2012-04-03 52 -119

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Tue 3 Apr 2012 in 52,-119:
52.3740578, -119.1850850

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About 60 km south of Valemount on Highway 5.



Drive there, should be right on the highway or close, drive home.


Bathroom renos were the order of the day. Effing concrete board that wouldn't snap. Then I remembered to check for geohash coordinates. Lo and behold a point right on the HIGHWAY south of me. Virgin to boot. This NEVER actually happens where I live. Thought hmmm... bathroom renos or drive the highway from hell for the hell of it? Only 3 hours return or something, sorry about the carbon footprint. Dressed, thought about it, decided on a bath as that might change my mind, but it didn't.

And a good excuse to spend a few hours with my latest favorite artist, Corin Raymond [1], listen to this guy, he is AMAZING, one CD on the way there, one on the way back, as I'm bad with playlists.

Looked at the Google map several times, memorized the bend in the river that marked it, and the pullout for sledders just north of there, wrote coordinates down. Packed all the essentials: GPS (checked batteries, brought extra), camera (even set the date and time), wallet, winter coat in case (toque and gloves and shovel already in car). Took a deep breath and set out. Drove through rain/snow/rain/whatever. Drove more. Thought about stopping in Valemount for food but I was rolling so didn't.

South of Valemount remembered that exactly 2 weeks ago I was driving this SAME stretch of highway in a complete whiteout at half the speed with flashers on and terrified I would die. And I will claim a deja vu for this one, had turned the GPS off that trip but if proof is needed I can get my kid to sign an affidavit. Listened to Corin and dodged wide loads and remembered that I was travelling the route of the Overlanders some 150 years ago, in considerably more comfort.

Finally see the sledder pullout on the right and know my spot is coming up. Ah yes, there it is, big bend in the North Thompson River that comes right up to the road. But where to pull over? Keep driving looking for a place to turn around. Finally a long straight stretch where I can see trucks both directions, pull a u-turn, drive back to the spot. I think. The GPS says close but not exact, I figure whatever and take obligatory pictures. Think about getting out of the car to find exact spot but every 30 seconds another semi blows by spewing mud and water and I decide for my own safety better not to. Drive back to the sledder parking lot and pull in (whew, safe spot), take pictures from there. Change the music to the other CD. Wonder if I really got close and actually drive back past the spot, find a turnaround, back to sledders lot, and do that actually one more time. Just in case. Still not sure I hit it, only the track log will tell and for some reason I can't actually SEE it on the stupid GPS.

But I figure that so many u-turns on this crazy stupid highway are enough, and I must go home. My kid would kill me if I got hit by a truck looking for a hashpoint (if the truck failed to). Drive north again. Listen to Corin, wonder WTF did I even do this for, especially if I was close but missed? Think there must be some reason. Driving thru Valemount think again about food but pass, I have so far managed to NEVER eat at the A&W there (only fast food joint in the entire valley) so why break my record now?

Drive. Hum along to the music. It snows and rains and I wonder WTF was this trip REALLY about? I hit the junction at Tete Jaune, a place I've been a million times. Make the turn and around the corner and there, there is a hitchhiker standing in the rain. Not unusual, but more so as the years pass. And lately ominous "No Hitchhiking" signs have been posted there, why I don't know. And because I'm doing this really random thing anyway and believe there must have been a reason beyond just finding the hashpoint (if I even did, I still don't know that), I glance, he looks like he won't kill me, I stop. I haven't stopped for a hitchhiker in a decade or more, but, karma, whatever, it seemed important. He runs, throws huge bag into car and guitar with no case covered with raindrops. Ouch.

We drive. He spent the night in Jasper, outside. Really? Took him all morning to get here. I can only take him to Dunster but he feels it better than standing in the rain between two signs that say "no hitchhiking." He works summers for a company that seals cracks on the highways, he is "lead hand" shovelling the dirt onto the asphalt once they have poured it. That is the extent of our conversation, I've been too long away from random strangers to know what else to say.

We get to my turnoff at Dunster and I let him out. He says he feels better already and I wish him a ride straight through to Prince George, tho I expect what he will get is a ride to McBride, and then hopefully straight through. I think of asking his name but don't, wish I had, but whatever. Drive the couple minutes home and start to dump the tracklog when my kid's brother from another mother shows up for a completely random visit. So it was a while before I finally got it onto the computer and saw YES, I was there. A couple times today.

Why I love this. I figure that guy needed a ride and maybe that was why I needed to go on this expedition. And I got one fine day out of it (thanks Corin).


My pictures are a bit out of range, and google maps vs google earth disagree slightly on the hashpoint but no question I was there.




dunstergirl earned the Virgin Graticule Achievement
by being the first to reach any hashpoint in the (52, -119) graticule, here, on 2012-04-03.

dunstergirl earned the Land geohash achievement
by reaching the (52, -119) geohash on 2012-04-03.
dunstergirl earned the Déjà Vu Geohash Achievement
by reaching the (52, -119) geohash on 2012-04-03, and previously on 2012-03-20
In a whiteout. Turned the GPS off but my kid could sign an affidavit. And many, many times before this as well..