2008-08-07 52 12
And off they went. Taking a wrong turn while still in Nauen, they had to stop at a gas station to look on their maps. As they did not expect to be lost so soon, they did not have the place on their printouts and had to look it up on the smartphone. Yay for technology! Back on track, the wonderfully twisty village of Markee scrolled by. They passed Etzin and Ketzin, to finally reach a service path which should lead them in the general direction of the hash. The GPS still showed a distance of about 2km.
At first, the path consisted of concrete slabs and ended at a disused farmhouse. Another path with less concrete slabs diverged. The next path consisted of no more than two overgrown tracks. Some time later, they reached a crossing. Would they continue on a gravel road leading in the wrong direction? Should they rather take the direct route through knee-high grasses, along a fallow ground? They decided for the latter and spent 20 Minutes ploughing through the grass in their lowest gears to finally reach... a drain. All the while being chased by horseflies and other blood-thirsty insects.
Continuing along the drain, still through deep grass, they reached... the same gravel road which they earlier disregarded. But finally, that road led them to a dam along the banks of the river Havel, which is where the hash was supposed to be. They met a few men fishing and exchanged suspicious looks.
Now lo and behold! The hash was in the water, some 15 meters from shore. But why spend a kingdom for a boat, when you can get them cheap on ebay. Relet quickly inflated the rubber boat which lyx bought them a few days ago, and which he was wise enough to bring along. Relet was the first to mount the boat, and armed with a camera and his GPS phone, he paddled to the spot. It wasn't easy to keep a rubber boat on the hash point while the wind was blowing and the current dragged, but the wonderful tangoGPS software did chart all his undulations on a map.
Having documented this, they spent a few more minutes paddling and swimming in the river. The water was nice. They watched a few pretty aggressive fish chasing each other. However it seems that they both had upset Mother Nature by overcoming all the carefully laid out obstacles in what they chose as their path. Lightning illuminated the horizon. Phoenix and relet quickly changed, deflated the boat and packed their stuff. Now it was time to not chase the storm, but get chased. Two geeks on bikes, against Mighty Mo'Nature and the Rushing Raindrops. They made it safely to the main road (taking the gravel path this time). They made it drily across the ante-villages of Ketzin. They got hit hard by the first rain showers as they reached the road to Nauen. Still 15km to go, it was time for an emergency plan.
In an unobserved moment, they tricked Miss Nature by cycling deeper into the village of Ketzin, instead of the opposite direction. They hid under the roof of another gas station, closed for the night. With almost no casualties but somewhat wet trousers, they were able to watch the full anger of Mother Nature seeking her disappeared prey.
When the thickest rain showers subsided some 15 minutes later, they went on with their trip. All the while on their way back, they could see the searchlightnings flashing on the horizon ahead, looking for them - or an easier target. Another spectacular sight were the huge wind farms at night: Every pylon is marked with a single red light. They appear to be slowly flashing red, as the wings of the wind wheel hides the light. Since the turning of all the wind wheels is synchronized across each installation, you could sometimes see the whole horizon flashing in red lights in unison.
They finally made it safely back to Nauen, and though it was almost midnight, they found a train that took them back to Berlin. What a glorious trip!
| relet and Phoenix earned the Water geohash achievement
| This user earned the MNIMB Geohash Achievement