2010-07-27 40 -88
Near a series of duplexes in Normal, Illinois
When I found that the day's coordinates were on the far west of each graticule, I set my sights to the Champaign/Urbana graticule rather than Peoria's - sure enough, it was right in Bloomington-Normal (or more accurately, just the latter). The geohash location looked simple enough to get to. I've been in Normal once before, to the Amtrak station, and that was the extent of my experience. I developed my plans for this expedition around seeing this city better.
On said trip to the train station, I'd seen a sign for a restaurant that read, "Burritos as big as your head!" I thought that was the funniest thing ever, so I wanted to go back there and check it out - I'd aim to have dinner there since it would be about that time anyway. (I found out later that the name of the restaurant is La Bamba, and what I was reading was actually just their slogan.) I researched what else there was to see in Normal (courtesy of their Wikipedia page, which was obviously written by the city's tourism committee). I found the Normal Theater, an old 1930's cinema that's been restored to classic decoration and style. They were going to be playing a documentary that frankly didn't look too interesting to me, but I wanted to include it in my trip as well.
I gathered all the appropriate coordinates and addresses of my destinations, plus my camera, GPS, and a flag.
I left home just around 5:00. The movie at the theater started at 7:00, so I budgeted enough time to get my other stuff done before going there last. An uneventful drive to Normal, which was about 40 minutes - then I reached where the hashpoint was. If you look at the Google satellite images, you see that the roads don't line up with the images, by a lot, actually. The pin was just east of the ghost line signifying Hunt Street, but in relation to the image, the pin was across Arborwalk Drive, in a parking area for one of the duplexes. I'd checked in Bing to see what it thought, and it seemed the former was more accurate. Bing also had Bird's Eye views, so that was helpful too. It looked like the specific point was in the grass between these two roads. When driving there, I opted to drive on Arborwalk, since there was parking there I could utilize. When I got there, I found that it was the right choice, because there also was a chainlink fence separating the two roads, and I was on the right side for the hashpoint. Yay! I walked up and down, back and forth over this median, trying to get the coordinates to line up as best they could. They were drifting quite a bit, but the best I could tell was that it was under one of the trees there. Confident that I was within the circle of uncertainty, I planted a victorious flag with the coordinate info written on it.
I kept moving to maintain a schedule. I left the duplex complex and headed off towards the restaurant. I approached the street I needed to turn onto, and just like last time I drove by, there were cones and a barricade blocking the entrance. When I was here last year, the road was under construction, and so it didn't surprise me too terribly to see that. Unfortunately I didn't know where I was supposed to go from there. I drove around to where the other end of the road was, and found more cones there - but it was here that I read the explanation for the blocked off street. It wasn't under construction anymore (and incidentally, all this area was being built since last year, and it looks great.) Instead the street's blocked off regularly for a Farmer's market, which was just closing as I got there. That didn't help me figure out where I could park downtown, so I continued to drive around for another 5 or 6 minutes trying to find something. I eventually found 2 hour parking that would suit my needs, and from there walked to the restaurant.
I went in and ordered a steak burrito. It wasn't as big as my head, though it was sizeable. It wasn't great, but wasn't bad either. It was very messy, though. After finishing up at my first stop, I walked down the strip to what would be my second destination, which was Emack & Bolio's Ice Cream Shoppe. I've been to an Emack & Bolio's in Peoria before, and I thought it was pretty good. I got a cone here and ate it outside, since it was very nice out. Finally, from here I walked to my third destination, which was the Normal Theater. I got a ticket for "Picasso and Braque Go To the Movies", which is a documentary about the relationship between the cubism of the early 1900's, and the flourishing of cinema as a new technology. I love film, though I personally can't stand avant-garde art, so my opinion was overall lukewarm. I liked the history and the early film clips in it, though.
The movie was only an hour long, so I was out just after 8:00. It was about time for me to head home for the day, so I bid adieu to Normal, and concluded an excellent expedition.
| Dvdllr earned the Land geohash achievement
|Dvdllr issued a challenge for the A Tale of Two Hashes achievement|