2009-09-29 51 -1
Macronencer will pick up sermoa at 8pm and drive to the hash point. We hope to get evidence using a camcorder, TomTom (for the speed) and eTrex GPS (for a tracklog to show that we passed through the point). Could be fiddly, but worth a try: the road looks quite straight, so there's a good chance of hitting the speed. It will be dark, so this will be a "smash and grab" - probably no markers, hashscots or photos of scenery. Ninja Geohashing!
- No hashscots?! Speak for yourself but Monica wants to come! -- sermoa 11:58, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
- Monica is always welcome, of course! :)
I didn't post any plans here as I was attempting several hashes on the same day - so I had no idea the others were also doing it. As it turned out, I did it just an hour or so before they did. We both had the same goal: to achieve the Speed racer achievement.
I left my origin geohash around 17:30 and headed over, stopping around 18:45 a few miles before the hashpoint, as the light was failing fast and I needed to record my introduction video. This required eight takes, all but one of which began with me saying I was from 52 -13. All this -0 gubbins had got me quite confused!
I was rather hoping for a nice low speed limit like 30mph. But in England, even the worst country roads generally have "National speed limit" (which is 60mph, or 70mph on dual carriageways). And alas, this road was no different.
The first attempt at 19:10 was pitiful, reaching around 35mph. I didn't know the road, and there were bends when approaching the hashpoint from the south. On attempt 2 from the north, I reached 55mph, but decelerated before the hashpoint due to the upcoming bend. Attempt 3 again from the south was about 40mph. At this point I concluded the only way to do it was from the straight northern approach.
Attempt 4 was again 55mph, but as the sun made its final setting, I finally reached the magic 60mph on attempt 5! I parked and walked back with rabbitfox to confirm the hashpoint was where I thought it was and to take the obligatory photo.
I was planning to go on to a final hashpoint in 51,-2 near Bath, but after some motorway sushi, I realised it was a two hour detour and decided it was too far out of the way and too dark for a random field hash. After all, geohashing's about exploration and fun, not more work! So I crossed the Severn bridge into Wales and stayed overnight in Newport.
 Macronencer and sermoa
Before I left for the hash, I did some experiments with placing my camcorder on the tripod in the back of my car. It seems to sit really well in there, and I might use the technique to get some time lapse film at some point.
I picked up my trusty navigator, sermoa, at 8pm and we drove to the hash. The A34 exit we took was the same one used a few weeks ago for the midnight geohash with mapaholic - but this time, we went left and had to drive a few miles to reach the location. I was getting slightly concerned because the road was almost single-track. Although there was indeed a straight section at the hash point, safety was clearly going to be an issue.
We drove slowly to ensure the hash point was really on the road (we got a reading of 2m, which is good enough), and also to reccy the environs in case of hazards. There was a car parked in a passing-place, and we wondered whether it might be geohashers, but nobody seemed to be about.
There followed some driving up and down between places where it was possible to turn (fortunately, not far apart), and fiddling about trying to get the video working OK, but I'm very pleased to report that on the second attempt (when I knew the road a little better) we just hit 60 mph (the speed limit) exactly, as we passed over the hash point! It wasn't that easy, as there was a slight bend not long before we reached it, so I didn't have much time to accelerate, but somehow it worked out OK. I consider myself a safe driver and wouldn't normally play these kinds of games, but of course one is always taking some kind of risk on the road, and as it was dark we had the advantage of seeing headlights well in advance.
sermoa did an excellent job of keeping the video camera steady, so there is good video of the moment, plus a track log where one leg actually shows a vector spanning the co-ordinates, with an average speed of 62.7mph (101kph), so that's good enough proof in my book. I'll upload a photo of a screen shot from Garmin RoadTrip soon, plus the actual GPX file if I can, and the video will follow at some point once I've had a chance to edit it.
We stopped for a few minutes to look at the sky, as it was a nice clear night with Jupiter up by the Moon. sermoa experimented with the starmap on her phone.
Very pleased to have got this achievement at last, having been thwarted last time by road and weather conditions. My thanks to sermoa for taking part and making this possible!
Proof of the Speed racer achievement
| Macronencer earned the Speed racer achievement
| sermoa earned the Speed racer achievement
| davidc earned the Speed racer achievement
| davidc achieved level 1 of the Minesweeper Geohash achievement