2009-09-04 -38 146
Just outside Traralgon, on a farm next to the Loy Yang Coal Mine.
Took the train to Traralgon on Friday after work while on my bike laden with touring gear. After encountering some freaky cows and a power station, I rode up into the hills to camp. Part II of a four day consecutive geohash. 2009-09-03 -37 145 is the first and 2009-09-05 -37 145 is the next.
It was only that morning that I got the idea – the previous afternoon I’d been told I wouldn’t have to work on Saturday, and I didn’t have anything on for the Friday night so I decided to go for it. The virgin hash at Traralgon.
After work I scrambled to get my cycle-touring gear together and caught the train at Spencer Street towards the hash point, cunningly using the time waiting for the train to realign my disc brakes (yes, I was taking my mountain bike – knobbly tyres too).
The train up was okay for the first half, in which I read the same Robert Heinlein book I was reading on previous hashes, until an excessively fat guy decided to sit next to me, squishing me right over into the person next to me. He then stuffed his face with several meals of fish and chips and played a hand-held boxing game with very loud commentating. I eventually stood up to get a meal as the train reached the station.
Riding up the hill towards the Yan Yean power station and the hash was short and uneventful. When I had to abandon the bike I was overlooked by the illuminated station while it emitted a low hum.
Having scaled the barbed wire fence under the cover of darkness (luckily there weren’t any cars driving past to see me doing a dodgy) I found myself in a field of cows. And yes, the cows were exactly where the geohash was supposed to be. Grasping my camera and GPS I slowly and casually eased myself the 60m towards the location.
There were a lot of cows, and, despite the full moon, it was too dark to see if there were any bulls amongst them. They all eyed me warily, and wandered tangentially from me as I got slunk deeper into their territory. Some started running and jumping and I was worried they’d trample me in the dark, but soon enough I was there. Time of hash, 21:00.
I took a couple of brief photos of the GPS before walking very quickly back to the fence and my bike. All eyes were on me as I climbed back over the fence and soon I had the whole field forming a semi-circle around me on the other side of the fence, all with that inquisitive look cows tend to have.
My housemate reckons the photos I took of them staring at me, eyes aglow from the flash, make the cows look young and small. This is not true, they were uphill and I was holding the camera up high – you believe me, don’t you?
Once I was on my way back (stopping for a couple of mandatory photos of the glowing power station), I was suddenly at a loss of what to do or where to go. I had to camp the night somewhere as the last train had been and gone, but hadn’t really decided where. Eventually I settled on a state park on the other side of Traralgon, which I’d identified using my VicRoads Country Directory which had no contours, so I was unaware of the mega hill I had to climb to get there.
On the way up I was feeling pretty morose – I’d lost my goal (by completing it) and now cast adrift in eastern Victoria. I found a quiet side road in the bush, rode down it and set up my tent a few metres into the bush, with views of the Traralgon in the Latrobe Valley.
Once I was in bed and reading the Heinlein book (disturbed only by a marsupial trying to nibble its way into the tent), I got a message from Talex who told me Saturday’s hash coordinates: it was difficult but doable – suddenly I had a goal to aim for and my spirits lifted instantly. Today was to be the first of my three day mini bicycle endurohash.
Here's the Google Maps link to my whole route. Friday's section is between A and C - 25 kms.
|Felix Dance earned the Virgin Graticule Achievement|
| Felix Dance earned the Consecutive geohash achievement