US Trip 2015 – Attending a mega event and reaching a major milestone

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Driving from Delavan to West Bend shouldn’t take more than about an hour and 15 minutes according to Google Maps. But that is without geocaching…and all the detours we did to find virtual caches and two webcam caches. We wanted to attempt the «Today’s Ahh Milestone»-series, and also be there in time for the meet’n greet event in West Bend, so we had a limited amount of caches planned before that.

Our plan focus mainly on special caches (webcams, virtuals and other special caches) and counties. We like to find at least one cache in every county we visit.

We see a lot of fun things along the road while geocaching, but this is the first time we’ve seen one of these!
Whaaaat!

The virtual caches brought us to several small, but very nice, towns/cities. Driving all the way out to Lake Michigan was also a pleasant experience.
Lake Michigan

We spent a bit more time in Port Washington than planned, doing the webcam cache there. But with beautiful weather and a nice not-crowded park, it was a great place to spend the time! This webcam can be controlled by any visitor, but you only get 120 seconds, before it resets back to default. So we had to try a few times before we were able to get the shot.

Port Washington

We did a few more virtuals in and around Cedarburg, a very nice and quiet city. The cache GC556BC Little Free Library: Cedarburg Railway Depot Model is definitely worth a visit! The covered bridge was also a nice stop.

Covered bridge

We were able to start at the «Today’s Ahh Milestone»-series right about the same time as we had planned. That meant that we should be able to finish our plan, and still be there in time for the event.

The weather was beautiful all day, and most of the caches in the trail were easy to find. Only one DNF. There was a bit of traffic at some times, but for the most of it, we had the road – and all the caches along it – to ourselves. But we did have to share some caches with the local wasps. At one of them, I put my finger in behind a sign, and I felt something strange in there. When I took it out, a wasp sat on it! It didn’t do anything, but just sit there…

It’s easy to say that Wisconsin, or at least what we’ve seen so far, is green! And it’s also very easy to see in all the photos in the gallery at the bottom of this page.

Green, green, green

After having fun at the trail for a few hours, we finished the plan and headed towards West Bend. We had a few caches (with many favorite points) planned on the way to the event. When we stopped at GC53BAT WBGT 01: Historic Frisby House, it was easy to see that we had reached the Geocaching Capital of the Midwest.

West Bend

After finding the caches we had planned, we headed towards the event. Finding a place to park was easier said than done, but we managed to find a spot after driving around a few minutes.

Once we got to the event, it was easy to hear that a lot of people were gathered there! It was loud! We decided to get something to eat, and took the opportunity to get a table outside. It was much easier to talk outside, and the weather was still as good as it had been the entire day. The steak and the duck was awesome, and it was nice to sit down and relax after a long day. After eating, we even got to chat a bit with the host.

West Bend

After the event, and finding the cache near the event location, we headed straight to the hotel.

We woke up a bit early the next day, and decided to start on the plan we had (we had plans made for each and every day of the trip) before heading to the mega. The weather wasn’t as good as the day before, but at least it wasn’t raining!

We started on the «99 Mugs of Milk»-series, and had the roads almost to ourselves the entire time. The name is very suiting, because we got to see a lot of farms, cows and farmland! Most of the caches were real easy to find, and in good shape. We really appreciated the helpful hints, and it was nice with the twist on some of them.

Farmland

The weather was okay all the time during the trail, but Heltinnen managed to walk straight into very deep mud. She’s a true geocacher, so that didn’t slow us down more than about two minutes.

This is not where she walked right into the mud, we skipped this one...
This is not where she walked right into the mud, we skipped this one…

Don’t know how we managed to do this, but we found about 80 caches before we headed towards the CITO-event! This was a fun way to start the day!

We got to the CITO in time, but for some reason we ended up parking at the parking area furthest away from the event. Guess that’s how it goes when you rely on your GPSr to tell you where to drive… Sometimes it works, sometimes you end up at the wrong side of a barricade and sometimes you end up at the parking area furthest away. But the event was still pretty close (I just tend to exaggerate things), and we arrived in time to get our trash bags.

The park was pretty clean already, but we still managed to find some trash. The park must be really clean after this! Apparently, someone had ordered a thorough wash in addition to the cleanup, shortly after the event, it started raining.

We ended up in the queue for the event coin, and the very nice geocacher in front of us let us borrow an umbrella. You really do meet the nicest people when you’re out geocaching!

Walking from queue to queue

After getting the event coin, we went straight to the next queue, to get our event bags. We walked around a bit, before sitting down.

I was there!
Heltinnen was there as well!

We had to improvise a bit on the map...
We had to improvise a bit on the map…

I’m glad we could sit under a roof, because someone had ordered deep cleaning! We could chose between getting very wet, or sit there and relax a bit more – it was an easy choice!

Wet, wet, wet

I really like the social bingo, that we’ve seen at a few events now. We had no plans to actually get ours filled out, since we weren’t going to be there on Saturday. But somehow we ended up getting a lot of signatures anyway (a lot more than on the photo below!). But more fun was all the people that came by and wanted us to sign – this is why the social bingo is awesome! Every mega event should have this!

Bingo

After a while, people started to spread out, probably to find all the new caches. So we decided to continue with the rest of our plan for the day.
It’s easy to see that this is a well organized mega, and I hope to be back some time! But then we’ll make sure we have enough time to spend the entire weekend here!

The weather got a tad better, but we decided to get something to eat while waiting for the rain to stop. The weather did get a lot better, so we decided to just carry on – after all, we’re kinda used to rain where we’re coming from…

Rough road?? Your should try driving in Norway!!
Rough road?? Your should try driving in Norway!!

Finishing the trail didn’t take much time, and it became clearer and clearer that we could reach a major milestone today! But I don’t do that, unless I’m absolutely certain that I have 100% control over my finds – including all the finds I haven’t logged yet (we don’t log any caches on this trip until we get home). So we did a quick pit stop at the hotel, double checked everything, reloaded the GPSr and took a quick glance at the map to see where we could find the caches we needed. We also selected a suiting cache for the milestone.

The weather cleared up, and the rest of the day was quite nice. We found cache after cache, and soon enough we found ourselves at the «Welcome to West Bend»-sign, where we once again saw that this city really is the Geocaching Capital of the Midwest.

Welcome to West Bend

But that was «only» find number 9999 (actually kinda special), we still had one more to go! The cache we wanted to attempt to get as our milestone, was GC3RJRG Sophia Lives here. It was the closest one with a lot of favorite points (and it was already on our list of planned caches!)

We had seen pictures, and read the description, so we did know what we had ahead of us… So once we got there, it was just to start. It’s easy to say that this cache deserves its rating, it’s definitely not an easy cache! But it was a fun cache! It took us about 20-25 minutes before we were able to find what we were looking for, but WE DID IT! We reached 10 000 finds, our biggest milestone so far! And what a great place it happened! West Bend has treated us well, and we hope to be back here some time!

10 000 finds!

10 000 is a lot, but nothing would have been possible without all the awesome geocache hiders out there! You are awesome!

I also want to say a huge thanks to Heltinnen, for allowing me to be as crazy as I want – and for joining me when I’m doing crazy things! And a huge thanks to all the awesome geocachers we’ve crossed paths with, all over the world. It has been an incredible journey so far, and we are definitely not stopping yet! Now we’re off to the next 10 000!

We did it!

Just to celebrate, we found a challenge cache along the road back to the hotel…

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