It has now been a week and a day since my family and I attended our first "Mega" geocaching event in Bell Buckle, TN. GeoWoodstock VII was held there on May 23rd, 2009.
GeoWoodstock is the largest gathering of geocachers in the world.
We made a family vacation out of it and had been planning it for the last year.
My favorite type of cache in geocaching are event caches and I love taking trips with my family so it was a "Two for one".
We stayed in Murfreesboro, TN. We cached, we shopped, and we toured the area. We definitely made some memories that will be with us for the rest of our lives.
There were several "firsts" on the trip for us also. We found our first "Web Cam" cache when we stopped in Nashville, TN and found the "Every Breath You Take GCMF4B" web cam cache by Monkeybrad. This cache was located on Vanderbilt University. Thanks to my wife's co-worker Amanda for taking our picture using the web cam to prove our find.
After the web cam cache we found a couple of virtual caches on the Medical Center property before heading on to our hotel in Murfreesboro, TN.
We found our first earth cache when we visited the "Murfree Spring GC12TP3" earthcache located at the Discovery Center in Murfreesboro. It was a very interesting cache and the Discovery Center was a great place for the kids to tour. They had a fun time. I also had the chance to meet some other cachers at the cache, including Lookout Lisa of Cache Advance and Trevor of Trevor and Kate.
Before the trip was over I had also found my first Wherigo Cache at GeoWoodstock.
On Friday night before GeoWoodstock VII we went to the "Friday Night Meet and Greet GC1M13D" held at Barfield Park in Murfreesboro. When we pulled into the parking lot I immediately noticed the vehicle belonging to cfd29 from Clarksville, AR.
I had the chance to meet a couple of people I had been wanting to meet at this event as well as getting to see some fellow Arkansas cachers. I had the chance to meet Monkeybrad who was also one of those helping with GW7. I also had the chance to me Sonny, Sandy, and Sean from "Sunny San Diego" aka Team Podcacher. They host one of the geocachingpodcasts I listen to each week called the Podcacher podcast. I also ran into cfd29 (and got to meet their daughter and son-in-law), rklmbl, and BSA534 from Arkansas.
The Friday Night event allowed us to pick up our registration packets that contained our name tags, lanyards, meal-tickets, and other information. I also was able to drop off some travel bugs that I had brought to GW7.
While in the park we had the chance to find our second earthcache, "AmmoniteGC14YYT".
The next morning we headed out early for Bell Buckle so we would not miss any of the happenings there.
We arrived and then walked to the main event area. The main event area had a stage with a large banner that said "Welcome to GeoWoodstock" hanging above it. They had square bales of hay set out for everyone to sit on. There were vendors selling geocaching related items, food, and other items set up all around the perimeter of the main event area.
There were other areas of interest spread out over the small town of Bell Buckle.
There were education sessions where you could learn about Wherigo Caches, the new Geomate Jr., and other geocaching related topics.
There was "Geo-Bingo" where after you filled out your card you were able to exchange it for a ticket that gave you a chance to win something in the drawings held later in the day.
They were also selling tickets for chances to win other items that were given away. We won a pair of t-shirts that featured a new movie coming out called "Splinterheads" that features geocaching.
We had a chance to visit a museum that was set up to display items from the previous six GeoWoodstocks.
There were several great caches to locate in the area that we also had the chance to find either on our own or while with other cachers.
There were so many cachers and others I had the chance to meet.
I am always glad to see my fellow Arkansas cachers and saw Tim and Connor Stone aka BSA534, Ron and Maribeth Laster aka rklmbl, Mike Beavers aka AR-Hick and his girlfriend aka BeSeeinU, Clark and Debbie Gray aka cfd29, Ryan Lehman and family aka Shadowcachers, Brenda Bain aka Bluesybreeze, Edie O'Byrant aka edieo, and Judy Theidig aka Mathseeker. I am sure I forgot someone, sorry if I did.
I again had the chance to see Team Podcacher at their booth and had the chance to win a couple of items at a little get together at their booth.
I also ran into Ed, aka The Alabama Rambler, who once was the Arkansas volunteer reviewer.
I even had the chance to have my photo taken with Signal the frog.
We stayed at the event until it was over and after they took a group photo and announced that GeoWoodstock VIII would be held in Carnation, WA near Seattle on July 3rd, 2010.
While at the event we also picked up our GeoWoodstock VII t-shirts and geo-coin. I also picked up a few more geo-coins and cache containers from some of the vendors.
Later that night after returning to the hotel room and ordering pizza I went to the "Midnight Geocoin Madness GC1N4NH" event. There I had the chance to meet Snoogins and the Grand High Pobah. Snoogins is a famous Texas cacher and the GHP maintains the cacher rankings web site. I also had the chance to trade some geocoins and Pathtags.
The next day we took it easy with some shopping, then the day after that we headed home.
We really enjoyed the trip, but really enjoyed getting back home when it was all over.
It is a trip we will not soon forget and we are already talking about taking a two-week vacation next year to attend GeoWoodstock VIII GC1QM7K.
I began geocaching in 2006 after seeing a link for Geocaching.com on the web site for Mt. Magazine State Park. My wife and I both felt that the hobby would be something we could do with the whole family. We found our first cache on April 13th, 2006 and we have been caching ever since!