"Geocaching" highlights historical
sites in the Arroyo Grande Village
by Paul Provence
The South County Historical Society welcomes a new activity into the
historic Village of Arroyo Grande. With assistance from society members
Scott & Julie Landers and family, we have created a walk that leads to
historical sites in the Village utilizing modern technology.
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using
GPS-enabled devices. The term, GPS, stands for Global Positioning System
and it is a space-based navigation system. Participants navigate to a
specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache
(container) hidden at that location.
The origin of the term geocaching was the joining of two familiar words.
The prefix "geo", for earth, was used to describe the global nature of
the activity, but also for its use in familiar topics in GPS, such as
geography. "Caching", from the word cache, has two different meanings,
making it very appropriate for this activity. The word was invented in
1797 and originally referred to a hiding place someone would use to
temporarily store items. The word cache stirs up visions of pioneers,
gold miners, and even pirates. Today, the word is still even used in the
news to describe hidden weapons locations.
The second use of cache has more recently been used in technology.
Memory cache is computer storage that is used to quickly retrieve
frequently used information. Your web browser, for example, stores
images on disk so you don't have to retrieve the same image every time
you visit similar pages.
The combination of earth, hiding, and technology make geocaching an
excellent term for the activity.
The newly established multi-stage geocache takes you on a tour of the
Village of Arroyo Grande. The beginning location is the historical
society building (next to the Meat Market) on East Branch Street. This
location has brochures available that describe the nearby historical
locations that you will be visiting. Follow the five waypoints and short
distances to neighboring museums before finding the final cache
container disguised in plain sight. Bring a pen to write down the
coordinates to the next waypoint.
For those geocachers that are unfamiliar with Arroyo Grande, the best
time to visit is weekends just after noon, but the cache & exterior
exhibits are available at all times. Weekends are best if you want to
visit the museums (free of charge but donations are welcome). The tour
may be completed on foot in about 1 mile round-trip. You may also drive
to some of the locations if it is too far to walk, & free public parking
should be available near all of the locations. The entire cache tour may
be completed in less than 30 minutes, or it may take all afternoon if
you enjoy each museum along your way. Have fun and enjoy the historical
Village of Arroyo Grande. You may learn something!
For more information on Geocaching and the Village Tour, go to http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC5ZNEQ_arroyo-grande-village-historical-walking-tour