2009-09-17 42 -70
In the woods in Marshfield, Massachusetts.
I am very grateful to Manu and Reinhard for taking time out of their vacation to geohash with my kids and me. I had a great time talking to them, and the kids enjoyed it too. My daughter said "Reinhard is funny and Manu is very nice."
I picked up the kids at the end of school, and we drove out to Marshfield, which took just under three hours, including one quick stop. My son remarked "This is a long drive and we're being very patient" and he was right - the kids did very well in the car. We practiced saying "Hello, how are you?" in German, but none of us ended up having the guts to actually try out our German on Manu or Reinhard.
When we made a pit stop at a large chain bookstore in Braintree, MA, we noticed that they had several newspapers in Arabic.
Just as we entered Marshfield, just about at 5:30pm, the time we had agreed to meet, we got a text message from Manu and Reinhard saying they were parked on Main Street near the hashpoint. We parked only a few minutes later, but it took us some time to find Manu and Reinhard because they had assumed we'd meet on Main Street at the building closest to the hashpoint, whereas the kids and I had assumed we'd meet at the hashpoint. In fact, while walking to the hashpoint, the kids and I saw a footprint that was too big to be mine and we thought it must be Reinhard's (but it wasn't, he hadn't left the road yet).
Eventually we found each other, and my son greeted Manu and Reinhard with "Are you from the Internet?" I had wanted my kids to ask "Kummin Sie fun dein Internet?" but they refused, perhaps because that's not proper German. Anyway, Manu and Reinhard answered "Yes, we're from the Internet."
For some reason it was more surprising to see Wischi in person than to see Manu and Reinhard in person.
Together, we walked for a few minutes up a wide path that had been cleared for power lines, and then turned and walked through the woods for the last few minutes. For the first time since we began geohashing, the kids held the GPS and led the way.
We arrived near the point and Reinhard did a GPS dance. Then we had our picnic. I had brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and homemade chocolate chip cookies, because those are important foods to try on a visit to the USA. I also brought apples and honey, to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, because Rosh Hashahah is tomorrow evening and I thought maybe Manu and Reinhard had never had a chance to celebrate a Jewish holiday before. (Indeed, they hadn't. I didn't ask whether they were aware of ever having met a Jew before, but I'd love to know. I suspect this was the first time they had ever been outnumbered by Jews.) I brought a few other things, and Manu and Reinhard had also brought chocolate chip cookies.
Please be aware that I usually do not allow my kids to eat unlimited amounts of sugary foods; I allowed it today mostly because I wanted to be able to talk to Manu and Reinhard rather than negotiating about how many cookies people were allowed to eat.
When it started to get dark, we packed up and walked back to our cars.
The kids and I made a stop before getting on the highway to put pajamas on one of our party, then the kids went to sleep in the car on the way home.
In total, the kids and I drove about 385 km for this geohash.
 Manu and Reinhard
After our first geohash in the US, Juja told us, that Sara and NWoodruff would like to go geohashing with us, which really amazed us. Unfortunately, Atlanta was a bit too far for us visiting New England, but since Sara and her family lived near Springfield, Massachusetts, we thought a meeting should be possible. We made an appointment with Sara for that Thursday and agreed upon the Lynn graticule, when the coordinates were available. Originally, we wanted to drive from Boston to Cape Cod on Thursday morning and stay there till Friday evening, but since the hashpoint was between Boston and the Cape and Sara and her children couldn't arrive there much before 5 pm, we decided to visit nearby Plymouth till 4 pm. I've (Reinhard) already been there last year, but it was Manu's first time, so we did the usual tourist tour by visiting the Mayflower II, Plymouth Rock and Plimoth Plantation, where you can talk to Indians and to people that act like it's 1627 and they just came from Europe to build the first settlement in the New World. It was a good decision to go there, instead of to Cape Cod, not only, because Manu liked it a lot, but also, because the weather wasn't that nice, which made the Mayflower's arrival (which was in late fall) even more authentic. We also got a really good ice cream in Plymouth, which Sara had recommended us, and enjoyed it despite of the bad weather.
After having seen everything that we considered as a must-see, it was time to drive on (some kilometers back/North) to Marshfield to meet Sara and her kids. We parked the car in a side road to the bigger road, which was closest to the hashpoint and wrote Sara our approximate position. Some minutes later we got an SMS back, that she was there, too, and we were going to meet. Well ... we thought, we were going to meet her, but standing at Main St, as close as one could get to the hashpoint, without bushwhacking there, we couldn't see anybody else. It took us several SMSs, cell phone calls and minutes to make clear, where we were standing (probably lost in translation), and then suddenly three walkers appeared in the distance. Turned out, that Sara had taken a closer look at the satellite image and thus found an easier way to approach the hashpoint, which started behind a turn on Main Street, so we couldn't see her. Anyway ... the rest of the expedition was really nice, and though Sara and her children weren't the first Jews I met, they made us at least experience our first Jewish New Year. We appreciated to talk with them, and Sara's kids were real fun. :) And then there were those delicious chocolate chip cookies Sara had baked! I couldn't get enough of them. So, thank you three for that lovely intercontinental meetup!
After saying goodbye, when it was already dark, we traveled on to Cape Cod and found a motel in Dennis center. The next day, we rent a bike and had perfect weather for a nice trip along the Cape (no chance, that the weather was nearly as good the day before), and even could do another geohash expedition in the evening on Cape Cod.
| Manu, Reinhard, Sara, and Sara's children earned the Picnic achievement
| Manu, Reinhard, Sara, and Sara's children earned the Meet-up achievement