2013-01-07 -37 145
In the middle of the Springvale Botanical Cemetery, in Melbourne's outer southeastern suburbs.
While Naomi and I were at the pub, we heard the others discussing geohashing, with Felix conducting his usual flowery, eloquent dissertation on its merits to all present. I'd noticed the brilliant hash for today (located smack bang in the middle of a huge cemetery), but didn't have my bike with me. So, sadly I resigned myself to not going.
Then Naomi, a geohashing veteran of one expedition, turned to me, "do you want to go?" "Sure!" I said. Pause. "Don't tell the others".
We waited for them to leave the pub, heading off on their bikes, nonchalantly wishing them well, and not letting on that we were planning to gazump them. With our car versus their train*-and-bike combo, we couldn't lose! My phone was desperately low on batteries, so we dropped in to my office to grab a charging cable, so we could use her car as an incredibly expensive USB charger.
The drive was a pleasant cruise, Naomi using her expert knowledge of traffic restrictions in the Stonnington area to get us to the freeway as quickly as possible.
- *I thought they were planning to take the train.
Once at the cemetery, on Police Rd, things didn't look good: an enormous solid steel fence, big signs warning of 24 hour security surveillance, and even a second fence behind the first! Patiently, we kept exploring the perimeter, probing for a weakness. Down side streets we turned, but everywhere we saw big fences, locked gates and no obvious way to get in. Worse still, we were on major roads with quite a few people about, despite the late hour.
In desperation we headed down Summit Rd through a small business park. At the end we found a back entrance to the cemetery. Naomi skilfully noticed a gap under the fence which indeed, we were both able to just squeeze under. Wary of security patrols, we kept our voices down as we blundered through the dark in the direction of the hash. Glancing at my phone blinded me again and again, leaving me completely disoriented.
We meandered around graves, mausolea, unused plots, garden beds, bushes, trees. We were probably ahead of the others. Probably. Finally 70 metres, 20, 10, we're there! A nice peaceful spot in a cluster of graves. My phone, having bravely got us this far, was now exhausted. No flash photography. Then, no photography. Then nothing but "battery critically low!". I desperately took a screenshot of our location and uploaded it to the wiki. Then Naomi tried to take photos on her phone, using mine as a light source. The results were abysmal.
Lying in wait
We sat and chatted for a bit. It was already 11:30, so if we waited for the others, it couldn't be more than half an hour. We both had work the next day. Would they turn up? Would they be thwarted by the huge fences? Would Lachlan's front wheel spontaneously turn into a pretzel?
Suddenly, we heard a voice. It sounded like geohashers. A few hundred metres away, tops. An evil thought occurred. "Quick! Hide!" We quietly laid down next to one of the graves, giggling nervously.
"I'll signal 3, 2, 1, then we'll yell 'Boo!'", I said.
"Boo or surprise?"
The voices got a bit louder, a bit clearer, then suddenly they were here! I quickly signalled, and we jumped up and yelled SURPRISE!
Felix, Cam, Tim and I (Lachlan) were at the pub along with several non geohashers and Steve and Naomi, when Felix mentioned the geohash in the graveyard. After a bit of talking about it with our other non geohashing drinking buddies we decided to ride to Springvale and do it. By the time Felix and I had dropped into Felix's house to get more appropriate bikes for the trip we had left at 10:30pm.
With only and hour and a half to ride 30k we set of at a fast pace with only a few stops for map checks and made it to the gates of the cemetery just after 11:30pm. While riding along the Princes highway we received a few yonks but there was one car that we ended up at the lights with a few times. The first time they passed us in Oakleigh someone leaned out the window to yell something unintelligible. The next time near the corner of Huntingdale road they yelled "Road rules apply to you too!". Our third and final encounter was as we locked up our bikes at the gates of the graveyard one of them yelled "I knew you guys were weirdos!"
Gaining access to the cemetery proved easier than we expected and much easier than it was for Steve and Naomi. The gate on Dandenong road had a large gap underneath which Cam, Tim and I slid under easily. In spite of the ease of going under the gate Felix decided to climb over. The walk through the cemetery was easy and using Tim's phone we got there quite quickly. When we were getting very close suddenly two people jumped out from behind a grave stone and screamed "Surprise!". This gave the four of us quite a fright which turned to confusion as I was a little bit worried about who else would be hanging out in a graveyard at 11:50pm.
After a group photo, a quick chat and the GPS shot, Naomi and Steve went back to the car to go home while the rest of us went across the road to the Sandown Racecourse Hotel, which is open until 6am seven days a week. While at the pub having a celebratory beer we decided that since the next day's coordinates should come out at 12:30am we would at least have a look at the option of going straight on to another hash. Geohash number two is here 2013-01-08 -38 145 - South of Warragul after an all-night ride.
This is day 1 of a consecutive geohash achievement. For the other days, see:
- Day 1: 2013-01-07 -37 145
- Day 2: 2013-01-08 -38 145
- Day 3: 2013-01-09 -37 144
- Day 4: 2013-01-10 -37 145
- Day 5: 2013-01-11 -38 144
| Lachlan Gordon earned the Consecutive geohash achievement
| Felix Dance, Tim B, Lachie and Cam earned the Bicycle geohash achievement