Not too long ago, there was a weekday geocaching event held out in the middle of nowhere.
Being I was free, I headed over with another local cacher. After the event, we teamed up with another cacher and did a handful of geocaches. During that time, we came up with the idea of an even crazier event.
Having one in the middle of the night.
The idea was simple — see how many people were crazy enough to come out in the middle of the night for a no-frills event. In other words, no games, no food — nothing but an event.
That led me to figuring it out. What would be the best place to hold said event?
For those of you who cache, you know that Wal-Mart parking lots are popular places for park-and-grab geocaches. So why not have an event at the spot?
Originally, I was going to make the event at 3 a.m. Why? Just to see how crazy people really are. Then I realized that despite being a night owl, getting together at 3 a.m. for an event was not for me. So I made it 1 a.m. on a Sunday morning (or Saturday night, depending how you look at it). I figured that would give people the chance to get out, do some night caching, do a little shopping if they needed or hit up one of the nearby diners.
I also didn’t expect too many people to show up, so I figured it would be quick.
Turns out I was wrong.
We had 16 geocaching names — and an extra person or two — at the event. There was a couple of dogs, too. And a lot of cars parking all in a close area. There were a lot of RVs parking/camping in the lot that night and I have to wonder if they got a wake-up call from people chatting and laughing or dogs barking.
Such is the life of “camping” in a Wal-Mart parking lot, I guess.
Anyway, as some local geocachers know, I always try and figure something different for event logs. I think it’s a little more fun when it’s not just a piece of paper or log book. Over the years, I’ve used baseballs, softballs, a canoe paddle, Wiffleball bat, and a Christmas ornament among other things. I’ve been told people enjoy these logs, so I keep trying to find unique and fun logs to use.
This event might be one of my favorite logs.
What I did was replicate a Wal-Mart receipt, listing items a geocacher might purchase. The receipt was pretty close to real ones — even to adding a bar code. I also listed a few “details” that I was hoping people would pick up on.
I also asked people who weren’t going to make the event to post a note on the geocache page — explaining why they wouldn’t be there. I have to be honest that I usually find when people post they won’t attend events to be pointless. The idea is to post you will attend, hence why there’s not a “will not attend” option.
For this event, I thought it would be funny.
One local cacher said:
1AM!! I’m not that crazy. Us old people need our beauty sleep. I’ll take a pass.
Cool idea and I’m sorely tempted. But I just don’t think so.
In the end, those who showed up seemed to share in the humor of the event. It was quite fun and funny. It had a different feel than a normal meet-and-greet, but that’s to be expected at 1 a.m.!
What got me more, however, were how far people traveled.
I figured, honestly, we’d get mainly local people with one or two others coming from closer distances. But we got people who came from much longer distances.
One New York City cacher was even there — though he was staying about an hour away. He said he didn’t even know about the event, but ran into another set of geocachers who told him about the event. So he came!
People traveled from the Kingston area (a couple of hours away), Binghamton (an hour or so), Cobleskill area (35-45 minutes), and Utica (an hour-plus, give or take). The locals came from surrounding areas, such as the Cooperstown area and New Berlin, which can be about a 30-minute drive.
So besides being at an event at 1 a.m., they then had to drive home!
Thankfully, we got semi-decent weather. It was chilly, but no rain or snow or anything major!
In the end, I think the event was decently received and I also got some ideas for future ideas. Hopefully, they’ll go over just as well. Now to start thinking about how to pull them off and come up with unique log books!
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