2009-01-31 38 -86
The coordinates were in a forest near the confluence of two small streams.
On this day I was leaving mid-Michigan at 4am to go to Bloomington, Indiana; delivering a series of seminars during the day; and heading back home that night. On a trip of this distance that's not straight in a cardinal direction, you're bound to be somewhat close to a geohash at some point. So I was excited to explore Saturday's coordinates along my route when they came out Friday morning. The Muncie, Indiana, coordinates looked promising. They were not far off the interstate I would be traveling on, but it would probably be dark when I was going by there in both directions. Also, it was near an airport, and I didn't really want to poke around in the dark that close to an airport.
The Bedford, Indiana, coordinates for the day also looked good. They were the closest to Bloomington for that day, and they'd only be roughly 15 or 20 miles out of my way to get to. Given the location and timing, they would have to be attempted after I was done with the seminars.
When I finished the workshops, it appeared that the stars had aligned for this hash attempt. I had finished my seminars a little early and actually was able to load the car fairly quickly. That was important since it was already 4:30 and there wasn't much more than an hour of daylight left. I had neglected to charge my phone/GPS the night before and hadn't brought my charger with me, but it still had 20% battery life left. And, given the snow and ice storm that had battered the area earlier in the week, I was pleasantly surprised to find the roads on the way out of town leading to the hash were clear. The drive was beautiful. If you ask someone familiar with the U.S. to name states that come to mind when you say the words "scenery" and "hills", you'd probably have to wait awhile for them to get to Indiana; however, that's just was I saw! Awesome winding roads through snow covered hills, with a descent to a crossing of a frozen lake in the middle. I wanted to get some pictures of that to post here, but I was driving and there wasn't really a place to pull over and get a picture with all the snow piled on the side of the road.
Shortly, though, I discovered that those stars I thought had aligned were merely tools floating in orbit that had mischievously momentarily lined themselves up to give me false hope. I turned off the secondary state road onto what was supposed to be the first of several county roads. This road was not very cleared of snow (which does not bode well for my particular car). When I made the turn, I saw a sign that said the bridge ahead was out. I couldn't see the bridge in question yet, so I decided to proceed and hope the next turn I needed to make was before the bridge. As I kept going, I kept getting more hopeful; but, no, the turn was about 500 feet after the bridge. The stream the bridge crossed wasn't very big, but I was still roughly 5 miles from the hash and not about to start hiking from there. By now I was losing more daylight by the minute. I consulted my phone to see if there was another route to the hash. As I did so, it informed that it was now under 10% battery power. Then I saw I had no signal in this valley, so the map wouldn't load. So, with no battery, no idea of another route, no bridge, no clear road, and surely no daylight in the very near future, I decided to get a few pictures of the bridge area and chalk this one up as a failure. Really, though, even though I didn't make the hash I saw some nice sites that I never would have known were there. If there's any hashers down at Indiana University, I suggest you take a trip down to this scenic graticule sometime!
Oh, and to add to the lack of success, on my way back through Bloomington I got caught in traffic leaving a Hoosier basketball game thereby going 2 miles in 20 minutes. I'm not sure if this trip qualifies for any particular consolation prize ribbons, but it just wasn't meant to be today.