Jun 08 afternoon, I visited the birthplace of geocaching near Estacada, Oregon.
My dinner is scheduled at Copper River Restaurant & Bar in Hillsboro, where I can attend a geocaching event.
GEO June 2019 Meet & Greet
Geocaching is generally a solo sport, except when I run into other geocachers on the trail.
However, the "event cache" is an opportunity for geocachers to meet other participants of the sport.
When I was planning my Oregon trip, I kept searching the event listing every week, until a suitable event showed up: Geocachers Exploring Oregon (GEO), Oregon's geocaching community, has a meet & greet on Saturday evening.
Therefore, I planned my dinner to be at this event.
After spending too much time on the Un-Original, I drove 79 minutes to the event venue.
Copper River is a large restaurant with more than 100 seats, and GEO is the largest group in the restaurant.
I arrived at 18:02, just as the "official program" was starting and a president-level figure picked up a loud speaker to make announcements.
I received a blue raffle ticket, and later won a geocoin.
I found a seat in the middle of a 30-person long table, and introduced myself as
yoursunny to people around me.
longtrails, who's seated to my left, remembers my name because I signed his challenge cache this morning.
We chatted, and he offered me a document of driving directions to some of Oregon's historical caches.
Jun 08 morning, I found GC12 and GC17, two oldest geocaches in Mt Hood National Forest, Oregon.
I returned to GC17 trailhead at 12:19.
It has been five hours from when I left the motel, I have chewed two protein bars, so it's time for lunch.
Google Maps says there's no restaurant in the middle of the forest, but there are some near my next destination.
I entered the address into HERE WeGo, ate a third protein bar, and started driving.
Here we go again, HERE WeGo commanded me to "turn sharp left toward SE Brian Ranch Rd", a narrow, steep, and unsafe road through the ranches.
I ignored this command, and continued on SE Wildcat Mountain Dr.
An hour later, I arrived at View Point Restaurant & Lounge, Estacada, OR.
I need a burger right now.
Original Stash Tribute Plaque
World's first geocache, then known as "GPS Stash", was published by Dave Ulmer on 03 May 2000:
On Jun 07, I flew to Portland, Oregon and started my 7-day vacation.
Oregon is where the sport of geocaching got started, and my primary goal in Oregon is to find some of the world's oldest geocaches.
Saturday Jun 08, the weather was less than perfect compared to next few days.
However, I couldn't control my excitement and decided to nab the important geocaches first.
Planning for GC12
GC12, formerly known as GPS Stash #8, was hidden on 12 May 2000, nineteen years ago.
It is Oregon's oldest active geocache, and as I later learned, the second oldest active geocache in the world.
When I was doing my initial trip planning, Google Maps says I could drive right to it.
Upon closer inspection, oh well, I would have to drive over a "road block".
I had a 7-day vacation in northwestern Oregon in June 2019.
This is the biggest solo road trip I've ever had so far.
Earlier this year, Alaska Airlines messed up with my flight, and then I received a $200 voucher.
The voucher entitles me to a free flight to west coast.
Alaska flies to five cities on the west coast:
- Seattle, Washington
- Portland, Oregon
- San Francisco, California
- Los Angeles, California
- San Diego, California
Since my spontaneous visit of Pima Air & Space Museum on my 2015 birthday, I started a tradition of having a little road trip for every birthday.
I rode a bike to Sweetwater Wetlands Park to see some birds with Tucson Audubon Society on my 2016 birthday.
When my 2017 birthday came close, I planned something big: I wanted to attend the Yuma Mega, the biggest geocaching event in the Southwest region.
Finding the Event
I started geocaching as a hobby in 2013.
Geocaching for me is mostly an individual sport: I rode bikes all over Tucson metro area, lift up lamp post covers and poke my hand into guardrails to find mint containers hidden within.
Event Caches, on the other hand, are special geocaches that allow geocachers to gather and socialize.
I browse Geocaching.com's event listing from time to time, and attend those events regularly.
Normally, 15~30 people would show up in a local restaurant or city park.
People would tell their stories, and plan out-of-state trips to search for large number of geocaches.
Yuma Mega is not just any event, but a "Mega-Event Cache".
Geocaching HQ awards Mega status to events attracting more than 500 geocachers.
I heard about Yuma Mega in 2015, but the date was adjacent to a conference trip so I wasn't able to arrange it.
2017's Yuma Mega event falls on Sunday Feb 12, which happens to be my birthday.
2017 is also my last year living in Arizona.
It was "now or never", so I have to attend Yuma Mega!
I made up my mind on Nov 24, 2016, and booked a rental car and a motel room for the trip.
Both reservations were cancelable in case there's a paper deadline on that weekend, but thankfully there wasn't one, so I'm greenlighted for the trip.