US Trip 2016 – Heading west

After spending a few days in Denver, and attending the GeoWoodstock 14er Mega, it was time to head towards Utah. But instead of driving the shortest way to Vernal, we decided to do a short detour to Cheyenne.

Tracklog - Heading west

After checking out of the hotel, we headed towards the GW 14 Farewell event. But first we had to do a short walk to find one of Denver’s most favorited cache, the GC2KCRP LoDo TB & Geocoin Hotel.

We didn’t see much people when walking around downtown, but when we got back to the event location – people everywhere! A nice way to end our visit to Denver!

GW14 Farewell event

As earlier, the top priorities on the way from Denver to Cheyenne (where we had booked the next hotel) was new counties and virtual caches. We also had a short 15-cache trail on our plan.

Virtual caches often bring us to awesome places, and the first one today did just that. Swetsville Zoo was a real fun stop! My grandfather like to make things like this himself, in a much smaller scale, but he would definitely love to see this!

The best I can do is show some pictures:

Swetsville Zoo

Funny car

Bug

Outside the zoo

After finding a few more caches, it was time to cross the border to Wyoming. Somehow I managed to drive right past the pullout to the welcome sign, where the cache we had planned to find was…

We decided to turn back at the next exit, head back into Colorado and then cross the border again. After stopping at a random cache, we headed back into Colorado, before turning back and stopping at the pullout this time. We had some bad weather while driving, but once we got back to the border, the weather was perfect!

Wyoming

The next stop was at the welcome center, and a D5-cache. We weren’t alone for very long, before several other geocachers joined us in the hunt for that cache.

We spent quite some time, and even though we ended up as a relatively large group looking all over the place, we still couldn’t find anything. Old logs were studied, old photos etc. Still nothing. We tried using various tools, still nothing.

But after spending more than an hour, it became harder and harder to give up. So I didn’t manage to leave, before everyone else left. But they didn’t, because finally it was found! More than 90 minutes after we arrived…

Wonder if it's up here...

The rest of the plan consisted mostly of virtual caches, which brought us to several nice places in and around Cheyenne.

Seeing all the huge decorated boots around Cheyenne was cool, some really nice designs!

Cheyenne boot

One of the last caches brought us to a cool place on the side of the road. Various «wind operated sculptures» all over the place, some with really clever design and mechanics.

Rocky

As if that wasn’t awesome enough in itself, the owner of the place came out and gave us a personal tour! He had some really special cars hidden in his garage, including a three-wheeled car he had designed himself.

Custom car

Meeting people with this much creativity and enthusiasm is something we really enjoy. Getting to see his collection and listen to his stories is something we will remember as one of many highlights of our caching career! I will recommend anyone traveling nearby to stop by GC502A Wyoming Wind!

Wyoming Wind

After a couple more caches, and checking in at the hotel, we headed towards Cheyenne Frontier Days – and the 4th of July celebration.

4th of July

We enjoyed the show, and the fireworks. This is not even close to how we celebrate our national day in Norway, but this was a great event!

Fireworks

Getting back to the hotel took a while, a lot of cars leaving at the same time… But we made it, and got some hours of sleep this night as well.

Since we didn’t get to do any laundry in Denver, Heltinnen had to get up at 5am to do laundry at the hotel in Cheyenne.

We had a long way to drive to get to Vernal, and mostly counties and virtuals again, and a few earthcaches. Sadly we didn’t have time to wait for the CITO-event in Cheyenne to start, so we just had to hit the road (after a stop at one of the caches closest to the hotel).

We got to see interesting places today as well, like this tree that grows on a rock!

Tree in rock

We did a quick visit to the University of Wyoming in Laramie, to do the webcam cache there. We found a few more caches around in Laramie, before continuing towards Rawlins (stopping to get a couple along the road), where we had two virtual caches planned.

Not much traffic, perfect weather and awesome views along the way. After Rawlins, and a couple more caches along the way, we reached Rocks Springs and the cache we had planned there.

Finally it was time to head south towards the Utah border. A couple earthcaches, and a really annoying DNF later, it was time to leave Wyoming, at least for today.

Entering Utah

One of the reasons we’re heading to Vernal, is to find caches in the counties we’re missing in Utah – the plan was to do all the remaining caches in Utah.

We also wanted to do as many Utah GeoTour-caches as possible, to collect some of the nice patches 😉

We did several virtual caches along the way, including a couple near the Flaming Gorge Dam. The view from right above it was amazing!

A dam good view

Little did we know that we also would get the chance to become FTF on a new cache. Unfound caches are tagged with «[Nf]» on my GPSr, so when we noticed GC6MKWQ Firefighter’s Memorial at the end of a really short trail, we hade to give it a try!

We looked all over the place, but couldn’t find anything… Giving up is not something I do easily, so we continued a bit more, expanding the search radius more and more. Eventually, we found it! And the log was empty 😀

FTF!

But the day wasn’t over yet, we still had a couple more virtual caches and a Utah GeoTour cache to find.

We didn’t get to the hotel before after dark, so after finding the cache closest to the hotel, it was time to get some rest.

Dinosaur

US Trip 2016 – GeoWoodstock 14er

After driving all the way from Nashville, with a lot of detours to collect new states, we’re now in Denver. We’re here to attend the GeoWoodstock 14er mega, and other events in the area.

Tracklog - GeoWoodstock 14er

After driving more than 600 miles in a day, we arrived in Denver in time for the midnight event at the State Capitol. So we didn’t get up before around 8am the next day, first time we’re up this late on this trip.

We started the day by heading towards the welcome event, stopping to get a couple virtuals along the way. Just as expected, we weren’t the only ones going for those virtuals.

Sun dial

We made it to the welcome event about one and a half hour after it started, and we were not alone! Parking was almost full, but we managed to find a spot in a corner. The line to get inside was long, and we heard people saying it was more than an hour to wait.

Long line outside

Since this was our first GeoWoodstock, we went all in and had VIP tickets. After waiting for a few minutes, everyone with VIP tickets were taken through the back entrance – awesome! Still a long line inside, but much shorter than the one outside.

We eventually got our stuff, and wow – the geocoins look awesome!

We also met PodCacher, and got our supporter pathtag.

I supported PodCacher

We also met our Norwegian friends Imit42 and Nja42. After we were done at the event, we decided to head towards Pikes Peak together.

Even though the road was closed, we decided to just drive and see what happened.

The weather wasn’t too bad, and we even got to find a few caches along the way to south.

Four Norwegians

After a quick stop to get something to eat (and find a couple caches), we stopped to do an earthcache in Manitou Springs. GC2176K 7-Minute Spring (of Manitou Springs) had us tasting the water. Tasted kinda strange, not sure I liked it 😛

Tasting in Manitou

While in Manitou, we got the notification about the road opening. So to get to the event in time, we just had to head straight to the top.

We were not the only ones going to the top this day, so we had to wait a bit at the entrance station. But it wasn’t too bad, and suddenly we were on our way back to the top of Pikes Peak.

It takes a while to get up, and the last part took some time as the parking was packed – but we made it! And we found a parking spot almost right away.

Cars everywhere
Cars everywhere
People in the fog
People in the fog

Cars and people everywhere! The parking was full and the gift shop was full. Wonder how many that were not geocachers here 😛

It was foggy when we got here, but the weather cleared during the event – and the view just got better and better.

Us on the top
Us on the top
The event
The event

The view getting better and better

After the event, it was time to head back down. We did just as last time, drove all the way on the 1st gear. The car in front of us did not, so he had to wait for 30 minutes at the brake check station…

We stopped in Manitou Springs once more, to visit the arcade. After having fun there for a while, it was time to head back to Denver.

We didn’t get to attend the event at Casa Bonita, so we had planned to eat there today instead.

Casa Bonita

The food wasn’t particularly good, but it wasn’t bad either. It was fun being there, and I guess that’s why people go here.

Splash

Once we got back to the hotel, it was time to get some sleep before the big day.

We thought we were going to be clever, and drive early (but not early enough for the morning event) to arrive at the event before the place filled up. So did everyone else, apparently.

Long lines

Long lines of cars on both sides of the road. The event parking was closed… So we just had to wait. Eventually the parking opened, and shortly after we were on our way to the event area.

GeoWoodstock

We spent the entire day at the event location, looking at stuff in the shops, shopping, checking out the Visit Utah GeoTour, hanging out in the VIP lounge and finding the caches in the area.

We met up with our Norwegian friends Imit42 and Nja42 today as well, and we really enjoyed our visit to GeoWoodstock!

Visit Utah, you really should!
Visit Utah, you really should!
The Original Can of Beans
The Original Can of Beans
Waiting in line to sign the log
Waiting in line to sign the log
On our way towards the group photo
On our way towards the group photo

GeoWoodstock

GeoWoodstock bus

The event area

Event area

It was eventually time for the closing speech and the announcement of next years event.

While listening to the speech, it was easy to understand how much JoGPS have done for the community, and how much he have affected people around him.

We owe a huge thank you to JoGPS, and all the wonderful people that keep this event running year after year!

I’m glad we’re a part of this wonderful geocaching-community!

Closing speech

Announcement of next years event

We stayed at the event a bit longer, doing a final walk around the vendor area, VIP lounge and getting some more ice cream.

Would be nice to collect all of these!
Would be nice to collect all of these!

After the event was over, we headed towards the area east of the airport. Lots of caches out there, and we’ve spent a couple hours there every time we’ve visited Denver.

The weather was nice, and we managed to find quite a few caches before it was time to head towards the hotel.

We have a plan!
We have a plan!

After finding a lot of caches, and doing a quick stop at Walmart to get some supplies, we arrived at the hotel relatively early. Our visit to Denver is almost over, just one more event left tomorrow (we’re not doing the really early one).