…and Mingo was his name-o!


This is part one of a multi-part retelling of a cache run of epic proportions.

Yes, I KNOW that’s not how the song goes, but there’s an interesting story behind that play on the classic song “B-I-N-G-O”.  Obviously for those who play the game, Mingo is the oldest active geocache in the world.  Located near the small town of Mingo in western Kansas, the cache is a destination cache for many geocachers who want to be able to claim that they have found the oldest ACTIVE geocache, “active” being the key word here as it’s not necessarily the oldest ever hidden, just the oldest that can still be found and logged on GC.com.  The story of this cache is pretty lengthy and, in recent years, very interesting as the cache has been muggled multiple times and it got to the point where the reviewers were going to archive it as the location had been compromised and the hide, for a time, was no longer possible in its original position and the arguments ensued that, because the container and hide type would no longer be the same as the original hide that it could no longer claim the GC-code and would thus have to be archived and re-hidden as a new cache.  But as the argument grew more heated, the CO was able to create a new container that closely matched the original and managed to hide it in the same spot as before, thus retaining its GC-code and title of oldest active cache.

Now that I have gotten that little bit of background out of the way, I guess you’re probably wondering what this has to do with anything.  Well, let me get to that.  See, that parody was part of a post in our local area’s Facebook group.  One of the members had made a post that contained nothing but the rearranged lyrics of B-I-N-G-O that talked of a trip to find Mingo.  There wasn’t anything else to it, just the song lyrics.  Here is that post, in its entirety:

There was a cacher who hid a cache,
And Mingo was it’s name-o.
M-I-N-G-O
M-I-N-G-O
M-I-N-G-O
And Mingo was it’s name-o.

He hid the cache on May 11th of 2-0-0-0,
And Mingo is it’s name-o.
(clap)-I-N-G-O
(clap)-I-N-G-O
(clap)-I-N-G-O
And Mingo is it’s name-o.

The cache was numbered GC3-0,
And Mingo was it’s name-o.
(clap)-(clap)-N-G-O
(clap)-(clap)-N-G-O
(clap)-(clap)-N-G-O
And Mingo is it’s name-o.

The logged visits are nearing 3-0-0-0,
And Mingo is it’s name-o.
(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-G-O
(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-G-O
(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-G-O
And Mingo is it’s name-o.

The cache is the oldest active to go-o,
And Mingo is it’s name-o.
(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-O
(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-O
(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-O
And Mingo is it’s name-o.

We are gonna get Coy to his # 1-0-0-0,
And Mingo will be his claim-o.
(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)
(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)
(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)-(clap)
And Mingo is our goal-o.

 

Yes, that was tedious, but the impact was made.  Almost immediately people we’re responding with their interest in tagging along.  Shortly thereafter, another cacher (the one mentioned in the song that is going to get his 1,000 find) posted the following image:

The map that started it all

Almost immediately there was major interest in this trip.   The post dominated the Facebook group to the point that we were politely asked to take the conversation to our dedicated planning group page that had been created to spitball details.  It was on this page that things really started moving.

The first order of business was to determine a time with which the most people could join in.  Several weekends in late June through mid July had been tossed out and, after some back-and-forth, it was agreed to do it the weekend of July 6th.  In total, 11 people “signed up” to go on this trip.  It was then decided that, instead of relying on our personal vehicles, we would rent.  While a costly endeavor, you have the peace-of-mind to know that if something were to happen to the vehicle, the rental company would take care of it and get us a replacement.  Not for nothing, but if my car broke down 1,000+ miles from home, I know I would be freaking out for sure.

As the days passed, more and more details we’re locked in.  We had modified our route to include a trip to Pikes Peak to snag the caches on the summit, as well as have dinner at the infamous Casa Bonita in Denver.  Being a numbers nerd, I started crunching the miles/time to get us an itinerary for caches along our route and to map out a realistic ETA to the caches as well as our return.  Since some of us had to be back at work the following Monday morning, we had to make sure that this trip was even doable.  While Google Maps would tell us the entire trip would only take 38 hours, that was straight driving with no stops at all, not even gas.  Naturally that’s unrealistic so I had to set some goals for each cache as well as map out stops for gas/food.  The only variable I did not take into account was rest stops because how can you expect to force people to go to the bathroom at specific stops…this isn’t Soviet Russia!  I even did a breakdown for what we’d most likely end up paying for gas during the trip, based on the average gas costs along our route during the time leading up to our departure.  I updated these numbers weekly and they maintained a pretty steady price.  Since our leader, Chutch1035, was taking point on car rental, we decided that instead of trying to rent out a large passenger van and paying out the nose in mileage , we would rent two minivans at a very generous rental rate that included unlimited mileage.  Sure, this meant we would have to split the group, but it saved us tremendously.  So at this point we were looking at a total trip time, with stops for gas and food, at just over 43 hours.  Keep that number in mind.

If you’re following at home, you’ll notice I said we were heading to Pikes Peak.  If you keep up with current events, you’ll realize pretty quickly that, during our time frame, there were several major wildfires in Colorado, the largest of which was the Waldo Canyon fire that threatened Colorado Springs and had actually closed Pikes Peak to all visitors.  There was also another very large fire north of Denver that was threatening to close portions of I-25 north, which is the route we’d take into Cheyenne, WY.  Scrambling, we had to quickly come up with backup plans.  We began planning a route that would take us to Mingo, and then we’d divert southwest to the southeastern corner of Colorado, northeastern corner of New Mexico, and then across the Texas panhandle, Oklahoma, Arkansas, into Tennessee, a quick trip across the border to Mississippi, then back north through Missouri, Illinois, and then finally home.  This trip added up to just under 49 hours, still doable, but obviously over the 2-day mark at this point.  Remember, this is a cache run so there’s no stops for sleep.  We’ll be rotating drivers for sleep so the quicker we complete, obviously the better for everyone.

As the days drew closer, we buttoned up the specifics for our revised trip.  One of the toughest tasks ahead of us (that really shouldn’t have been) was what to call ourselves.  Instead of each person signing the log individually, we decided a group name would be most appropriate.  Since there was a good chance that members of our group would be asleep during a stop for a cache, we didn’t want to exclude them from the find all because they needed to grab a couple hours shuteye.  So after much back-and-forth, we settled on Central Indiana Adventurers, or CIA for short.  This group name serves two purposes.  Not only was it fitting for our trip, but we’ve essentially made ourselves a splinter group from the much-larger Indy Area Geocachers group so now ANY cache runs we choose to partake on that involves multiple members of our group can use the moniker.  We’re the Seal Team Six of IAG, so to speak.  And for this run, we dubbed it CIA-MA12, or Central Indiana Adventurers – Mingo Adventure 2012.  So for all log signatures, this is what we used (except for Mingo where we also individually signed since it’s such a historic cache).  We had a planning dinner the week before our trip to collect money, familiarize ourselves with those we had yet to meet, and do a little local caching, just to get a feel for everybody’s caching style.  I won’t lie, there was alcohol involved and some general silliness was achieved, but this ultimately proved that we could hang with each other.

The week of our trip, we got word that the wildfire, which was slated to be not only the worst in Colorado history, but also expected to devastate much of Colorado Springs and burn for weeks, had been almost fully contained.  They had a freak break in the weather that brought much-needed rain.  This, coupled with their containment fire lines, led to the fire stalling and then dying out.  They had announced that the Pikes Peak Highway had been opened as of the Tuesday before our trip.  Quickly we scrambled to reactivate our original trip plans and, by Friday, July 6th, we were ready to go.

To be continued

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Categories: A tale from the GZ | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “…and Mingo was his name-o!

  1. Pingback: Here we go again! | Tales from the GZ

  2. Pingback: The Rigors of Planning an Epic Cache Run | Tales from the GZ

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