2008-10-18 44 -79
Travels to Aurora
My presentation for the conference was at 8:30 in the morning, so that gave me the rest of the day to make it out and back. I set off at 10:30, and then once again at 10:31 after I remembered to write down the coordinates.
I retraced my last days steps to Union Station and then boarded a bus to the town of Aurora. It was only a 40 minute ride and I was sorta tired, so I just slept most of the way.
The bus first stopped at the intersection of highway 404 and Aurora road and the hash was located about 10 km east. I considered just getting off there and walking, but I had decided it would be easier to rent a bike in town, so I got off at the second stop further in town.
Having no idea to where to rent a bike, I chose a random direction and started walking. I found a sign that directed me to the local community centre and decided to ask them. They suggested I try a bike shop on the other side of town. After stumbling around town and finally finding the bike store I went in asked if they knew where I could rent a bike. Their response was "I don't think anyone in town rents bikes. You'd have to go to somewhere like... Toronto."
Not only had I just wasted an hour walking around town, but I was also more than 5km farther from the location.
After waiting for 20 minutes, I caught the local 33 bus which took me back to highway 404 where I could have otherwise started. I went and bought lunch to make myself feel a little better and then stared my trek on foot.
The walk was very uneventful. It took around 90 minutes to hike the 9km along the side of the road. I passed a few cyclists and thought about trying to knock someone off of their bike, but decided against it.
The Second Geohasher
The coordinates were located less than 100m beyond the end of Lobaico Lane. As I neared its end I saw a rather large animal saunter across the lawn of the nearby home. When I realized that the animal in question was in fact a very large dog and that there was no fence; I froze. Luckily for me so did the dog.
As we both just stood there staring at each other, I considered my options. He didn't seem threatening (he wasn't growling or barking) and I hadn't come all this way for nothing. On the other hand, he weighed almost as much as me, if not more and I wasn't 100% sure if there was 911 service this far out of town, let alone their response time.
I finally decided to take a deep breath and started to walk forward slowly. Taking one step at a time, the dog just watched me. I breathed a small sigh and kept going forward while watching the gps. A few seconds later, I paused and looked up to check on my friend. Not only was he no longer standing patiently on his lawn, but when I spun around, I found him trotting quickly towards me.
I don't remember if I tried to run or not, but by the time I re-opened my eyes the dog was standing at my feet, head cocked to the side panting in a manner that could only be interpreted as "pet me!"
Relieved that I wasn't about to torn to pieces, I said hello to my fellow geohasher (I can dream, can't I?) and gave him a pat on the head. I turned my attention back to the gps and found that the coordinates were located 90m past the end of the road, right down a small path in the trees and right past the big yellow "No Trespassing" sign. Darnit.
I was only 90m from the location, and given the fact that I'd walked almost 10km I figured within 100m more than close enough to claim a success. Also one of the home owners had wandered out on the porch of his rather expensive looking home in a bath robe talking importantly of his phone and I figured rich business people don't buy a really big house in the middle of nowhere and put up no trespassing sings if they don't mean it. I took my pictures and wandered back down the street a bit to have a rest and have some nibs.
The long way home
As much as I wasn't looking forward to my second 9km walk of the day, spending the night on side of a highway in the middle of nowhere wasn't really an option, so I packed up me things and set off back down the road. The sun was low in the sky and directly in front of me. Thankfully I had purchased a pair of dollar store sunglasses back in Aurora. They took the edge off of the glare, but didn't do enough to prevent a giant head ache from staring into the sun for the hour and 45 minutes it took to wander back to the highway.
At this point, the smart thing to do would have been to return to the bus stop next to the highway. However I decided to take the local bus back to the bus station in town instead. Why? I really can't remember. I ended up waiting 45 minutes in the cold, huddled behind the bus stop (read: the pole with the bus sign on it) for the 33 to arrive. By the time it came both of my arms, and both of my legs had actually gone numb. Note to self: Toronto gets cold. Bring a better coat.
The bus finally did show up and I made the connection to Toronto with seconds to spare (I was at the machine buying my ticket as people were boarding). I spent the entire trip back huddled against the window sleeping.