We pulled out of our driveway to begin our 1,100 + km road trip to Geowoodstock VIII about 8 o’clock the morning of June 30 and it took us more than an hour to leave the Calgary city limits!! Why? Well, only partly due to a traffic jam on the Glenmore causeway and more due to the fact that we made quite a detour in order to swing by the GC234K1 CONVOY – Calgary Area Cachers Road Trip! event cache, which was also the starting point for a multi-day caching challenge. We dropped off some of our brand new personal coins for the CONVOY prize pool, picked up a CONVOY decal for our vehicle window, all the details about CONVOY activities planned for the trip to Geowoodstock VIII and back, trade a couple pathtags and make note of some travel bug numbers!
From the event, we headed due west, aiming for scenic Highway 22 which parallels the western foothills along the beautiful Canadian Rockies. At our very first geocaching stop we ran into Restless10101 and shortred, a caching couple from B.C. Since other commitments had already brought them to Alberta, they seized the advantage to join the CONVOY caching fun. We saw them at several other caches as we drove south and then east, aiming for the Kingsgate border crossing into Idaho.
Our mission planning for Day 1 identified three Alberta Brass Caps and three earthcaches that we wanted to stop at. Actually, our mission planning only netted two earthcaches for our Bookmark list, but when we stopped in at a provincial historic site to hunt for a traditional cache, a bunch of CONVOY members were there completing the requirements for an earthcache at the same location. Taking advantage of the wireless send/receive functionality of my Colorado 400t and his Oregon, k5cents beamed me the cache logging requirements so we didn’t miss out on the third earthcache. If you’re ever in the southwestern corner of Alberta, be sure to stop in at these locations:
GCKDT8 Coke Oven, also the site of GC!KKKN Leitch Collieries Coke Oven Earth Cache
View of Turtle Mountain from BCP148 – Frank Slide, also near GCMZ13 Frank Slide Earthcache
Our first stop in BC was at one of the tourist attractions listed in the CONVOY itinerary. The World’s Biggest Truck also happens to be the site of a magnetic micro cache which is prone to a lot of DNF logs. We decided we’d stop long enough for our oldest son to take a few photos and search for 5 minutes. As it turned out, we ended up joining a CONVOY search party and stuck it out for almost half an hour before a fortuitous flash light aim by our youngest was immediately followed by an exclamation of "got it!" by codegimp.
Fortunately, we didn’t have too many more caches loaded up for the balance of the drive to Couer D’Alene, ID, our stopping point for the night. We did manage to log a couple more earthcaches before pulling up to join the long line at the Kingsgate border crossing into Idaho. CONVOY member Tethys C was also in the line-up, so Mrs. GeoK stepped out of the cachemobile to chat for a bit (and trade more pathtags).
ANIMAL SIGHTINGS: On our first driving day, we saw several hawks, a bald eagle, 3 deer, a moose and a black bear.
After a good night’s sleep in Couer D’Alene, we headed west again, but stopped after just a short time to go after GC1AA9M The Rathdrum Prairie – Spokane Aquifer earthcache. At the posted coordinates, we realized we had a bit of a problem…the cache write-up contained so much educational content that it was beyond the paperless caching capabilities of our Colorado 400t and Oregon 550t GPSr units. And since we were in the U.S., we didn’t want to fire up Mr. GeoKs’ smartphone and incur what would no-doubt be HUGE roaming charges. Then Mrs. GeoK realized we’d have the entire cache write-up stored in GSAK, so we headed back to the cachemobile and fired up the netbook, only to discover that the only logging requirement we needed to meet at the posted coordinates was to take the standard "proof we were actually there" photograph…
From there, we crossed the river and took a short (< 1 km) walk along the river pathway to a letterbox cache. After signing the logbook, Mrs. GeoK confirmed that we’d logged seven different icon types in just over 24 hours.
Our next stop was at GC11F1R Phone a Cacher, a cache recommended by CanadianRockies in the GW8 thread on the Calgary Area Cachers forums. We’re really glad we made the short detour off the interstate to search for this one; it was the most creative hide we came across during our entire trip!!
Then, it was time for a series of rest area caches. Once, when we were walking back to our cachemobile after finding the rest area cache, several CONVOY vehicles were just arriving. In honour of Canada Day, they kindly passes us some Canada-themed temporary tatoos and a mini Canada Flag, so that we could join the patriotic fun!! We all talked for a bit and then we headed off along the interstate while they headed off to find the geocache.
We finally arrived in Bellevue (we stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn – Bellevue Seattle) at about 4:30 pm and had just enough time to haul everything into our room before we had to turn around and head out to join throngs of Podcacher fans at GC29PA2 Team PodCacher Meet & Greet. We did lots of pathtags trading, enjoyed a few slices of tasty pizza, spoke briefly with Sonny & Sandy, discovered on of our GeoKs’ Highwood Pass geocoins (won by Papa EGTH for participating in a survey run by our oldest son’s Grade 8 class last school year), and finally went with some other attendees to find a micro cache hidden just across the street.
Mrs. GeoK trades pathtags with Albedo 0.39
Mr. GeoK and Youngest GeoKid pass the time by tossing a football
About 7 o’clock, we opened the door to our temporary home and settled in, did some unpacking and made plans for the next day…