2009-01-22 33 -84

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Thu 22 Jan 2009 in Atlanta:
33.6723626, -84.3859647

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What follows is a story. I relate it to you as it happened, for posterity to enjoy and for historians to judge. I am simply laying down our tale…

The expedition all started in my 9 a.m. Physics class, when my phone kept ringing. It could only be Nick calling, with news regarding the day's recently released coordinates. The news must be good. I tried to call him back before breakfast, and we finally got in touch while I was eating. We conversed for a few minutes in hushed and excited tones before I hung up. I turned to the kid I was eating with; "Hey, do you have a bike?"

The day's hash was about 8 miles south of us, and we were going to attempt a our first bicycle hash. And the hash was in someone's backyard, so a Master Trespasser achievement was also at stake. We did our rough planning; my last class finished at 4, at which point I'd ride downtown to meet Nick. We would then ride down to the hash, bare our very souls to the homeowner in a passionate plea for access to the hash, and ride back. Simple enough, right? The day passed uneventfully, and my final class let out half an hour early. The first stroke of luck. I called Nick as I walked to my dorm, and by four I was downtown. We finalized our route, deciding to take different ones for the initial and return trips which would result in an eventual loop. With all of our other gear in order, we set out.

The temperature was a pleasant 50°F at departure, and as soon as we got a little past downtown, traffic all but disappeared. But we hadn't gotten far before the first bit was a long uphill stretch, and my winter off from biking began taking its toll. The translucent blue line from Google Maps that stretched so elegantly from our starting point to the hash was going to be tougher in real life. On the following downhill, I could barely keep up with Nick, and he was coasting. Something was clearly wrong. We took a pause, and found that my wheel had been rubbing against my bike frame for the first 3 or so miles. Aha! Disaster averted as Nick realigned my wheel and we were back off.

We neared the hash without further incident and reached a traffic light. We had to cross the street, and check the maps anyways. The bonus was the religious man on that same corner, preaching about the coming of the second Great Depression and our collective trip down to Hell. He spoke of the lava that would be burning us for eternity when we got there. So, in the spirit of xkcd, we enlightened him on the wonders of science until he put down his megaphone and picked up a microscope err, snapped a picture of the crazy guy and continued on our way.

It was just after five and we were less than a mile from the hash, getting pretty excited. We topped the final hill and beheld our destination. The blue house with the black roof that we saw on Street View! And lo and behold, there were people in the driveway! We were already past the demon that thwarted our first Master Trespasser attempt. We quickly decided that Nick was to talk, and we rode into the driveway, all smiles. Nick explained our situation, the game, the coordinates, the bicycles. He even handed them the letter. But I think in the end, they figured we were too harmless to cause any damage and granted us access to the hash. What followed was the highlight of our short geohashing careers. We snapped pictures, conversed in hushed and excited tones, and exchanged multiple high fives. This was what geohashing was all about. We reemerged from their backyard as the two men were leaving, and thanked them again.

As we took some more pictures from across the street, the full impact of what had just happened hit us. Everything had fallen into place perfectly, down to a T. The men we had met were at the house for all of five minutes. In that small window of time we happened to reached the hash. A few minutes off in either direction and we would have gotten nothing. Surely this was one expedition that the geohashing Gods were smiling down upon. But we weren't done yet. It was 5:30, sunset was in half an hour, and we were on bicycles six miles from our homes. We had to get crackin'. We rode back by a different route, one that turned more scenic as we approached downtown. We passed Turner Field, and then the state Capitol at dusk. We arrived back at Nick's loft just after seven.

We had been gone a full three hours and ridden more than 15 miles. We had survived sharing the road with Atlanta drivers. We had negotiated a successful Ambassador achievement. We were successful. And the victory was sweet. It remains so to this day…

  • - Chris



This user earned the Land geohash achievement
by reaching the (33, -84) geohash on 2009-01-22.
This user earned the Ambassador achievement
by obtaining permission to access the (33, -84) geohash on 2009-01-22.
This user earned the Bicycle geohash achievement
by cycling to the (33, -84) geohash on 2009-01-22.