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Mingo Madness

The oldest active geocache in the world is out I-70 in a rural part of Kansas. The "town" and cache are both named Mingo (GC37) and are not too far from the Colorado boarder. A friend of mine named Semmels123 (Ryan) decided it would be a good idea to host a Mega event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this historic hide. Like everything else in 2020 Covid caused interruptions and it got pushed back to May of 2021.

I debated attending because not everyone has respected the Covid protocols but the opportunity to see my caching buddies was very tempting. To my surprise when I proposed it to Ana she didn't hesitate to agree. We made some loose plans and I easily found a room in Colby, KS not far from the main event. As it began to draw closer I saw lots of discussions in the FB community page and eagerly began working on the geoart (caches placed to look like an image when viewed on a map).

My buddy captainmath (Kevin) reached out as he was eyeing a trip this way and looking to tag along with us. Kevin and I have hosted several events in the past and stayed with each other when traveling. He lives in Northeastern Pennsylvania but as a retired math teacher turned avid cacher you can find him just about anywhere!

Ana had a big work project that bled into Friday the day we had planned to leave so the timeline was a bit tight. Around 3:00 PM we set out with Ana using her phone as a hotspot (and soon regretting it). We left Kansas City with about 5 hours of driving ahead of us and not much time for caching so we made a beeline West only stopping for gas and bathroom breaks. About an hour and a half out from our hotel we realized we might be able to make it to the last event of the day before settling in so I laid the hammer down and that little Kia flew down the highway.

We arrived after the official end but still found more than 100 cachers present including several friends from all over. As luck would have it the event was directly behind our hotel so after a half hour of glad handling we checked in and went to grab some food. The folks in the local eateries were none to pleased to have a thousand some odd out-of-towners descending on their peaceful town. After an unnecessarily complicated and long adventure to get dinner we dropped Ana and Bridget off at the hotel and Kevin and I sat out in the dark excited to find some caches. We chased down a few gadgets and puzzles before turning our eyes to the plethora of lab caches in the area.

We turned in a little after 11:00 PM but the hotel room was quite hot and I woke about 2:30 AM in a sweat and couldn't get back to sleep making for an exceptionally long Saturday. Ana and Bridget however needed some more sleep so I gathered Kevin who is an early riser and we headed over to Oakley for a donut event to kick the festivities off. We grabbed all of the caches in this small town and connected with our (mostly) KC crew including Jennifer, Mike, Tom, Joe, Julie, Steve and Rita. With Ana, Kevin, Bridget and I in the other vehicle the two teams made for 11 caching rockstars with well over a hundred thousand finds. Jennifer had a well laid out plan for the day to get us 13 caching icons plus a benchmark and a waypoint giving a new high for all of us (and America apparently).

In addition to the Mega event there was the ever rare GPS Maze and newly revived Locationless icons. With a record setting marathon through 128 geoart unknowns, a trip to Mt Sunflower (the highest point in Kansas) and a dip into Colorado we had an epic day with nearly 200 finds. A lot of good times were had by all and I hoped it would never end. Caching with my friends ranks high on my list of favorite things to do.

Sunday we got up early and cleared out Colby, MO before deciding to head home running East a few counties south of I-70 to make some progress towards the KS County challenge. We grabbed some lonely caches, did a couple of puzzles on the fly and saw some interesting roadside Americana while completing virtuals. We arrived safe and sound back in Kansas City eager for the next adventure but happy to sleep in our own beds.


5/19/2021

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