2012-03-24 41 -88
Beneath some high-tension wires near Dekalb, Illinois, U.S.A.
- EvilUncleNomo and The Wife are planning on attempting this geohash at Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m..
- Haberdasher will try to make it to this one as well.
This one was out of my way, but after seeing that it was the most reasonable Saturday meet-up spot for the weekend and wanting to get another hash done before break ended, I decided to go for it. In hindsight, this expedition was not the best choice to wear formal-wear to, but I wanted more achievements, so I wore some nice new clothes as well as writing down the coordinates for a nearby beginner's geocache. The forecast predicted a chance of rain, but though it was gloomy all day long, the rain only showed up well into the night, long after the expedition.
With a little convincing, and after getting a hair-cut, my parents and I headed out to the hash. At first I wasn't sure if we would get there on time, but was satisfied when the GPS said that we'd have 5 minutes to spare, a number that stayed fairly consistent throughout the trip. During the drive, I discussed geohashing with my parents, listened to the Rocky Horror soundtrack, and played the license plate game.
At first my father said he'd join the expedition, but he backed out when we got closer to the hash point. As we turned into the quiet side-street near where the hashpoint was, I spotted a couple taking pictures of the field where the hashpoint was. There wasn't much else the two could be doing there, and I'd seen their plans on this page earlier, so without further ado, I joined EvilUncleNomo and The_Wife in their geohashing expedition.
 The Group
All of us holding GPS-capable devices of some variety, we headed towards the field of brambles which the hash was in while discussing how nice it was to meet a fellow geohasher in person. There was a path through the brambles which we followed for a while before determining that the point was just outside the path. After navigating through the brambles, we then realized that the point was closer to the path than we'd thought, and thus had to trek back out of the brambles. Haberdasher finally found the exact point after a little jiggling of the GPS, but when the critical moment came, the glare on the GPS screen concealed its proof. Around this time, The_Wife's phone's battery started running low, making proof even more difficult to obtain. Hopefully the below pictures are sufficient evidence to make up for these difficulties.
Having successfully done the hash, the group headed across the street, where it seemed a beginner's geocache was concealed, as per Haberdasher's notes. We all had difficulty determining where the coordinates of the geocache were, so we split up and spent some time searching the area while trying to avoid the various fields of brambles. After a good twenty minutes of searching, Haberdasher determined that the point was in fact in one of these fields of brambles, though not too far in.
These brambles (perhaps "branches" are a better word, I'm not sure) are worth some explanation. Not only did they themselves catch on clothes repeatedly, but they seem to have concealed a pack of small raptors, as the party was attacked and suffered various scratches and scrapes. Haberdasher, wearing formal wear rather than the other geohashers' raptor-proof clothing, suffered the worst of it, but luckily, the raptors' small size meant none of the injuries were too severe. Some pictures of the raptor claw marks are below.
After reaching the point where the cache was supposed to be, Haberdasher called the rest of the group over, and they all began searching for the geocache, but to no avail. Either the geocache had been moved or taken sometime after creation, or this "beginner's" geocache was too much for this troupe of geocaching beginners. Whatever the case, after searching the area and finding nothing but trash, branches, and raptor attacks, we decided enough was enough. After a formal introduction and a brief meeting with Haberdasher's parents, we went our separate ways.
While in DeKalb, we stopped at a thrift store (where I bought Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods, appropriately enough), a Dairy Queen, and a WalMart before reaching the secondary reason for this impromptu trip. Specifically, I planned on surprising a friend by visiting her (Momo, the reason for the trip the Sunday before) while she worked at an anime convention. Unfortunately, I was fairly ignorant of both NIU (the convention's location) and the convention itself, and thus wandered around the building aimlessly before deciding that I was done walking in my fancy dress shoes and headed back to the car.
One other thing worth noting: Although the license plate game went fairly poorly in general, as the trip was not especially close to state borders, there was one important exception. When eating out with my grandmother (having not reached home yet, making it still the same trip), my family found a Hawaii license plate in the restaurant parking lot. Score!
In general, I feel good about this expedition. The effort put into it, and the greater outdoorsiness of it, makes it feel more like a geohashing expedition than my first real one, where it was as simple as walking across a parking lot into a front yard. I look forward to similar outdoorsy expeditions in the future, though hopefully with more raptor-proof clothing in the future.
Target's in there somewhere @41.9554,-88.7118
We met an other real human being geohashing! @41.9559,-88.7116
Damn pooky followed us again @41.9558,-88.7116
| Haberdasher, EvilUncleNomo, and The_Wife earned the Meet-up achievement
| Haberdasher earned the Formal attire achievement
| Haberdasher earned the Velociraptor Geohash Achievement
|Haberdasher, EvilUncleNomo and The_Wife issued a challenge for the Tale of Two Hashes achievement|
- Land geohash