Sunday, October 10, 2010

1st Annual Westside BBQ

Our official reintroduction to the world of geocaching came on August 1st when we attended the 1st Annual Westside BBQ at Magnolia Park in Apopka. The event was hosted by Jarrod88, Thinairmagic, and FamilyCacheFinders. This was our first geocaching event.

When we arrived at Magnolia Park, we found our crew by looking for ruggedish cars and hoards of people looking at their hands. I had assumed that it would be a small gathering of 30 or so cachers, mainly because I RSVP'd on the Facebook page along with 29 others. I had also assumed that it would be "just a barbeque", with ridiculous amounts food, bugs, frisbees, and no organization. I was right about the tons of food part. By day's end, over 100 people attended, some of whom drove hours to be there. The whole event was well-managed, complete with a check-in table, raffle, and lots of cool TBs and geocoins to discover. Mayhem ensued when we attempted a group photo, but only for a minute. The addition of some random "wild" peacocks added a sense of whimsy you just don't get at most parks.

After checking in, we were a bit...awkward. We didn't see anyone we knew and we'd been out-of-the-game so long, it was like starting at a new school in May. The burger-cooking phase of the bbq had not yet begun, so Brian and I set about finding the caches nearby. At the first one, we met team Shade's Brigade, a pair of very friendly, very retired geocachers. They were kind enough not to ditch us while I struggled with Brian's wheelchair off-road. It took us about an hour to leisurely stroll around the park and find three caches. We talked about caching, traveling, jobs, and the difference between peacocks and peahens. By the time we made it back to the picnic area, meat was hitting the grill and a few of our geobuddies had arrived. The sight of War1man & Mimi, Parkhoppers, Mljungquist, and Emeraldcowgirl made us feel like we were "back."

From here on, it was more gastrofest than geoanything. Over fried chicken and potato salad, we swapped stories of caches past and put faces with log scribbles. There was one moment of discomfort when we were talking to a cacher we'd never met before, and I made a joke about stealing a geocoin (which I have never done)...and it did not go over well. Mental note: not everyone thinks I'm funny.

After the food, there were raffles and prizes. Brian and I both won shiny new geocaches, so that was cool. Finally, we were corraled together for a group photo. It wasn't an easy shot, that's for damn sure.
You can't see me in this picture. I'm in the back somewhere, content with the fact that I was there. We look forward to next year!

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