Block Party 2014

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Last year was my first Block Party and I learned two things:

 

1. Way more fun and more actual caching than GeoWoodstock

2. I did it wrong.... and want to do it again, but better.

 

So... is this on your radar this year?

 

The main event is Saturday August 16th (http://coord.info/GC4CPG0) but festivities start as early as Wednesday.

 

 

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Posted · Report post

Last year was my first Block Party and I learned two things:

 

1. Way more fun and more actual caching than GeoWoodstock

2. I did it wrong.... and want to do it again, but better.

 

So... is this on your radar this year?

 

The main event is Saturday August 16th (http://coord.info/GC4CPG0) but festivities start as early as Wednesday.

 

Greg, is there anything you can expand on about "doing it wrong" so that we can cull out the lessons learned and avoid falling into those ditches? Of course, I'm not trying to pry if it's personal stuff (like if you got hammered on tequila and were found running down the middle of the road in a chicken costume or something), but I always like to glean what I can from those who've gone before me.... :)

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OK Brian, not a bad suggestion.  Here goes:

 

What I could have done better...

 

0.  Know what you are in for.  Having been to a couple of GeoWoodstocks and several TX Challenges, I thought I know what to expect.  I was wrong.  I totally didn't expect the crowd participation events, lab caches, or the HQ Geo Tour.  The Block Party is different!

 

1.  Arrive before Friday.  I wish it was something fun like the chicken suit, but I ended up "fitting in" a business trip to Denver on the way to Seattle.  Although it wasn't all bad since I did pick up Wyoming and Nebraska Thursday after work and then took a morning flight to Seattle on Friday.

 

2.  Plan Better.  Having been to Seattle many times, I thought I could wing it and just follow the gang and/or plan my time on Wednesday on my leisurely way there.... Due to # 1 above, I arrived in Seattle on Friday without a plan and without a gang since they all set of first thing in the morning when I was still in Colorado.

 

3. Don't volunteer.  Blasphemy, I know!  But really... at Geo Woodstock and TX Challenge, it is a volunteer put on program.  At the block party.... it's groundspeak and all those years of premium membership dues and travel bug royalties that are paying for staffing.  Not realizing the difference in format, I did what i always do... look for a spot to volunteer.   Since Bev of GxProxy had asked for help, I was happy to do that.  But what is a firm 2 hour volunteer window I was accustomed to at GeoWoodstock was a bit less firm (and longer).  Don't get me wrong, I had fun and enjoyed working the booth and she compensated me with an awesome geocoin, but  all in all, I wish I had spent the time finding the HQ tour and lab caches.

 

4. Be part of a group.  Geocaching is always more fun in a group.  Maybe its your friends from Houston, or old work pals from Seattle, or the cachers  as you make your way from one beer tour lab cache to another.

 
5. Pre-order coins.  Don't waste your time in lines!
 

So... some things I did do right....

 

A.  Make time for GIFF (but bring a chair or pillow).  Mostly high quality, funny films and they will be in limited distribution (i.e. no you tube) for a year.  We got lucky and had a comfy seat that was only slightly obscured.

 

B. Do the Ape event / Tunnel of Light.  Last year, I meet up with an old friend and his two young children.  It was especially a blast.  This year, he wants to bring his cub scout den!  I saw on FB that Mustard Devil is going... I think he should retrofit his kayak Christmas rig as a tunnel wagon.  who knows, it might start a new tradition.

 

C. Talk to strangers.  Yeah, I know we are all pretty good at that anyways.

 

 

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There is no way in hell I'm ever going through that tunnel again:)

The single biggest mistake you can make at the block party is not planning ahead.

This time I WILL find the original stash plaque and a few others in Oregon.

I am already planning my activities:)

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Greg, great tips you passed along. I would've loved to hear a chicken suit story, but the volunteer story was a close second. :)  Thanks for taking the time to pass along the lessons learned.

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I can't imagine that a 12v ups battery with convertor + plus some christmas lights rigged up on your backpack would be all that hard to bare.

Going LED could possibly be safer and require less power. However the tunnel is more fun in pitch black....

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Can't do the tunnel this trip..my flight leaves the night.before the Ape Event.

Last year was enough.

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I've done the tunnel twice now. It ain't that bad...

You are correct but looking at that tiny speck of light at the end of the tunnel for 2 1/2 miles was just too much :)

Besides my return flight leaves at midnight before the ape event.

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I've done the tunnel twice now. It ain't that bad...

You are correct but looking at that tiny speck of light at the end of the tunnel for 2 1/2 miles was just too much :)

Besides my return flight leaves at midnight before the ape event.

 

Gives you an appreciation for someone with glaucoma.

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Try doing the hike through the tunnel after double-timing it up to GCD and back down.  I ended up walking close to 20 miles that day with a few thousand feet of elevation change thrown in.  I had blisters on my blisters.

 

Then I came home and had a couple of heart stents put in. :uglystupid2:

Kirbydox likes this

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Try doing the hike through the tunnel after double-timing it up to GCD and back down.  I ended up walking close to 20 miles that day with a few thousand feet of elevation change thrown in.  I had blisters on my blisters.

 

Then I came home and had a couple of heart stents put in. :uglystupid2:

 

Go figure.

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If you're looking to fill in your Jasmer calendar, there are lots of ripe opportunities within a day's drive of Seattle.  The aforementioned GCD, along with GC12, GC16, GC17, Hembre Ridge, The Burn.  Of the last 5, we did all but GC16 last year on a day trip to Oregon.  Quite a bit of hiking involved in getting to GCD, GC16 and GC17, but some of the others are "Park and Grabs" -- if you have 4WD.

 

If you've never been to Seattle or the Block Party, you can line up a "busy day" and get up to 12 cache types in a day (counting the labs caches).  The Block Party and Groundspeak HQ will be new cache types for you.

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Excellent list, Greg! I think Block Party is way more fun than GeoWoodstock. I've been to all the BP events plus the Ape Cache event and still love attending. There is so much to do in the Seattle area.

 

The only thing I would add is to get in line early to buy t-shirts and stuff from Groundspeak and THEN do all the other things. They sell out fast and the line gets very long.  The lab caches were available before the Block Party started so you can wander the area and cache while they are setting up the booths.

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If you're looking to fill in your Jasmer calendar, there are lots of ripe opportunities within a day's drive of Seattle.  The aforementioned GCD, along with GC12, GC16, GC17, Hembre Ridge, The Burn.  Of the last 5, we did all but GC16 last year on a day trip to Oregon.  Quite a bit of hiking involved in getting to GCD, GC16 and GC17, but some of the others are "Park and Grabs" -- if you have 4WD.

 

If you've never been to Seattle or the Block Party, you can line up a "busy day" and get up to 12 cache types in a day (counting the labs caches).  The Block Party and Groundspeak HQ will be new cache types for you.

 

Great info, Larry.

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The only thing I would add is to get in line early to buy t-shirts and stuff from Groundspeak and THEN do all the other things. They sell out fast and the line gets very long.  

 

I wonder if you can buy stuff the day before at HQ?  That would be a good option.

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I'm going to take a day trip to Victoria, BC while I'm in Seattle.

Caching in Canada and a new souvie :)

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I'm going to take a day trip to Victoria, BC while I'm in Seattle.

Caching in Canada and a new souvie :)

 

Already have that Souvie in the pocket.... as well as the Alberta one! We're shooting for the Alaska Souvie this summer, fingers crossed!

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