The Midwest GeoBash in Wauseon, OH is a fun, 3 day camping social event that I’d suggest to any geocacher. That’s why I brought it last winter to my long time friend SolWalk74 and his two teenage kids OddElaine (16) and GeoScorcher (14).
I am a veteran to attending mega events of all sorts (7 West Bend Cache Bashes, 5 GeoWoodstocks, 2 Midwest GeoBashes, and 1 MOGA), as well as traveling extensive miles to go road trip geocaching, and my goal was simple: Take these three road trip rookies to their first mega event and watch them experience a different style of geocaching.
With months ahead of us to prepare, I had to make sure that my friends had enough direction and guidance so that they could have the best chance of wanting to attend a second mega event, or more, in the future. As residents of a very rural northwestern county of Illinois, the prospects of interstate highway driving is pretty minimal, and so is the experience that goes along with it. They weren’t even equipped with the tollway transponder for their car that makes paying highway tolls much easier. Knowing that we’d be passing through the Chicago suburbs on a regular weekday morning had me mildly worried on how the 4 day trip would start. But with finds in new states right before their very eyes, the trip went about as smooth as it could have.
I also had to introduce my new road trippers to how offline geocaching maps work, why we should use them, and how they can help us achieve our geocaching goals faster while enjoying the time we are spending in a new area without having to worry about cell service.
Our first stop – GC93 “Indiana’s First.” It seemed to make the most sense that their first in Indiana would be “Indiana’s First.” After getting back on the road, we finally arrived at the Fulton County Fairgrounds – the home to Midwest GeoBash! This was pretty exciting for them to finally be at the place they had been looking at on maps, in pictures, and hearing about from other people who had came before them. Their first geocaching mega event had officially started!
Then it was off to find their first cache in the state of Ohio, since we arrived on Thursday, but couldn’t log the mega until Saturday in order to get the souvenir. It was a simple park and grab cache alongside a country road… just the kind of caching that they have been used to doing 350 miles away back home. And as fate would have it, just 5 minutes later, they had claimed their first cache in their 3rd new state on the day – Michigan! With feet barely straddling the Ohio/Michigan border, they signed the log on another geocache. It was only then that it hit me… they had just found a cache in 3 brand new states, back-to-back-to-back! In all of my 11,000+ finds over the course of 10 years, I’m pretty sure that is something I had never done before, and I’m sure there is a challenge out there somewhere that they just qualified for!
The rest of our 3 day camping/geocaching mega event extravaganza saw them find another state’s oldest geocache, GC2DBE “Ancient Lake,” logging their first ever Adventure Lab cache, meeting other geocachers from other states, shaking hands with a Geocaching HQ lackey for the first time, and having their first ever picture with Signal The Frog! By the time we packed up our tents and sleeping bags to head home, my geocaching mega event newbie friends had logged almost 100 new finds!
But the geocaching containers weren’t the only thing they had found during that long weekend. They had found a different sense of adventure than what they were used to. They had found what 5+ hours on the road to a mega event felt like. They had rediscovered their love of camping. They found out what it feels like to properly plan and execute a successful road trip. And best of all, they had found that going to a mega event is much more fun than they had ever anticipated!
Have you gone on a geocaching road trip? To where? How did it go? Did you bring friends? Please let us know on Facebook (@GeocacheTalk) or on Twitter (@GeocacheTalk).
Halemeister lives in Winnebago, IL. He currently has over 11,000 finds, which includes the oldest geocache in 13 states! He shares his talents on YouTube as a vlogger (Geocaching with Halemeister). You can connect with him on Facebook (Geocaching with Halemeister) and Instagram (@geocachingwithhalemeister). Show him some love and let him know you read his post on the Geocache Talk blog!
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