Sunday, February 23, 2014

I <3 Geocaching - Adventures in Lab Caching

On Friday I received a link in my email inbox that pointed me to a web page with this on it:
This is a Groundspeak lab cache.  In an effort to play around with different geocache ideas, in the month of February any premium member of was allowed to create one cache, and one person could find it.  The cache could take any form, without the restrictions of the normal geocaching guidelines - the world is the geocache hiders oyster.  They call it I <3 Geocaching (the 'lab cache' comes from the experimentation part). The caches are logged by entering a code that is determined by finding a container, or as in this case, solving a puzzle.

I had arranged to swap lab caches with a local cacher who goes by the name of NinjaChipmunk.  I had created a cache for her (a puzzle involving exploring a parking lot - yeah, I'm *full* of awesomely mediocre ideas).  She in turn created a lab cache for me.

So when I got the link in my email I immediately opened it up and was greeted with this:

It was at this point I started to suspect collusion with my dearest wife.  You see she had informed me a week ago that she was going to take me out for dinner in Hickory on Saturday (she never does this - she often suggests we go out, but she never plans it ahead of time), and she had casually mentioned she wouldn't mind if I found a geocache on the way (I talked about filling in my geocache calendar so it didn't seem odd at the time).  So when the cache said "bring a companion" on our already planned date night, in the same town 35 minutes away we already planned to go... my spidey senses were tingling... something was afoot.  I didn't know what tho.  It turned out to be awesome.

So my wife and I leave the kids with the grandparents (conveniently in town, tho I suspect this part was actually a coincidence), and headed off to Hickory.  We arrived at the location, which turned out to be a parking lot.  I set about solving the puzzle (Spoiler alert: its 'breath'), and used my phone to enter in the answer.  I was then greeted with this:

I look up from my phone to see my wife holding an envelope in her hand.  It turns out NinjaChipmunk gave us a gift certificate to an Irish Pub (which was in the plaza we were parked at - convenient!).

So we went inside, and had a cracking good date - helped in part to a lab cache.

Ninja said she wanted us to have a good time, so we ordered drinks ('tis date night after all).  I was faced with a plethora of tasty looking scottish and irish beers, so I decided to get a sample platter of 4 different beers.

So many thanks to NinjaChipmunk for a great night, and a super awesome lab cache.  This one is for you.