I had the most amazing Sunday yesterday.
It started out not too well. We got an email at 8:15 am announcing that, due to a ruptured water main, they had shut off the water to the entire complex. So my wife and I spent the morning debating whether we were going to need to go buy a few gallons of water in order to get us through. (Regular readers of this blog may remember that we generally have up to four gallons on hand in the fridge at any time, so we weren’t desperate for water just yet.) Fortunately, they got the problem fixed and got water restored before we needed to make a run down the corner.
Soon after the water was turned back on in the early afternoon, we showered and decided to head up to Round Rock (a suburb of Austin, not far from where we live) and have a cup of coffee at the coffee shop downtown, and maybe check to see if there were any PokéStops around the area.
My wife drove, as she usually does, and as we were getting close to the downtown area (which isn’t that big, but it’s very nice) I pulled up the Pokémon Go app to get the lay of the land.
And I was struck speechless.
Within sight of our apartment in map view, there are three PokéStops and four gyms. The Pokéstops are at their closest 200 meters apart or more, with a third one at least a quarter-mile away. (We’re in between the two furthest Stops.)
In downtown Round Rock, there were eight PokéStops within two blocks of one another, and the four most central all had lures going. (Lures are a 30 minute buff that significantly increases the spawn rate of Pokémon in the area around the PokéStop. This buff is effective for anyone that’s within range of the Stop.)
We parked, and that’s when I looked up for the first time.
I saw a family of six, mom, dad, three daughters and a son, all walking along the sidewalk in front of our car, all presumably with the PoGo app up and running. There was another family that followed shortly thereafter, with most of the family holding their phones out in front of them. We got out of the car and turned toward the coffeeshop.
There were at least two dozen people just standing out of the way or sitting on the ground on the corner, playing PoGo. We managed to grab a table outside the coffeeshop and I kept watch while my wife went to go get coffees for us. (Her order fluctuates depending on her mood, I almost always get the exact same thing wherever I go, so it’s usually easier for her to go get coffee than it is for me to remember what she wants that particular day.)
That’s when I noticed that from where I was sitting, I could hit four and sometimes five Stops, based on how accurate the GPS tracking was at the time. (Like anything else using GPS technology, there’s a margin of error from a precise reading.)
So we stayed there for a good hour or more, taking turns hitting the Stops (once you hit them for supplies, they take about five minutes to reset so you can hit them up again) and wandering up and down the block grabbing supplies from the other Stops in the immediate vicinity. Whenever a new Pokémon would appear, we’d catch it (or try to, at least). The area was so thick with Stops that it was a little difficult trying to zero in on the Pokémon while tapping on the screen.
Eventually my wife decided that she needed both air conditioning and an outlet to charge her phone, so we moved into the coffeeshop. Most of the Stops were accessible from the back of the place as well, and we’d still occasionally take sojourns outside to collect supplies from the Stops down the way.
Overall we were there for just shy of three hours. The four central Stops had a lure active the entire time we were there, and oftentimes a fifth Stop down the way also had a lure. I probably caught over 100 Pokémon in that time and hit well over that many Stops. I gained a level and a half, going from just barely being level 10 to over halfway through level 11 and heading into 12. My battery finally died as I was trying to catch two rarer Pokémon and that was the only frustrating thing about the day.
We went home, grabbing dinner on the way (a long-craved stop at Long John Silvers) and went home to recharge our phones and then eat.
After dinner, we put The Last Samurai in the Blu-ray player and watched that in the background of us poking our way through the Internet. While the movie was on, I decided to start evolving some of the more common Pokémon that I was accumulating a lot of. So I hit a lucky egg, which doubles XP for 30 minutes, and started evolving as fast as I could.
I lost count of the number of evolutions that I did. The most memorable instance was evolving an Eevee into a high level Vaporeon, which I later further powered up as much as I could. Going through the process of the evolutions took me from halfway to level 12 to just barely into level 14. All totaled, I gained four levels in a day. But that’s not the most exciting part of the day.
The best part of the day is that I willingly, eagerly, spent hours in a crowded area outside of the house, something that I would have otherwise been terrified of doing. And I’m looking forward to doing it again, hopefully soon, and preferably with friends.
And you know, in the broad scheme of things, it’s an important first step of getting back to normal.