2009-06-12 49 8
Not enough. I was terribly unprepared on this expedition. There were many surprises waiting for me on the way.
I got home at about 16:00, my GPS/camera/phone's battery was completely empty. So, go for a no-battery hash? That would require more extensive planning, so more time. Either way, charging the GPS or going without, I'd miss the train I originally intended to take. So I took one later, leaving Karlsruhe Hagsfeld (station near my house) at 16:59. When I left my home, the GPS was not even half charged, though...
After a short bike ride to the station, I took a local train to Graben-Neudorf, a class 401 ICE train. Just kidding, it was a class 425, which also passed 2009-06-05 49 8, which I visited a week ago. In Graben-Neudorf, I changed into another local train, a class 628, that would take me to Germersheim. On my way, the train passed the Philippsburg Nuclear Power Plant. Image an ambassador geohash in there...
Eventually, I got to Germersheim. And now, the fun begins. Google Maps suggested a straight route, 7.7 kilometers through the forest. Here's Google's suggestion. As you can see, the first part seems to be some industrial area.
After crossing, the B9 Bundesstraße, I saw this: A heavily guarded entrance to a US military base. Sorry for the crappy image quality, I didn't want it to seem too obvious, that I was just photographing military area, so I wasn't holding the camera steady. Well, I didn't really want to ask, if I could pass through, so I cycled south, around the base. Riding on a public unpaved path along a barbed-wire fence, I saw some serious no trespassing signs and some trucks and military buildings inside the base. As there also were signs telling not photograph, I didn't. Continuing on the path, I came upon several other military signs, in German, signed by the "Standortältester" (some german military rank), so I assumed a German base was nearby, too. There were signs asking not to pass military grounds during training times (otherwise on your own risk) and not to take leftover ammunition. As no training seemed to be in progress, so the remaining part of the journey went on without any major problems.
Eventually, my GPS pointed 90° into the forest. Dense forest. Parked the bike, went in.
Luckily, the trouble with detour around the army base raised my Stupidity Distance, so I stumbled on through the thorns. Since it was warm these days, I was wearing short pants. Bad idea. Also I was pretty sure, that there were raptors around.
Now for the way backl: With this photo near the hash, my GPS's battery died, which also meant, no more photos for today.
Getting back to Germersheim should have been possible, too, as I knew where I went before, that I knew I had to go in some general eastern direction, and that I had a compass. I made it back to the military training grounds pretty well, with just some minor detours. At the military base however, I somehow got off the official public path and got stuck between the barbed-wire fence of the army base and more thorned bushes. Might have been some cool photos. On the other hand, I wasn't the first one there, as there was trampled grass and bike tracks on the narrow path I was following. Eventually, I found the official path again, got to Germersheim, just catched a train home and arrived there 20:40.
 Lessons learned
- Do not enter a unknown area with a half-charged GPS or without a map.
- Do not trust Google Maps.
- Check for military bases before going Geohashing.
- Do not wear short pants in a dense forest. Thorns hurt.
| Koepfel earned the Velociraptor Geohash Achievement