It all began with a drive and a glimpse at some old friends, namely Goldthwaite, Comanche, and Eastland where my lodgings were. Unfortunately, since it used to be my hotel chain of choice, but was changing over to another chain, the place was undergoing interior renovation AND I got no points for my stay. This annoyed me to no end, but whatever… As you can imagine, a number of other cachers were staying here, too, and I ended up running into some which turned into a run around Eastland picking up Adventure Labs before bed.
We ran around town, hitting the courthouse among other places. Fun fact: you remember Michigan J. Frog? Well, he was inspired by the story of Eastland‘s own Ol’ Rip, seen in statue form above. We hit a good handful, which was fine by me because I had two superlatives coming up, and one of them would take a little work that these labs helped with. But I had to get some sleep first because I had been up since 4AM and then driven a couple hundred miles straight here from work.
I got up early and picked up a few whereigos and letterboxes, completing my first superlative: that Friday was my 1000th day in a row of caching. Then I popped over to Cisco proper. Cisco is a quiet town with a bit more going on than you would think. It’s primary claim to fame is being the home of the Moberly Hotel, the first hotel owned by Conrad Hilton. <sarcasm>I’m sure you’re familiar with his impressive series of TikToks. </sarcasm> But I had donuts to acquire so I headed on over to the breakfast event at the local donut shop. There, I rubbed elbows with some famous cachers, including Messr. Gary Slinkard, a cacher of some renown, and, for the first time, the one and only Mr. Memfis Mafia himself, Jesse Lunsford. I kick myself for being a terrible correspondent and failing to document the event photographically. Then again, I had a lot of things on my mind. For those of you who don’t know, being on the board of the Texas Geocaching Association, I helped put on this entire shindig. Also, don’t think I’m taking credit. There are a lot of people on the board who put in far more work than I did. My contribution was small. All the credit and glory goes to them. But I did have things related to it on my mind, consuming my thoughts. I had a small window of time to get some caching done before I had responsibilities to engage in so my first move was to start hitting some more Adventure Labs in Cisco.
I ended up doing a lot of Labs over the course of the day, pretty much every series in the area except for a series related to local cemeteries that was too spread out to do in the time I had. Then I ended up getting together with one of my favorite caching folks, Razorbackgirl, and we grabbed a bunch of unknowns before I had to get back to town for another event, this time, devoted to registration.
The Texas Challenge, about to kick off the next day, would be taking on an interesting special status. You see, Challenge last year was the last Mega in the world before the pandemic. In fact, had it happened half a mile south, it never would have happened because Travis County had locked down; nor would it have happened the next weekend because Williamson County locked down right after the Mega ended. With this year’s Challenge happening, ours would be the first Mega “after” the pandemic. This means the Texas Challenge is now both the longest running and only uninterrupted Mega event in the world. And we tried hard to keep everything safe. The last thing we wanted was to become a super-spreader event. Not only would that be terrible for us and our comrades from a health perspective, it might affect the willingness and/or ability of other Megas to go on. All eyes were on us and we did our best to put on a good showing. We ate and got people registered, there were classes, the raffle captivated a few people, as did the vendors. I even bought something myself, but you’ll hear about that in a bit… A good time was had by all, but we were all looking forward to tomorrow. That would be the main event…