The staff here at 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility is excited about the third season of our GeoStash contest since we've added a new twist. We used to hide both the north and the west coordinates in the magazine. This gave subscribers an advantage because they receive their magazines before they are placed on the newsstand. However, the coordinates for GeoStash III will be split in two parts, the west (longitude) coordinate will be cut in half and hidden in the magazine. The north (latitude) coordinate will be posted on the magazine's website (www.4wdandsportutility.com) on the 15th of each month. The two-part format for the hidden west coordinate will always be hidden with XX in one section of the magazine and XX.XXXW in another section of the magazine. For example, the June '07 west coordinate was 106 52.979W. Had this coordinate been split according to the new format, 106 would have been separated from 52.979W. So, you would find 106 in one section of the magazine and 52.979W in another section. The north coordinate will henceforth be posted at www.4wdandsportutility.com on the message board under the "Latest GeoStash Updates" forum. These changes will definitely give more newsstand-edition readers the opportunity to participate in the contest.
For those readers who are completely new to the GeoStash contest, the north and west coordinates pinpoint a location somewhere in the continental U.S. A stainless steel plate ("marker") laser-cut with the magazine's title and my phone number can be found at this location. The marker is about the size of a vehicle's license plate. When it is found and redeemed, the lucky enthusiast wins a very cool prize. These prizes will range from products donated by our advertisers and manufacturers to 4WD&SU magazine apparel and subscriptions.
The west (longitude) coordinate can be hidden just about anywhere within the magazine. The coordinate will be divided into two parts and hidden in the magazine's text or ghost-imaged somewhere on a photograph. The coordinate parts will not be hidden in or on any advertising. Finding the marker will require use of four-wheel drive and involve some hiking. We'll keep it safe, so don't worry, you won't have to rappel off the sides of any cliffs. The stainless steel marker may be placed behind trees, between rocks, or under something, but it will not be completely buried or completely obscured from view.
The GeoStash marker will have my phone number listed on it. I must be called immediately when the marker is found. The marker must also be sent back to me for verification, but it will be returned to the person who found it. Each marker for any given month will have a unique identifying mark on it so it cannot be duplicated.
Very Important - do yourself a favor and check our website's Forums/GeoStash page to see if the marker has been found for any given month before you go out searching. Please keep in mind that the marker may have been found while you are en route to the coordinate's location. Once we have been notified, we will post where the marker has been found.
A disposable camera will be attached to the marker. Have a photo of yourself taken at the location (hopefully you won't be out alone) you found the marker and send the camera back with the marker when you mail it to me for verification. Though there will be a camera attached to the marker, we would prefer a digital image of the winner on the trail with the marker be e-mailed to us if you have the capability. If you do have a digital camera, please set it to the highest megapixel setting before snapping the photo. The GeoStash III page will highlight the enthusiast who found the prize, the product and its manufacturer, and the next month's prize to be given away.
GeoStash Coordinate Locations in the Magazine
Page 10. 42 59.088N - Top right corner.
Page 54. 123 26.742N - Right side of photo
Page 76. 105 50.186W - In second photo.
Page 84. 38 31.313N - In middle photo.
Not yet found. Check our website, www.4wdandsportutility.com, for updates.
4WD&SU's Most Recent GeoStash Winners
The GeoStash winner for September '07 is Tyler Albers, who found the marker with his girlfriend, Kristen McConnell.
"Let me start out by saying this was one of the greatest contests we have ever participated in. My girlfriend and I received the magazine the afternoon of July 3. I instantly directed all my focus to finding the coordinates for the GeoStash contest. It took me about 45 minutes to find them, and once I did I jumped onto the computer to find the location. Salida, Colorado! We had a family gathering to attend on July 4 in Pagosa Springs, which is about 130 miles from Salida. We frantically packed our gear and left the night of July 3 to get to Salida. We drove all night and got within 1,000 yards of the marker at 3:30 a.m. on July 4.
"We got to the location of the coordinates and searched and searched for the marker with no luck. We decided to go back to the truck to get water and then drive it in closer to the location. We looked in every tree and under every rock for about 15 minutes. We had two GPS units dialed in and placed on the ground for reference.
"Finally, my girlfriend screams, 'Babe, I got it!'
"She found it 1 foot away from one of the GPS units, under a large bush and a rock. I rushed up the hill to see the marker in her hand. What an amazing feeling to drive 300 miles at night and be rewarded with the 4WD&SU marker."
Tyler Albers & Kristen McConnell
The August '07 GeoStash winner is Jeromey Bowers.
"I grabbed the August issue of 4WD&SU out of the mailbox and immediately sat down to find the coordinates. Once I found them and figured out that the marker was only 77 miles from my home in Eugene, Oregon, I called one of my closest friends, J.C., to see if he was available to go with me. I raced to throw everything in the Jeep and go pick him up from his work.
"I called my wife a couple of times to check the website and make sure the GeoStash hadn't been found yet.
"Just south of Roseburg, we exited the freeway at Boomer Hill Road and began climbing the hill toward the marker's location.
"Once at the coordinates, we began searching high and low. We covered what seemed to be the logical hiding spots three or four times and spent more than an hour looking. In the trees it was pretty dark, so I told J.C. I would head to the Jeep for our flashlights. I heard him say that he was going to take a break and that he needed a drink of water. He walked past me up the hill, and as I began to follow him thinking that we were probably out of luck, he spun around and surprised me with the stainless marker! It had been partially buried in the ground under a log not 10 feet from where the GPS had been showing us to look!