This was a triumph. I'm making a note here: "huge success." It's hard to overstate my satisfaction.
RocketMac - On my way from Milwaukee to Minneapolis for work
Normally when I drive for work, I plan out a few Geocaches along the way to break up the driving and snag a few finds. This time, I realized that I would be passing through multiple graticules and five of them had hashpoints I could reach with only a slight detour.
In the full spirit of adventure, I let The Algorithm be the wind in my sails and the GPS satellites my stars. I just let them guide me from one hashpoint to another taking routes I never would have tried before and seeing all new sights.
- I visited five hashes on my trip from Milwaukee to Minneapolis for work.
- 43 -88 - Fond Du Lac, WI - A senior living apartment near home
- 42 -89 - Madison, WI - The parking lot of a Piggly Wiggly near Madison
- 44 -90 - Marshfield, WI - A near-miss of the hash on private property in scary "ya got a purty mouth" territory
- 45 -92 - St. Paul NE, MN - A near-miss of the hash on private property in breathtakingly beautiful farm land
- 45 -93 - Minneapolis NW, MN - Mere feet from the hash at the edge of someone's house
43, -88 - Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
This was the first of five and it was less than two miles from my house. As if that wasn't easy enough, it was on the lawn of a senior living home. The Algorithm was throwing my softballs to get me warmed up.
Within minutes, I was parked and standing at the hashpoint. There were a couple of residents on a patio nearby, so I just took a picture of myself and moved on. I also grabbed a picture of the complex's sign.
On my way to the 43 -89 point, I found a operational drive-in movie theater and stopped to take some pictures. I never would have found this if it weren't for Geohashing!
43, -89 - Madison, Wisconsin
This was the second of five. Following my digital fate, I found myself at a Piggly Wiggly. Across the street was an old-style highway motel. I had been on the phone with my wife earlier and she had said the highway I was on was the primary route before the freeway system. It explained a lot about the sights.
The hashpoint itself was not interesting. I just stood at the point and took a picture of myself. I checked for a nearby geocache and GCXYF2 - CFD was just down the street. It was a large PVC pipe hidden in the sign of the local Fire/EMT house. The natives watched me but were not terribly surprised.
44, -90 - Marshfield, Wisconsin
This was the third of five. I initially missed my exit which was already off the beaten path, so finding an alternate route was a challenge. Eventually I made my way into the area, but then... how I do I get to this place?! I tried one path that seemed like a feeder road to smaller roads/driveways in the area. It turned out to be one big driveway for a dilapidated (but occupied) farmhouse. Everything about the place screamed out "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and my car's sound system was picking up a whistling from the phone interference that just rattled my nerves a bit. I decided to head back to the "main road" (no small stretch of the word) to check if I had driven through it in the process.
In the end, my closest point was 596 feet from the hashpoint! Gah!
The expedition was not a bust, however. Following my digital fate from points three to four, I found some other treasures.
Not far down the road, I came to an old motel. The building had five or six units and there was a sign saying that number five was available. Next door was a bar/grill that seemed to get more attention that the motel with which it shared it's name: "Route Star" which was symbolized by the word "Route" inside a star.
Across the street were what I can only describe as "naughty lawn decorations." There were two sets of the same pair of cut-outs on each side of the driveway. One was of a blonde "farmer's daughter" type and the other a brunette. On one side they each held a watering can and were watering flowers. On the other side the brunette was missing her can and was holding the blonde's tushie instead.
Further down the road was a geodesic dome house. My father is a huge fan of Buckminster Fuller and his domes. So much so that between my 7th and 8th grade years, he build an addition onto our house in the form of a 39 foot, 3 frequency, 3/8 sphere dome family room. Since then, I can't help but take pictures of dome houses for him.
45, -92 - St. Paul NE, Minnesota
This was the fourth of five for the day. The last couple of graticules I passed through had hashpoints way too far off my path. I had considered skipping this one as it was getting later in the afternoon. Looking at the point on Google Maps I was concerned I wouldn't be able to get to it.
I had already looked at the fifth point on Google and knew that I would have no problem with it even at night. So, in the spirit of adventure, I decided to give number four a try.
As soon as I pulled up, I knew I wasn't going to make the exact point. It was clearly on private property and wide open. Making any movement in the direction would be immediately obvious to anyone including the owners. I started taking pictures instead.
I didn't even see they were standing there.
Suddendly, I heard a voice in the distance. I looked out and saw two people standing down the driveway by the farmhouse. Even with my hearing aids, it was hard to make out, but they were asking if I was there to see the place. It was for sale. I simply explained that I was following my GPS (which was true) and after seeing the view had to take some pictures. They nodded and seemed content, so I took a few more pictures, took a GPS map of the distance and points and moved on.
The next stretch between points four and five were full of some gorgeous countryside. This included reaching the top of a small incline to find myself heading nearly straight down a long, steep decline. I managed to stop and get some pictures, but sadly the perspective is lost on (digital) film.
Number five was going to be easy, so it was time to get going.
45, -93 - Minneapolis NW, Minnesota
On my way to number five I realized I was going to need gas. I was driving along a small two lane highway and on my right was lots of rolling hills, tree-lines and the occasional farm/factory. Then, suddenly, on my left was a gas station. I quickly pulled over to the left (and odd feeling to pull over across "traffic") and pulled up to a pump. There were only two pumps here though they were somewhat modern. They each only had a single "regular" gas option and no credit card machines. When I started the gas pump, I could hear it actually "chug-chug"ing the gas into my car. At times it was stop and then burst forward again.
Once that finished I stopped inside for soda. A gentleman was coming out with a pizza so I went to investigate. There was a small pizzeria that had a set-up in the gas station. The smells made me very hungry, so I bought a couple slices and started back on the road.
Number five was easy. I pulled into down, down a couple streets and suddenly there I was. It looked further from the road on the map, but I was standing at the edge of the road within feet of the edge of the house and the hashpoint. The area had signs proclaiming its "Neighborhood Watch" and I could tell I was being watched at times. But I took some pictures, made a few casual strolls and made the hashpoint and was back on the road.
Well... that was boring. After the last couple, this was trivial. I wanted to do something more, so I checked for nearby geocaches to find. There were two within a quarter mile, but they too seemed dull. About half a mile down the road was a simple "park and grab" in a parking lot that was more my speed. Turns out that, too, was easy, but it was something.
Now it was getting dark and I still had a twenty minute drive ahead of me to get to my hotel. Off we go. A nice simple ending to a fun adventure.
| RocketMac earned the Multihash Achievement
|RocketMac earned the Land geohash achievement RocketMac earned the Land geohash achievement RocketMac earned the No trespassing consolation prize RocketMac earned the No trespassing consolation prize RocketMac earned the Land geohash achievement