackeys, and the group I was with was fortunate enough to receive a free 10 year geocoin for our visit. I heard later on because of the massive amount of people hitting Seattle that weekend they stopped giving away coins. Looks like it pays to be early.
After I left HQ, I started caching in the area. A lot of micros and a LOT of thorns. I can’t count how many times I got pricked and man, it sucked. But I did manage to pick up a good chunk of caches, and for the most part, I saw a lot of bison tube style micros. A few regulars, and a few smalls.
With as many cachers coming to GW8 as there would be, there was a LOT of other events going on so I had picked two more to go to for that day. One was put on by the Washington State Geocaching Association at a Denny’s in Everett. I cached my way north and eventually hit this event.
It was a basic meet and greet type event and I talked to a few other cachers from the area. Very much like it is here in NB, folks were friendly and interested in talking about all things caching.
I should point out that unlike caching here in NB, caching there has a whole other aspect to it in that if you don’t know the area, it makes it FAR harder to follow a map on your handheld GPS. Plus, it’s illegal to use a handheld device while in a vehicle in Seattle (possibly all of WA state). I had come prepared and loaded the same query to my car Nuvi and my Oregon so going from one area to another was quite easy. Plus, a cache might be only 3-5K from where you are, but because of highways and traffic, it could take you 20 minutes. This was a reoccurring theme during my trip.
I left Denny’s and headed to my next event which was about 30 minutes away and it was put on by Team Podcacher who does a geocaching podcast on a regular basis. This event was on the way to my hotel so I figured I would pop in, say boo, cache in the area, then go crash.
Turns out I met a couple from Vancouver who was down for GW8 and talked to them quite awhile. They gave me some tips for my trip to the original stash, and we chatted about numbers and such.
There was a cache near the event so I picked that up and then snagged a few more in the area before heading back to the hotel. By the time I got to my room, I was beat. Almost 8 hours of flying, plus a four hour time change, plus all that caching took it’s toll.
I decided to call it a night, logged my finds for the day (and subsequently snagged a new icon for logging HQ), and hit the hay. Project APE was tomorrow and I wanted to be there early, and ready to go.
Part III of this series will focus on day 2′s adventure which was the trek to the Project APE cache, as well as the largest non-mega event I have ever been to. Stay tuned.