2009-01-24 43 -89

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Sat 24 Jan 2009 in Madison:
43.3650009, -89.3806584

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Bill Minser, wife Beth, the Napping Toddler, and Abby the dog
Frostbitten cellist Evan


The location was in a snowy cornfield about 500 m east of US 51, between Arlington and Poynette.

Bill had checked the weather forecast, and felt we had a good opportunity to break the Coldest Geohash mark (then -18.9 °C). He assembled an unusually large crew, who were motivated partly by outrage that such an important achievement should belong to Michigan. So we eschewed our usual 4 PM Saturday meetup, and waited for dark.

The whole Minser clan picked me up in the MinserVan at 8:30, and we went equipment shopping; we needed a thermometer! We wandered haplessly through the aisles of Menards for some time. The help there all seemed to know where the thermometers were, but were less than articulate in describing how we should find them. We should have asked for GPS coordinates.

We eventually succeeded in acquiring a nice little indoor/outdoor digital thermometer, picked up Evan, and were on our way. I amused myself by hanging the temperature probe out the van window and watching the readout. I was a little concerned that it hovered around -14 °C (not cold enough), although the van's readout was claiming -4 to -9 °F (-20 to -23 °C).

We arrived at 43° 21' 54" N without incident, and parked by the side of the highway. Beth, the baby, and the dog volunteered for the job of keeping the van (and each other) warm. Bill, Evan and I, evidently having taken leave of our senses, bundled up and trudged off into the night. Actually, it developed that Evan had not brought a hat! We ridiculed him, and Beth loaned him hers.

The walking was hard work, as the snow was deep in places and we often broke through the crust. This helped to keep us warm. It was very dark. The night was exceptionally clear, and there were many more stars than I'm used to seeing in town.

Bill navigated us to the spot by flashlight and GPS unit, and we broke out the thermometer: -19.6 °C! We took some blurry photos of each other; autofocus doesn't work very well in the dark. It was about 10 PM.

We made our way back to the van. On the way back to town we stopped at the truck stop for well-deserved cocoa, soup and pie. We made the mistake of going to the T/A truck stop (SW corner of 51 & I-90/94) instead of the Trucker's Inn truck stop (NE corner), which has a better restaurant. But we got pie.

This was Evan's first geohashing experience, and he swears it's his last.

Bill Minser, starbird, and Evan earned the Cold geohash achievement
by reaching the (43, -89) geohash on 2009-01-24 while the temperature was -19.6 °C.
Bill Minser and starbird earned the Drag-along achievement
by dragging Evan to the (43, -89) geohash on 2009-01-24.
Bill Minser, starbird, and Evan earned the Frozen Geohash Achievement
by reaching the (43, -89) geohash on 2009-01-24 while the temperature was below the freezing point of water.
Bill Minser, starbird, and Evan earned the Land geohash achievement
by reaching the (43, -89) geohash on 2009-01-24.