Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chicago Geocacher Podcast - Spectacular Weekend (part 1)

I had a ridiculously fun time this weekend in Northern Illinois!

The Chicago Geocacher Podcast (hosted by Scott Berks and Walt Grogan) celebrated it’s 100th – and last – episode with a series of events near Schaumburg/Hoffman Estates, Illinois.  Now, if you’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to their broadcasts <ding> you would understand both the joy and sorrow I’m feeling.  Around twice a month for 4 years this pair sat down and bantered the thrills & weirdness experienced in their corner of the geocaching world and the news at large.  And this show isn’t for children.

It’s not something you can describe here….. take a moment (or two hours) and shoot over to iTunes.  Download their Episode 97: Jewish Boy Scouts & Lab Caches and give it a listen.  This is a typical broadcast with the distinction of being the only podcast EVER to make me swerve off the road, in full belly laugh, and almost hit a guardrail (with, probably, one of those rare geocaches).

It feels like your best drinking buddies were just relocated overseas after completing a major project. You are excited they reached their goal, but you’ll miss them at the bi-weekly Poker party.

To celebrate this milestone, DarrylW4, Caching Fire and myself trekked West for one last drink goodbye.  Yes, I brought the Detroit Dragon – don’t judge me, monkey!

Starting off before dawn struck, we made our way towards Western Michigan and the Indiana border without event.  I found my first Indiana cache at the Visitor Center (Crossroads GC12GGE).  Funny thing is…. It had an old, damaged Cache-a-Maniacs logbook in it!  (Cache-a-maniacs was one of Darryl’s podcasts).  I logged the find quickly and received my Indiana souvenir. 

No other thing to note except Darryl’s GPS is ‘possessed’.  Just as we accessed the Indiana Toll Road 90, it directed us to exit just in time to grab a train cache (EJE 765 GC1VPVD) and then re-enter the toll road.

Making good time (and passing all those glorious VIRTUALS in downtown Chicago), we found ourselves at the La Quinta Hotel (Hoffman Estates) where we met up with Jeremy Collins (WyoKrewe from Wyoming) and Scott Thompson (Firesafe from South Australia).  After a quick check-in, we were off to cache the area while on the way to the first event. 

Firesafe, WyoKrewe, DarrylW4, Caching Fire, and scrapcat

Hamming it up at Walt's Microphone

Enjoyed a Quaint Cemetery, too

First event: Chicago Geocacher 100th Episode Lunch Spectacular GC4ZP1N at the Billy Goat Tavern and Grill (Mount Prospect).  What a fabulous crowd!  We started with meeting Walt Grogan at the logbook, and then over to the counter for some pretty tasty cheeseburgers.  Everyone recognized DarrylW4, Firesafe, and WyoKrewe from the podcasts.

Sitting at the table, Scott showed me the geo-art (Signal) he made for the Oz Mega in South Australia – so cool!

Not one to be shy, I left the guys to chat while I visited table-to-table, snapping pictures of Fire with the locals and trading path tags.  Fire is photogenic and a great ice breaker. My favorite log was from Teper129, “This is undoubtedly the coolest trackable I’ve found.  Being a dragon myself (I breathe fire), I felt a connection with this guy.  Hope to see him again!”  He even included a picture of himself breathing fire in his log!

Teper129 - Kindred Spirits!

Here are a few of the pictures I took at that event.  There are more attached to his log.

Our hosts have a good sense of humor, too!

Scott Berks

Walt Grogan

Can't forget the group shots!

Jeremy, Scott, Fire, Darryl, and Elisa

The out-of-towners

After a group photo, we were off to do the Randall Road Romp!  It is approximately 200 caches within a 10-mile stretch of Randall Road.  Due to time constraints, we only managed about 75 of these park-and-grabs before the main event.  Darryl did an excellent job driving & navigating, while Jeremy, Scott and I were runners.  We used the “Scott & Walt” method – don’t completely unroll the logs!  There’s caches to be had!  Darryl made these awesome GGH (GeoGearHead) stickers to quicken things up.  This worked as long as Firesafe didn’t spot a Munzee nearby – LOL.

Of the approximately 75 caches, there were two stand-outs:

Cachesaurus Rex GC427P4 – LOVED it!  We had fun taking pictures and a breather here.  I made the find – it was nice finding one NOT located under a lampskirt.

Randall Road Romp #16 GC3Y610 – it might have only been a P&G, but (contrary to what says) it was my 4000th find (on day #772 of my caching streak).

(To be continued..... part 2)

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