2012-02-20 47 -122
A vehicle storage lot in a private subdivision south of Port Orchard
I've got the day off work, and apparently so does the stock exchange, as the coordinates are already out. I intend to be there at 4pm, by catching the 1:30 ferry to Bremerton from downtown Seattle, and then the 2:45 or 3:15 boat to Port Orchard. These times are flexible though. Land portions may be bike or bus depending on the weather. --OtherJack 8:30pm Pacific, Sunday
This was not the most slickly executed geohashing expedition.
I checked the radar and forecast around 11am, just looked like there'd be light rain at most, so I decided to bike it. Realizing that the mileage as originally planned would be rather short by my tastes, I figured I'd go there via West Seattle and the Southworth ferry rather than Bremerton -- basically the same travel distance, but much more of it under my own power and less of it by boat, and a completely new location for me to boot. I'd return through Bremerton as originally planned to complete a nice loop. (A Tron would have been impossible though - see photo/caption below...) Feeling prepared, I set out from my north Seattle home at 12:30pm.
The first sign of trouble was that I realized, approaching downtown, that I'd forgotten to bring my camera. I spent the next several miles thinking about where and when a disposable camera could be bought in a safe location (I deliberately hadn't brought a bike lock) until remembering, somewhere in West Seattle, that my (dumb)phone can take pictures. OK, cool. But right then it started to rain quite heavily (by Seattle standards at least), soaking the thick jeans I had on. The combination of cold sogginess and wounded forecasting pride irritated me until I reached the ferry dock and found that I'd been making much better time than anticipated, and was thirty minutes early. Huzzah! The rain lightened again, spiting me.
The ferry wait and ride across the Sound were scenic enough, with grey, forested, hilly shorelines looming through the fog and rain, very Seattle. And the highway from Southworth toward the hash was both beautiful, and beautifully paved, with wide shoulders - though with much bigger hills than I thought I'd seen on the google terrain map. (Re-examination upon return to the house showed the hills in all their height, of course... I must have been thinking wishfully when I looked the first time.) In any case, though, at 3:45pm I arrived at the entrance to the subdivision of the hash tired and wet, but feeling pretty good.
At this point, the next bad sign presented itself, and it read "Private Road." However, it didn't look like they'd be especially angry if I rode in there - there was no "No Trespassing" or anything - so I headed on in. A few speed-bumps and intersections and a dozen houses later and I was at the fence from the satellite picture. The hashpoint was just a couple dozen meters away, but in front of me was a small, completely fenced-in, rectangular lot with trailers/boats, RVs, cars, etc. parked in it. The lot had a padlocked gate bearing more bad signs which helpfully explained that it was vehicle storage for the residents of the development, with no outsider access allowed without permission from the residents. My only hope here was that I wasn't sure where exactly the hashpoint was - in the past, Google Maps had made a slight error in my favor.
But the GPS would soon settle that... I began to follow it around the right side of the lot, through a small unused sports field. At this point, a middle-aged guy drove up and asked me whether I was lost. I briefly explained geohashing to him, and he was quite amused! He'd thought I was one of many people who accidentally follow a nearby mountain bike trail into the subdivision and don't know where they've ended up. I mentioned that the point might actually be inside the lot, but he said he didn't have the lock combination.
After we amicably parted ways, I found the hashpoint was in fact 9m inside the fence... no reprieve from google this time. GPS error was only 3.5m. I could see it right there, but not touch it. Considering my options, I suddenly realized that I could have just asked the guy if he was OK with me just climbing over, finding it, taking a picture and climbing out. I'm sure he would have agreed. But now I had to sit around and wait for the next person to show up, and hope.
It happened within a few minutes, but this one, an older man, was very different from the first. He asked me what I was doing walking around by the lot - when I tried to explain, he just said, "Nope! I don't think so..." and when I then told him it was no big deal, his response was, "And in fact, you'd best be leaving now before I call the cops."
I told him I couldn't blame him and that I'd do just as he said, did not take a last-minute picture of the no-access signs, and did promptly ride away in the direction of the entrance, bidding him a nice evening. He did not speak at all.
On the way back, when I arrived at the Annapolis dock, the Bremerton boat followed within half a minute. I found out I had about five minutes before I had to board, and went off to check out the minuscule neighborhood of Annapolis, which I'd never been to. Just 50m or so down the road from the dock was a somewhat dilapidated but awesome-looking turquoise house built on stilts in the harbor, that was having a yard sale! Four young(ish) people stood outside talking. I would have loved to check this out, but for some reason I felt bad going back and telling the boat to leave without me (its sole passenger), so that was it.
I had about a half hour to kill in Bremerton before the next Seattle ferry boarding, and began to wander around their waterfront strip. A promising-smelling barbecue shack, especially by Northwest standards, shortly presented itself. I wasn't hungry, but figured I could come back there and get some takeout if my stance changed. But soon enough it was time to board, and then within fifteen minutes or so hunger suddenly hit (rather early I thought, at 5:30pm) as the ship was pulling out. I resigned myself to ferry food, but was not prepared for the reheated chicken strips to taste like burnt rubber.
The snack did the job though at least, powering me back north through Seattle and home at around 7:30pm, where I promptly ate a proper dinner. As a final insult to injury, Yelp reviews of the BBQ were all very positive.
It was a comedy of minor, annoying errors, but a fun day nonetheless.
| OtherJack earned the No trespassing consolation prize