Near Crab Orchard, Johnson County, Nebraska, USA, in the middle of a (legume?) field.
I'm 6 hours away, one way, so it's going to be a long drive. So much for getting work done. -thunk
Lightning strikes twice.
After the excitement of the first globalhash I completed, some part of me held out for the hope that there could be a second in my local area. I knew the odds were against me--rough calculation determined that a globalhash within 600 km of 37 -97 comes about once a year. So I checked on the websites for a few days, then somewhat lost interest, and resigned myself to the fact that it would be a while longer yet.
But on Monday, NWoodruff emailed me out of the blue to notify me about this hash. Immediately looking the location up, it turns out to be in some sort of field in Nebraska. This posed some problems; at 590 km from my location, it was going to be twice as far of a drive as the June 12 hash, and there was no guarantee of access to the field in question. I wasn't sure whether to go, and debated the issue until the following morning. A friend would make the journey more bearable, so I emailed one in the area; sadly, although he had wanted to go hashing for a while, he was not available that day. The same applied for Lel4nd. After initially making up excuses to stay home, I got up at the unusually early hour of 08:00. The choice was clear.
- Now stopped on Kansas Turnpike plaza. 350 or so km to go. -- Thunk (talk) @37.7664,-96.9812 16:22, 28 June 2016 (GMT+00:00)
- Now stopped in Manhattan for lunch. 150 km to go.
- Not good with technology today. -- Thunk (talk) @39.1851,-96.5605 18:24, 28 June 2016 (GMT+00:00)
- Qualified success. I probably reached the hashpoint, located in a field of some sort (not corn). However, I was beset by a lack of GPS accuracy, and I had multiple points 50 or so metres apart registered as the correct point. I took measurements at most of them, and there were certainly no further obstacles between me and the point, so I think I made it. -- Thunk (talk) 21:56, 28 June 2016 (GMT+00:00)
Setting out at 08:35 with my trusty vehicle, hand computer, and a few water bottles, the initial part of the drive north toward Nebraska was uneventful. As I had bought a Pikepass the week before, I had no turnpike difficulties this time around. After a quick fuel stop noted above, I took the exit toward US-77 north and Junction City, passing several small-town roundabouts. The initial sun turned to overcast during a relaxing drive through Kansas' Flint Hills.
I-70 and K-18 took me to Manhattan, where at about 14:00 my rumbling stomach dictated that it was lunchtime. It was strangely hard to find a cafe--the one I had lunch at turned out to be in the middle of a grocery store, leading to an embarrassing incident where the hand computer decided to blast music at high volume. But I ate, and it was time to move on.
Exiting Manhattan over the top of a dam (cool!), K-13 and K-99 took me to the Nebraska state line--it was sunny again, and getting rather hot. A turnoff near Lewiston took me to 10 km of gravel road leading to Crab Orchard. While I had planned to park in the village and follow a region of forest near a creek to the hashpoint, the intersecting gravel road leading there was closed, and I was about to reach the other side of the field anyway, so I parked--the time was 15:35.
Getting off the road and into the field turned out to be surprisingly difficult. Rains had eroded a several-meter deep ditch near the side of the road, and getting through the prairie plants without falling into the water was somewhat difficult. I managed, but not without injury by nettleraptors. Walking along the edge of the field was slightly more comfortable, but there were still smaller ditches in my way. 80 m from the hashpoint, it was time to turn away from the trees, and I did so while taking care not to step on the small plants themselves, but only on the furrows between them.
The problem came with GPS accuracy. As my hand computer had no signal (why does T-Mobile work in Kansas but not Nebraska?), I had position errors of somewhere about 20-50 meters. I first reached the hashpoint as given on my phone, only to find that it had jumped 30 m southwest. The same process then occurred in reverse, leading to a process of chasing the hash around the field for several minutes, while attempting to get a few good GPS fixes in the process. Eventually, I stopped to take a few pictures, and decided that that was good enough, and that I better get home before it was too late.
The same obstacles were presented to me in reverse as I got back to the car, and then I drove west, taking a different route home. But first was a stop in Beatrice, where the Homestead National Monument was an unexpected addition to my adventure--nice place they have there! I spent an hour looking at the exhibits in the visitor's center and at the reconstructed prairie house nearby, taking in a bit of history as well. But it was really getting late.
Time to go back home--but first, I blundered and made a turn onto a very poorly maintained dirt road for several km. But no matter, I made it onto US-136 west, and spent half an hour stuck behind rather slow drivers, as usual. Turning south onto US-81, those difficulties were alleviated by the fact that it was a four-lane road. With another fuel stop in Concordia, KS, and dinner in Salina (the Polish sausage was not very tasty), I somehow ended passing the same truck thrice. Night fell at about 21:00 as I was driving past Newton, and fatigue began to take its toll. Though I somehow made it back to Oklahoma without crashing, another fuel stop near the end proved that my credit union had taken a low opinion of the sudden adventure. In the end, I managed to get back to the home base just after midnight, 15.5 hours after I set out.
I was going to have a party right then and there if I wasn't about to collapse from exhaustion.
| thunk earned the Globalhash achievement
| thunk earned the Velociraptor Geohash Achievement