Hey, fans of the Amazing Race! Have you ever wondered how you would fare as a contestant? Participation in a geo rally will give you a good idea because there are parts that are reminiscent of the show, like driving around lost in a car, looking for clues, trying not to kill each other in the car, and solving puzzles. I “competed” in my first geo rally a couple of Saturdays ago with my hand picked team, the Oakland Outlaws. When I was first told about the event, I was initially hesitant. I am not that confident in my geocaching abilities, especially under time constraints, and I didn’t want to let my team down. But curiosity and my competitive genes got the best of me, so I easily convinced three good muggle friends to both figuratively and literally come along for the ride.
The starting point of the 4th Annual Yolo Geo Rally was over 75 miles away in Woodland, CA. Gathering my team from the four corners of the Bay Area to get there by the 7:30 check-in time was a challenge in and of itself, especially for a night owl like me. Fortunately, the rest of the Outlaws are early risers.
Bright eyed and bushy tailed, we made it to the starting point in ample time to register, have coffee and create our team flag which you will see proudly displayed in our team photos. The rally was great because it offered something for teams of all skill levels by awarding points for both geocaches and photo challenges.
We got our feet wet with a few simple geocaches in Woodland. The first of the day was a cutie called Kevin (GC6TEBY). The craftsmanship and ingenuity that went into the geocaches was pretty impressive. Some were so advanced, I had only seen them on YouTube before.
Early on, we decided to concentrate on photo challenges because we weren’t that sure of our geosenses. So we stopped by the local fire station to say hi. We got bonus points for having an actual fireman in the picture with us.
The photo challenges were not only easy points but also fun locations around Yolo County. We got to pose with ugly gourds at the local pumpkin patch for 1o points. A pic with a muggle dog earned us another 10 points. Apparently, this dog we found is so popular he has his own Facebook page. Unfortunately, I can’t remember his name so if anyone knows it, please tell me so I can look him up and send him a friend request.
When there was no one else around we had to resort to taking selfies which was no easy task. We had to deal with the height differential between the four of us, somehow get our team flag in AND fit the challenge item in the frame, too. Here is one of our funnier attempts. That JoelDMac sure knows how to think outside the box, doesn’t he?
We tried our first CITO (Cache In Trash Out) which meant picking up trash along the highway. The Outlaws were hesitant but I told them we needed that 100 points! It turned out to be way more fun than expected and the requisite 10 minutes flew by in a flash. We were so enthusiastic, someone told us to leave some trash for other people. As we got more comfortable, we started to focus more on geocaching. There were so many interesting ones, the more we found, the more we were hooked. JoelDMac found the cleverly named SNAP (GC6TAPF). Quite the coincidence because his day job is managing pest control for hundreds of retail stores. Maybe that’s why he was the most eager to crawl around looking for the mouse trap.
Later in the day, we found ourselves so confident in our abilities that we successfully attempted a multi-cache. Stage one involved listening to a little ditty on the radio by Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy to get the lats and longs to a Trip to the Farm (GC6TG21).
Ten geocaches and countless photo challenges later, we rushed to the finish line at the Road Trip Bar and Grill in Capay to clock in by the 4:00 deadline. We made it by the hairs of our chinny chin chins. After a long day, we were ready to enjoy some well deserved adult beverages while we waited for our points to be tallied. With over 600 points, we didn’t come in last! Woohoo! Next year, if we have a kayak, maybe we can even try to rank in the top third of the pack.
I couldn’t have asked for a better day than running around Yolo County with some of my best friends. As luck would have it, JoelDMac turned out to be a GPS guru, LisaDLau a super techie, and Lodgitude a stunt driver meets chauffeur. Last but not least, it was really nice to make some new geocaching friends. See you next year! #YOLO!