Last night was my first attempt at co-hosting a Geocaching event. Marc (aka mblatch) was my co-hort & co-host. We set it up at Big Ed’s BBQ on Rt. 34 in Old Bridge. Besides having some fantastic ribs the place is just fun. There are giant cartoon painted wood cut-outs all over the property (example at left). It has ample parking & a front section that’s good for a larger group hanging out and chatting before getting down to some serious pigging out. The “piggy” theme was decided for us when I noticed that they sell Big Eds branded piggy banks that would make an excellent cache container. I bought the piggy bank, sealed the ‘coin hole’ with pink caulk, gorilla glued an ‘airborne’ tube inside the snout to hold a log book and hid it in the woods behind the restaurant with Heather a week before the event. Like the three little pigs this solo piggy made his house out of sticks. 🙂
I also decided we needed swag so bought 2 dozen small pigs from the Oriental Trading Co. and started looking for pig themed geo-coins. I found a total of three. One I had to buy on eBay, one from a vendor in Germany and the third from a small store in the US. Unfortunately the US supplier only ships once a month and, of course, the coins didn’t arrive in time. I did manage to have the other coins present for the event and everyone got to ‘discover’ the one that had its own custom icon (). I wrote the name of the event & date on the bottom of all of the plastic pigs to give the attendees something to take home or use as trade swag. Last, but certainly not least, I hid a bonus cache in the parking lot of Big Ed’s – it’s just a small play-doh container made to look like a lost little piggy. I tried to time the publication of the two new caches to they’d coincide with the event. Alas, I caught the cache-reviewer on a bad weekend and the caches weren’t published in time. To compensate I printed out the cache listings and provided them to folks at the event. Tim (aka TheMadRussian) was the first person to run out to the parking lot to find the Lost Little Piggy. After the meal 7 people made the attempt at the same time. They were all lined up against the fence looking like a police lineup.
When all of the eating/paying of bills was accomplished someone (Ok, Marc) announced that we should all do some night-caches in the area. There were two available and, though one was archived, Marc & I had verified that it was indeed still there just the night before. So 9 of us piled into the 2 largest vehicles and drove the mile to the official parking coordinates. This particular night cache can only be done at night. There’s small reflective spots tacked to various trees and you have to follow the virtual trail they provide. The tacks are 50 – 150 feet apart and very hard to see in the fog but with 9 pairs of eyes and at least that many light sources the cache was easily found. From there we humped over the hill to Heather & my Piggy Bank cache. Again, they made short work of it but everyone seemed to enjoy the cache container & the hide. I basically made a log cabin for it under the roots of a tree. Philipe (aka CondorTrax) came up with the official First-To-Find and earned the Flying Pig geocoin I bought off of eBay.
I knew of another cache that wasn’t exactly on the way home but with an “accidental” missed turn we found ourselves 150 feet from a 5th find of the night. This specific cache is called Whitetail Retreat and it’s on what amounts to an island in a marsh. Once one person headed into the reeds everyone quickly followed – regardless of what style of pants/shoes they were wearing. The mist wafted across the reeds. The water was cold. The mud was… odoriferous. The cache was found! Sheer numbers trump any good hide. AVGraphics took a great photo of our shoes when we got back to dry land. I’m the geek with the black shoe & his pants rolled up. The rolling didn’t help and I’ll probably have to “archive” the pants.
We returned to our rides on the easy to follow path that I conveniently missed the first time. Everyone seemed in high spirits and having such a good time that it was a shame the night had to come to a close. I can’t say for certain that this will become a recurring event, but I’ll say this… there’s another night cache within a mile of Big Ed’s. 🙂