This article is part five 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 this part I’ll share the story of how I made the trek from Seattle to just outside Portland to see the location of the very first geocache. I’ll also mention the geocoin madness event that went on that evening.
Upon departing from GeoWoodstock, it was nothing to get out of Carnation, WA and on my way to Portland, OR, but the trek would be a long one and took somewhere in the vicinity of 4+ hours. The drive itself is pretty much all highway but a good chunk of that time was dealing with traffic. In some spots, there would be long delays for no apparent reason so you would sit and wait and wait and move along a little bit then wait some more. Once I got past Tacoma it was pretty much straight driving from then on in. I decided to skip snagging caches on the way down as I wanted to conserve as much time as possible getting there. I could focus on getting caches on the way back.
As I went around Portland, I got routed towards the stash plaque which was in some sort of odd middle of nowhere town. I finally got to the final road and found myself going up this very steep hill, which twisted and turned in both directions. I had heard through word of mouth that the plaque itself is almost directly beside the road so I kept looking for a spot that I could pull over and stop. I checked my GPS and I saw that I was getting closer and just as I turned slightly to the left, I saw a pullover spot on the right and my GPS was starting to zero out. I had made it.
I could see both the cache container and the actual plaque from the car. I got out and went right over to the plaque and sure enough, there it was. I gave a good smile and felt pretty good about the fact that I had travelled 4379.9km from my home coordinates to reach this spot. I put one of my Zor poker chips on the plaque, snapped a few pictures, and then went over to the container to sign the log. Not only was it monumental in that this is where the very first geocache was ever hidden, but it also marked my actual 2000th find. If there was any cache in the world you could make a milestone, this was one of them and I felt pretty damn proud about it.
From there, I hiked about 30 or so meters up the hill to the Unoriginal Stash cache which itself is also quite old. Signed the log on that one and then started caching around the area. There was another one up the hill which I managed to get despite the fact that it contained 50 or so 35mm film cannisters all which had notes saying “this is not the log, try again”. It took some keen observation skills to find the actual log sheet. Very creative.
At the bottom of the hill, I found this cache which I did not log an actual find for. Reason being: didn’t want to spend the time required to find the log sheet. Much like the one up on the hill, this was a LARGE container (about 4 feet high, 1.5 feet diameter) completely filled with black 35mm cannisters. I mean, there were hundreds if not thousands of them in there and they all said the same basic thing” “No log here. Try again”. I did not want to sit and go through all of those containers myself so I settled on knowing I had seen the cache, and moved on to something else.
I proceeded to hit up a whole pile of regular basic caches from that point working myself back towards the main highway. Along my trip, I came to this cache which I think was one of my favorites (outside of the major caches) that I found on my trip. It consisted of two parts and was not a puzzle or multi. What I found was a steel container attached to the side of a restaurant (apparently hidden with permission) that had the geocaching logo and a keylock. You needed the key to open the container. Beside the container was a small grey box with a dial on it. The dial was all letters. Turns out (no pun intended) you needed to use the dial to spell “DUS” (as in Dave Ulmer Stash, Dave Ulmer hid the very first geocache) and once you finished spelling it out, you could then pull the handle on the grey box and it would pop off the wall, and the key was on the handle. I had seen combination lock puzzles before but this was a first for a traditional cache. Very neat idea.
As I got closer to the highway I thought about going into Portland and doing a few caches there but I also knew I had a long drive ahead of me so I filled the tank up, and headed back to Seattle.
Answering the call of nature, I snagged a couple of caches in a rest stop along the way. As I went back out on the highway I suddenly realized that there was yet another event to attend that day. Midnight Geocoin Madness. Now, I’m not a coin or discovery kind of guy but I had picked up a few on the trip so far and I figured I might as well snag another event while I am in town. So, I modified my GPS directions to take me to Redmond, WA where this event was happening.
Well all I can say is holy crap. There were a LOT of people crammed into the grand ballroom of the Marriott. Books and cases filled with coins and a couple of vendors selling their stuff. I didn’t stay too long but there were a lot of people trading coins, discovering coins, talking coins, and even bidding on coins up for auction. It was quite an event. After about 30 minutes or so, I headed back to my car and called it a day. Sunday would be my last day in town and my last event of the trip.
The end was drawing nearer…