CacheCrazy.Com: Virtual Bliss

Friday, June 21, 2013

Virtual Bliss

One of the really cool things about my job is it allows me to travel, from time to time.  Between traveling with my boss, and attending conventions and seminars, it's nice to break out of the office from time to time, and see different locations across our great nation.  Recently I attended a convention in our nation's capital, Washington, D.C.  Now, I've been to Washington before, but it was my first visit since getting involved with geocaching.  Naturally, I had it in my head that I needed to grab AT LEAST one cache during my stay.

Upon arrival on Monday, it became apparent the day was going to be a washout.  It rained the entire day, with periods of torrential downpours.  Thankfully our events were all inside, where we would be nice and dry.  Between meetings, demonstrations and classes, we walked the exhibit floor, and even had an opportunity to spot some celebrities in attendance.  Knowing we would be attending a dinner later in the evening, I figured we would have some downtime beforehand.  This sounded like a perfect time to break out the laptop and map out the area, to see where the nearest caches were.  I figured I would have to wait until morning to do any caching, on account of the rain, but at least I'd have a strategy planned out.  I zoomed into the location of where my hotel was, and then I noticed something which I gave absolutely no thought to originally:  I'm not going to find any cache containers in this part of town.

As expected, I couldn't touch him.

Our hotel, the historic Hay-Adams Hotel, is located across the street from the White House.  It would make perfect sense to not have any caches hidden in this area.  If you thought your local Mayberry-type sheriff was not going to tolerate your need to search the bushes in the town's park, could you imagine the reaction of an United States Secret Service agent?  Man, those guys were EVERYWHERE!  There was stage one of a multi-cache nearby, which I believe required you to calculate coordinates to a final container, located over the bridge in Virginia, based on a placard.  Seeing as there are probably a hundred or so (at least) federal buildings in that immediate area, I was reserved to the fact I would not be signing a log book during my trip to Washington.

I knocked, but he wasn't home.

Enter the Virtual Cache.  The saving grace for this cacher looking to add a new territory to the list of places cached, and obtain another coveted (not really) geocaching souvenir.

Virtual caches, in relation to my hotel.  (Click for larger version.)

There must be dozens of virtual caches in Washington!  With so many historical landmarks and places of interest, coupled with the rules and regulations of Groundspeak, virtual caching, essentially, the lay of the land here.  From where I was situated, I had several virtual caches within walking distance.  Unfortunately, my time was limited, as I had about a 30 minute window on Tuesday morning to get my caching in.  The closest virtual cache to my hotel was GC8348-General of the Armies, a cache by Salvo.  This cache was located about halfway between the White House and the United States Capitol.  As with most virtual caches, once you get to GZ, you need to do something.  In this case, I needed to e-mail the cache owner with information obtained by reading the memorial wall located next to the statue at GZ.

I, personally, have been a fan of the virtual cache.  They satisfy a specific niche in the geocaching community.  Areas, such as the National Mall area, where I stayed, are out of bounds for placing a physical container, yet draw interest as a place of historical, or personal interest.  Groundspeak attempted to meet us halfway, a while back, by offering us Geocaching Challenges.  Phooey!  Personally, I feel Groundspeak needs to bite the bullet, and restore the virtual cache as a cache placement option.  Perhaps they can handle the virtual cache in the same manner which they do the earth cache.  I got a smiley on my trip because of a virtual.  It satisfied a desire I had in the course of gameplay, and enhanced my experience with geocaching, which I'm sure is what Groundspeak ultimately wants.

What are your thoughts on the virtual cache?


Dave DeBaeremaeker said...

Timely post. I am due to be in Washington DC this summer, and plan on hitting all the virtuals in and around the National Mall.

I love virtuals. They take me to interesting places, and they tend to be easy, so if you are on a time budget you can almost be guaranteed that it will only take a few moments to grab the necessary info.

I do all the virtuals I can.

Dave DeBaeremaeker said...

Oh, also, I was planning on calling my post from Washington DC "The Nations Virtuals" so thank you for using a different title :)

smithie23 said...

Dave, I'll be interested in hearing how your experience compares to mine. I wish I would have had more time there, as I would have enjoyed picking up more virtuals. I believe there are a few Wherigo's floating around town, as well, if you're into those.

Harold N said...

Cool story Dave

I have one earth cache and a few unknown caches, but I still never bagged a virtual cache yet.

I need to get out there and do some aggressive caching this summer.
I have been a Big Lazy Dog lately.....LOL

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