2009-03-21 39 -88

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Sat 21 Mar 2009 in Decatur, Illinois:
39.7980280, -88.4404097

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The day's coordinates fell in a newly-plowed field bordering some railroad tracks. Brett, Alejandro, and Lucas met with Nathan and Jian Feng, who arrived after visiting the 2009-03-21 39 -87 coordinates an hour earlier.

 Brett, Alejandro,  Nathan, Lucas, and Jian Feng

[edit] Meetup

After a few false starts, Brett, Alejandro, and Lucas departed from the UIUC campus and drove south along US-45. Meanwhile, Nathan and Jian Feng were continuing their quest for a Time-Traveller Geohash Achievement by following US-36 west from the 2009-03-21 39 -87 coordinates. Both groups arrived soon after 4:00, within just ten minutes of each other.

Railroad tracks conveniently provided a path toward the destination. The group set off, noting that the disused rails were unlikely to carry trains that might interrupt the geohashing expedition. Rusty spikes, discarded railroad hardware, and even an old raincoat were scattered among the sleepers. Alejandro also found an unfired shotgun shell. This was the second time he came across ammunition while geohashing.

The tracks took the group to within a few hundred feet of the coordinates. When they got as close as possible, Nathan, Jian Feng, and Alejandro left the tracks and hiked across a newly-plowed field. It did not take long to reach the precise location. They planted two marker flags next to two of the railroad spikes. Unfortunately, Nathan and Jianfeng did not earn the Time-Traveller Geohash Achievement as it took longer than an hour for them to visit the two hash points. They did, however, earn the Multihash Achievement, so they were happy with that. This also earned Nathan the Level 2 Minesweeper Geohash Achievement for he had now visited the graticules southeast (39 -87) and due south (39 -88) of the Champaign/Urbana, Illinois (40 -88) graticule. Jianfeng would also have earned this achievement, except he hasn't visited a hash point in his home graticule of (40, -88) yet.

When the trio returned to the tracks, Alejandro decided to disassemble the shotgun shell. He used Brett's pocket knife to slice open the casing, revealing a plastic spacer. The "business end" in front of the spacer was filled with steel shot, and the back was filled with flakes of propellant.

The group then returned to the cars, took the group picture shown above, and began the trip home. On the way, Brett, Lucas, and Alejandro noticed a sign saying simply, "Historical Marker". They were intrigued by this terse sign and stopped to find out what history occurred. They found a point at which Abraham Lincoln gave a speech when departing Illinois for the White House.

So thanks to geohashing, the day yielded an interesting hike, a science experiment, and a history lesson.

[edit] Achievements

Brett, Alejandro, Lucas, Nathan, and Jianfeng earned the Land geohash achievement
by reaching the (39, -88) geohash on 2009-03-21.
Nathan and Jianfeng earned the Multihash Achievement
by reaching the (39, -87) and (39, -88) geohashes on 2009-03-21.
Minesweeper geohash empty.png Minesweeper geohash empty.png Minesweeper geohash empty.png
Minesweeper geohash empty.png Minesweeper geohash 2.png Minesweeper geohash empty.png
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Nathan achieved level 2 of the Minesweeper Geohash achievement
by visiting coordinates in Champaign/Urbana, Illinois and 2 of the surrounding graticules.