This article is part six 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 talk about Groundspeak’s big Lost & Found event near HQ and my final few caches in the city.
Sunday was going to be my last full day in the area as my flight home was for Monday a little after 12 noon. I had originally intended to hit up a certain area for each day I was caching. The idea was to get as many caches as I could while also getting some pretty cool and other notable ones as well. Although that kind of worked out ok on the first day, the rest of the trip had not gone like I had originally planned, but still all was good. Knowing that Sunday was my last day to get any serious caching in, I wanted to get some non-traditionals found since I had ample supply in the area. Those would have to wait as a big event was going on downtown.
Groundspeak had been advertising on their site and newsletters about their big Lost & Found celebration event that was taking place near HQ on July 3rd. Knowing that a whole lot of people would be going to this event, I drove down there early, found a good parking spot, and then cached around until the event really started.
The main GSP tent had a lot of info about the sport of geocaching. They had GPS units you could rent and try out, info about all the different types of caches and containers, but most of all, they also brought the coolest part of HQ with them: the live log.
Now the video I posted is not the greatest because my phone takes crappy video but you’ll get the idea from it. How it works is it uses Google Earth to display satellite images of caches that are being logged at that moment. So in this video you see a log for a cache in Idaho, and then moments later it zooms to another part of the world where a cache was just logged in Puerto Rico. The screen updates every 30 seconds so you literally get to see people log their finds from all over the world, right on that screen. They have this exact same setup on a larger screen in the HQ lobby. Very cool.
There were also a number of the same vendors at this event as there were at GeoWoodstock. Tents were set up in various locations selling whatever kind of geocaching stuff they had. There was also a big tent for trackables, some social stuff for people to get to know each other, and a ton of street banners showcasing HQ’s L&F event.
Now I had pretty much had my fill after wandering around for an hour or so but then I came upon the dunk tank. Dunk tanks are always fun to watch as the poor soul stuck on the seat waits for the eventuality of being covered in water. When I arrived there was a volunteer cache reviewer named Marco who was on the platform. But there was a list of folks who would be coming up and I saw a name I thought would be entertaining to watch: Jeremy Irish.
For those who don’t know that name, Jeremy is the guy who co-founded Grounspeak and actually launched geocaching.com back in 2000. He is now the CEO of Groundspeak and seemed like a pretty genuinely nice guy. I have to admit that I don’t do very well at just going up to random people I don’t know and introducing myself. He was at the tank chatting it up with folks and taking pictures. A family man, his son and new baby were also there (his son got to dunk his dad) so I figured I would stick around and
watch this CEO get slammed. Well, sure enough, the first person to step up (a little kid) nailed the target and down Jeremy went. For Magellan lovers, he put his Magellan GPS in some sort of Magellan waterproof container and wore it while he got dunked. He made some comment about how if his GPS got ruined, he’d be talking to Magellan very soon.
Once the dunking was over, I took a few more pictures and then headed out. I had some very specific caches I wanted to get so I got started as quickly as I could.
My plan was to get a couple of virtuals, a letterbox, and a Wherigo all in the same day. The first stop for me was a pretty cool and special cache called Enter The Dragon. Although not a Bruce Lee fan (having never seen one of his movies), getting this virtual was pretty cool. I met a couple from Oregon there who were also getting the virtual. I left there and went out to snag a letterbox cache that wasn’t too far from the cemetery. I got thorned up by all the bushes but I snagged the find. I then proceeded to head to a completely different part of town where I was going to do a virtual CITO of a park to get a Wherigo cache. That was a funny experience. You literally walk back and forth and in circles in this one small region of the park and when you’re done, you go find the container. Took about 10 minutes but man did some people look at me some weird while I was walking back and forth in the grass. Looking at me like “What the hell is that guy doing?!?!?”. Ended up having to explain myself (and two other guys who came for the cache) to a few of the locals so they’d know what was going on. Pretty funny actually.
I hit up a pile more local caches and then I actually decided to call it a day early. I had snagged enough and I knew I wanted to kick back and have some rest time before getting ready for my return. Got back to the hotel, packed my stuff and called it a night. The following morning I snagged another 10 caches while killing a few hours by the airport. I left at 12:20pm PDT and walked into my house at 1:10ADT. I was glad to be home.
Stay tuned for the final part of my seven part story where I sum up the trip and my experiences being near so many iconic caches.