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sMAGPI (y’all)

Knight Who Says Ni and wvhunter74, a little jealous because the Northern MAGPI were always having so much fun, set out to show us who put the “S” in sMAGPI!

It was a bright, hot and beautiful day down in the Charleston area. Perfect for a little Meat, a little Greet, a few caches, some ammo can tossing and t-shirt bludgeoning. What more could a person want? Not a whole lot it turns out. First event of the day, after signing in of course, was to play Caching Feats Bingo. Person who gets the most squares filled wins. Sounds easy right? Well you can only use each cacher once. So who would admit to using a Magellan as their primary GPSr? Surely someone out there has DNF’d the same cache 3 times and admitted it. Cached in Europe? What about found an aquacache (not the person)….or who out there has a dedicated cachemobile? And then there were a few cachers who clearly had to fill in one specific square that could pertain only to them….Needless to say, people got to know each other really fast!

Next on the schedule (the very rough schedule to be certain) was the Ammo Can Toss. Those cachers that had attended the MEAT-n-Greet at Cooper’s Rock back in July knew what it was all about. Not one to make things easy, Knight Who Says Ni had upgraded to a 50 cal ammo can. Now that’s some serious weight to go tossing around. The crowd was a little unsure about this seemingly sacrilegious abuse of an ammo can, so wvhunter74 stepped up to the plate to demonstrate. Oh his throw was mighty alright, but the landing not so much. The can took a half roll, the lid exploded and rocks flew everywhere. Oops. After that demonstration and pretty much figuring things couldn’t get worse than that, cachers lined up to give it a go.

Things were going smoothly with Beaver Crew in the lead. A few of the little cachers even stepped up to give the can a toss. And then from the back of the pack emerged the winner of the 3rd Great MEAT-n-Greet Ammo Can Toss 89SC. Without sidekick Little Wooden Boy around 89SC was the unspoken favorite (at least for those of us who’d attended the earlier competition in Morgantown). With a little experience behind him 89SC demonstrated the fine can tossing form that sent the can hurtling and then rolling, rolling, rolling….Winning distance was a hair over 50 feet.  

Saving the best for last, the sMAGPI crew unveiled as yet untried game in the geocaching community (thanks to ScoutingWV for give us the how-to)…..FROZEN T-SHIRT. What? Yes, you read right. Frozen t-shirts. All nicely folded, rolled, soaked and stuck in the freezer by Spotty Spotty Pony Girl on Thursday night. Even after transportation from Morgantown to Charleston early in the morning they were still a mass of ice.

  The crowd was a bit dubious at first. How could you do anything with that? And were they really shirts? Not possible….but curiosity was too much and so soon all 14 shirts were handed out and the chaos began. First and foremost, how could you even get the frozen cylinders to open up even a little? Several methods were tried. Mashing was a good first option, until the rock that was being used started to crumble. Resources were limited and there was not exactly a good selection of large rocks laying about, so other options had to be sought out.  Since we had a water fountain on site some of the clever cachers headed over there hoping the luke warm water would speed up the thawing process maybe just a little. A few thought perhaps lemonade might aid in the melting process. Others (pbump) used the x-ray vision method which just didn’t do much at all. There was talk of using flames, but that was quickly put to rest by being declared illegal in the game. Eventually one of the younger cachers hit upon a brilliant plan….beat the shirts against the rocks. Soon others were joining it. It looked like a group of angry laundry men. Victory came to the cacher that first hit upon the beating the shirt on the rocks method . Oddly enough, cachers continued to work on the remaining shirts with some determination and it wasn’t too long before there were additional cachers wearing shredded, dripping, dirty shirts.

So, kudos to Knight Who Says Ni and wvhunter74 for putting on a good show, stuffing us full of yummy food and letting us be ridiculous. You guys did good!  

chris on August 25th 2008 in Geocaching, Links

Create-A-Cache Assemblage….or CACA

It was a bright, muggy West Virginia morning when we set out to rendezvous with some cachers at Prickett’s Fort. We drove up in the mighty Vue only to see our road blocked by the Law. Aw man, what has wvhunter done this time?

Apparently nothing….nothing except schedule CACA during the Morgan Family Reunion. You would think he’d check the calendar, particularly since parking is a bit of a squeeze on a slow day….but no! Fortunately we knew the secret pass code, “No we aren’t with the Morgan Family Reunion” so we got in. Disaster averted.

Since we were running a little behind (my fault….mine, mine, mine) there was already a good crowd assembled and lots of shouting. Well I think it was shouting, but it could have been wvhunter talking. I dunno. We managed to squish the vehicle into what I thought was the last parking spot – 89SC arrived shortly thereafter in his one-eyed MR2 and proved me wrong.

Good thing this wasn’t an all day event or the law enforcement of the People’s Republik of Bridgeport would be on his trail.

More talking, shouting, wild gesticulations and general chaos ensued. Also there was voting on the name of the cache that was being placed, which resulted in more shouting and general chaos followed by the passing around of a voting sheet. Somewhere in there we started making pithy comments about CACA and the woods. Ok, so maybe they weren’t all the pithy, but we were trying. It’s hard to be uppity when you’re talking about CACA for goodness sakes!

After coming up with the name Wanna Go C.A.C.A. in the Can in the Woods? we headed out to place the cache. This presented us with a slight problem. You see geocachers are accustom to wandering around in the woods, sometimes even in large groups. But what we aren’t used to is not having a destination. We go out trying to get to a thing. Oh sure, some of us may follow the arrow blindly. Others may stay on the path and be deliberate, but the point is….we have a PLACE that we are trying to reach. That was not the case here. Had it not been for pbump who finally veered off the path and then 89SC who found a nice spot further up the trail we may still be out there, talking and walking with no end in sight.

When I heard the glorious words, “reminds me of Berry in the Woods” echoing across the rail trail I perked up. Ah, now that is a cache to be proud of! Of course I came scrambling up through the shrubbery and onto the trail and there, in blinding glory was the spot 89SC and sidekick were describing. The rest of the group were inclined to agree that the spot was a winner.

Captain OCD however refused to go place the cache as he was having flashbacks to BitW. 89SC grabbed the ammo can while Frank, 60Cent, Tee, sidekick and I followed. We were slightly disappointed that the trip up wasn’t as difficult as BitW, but the trip down was a little challenging. Not for 89SC though, who stuck his landing and was given a solid 8.5 by sidekick. I could be heard to say, “Wait ’till fall and six inches of leaves…” as we headed back down the trail.

Back at the parking coords (whew, someone marked the cars) we debriefed and rehydrated. And then there was your typical “we don’t have anything else to do, let’s stand out in the heat and talk caching” which always happens after a group outing. I was all ready to pull up a chair and join in for the rest of the afternoon, but Loyal sidekick had been patient and was clearly hungry, so we left first and went to Mamaw’s where delicious lasagna was awaiting….mmmmm. Sadly I missed the bagpiper due to our early exit,  although one of my fellow cachers was kind enough to call me on the phone so I could listen.

Continue Reading »

chris on August 3rd 2008 in Geocaching, Links

The 3rd Great MEAT-n-Greet at Cooper’s Rock

Last year I’d volunteered to provide primary back-up support for Captain OCD (aka wvhunter) when he took over the MEAT-n-Greet. This year I volunteered to be the Organizer with him as my second and the entire MAGPI gang as life support….do I ever learn?

The day started with a small mishap that involved my Dad (Foxtrot Bravo), his truck, my grill and I-68. We’d loaded the grill up into his truck, complete with cover and bungee corded it in. Yeah, that was fine until we hit the interstate. One minute Dad’s there and the next minute he wasn’t. Hmmm…apparently the billowing grill cover acted as a parachute and tried to take the grill out of the truck. Fortuntely the cover ripped free before Dad had an incident on his hands. I then missed the turn to Pavilion 3, despite that a) I am the one that reserved it and b) we always have the MnG here.

As if that wasn’t enough to get the day going, imagine my shock as I was standing in the back of the truck trying to right my grill when a van load of people appeared. Um…uh oh, surely they couldn’t be cachers. The event didn’t officially start for another hour and a half. I was trying to figure out what was going on when they disappeared toward Rock City. Whew. A few minutes later the MAGPI reinforcements arrived.

The Winners

Ammo Can Toss (aka Toss This!) – Nicely done 89SC! He outgunned everyone except sidekick, who I disqualified, thought it might look bad for my sidekick to start walking away with prizes.

The prize? A gently used ammo can. We eagerly await the placement of his upcoming cache. Perhaps he can call it Toss This

Find the X (aka How slow can you walk?) – Well placed, Aquacache. His Garmin Vista got him within 3 feet. The prize? A silver unactivated Australian Geocoin…. Frank n Beck donated this coin that they won for nominating last year’s Find the X as a WAY COOL game on the geocaching.com forums. We rock!

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Speed Pack (aka Put All that Carp BACK In The Can) – We now all know that Beck (of Frank n Beck) will never be caught by muggles! Her winning time was 24 seconds! The prize? The giant plastic ammo can filled with carp what I found in my house!

What’s in SSPG’s Geo-Bag? (aka Getting Personal with the GeoBag?) – Ok, so this is embarrassing…I can’t remember who won. But I do know that the winnner got 8 of the 11 items correct. UPDATE…I’ve been told ANTHUS wond this game….I also know that I clearly need to carry a poncho. BUT WAIT! There was a second prize in this game for “Most Creative List” which was won by Rock_Rat. His prize? A very nice Magellan GPSr complete with VHS instructional tape and manual. No more DNFs for him!

Grand Prize – Hiking Staff by Gentleman-Carpenter – This beautiful hiking staff with a WV state quarter mounted in the top was won by Determined2. I suspect there were a lot of envious cachers at the end of the day.

A few highlights…

  • TeamOVCacher arrived bringing Brenda’s Birthday Bus Stop TB prompting shouts of “LOCK YOUR CAR!” to echo through the trees. We proudly displayed the sign but it wasn’t long before it had disappeared. Somehow it ended up poorly hidden in The Toy. Come on Rock_Rat you have to try harder than that…CLCombat’s truck was ripe for the picking. I retrieved the sign and put it back on display, heck there was plenty of time left and unsuspecting cachers will still arriving. After being hidden (and found) in several vehicles, including Rock_Rat’s Jeep, the TB made its way home with the very unsuspecting Rabbit Cops.
  • Frank n Beck prevented the grill related melee of last year from repeating itself by showing up with a brand-spanking-new gas grill. All hail the mighty grill! I understand there were in fact several worshipers of said grill, but I have not received photographic evidence.
  • Nightowls01 having me present wvhunter with a mystery bag full of “something he’s been wanting for a while”. Even after seeing wvhunter open the bag and reveal the stuffed kitty cat, someone had to explain it, I’m a little slow.

THE BIG SURPRISE

And finally, we had two surprises. Most of MAGPI already knew that wvhunter was going to receive a gold ammo can commemorating his 1000th find. It’s a pretty impressive number and it nearly killed him, I know, I was there at The Fellowship of Tater Cache. But I swear, I didn’t have anything to do with it. Honestly. Anyway, people were giving me the ol’ “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” about the gold can all day long.

So it was not a great surprise to anyone but ‘hunter himself when I climbed back up on the table with the Giant Gold Ammo Can and started shouting for everyone’s attention (again…yeah, I like to be the center of attention!). I think he was pleasantly surprised with liquid contained within the can as well.

But wait….what’s this? Another milestone to commemorate? It isn’t’ every day someone finds his 100th FTF and it sure as heck isn’t every day that you meet a cacher who has at least one FTF every month for 36 months (yes, you read that right, 36 months in a row).

No way was I going to let Aquacache’s milestone go by unnoticed. But what do you give someone to commemorate FTFs? How about a giant blank log book! Judging by the look on his face, I’d say Aquacache was surprised.

Much more happened, of course. But I’m only one Pony and I could not be in all places at all times…..So go check out the rest of the pics and leave your stories in the comments. And get ready for next year, because it is gonna be a blast! Continue Reading »

chris on July 21st 2008 in Geocaching, Links

A Little Madness…

A. I have poor decision making skills.

B. I like to geocache

A + B = Roadside Madness

It was hot and humid out today. And there was a chance of thunderstorms according to the all knowing NOAA. But the radar looked fair and I really, really wanted to hit Roadside Madness and thought a few extra eyes would be useful. Aquacache (one of my usual victims…um, volunteers I mean) seemed interested and loyal sidekick hemmed a bit but then said sure.

We piled into the Mighty Vue and headed up to Cooper’s Rock. The wind had started to kick up a bit and the sky was getting a little dark so an executive decision was made to take the easy route (that means driving between stages instead of walking around 6 miles). Who was I to argue? After all, they did volunteer to come with me!

Parked the Mighty Vue close to stage one, got out and BLAM…here comes the rain.

Fortunately I found it pretty fast. Back into the car, plug in the new coords and on to stage two. You know what? Pine trees really don’t offer that much shelter from the rain. I circled one area while the guys were giving another group of trees the shake down. It was getting a little dark and this was maybe starting to seem like not such a good idea when I found the container. Yay! New coords and now on to stage 3. At this point we were getting pretty darn wet, which is pretty much a serious understatement. Zero’d in on stage 3 pretty fast, noted the new coords (well really we took photos since I have an issue with numbers) and ran for the car and plugged in the last set of coordinates.

Ok. We now have the coords to the final stage and the rain is really, really kicking up. But we’re soo close. Is the rain slacking off a little maybe? Are we getting a respite? Is Mother Nature taking pity on us? We’ll see. Pull in and walk zombie-like into the forest.

We’re only 200 or so feet away, but Aquacache’s fancy GPSr is having fits and I’m having a hard time keeping mine dry. Which is about the time that Mother Nature lets rip with pelting, driving, bone soaking rain. And thunder…and lightening, possibly also more wind. It was hard to tell. The assault was so much that my PDA freaked out and shut off (guess water will do that to electronics). So there we are, water running off us, our clothes getting heavier and heavier. My electronics getting wetter and wetter and no cache. Finally I manage to coerce a few seconds of activity out of the PDA and shout out the clue to Aquacache, who happened to be standing right beside the hide.

So now what? How do you open a container, let along sign the log book when you are dripping water and the rain is still pelting down? Cleverly. Very cleverly that’s how. Sidekick took off his dripping booney hat, rung it out and held it over the ziplock while Aquacache extracted the log. My job was to sign the log (after taking the pic).

I couldn’t do this without, of course, stepping in a hole and injuring myself. But as sidekick pointed out, what’s geocaching without a little blood loss? Scrawl our names on the paper, reverse process and run like heck back to the Mighty Vue. Well actually it was more like stumble along the newly formed stream…how did we miss that on the way in? Are we lost? Did someone mark the car? Is this going to end like the Blair Witch Project? Or are the zombie hobos going to get us? (doubt it, even they have sense enough to stay out of the pelting, driving thunderstorm of soppiness)

So much for a nice relaxing afternoon of caching!

chris on July 20th 2008 in Geocaching, Links