2013-01-10 26 -97
Northbound International Blvd in front of the Progreso, TX High School auditorium. Landmarks on the Google Maps satellite image are the northbound lane and the north wall of the auditorium. 3.8 miles south of Business 83 on International, which leads to the Progreso International Bridge and Old Mexico.
Since this hash is in a road in front of a Government facility within the technical definition of the US Border and close to the physical demarcation of the US-Mexcio border, it had to be visited as quickly as possible since DHS, CBP and the PPD would all have probable cause to question a person taking photos at this location.
(and anyone inadvertently driving on the road... also probably half the high school class, but they were not notified in person).
The plan was to bicycle into town, take a commuter bus (LRGVDC Valley Metro Route 31) to the road where the hash is located on, bicycle 3.8 miles south to the hash. In theory, this hash had the potential for many achievements: bicycle, public transit, first geohash, speed racer, circus, no batteries, etc. and thus had to be attempted.
After much delay to the point of it almost became It's a Kitty (ironic since I am a catgirl). I departed home at 11:52 AM listening to Top 500 80s Alternative Rock while peddling a bicycle built in the 80s and somehow managed to luck out because someone on the bus recognized me. If I didn't use that bus, I would have had to travel 24 miles instead of 13 miles by bicycle on a bike I just fixed and with a body that isn't used to that distance yet. It was an interesting conversation explaining the algorithm that somehow morphed into a deal on knock off sneakers.
Arrival at International Blvd was no big deal. The bike didn't threaten to fall off the bike rack for once. Once the music was back on (this time 2.8 miles of Depeche Mode with the last mile with something different), I headed due south on this relatively busy road on a bike doing about 10 mph when the traffic was doing 55 in a 45. I passed a golf course and thought about the geohashing golf ball and then out of nowhere one flew through the net. I made a note not to think about golf balls on the return trip.
Passing a decrepit structure with fiesta decor and Christmas lights suggesting it was a roadside restaurant with two cars parked in front, I pulled in and wait a minute or two for them to depart before discretely handling [censored] and enjoying a warm bottle of Topo Chico (Hencho en Mexico!) mineral water. Ahead was up a fairly steep grade (the levees protecting the Mercedes Floodway).
As I set my laptop to photograph an image a second and place it in the basket of my bicycle, I find that I am found by people who know me from a show I performed at. The boring chat is not included here. The offer of a ride is declined since I want to reach the spot by bicycle. I wonder if I had brought a table cloth and actual food and sat down if this would have counted as a picnic achievement.
Crossing the levee was a sight of supreme beauty. Signs indicate that this is some World Birding spot... sounds tasty. I mused on kinematics for a brief moment until the "Oh shit... I'm going to fast" reflex kicked in and I applied the brakes. Going up the levee was more walking than riding. At that point, the road splits into a bypass, which made for easy going since the hash was dead ahead less than 5 minutes away on the former main road.
Progreso is a weird small town. Two identical municipal buildings were on the right looked straight out of the future while the rest of the town looked very, very impoverished. The street signs were kind of on the small, old fashioned size. I knew I arrived when I saw Baker, at which point I sped up to maximum warp (about 15-20mph) to achieve my first successful geohashing and also Land, No Batteries and Speed Racer achievements simultaneously as I shouted:
"through the dust and the gasoline, through the cruelty of strangers to the neon dream" (The Sisters of Mercy "Detonation Boulevard").
I then pulled the laptop out and took some shots around and of the school sign. I attempted to record some video, but I forgot to bring an external microphone (an ALSA bug doesn't recognize my computer's microphone). I also pulled out a screw driver to blockhead with (thus earning a Sideshow achievement).
Concerned about the next bus and not getting arrested for taking photos in front of a government facility (DHS), being White heading north this close to the Mexican border (CBP) and loitering (local fuzz, the PPD or the sheriff), I had three very good reasons to get out of there as soon as possible.
In reviewing the images, I noticed that my webcam flipped the images around. I also noticed that I don't have nearly as many images as I remember taking. I have about 1200 images from this expedition, but none of the bike and none clearly showing the date on the led sign (though I have photos of the sign).
| Katya earned the Land geohash achievement
| Katya earned the Public transport geohash achievement
| Katya earned the No Batteries Geohash Achievement
| Katya earned the Circus Geohash Achievement