Week 3, Round 2: Tricksy Trees

First Impressions: I think we’re in Scandinavia, and I think this because peeping coyly from behind this stand of trees is a red and white building. Even if I hadn’t seen the building, I would probably have guessed Scandinavia, as we hit Scandinavia a lot last week and I’m just feeling like it’s becoming familiar. Further than that, I can not say.

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Looking Around: There aren’t a lot of other houses to be seen yet. So I’m guessing more rural than a few of the other places we’ve been recently. Pretty country. My goodness, Scandinavia is photogenic.

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Headed Northish: Passing a few houses and a road sign that reads Kedjeneden. Sweden or Norway, methinks, and leaning towards Norway.

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Not a lot of signs in this part of the country, whichever country it is. I finally pass a little won for Adakliden.

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Finally, a town in the distance?

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It seems we are coming up on Adak, from the south.

And I see a hopeful sign–looks like one of those so-helpful boards that tells you ALL the directions and ALL the kilometers. So nice for triangulating.

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Let’s get a closer look.

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Passing by the local Handlar’n. Which I hope will show up on future maps. 🙂

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Sweden! Going by the flag.

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Out for a bike ride with the puppies.

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What’s up, Google car, says the Swedish dog.

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Is it a Swedish thing to walk your dogs on your bike? This is the second dog walking with a bike that I’ve seen on this round alone. It makes sense, particularly if the road isn’t well-travelled, and hey, I’ve seen four dogs and NO CARS on the roads.

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Okay, this sign “Hundberg” is cracking me up because if this were German (and not Swedish) that would essentially mean: DOG MOUNTAIN.  I wonder if it means the same in Swedish. It might explain all the dogs.

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And it looks like Mala is 25 km to the south. Y’know, Mala is another one of those names I feel like I have seen before on Geoguessr. A cursory glance a the map proves I’m on crack though. No Malas look familiar.

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I wish Swedish folks liked labelling their highways more, but it’s probably not the most aesthetic thing?

Fiskekort! I have no idea what that means. Fish something? There’s a fish on the sign.

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I decide I am bored with the endless trees northwards. Maybe if I head south instead. I jump back to the start.

Lots of trees heading south too. But Mala is closer than Slagnas and maybe I’ll find a larger route along the way?

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Hrm. Maybe I DO remember Mala. I have a sign for Skelleftea and I KNOW I’ve seen that before because my husband and I made a pact to go somewhere on Geoguessr and we ended up in Nordsjo and the nearest large town seems be somewhere between Skelleftea and Umea. Checking the map.

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I finally locate Adak and then scoot aways south to make my guess.

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Not bad. 🙂

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Week 3, Round 1: Almost Certainly Australia

First Impressions: Almost certainly Australia. Dry, dusty, looks like the back of beyond AND the camera has that super pixelated look that came with the early Google car camera being…well, not the best quality. The second pass that a lot of places got yielded much better pictures. This tends to make places like back of beyond Australia tricky because the blown out pixelated look screws with the road signs and smaller details.

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Looking around: Fortunately, it looks like there are houses nearby, and dust being kicked up from a truck. (Oh, wait, no, probably the Google car. Hah.) Still, the more cars, the more people, and the closer we are to signs. I still think we are in Australia.

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Heading westward: The first houses.are single story affairs with wide eaves to provide shade, one thinks.

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We reach our first road crossing and some signs. I’m still inclined to stick with Australia, as the first speed limit indicates 70 and I think this is kilometers. It’s not a North American speed limit sign.

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See what I mean about the signs though.

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That was the closest I could get and nothing is legible. (Pulling back didn’t resolve the shapes either.)

More street signs. This looks vaguely like C134 and Wumama??? and B142 and Durong. Sounding Australian-y still. I’m checking my notebook of past Geotravellings because I feel sure that I’ve been in a particular part of Australia–down by Wyalong or Waggawagga or some such place–and this is strongly reminiscent. (I figure this doesn’t break the rules because it IS based on notes I got while geoguessing AND not anything I googled.) Nothing looks quite familiar though. Pressing on.

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(Given the choice, I’m fairly certain about Durong, so I’ll probably head towards Wumama??? in order to find out what the town is actually called.)

And I think that the B142 is actually a B140. But now the Durong seems to have morphed into a Gerlong? ???

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Okay, better signs. And even better yet, an updated camera!!!!Behold!

Before:
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And AFTER:

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Seriously, how much crisper is that new Google car camera? We now can see that we’re by a golf club–something that will help us pinpoint the part of town when we eventually triangulate our place, we can see that we’re on the B140, heading away from Hamilton, possibly but not likely the place we just went through. The C174 continues on to Warnambool. Definitely not Wumamamamama or whatever my brain was filling in.

And yonder? The B140 turns off towards Geelong. I’m pretty certain we’re in Australia.

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As it is, I have three towns and two highway numbers to triangulate with, but I see a sign in the distance and I’ll take a look at it before we try nailing down where we are.

Definitely in Australia, although I was hoping for a province name. (They are provinces, right? My brain just broke. Or territories?) This sign seems to read the Moyne Shire Council but I’m super zoomed in. Can’t quite tell.

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Muston Creek and Hopkins Basin. Okay. I think I have enough names to find where we started on the map. Still…let’s take a look up the road.

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Woolsthorpe, Koroit, Warrnambool, and Port Fairy. Okay. So probably near a body of water and likely the coast. On the C174. Got it. Map time.

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My goodness. Aren’t I the lucky one. I started zooming in on Australia and straightaway a familiar name popped out. Geelong, which, huh, happens to be on a coast.

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And zooming in just a wee bit further shows me Hamilton and Warnambool. So I think we’re going to zoom in on that spot where the three roads meet up and see if we can find a golf course and Muston Creek and so on.

Well, I’m seeing a town called Mortlake, but I’m not seeing the C174. So I’m gonna scoot around on the map till I find that. It passed through Warrnambool, so I should scoot that direction.

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And this looks more promising. I see Warrnambool and Woolsthorpe both on the C174.

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And up where there C174 meets the B140 we find a little town called Caramut and a Muston Creek. Sweet.

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Now it’s time to head back and see if we can’t pinpoint which street in Caramut we came in on. I’m gonna guess that the building I saw at the end of the first road I was on, before being dumped onto the highway, I think that was the general store, and I think I was on Gibson, back at the turn.

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Making my guess!

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BOOYEAH. 3.1 meters. *dance of victory*

And see, it was totally Australia.

Week 2, Round 5: Return to Scandinavia?

First Impressions: We’re back in Scandinavia. Red houses with white trim seems to be a cultural aesthetic. And honestly, it looks really close to Round 3 (Norway!) in terms of general foliage and climate.

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Looking around: Yup. Back in Scandinavia!

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I’ve seen the clover leaf symbol on some of the other signs around Scandinavia. I should pay more attention to what it signifies. I really hope it will be a roundabout or a junction of some kind.

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Awesome. Another Sund. This one is the Ostersund on highway 87. Hrm.

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Is it safe to assume that a truck bearing a .se url and what seems to be a Swedish coloured seal is in Sweden? Also is it likely that this is a mail truck?

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Looking back, it seems like we are somewhere between Solleftea (south) and Ostersund (north) on the 87 in Sweden. Begin triangulation.

Unfortunately, that’s a big area.

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But as they are more east-west to each other, what I should do is look for spots along this spell that go north-south for a little bit.

I found Vasterede and Osterede on the map and traced it back to the only section of the 87 that allowed me to be heading north south but have Ostersund on the north side. I was a bit tired so I took a chance, and it paid off.

So I end pretty well. Only 20 points down total.
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Week 2, Round 4: Dry and Dusty Back Road

First Impression: This one is going to take forever, if I’m not boxed in. I’m on a tiny dusty backroad in what is too obviously the middle of nowhere. (Australia is usually my first choice for the middle of nowhere!) The road is sandy, the trees are somewhat bare.

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Looking around: Nope. Still no clue. I can’t even tell which way is closer to civilisation. Heading south. South is usually good. Right?

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You know one thing against this being Australia? The camera is pretty sharp on detail. Could be desert in California or Utah or Nevada. Still, this tiny road is going nowhere. I imagine the Google car driver bouncing along. I hope it had 4 wheel drive and great suspension.

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There is a reason somebody sent the Google car out here, right?

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I found a straight-away, bordering what looks like somebody’s property on the right. Heading due south. Whenever I narrow down this bit, I’ll keep the straight away in mind.

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We turned a corner! Headed WEST!

Here’s a taste of what I’m not showing you: Miles and miles (or kilometers and kilometers) scrub. At least the colours are pretty. I feel like I’m in the Barrens.

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Headed south again, and the road got noticeably wider, if nowhere near paved, with a long fence to the east this time.

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Our little dirt road finally ejected us onto some kind of highway. YAY FOR PAVED ROADS!!! Now let’s figure out where we are.

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North along this paved road is a road crew. They have a Kia truck.

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And south, I see a truck that bears the label Serowe Acrn Authority? Worth noting that they are on the other side of the road. So? Australia? South Africa would have Afrikaans words, I think.

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100 km!

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Well, we might be in Africa after all. There’s a rhino sanctuary. The Khama Rhino Sanctuary. Holy cow. I mean, Holy Nashorn.

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This reads like a science fiction metaphor: End of Experimental Section No 5.

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And the other side:

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I told my husband I was in Experimental Section No 5 and he shot me an alarmed look and said, “I suggest getting out.”

There’s a picnic area just outside of Experimental Section No 5. For all your picnicking needs.

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Serowe is 20 km.

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And a batch of road signs. This’ll help me pinpoint things, I think.

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And some donkeys!

I’m gonna try poking around in some of the African countries. (I wasn’t aware that any of them beside Morocco and South Africa had much with the Google car. So this could be a landmark time. Let’s see! I’ll probably check Lesotho or Swaziland first.)

And I think I found Serowe! In Botswana!

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And I found the rhino sanctuary!!!

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And look, here’s a dirt road with some long straight aways. So now I just need to estimate how many screens before the straight aways and then I can guesstimate where in the turning bits I was.

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Well, that final guess was the tricky bit. But I don’t think being 6.1 km off on some kind of windy backroads with no landmarks is all that bad. 🙂

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It does make my perfect score go poof, but well, it’s as good as one can expect considering the terrain.

Here’s the website for the Khama Rhino Sanctuary! Established 23 years ago, it provides a habitat for black and white rhino species.

As for Experimental Section No 5? It has a rather mundane explanation: The Roads Department of Botswana apparently has a number of sections dedicated to seeing the interaction of Kgalagadi Sands in road substrates. Whew! Far less dystopian than my brain’s first impulses.

Week 2, Round 3: Houses All In A Row

First Impression: A row of nice large houses. There’s a general feeling of prosperity. I can’t tell whether or not I think this is Europe or not. The colours on the houses and the open windows give off a faintly European vibe, but the satellite dish and large lawns mowed with a mower say North American to me. The land seems flat, but relatively green. Hrm. Let’s say, Minnesota in the summer. (I have to make a guess for somewhere. Why Minnesota? It seems like the sorta place that would give nods to its Nordic roots.)

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Looking around: Nothing much changes my opinion. Similar houses. No signs yet. There’s a flag hanging from a pole in one yard, and I’ll probably scoot forward for a better look.

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Hrm. That flag is looking DISTINCTLY British. A Union Jack? (Could also be a Confederate flag but I think I’d prefer the Jack.) It does jibe with the narrow lanes, but the car down the road looks like it’s on the right side of the road. So confused. More clues are definitely indicated.

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Well, we are definitely somewhere that uses kilometers. Somewhere green and pleasant and probably British. Oh, wait. One of the Scandinavian flags has the same colours as the British flag. English is NOT INDICATED yet. Crap. (I should make a study of vexillology–it will help immensely.)
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And now we’re passing a sign that seems to hint at wildlife for the next 3.5 kilometers. But definitely not in English. Norway or Denmark, I’m guessing. The flag isn’t the IKEA colours, so probably not Sweden.

You know they* say that USians are really into their flags–and we totally are, it works its way into all the logos and everything–but I’ve just seen two houses in a row flying their colours.

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Heading west, by the way: Mostly a lot of trees, but finally we ran into a little sign grouping. This way to Dromnes, thataway to Grendahus.

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And a sign that says 680. Only problem is, I don’t know if they mean that’s the roadway number or the kilometers since the start of the roadway. I guess if I see another and it doesn’t change, it means roadway, and if it does change, probably kilometers. It occurs to me I’ve seen that diamond shape before in other rounds, so it might be behoovey to figure out if it’s a standard thing.

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A few kilometers down the road, I see this little lake.

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I keep hoping I’ll see a sign naming the lake. That would be helpful. Nothing yet, but then I see another sign saying: 680 Aure. So, the diamond probably WAS the highway number. Awesome. Remember that for later. Also, it looks like we’re going over a bridge. Cool.

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And it looks like we came from the direction of Kjorsvikbugen (also on the 680) but more recently from Tjeldbergodden. Danish?  Maybe I should try to locate the 680.

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Dromnessundbrua, lengd 388 meters. *tries to figure this out* The Dromnes Sound Bridge?

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At this point I think I should poke around in Denmark and Norway and see if anything looks familiar. *opens up my corner map* Dang it. Both of them have Sunds. More clues needed. Or….well, the highest number of roadway I could find in Denmark was 591 or something like that, still short of our 680. And Norway has a lot more room for Sunds.

There’s a 666 in Norway. That’s closish? Oh, hey there’s a 680 up by Teistholmen and Kristianssund. But I’m not sure it goes anywhere.

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Oh, wait…there’s a FERRY!!!!! *follows the ferry line up*

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Still following it up and looking for any name that was on my list of clues.

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While following the 680 on the map I pass a Mjosundbrua and a Smalsundbrua! Oh, and a Torsetsundbrua. And finally after scrolling and scrolling, I see Kvorsvikbugen on the map. That was on a sign back aways. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WATER. Does that mean BUGEN is Bay? Enquiring minds want to know.

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Great, there are about three or four places labelled Tjeldbergodden. Maybe that just means bus stop. Or Starbucks in Norwegian. I’ll have to look for the bridge and the water combination to narrow this down properly, I think.

I think I’ve narrowed down the stretch of road, but now I need to go back to the start to sort this out.

Heading Northeast from start: There’s a blue bus, labelled Kjorsvikbugen. Alrighty then. The bridge is to the southwest, Kjorsvikbugen is to the northeast. Got it.

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And I think I’m making my guess here. There’s a stretch of road that angles northeast-southwest, and has a little offshoot to one of the Tjeldbergoddens. Calling it for now.

And wow, made it! 86.9 m off!

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Pretty certain that with my score perfect so far, that I’m about due for a boxed in space. Or maaaaaybe somewhere with letters I have to transliterate.

*They, in this case, was a batch of Canadians discussing USians.

Week 2, Round 2: Rolling Farmlands

First Impressions: Flattish farmlands, green fields, but the houses in the distance aren’t red and white, so I’m not going with Sweden. It’s flat but the line of trees on the horizon doesn’t suggest to me the flatness of the prairies, though I could be wrong. I’m going to guess Southern Quebec. Because.

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Looking Around: Well, only a little bit to the west, I see a cow standing around. And the houses are already more colourful. Cows standing around sans proper fences feels like a European thing to me. (New Englanders and their neighbours seem very much into their good fences making good neighbours philosphy. Thanks, Robert Frost.)

Oh, and looking east, I see one of those slashed through signs that indicates you are leaving a town. There are a lot of these in the middle parts of Europe. Poland and Hungary, for example. Definitely not Quebec. 🙂

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Apparently we are entering Terespolis and leaving Gudziuny Q? (I curse the blurriness left by the license plate blurring algorithm. It occasionally axes signs too.)

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From the other side:

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So. Hungary, Poland, Czechloslovakia. I’m not so versed in these linguistic markers. Must gather more information.

This looks like a train station. Do you think it is?

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I pass by the train tracks and then head towards a town called Gudzinunai. (Sorry about the diacritical errors.)

And I find what I’m looking for. A nice large sign proclaiming roadway numbers. In general I find that the small the number, the bigger the roadway. So I am pinning my hopes on A9 and Siauliai, a hefty 66 kilometers off. If it’s on the sign with a bigger number, I decide it must be a larger town. Maybe even a small city. The linguistics of Kedainiai and Siauliai don’t look Hungarian or Polish though. Somewhere next to them?

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Oh, hey, Lithuania (next to Poland) has a city named Siauliai!

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And zooming in, they also have a city named Seduva!

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I see the 144 protruding from the bottom of Seduva and I trace it to the south until I find Gudziunai. Now I just have to trace my way to Gudziuny Gel Stotis and the edge of Terespolis and then we’ll be in business.

O HAI, train tracks! Train station! And a street connecting Guziunai and Terespolis! I think I’ve found my spot. Just a few more things to figure out, like how close that little creek I see on the map.

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About halfway, I guess. And I’m not far off.

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It turns out we were at the edge of Siauliai County and Kaunas County in Lithuania. Pretty cool. Kaunas County is one of ten counties in the country. It has a coat of arms featuring a cross-bearing bull on a field of red surrounded by a field of Lorraine Crosses. Or in fancy heraldic speak: Gules, an aurochs head caboshed argent ensigned by a cross Or between his horns enclosed by a bordure purpure charged with ten evenly distributed crosses of Lorraine Or.

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