I have been hanging around the forest mansion I made my way to a while back. I set up shop there, starting building resources and infrastructure and exploring the local area. I found several herds of llamas close by and so tamed some and brought them back to hang out.
I like how they all line up to follow when you put one on a lead, which made it easy to transplant them. I haven’t penned them in or anything, letting them wander the nearby hills. Every once in a while I just put one on a lead and run him around to collect all the rest up and reset them at a central spot to wander again. (Aaron, on the other hand, is running some sort of llama eugenics program and breeding super llamas in his lab.)
It was all the usual things I do when I settle down in a location. I have a farm now and I am wondering if I can somehow leverage the mansion into some sort of super indoor town for villagers. I could hand a lot of doors in there and let them all roam about on the roof or something.
But for me, Minecraft always cries out for the big project, the huge public works sort of effort, roads, railways, canals, and that sort of thing. I explored the local area and tinkered with a few ideas. I thought about a touring rail line or maybe a roller coasters. However, the obvious project kept reasserting itself in my brain. I was going to have to build a overland road back to the main settlement area of our world.
Let me remind you again how far north the mansion is from the main settlement.
My mansion is more than 26km from the spawn point. It is almost a 10 minute mine cart ride to get out to its portal from the transit hub in the nether. Overland that would be a ride of over an hour were I to lay rails.
But I decided not to lay rails. Not yet anyway. Instead, the plan is to create a road, three blocks wide, back to the nearest point on the great rail line, which would be the Desert Temple station. That means I don’t have to get all the way to the spawn point, but there is still a good 18km of road to build to get down there. And, to make sure the route is visible, the center set of blocks for the entire route will be cobblestone.
I also want to light the way as well as I can. I started out with a couple of stacks of sea lanterns from the guardian farm placed every so often, but I am not sure how long that will last. It might be torches most of the way.
The whole thing started out easily enough. I had a stockpile of cobble, I was collecting dirt from high points in order to smooth out low points along the road, and the sea lanterns were still in healthy supply.
The early route was easy, passing through grassland and low mountains. The abundance of horses near the mansion makes me think that I should collect up some saddles and build stables about a day’s ride apart at some point.
And then I came to the first obstacle, the jungle.
I haven’t really had to clear a path through a jungle biome up to this point, so when I saw all those trees and underbrush I figured flint and steel would solve my problems. I have cleared great swathes of forest in our world by merely setting them alight.
However, as it turns out, fire is not nearly as effective in jungle biomes as it is in other wooded areas. The fire will burn for a bit, clear out a bit of the foliage and maybe burn a bit of a tree, but it won’t spread very far and it goes out rather quickly. I think the jungle vines suppress it.
So while I had chosen a narrow bit of jungle to pass through, it looked like it was going to take be quite a while to hack my way thought it. Jungles are also surprisingly hilly under all that growth, so digging out/filling in a level road bed was going to be a chore on top of that.
I was bitching a bit about the tough slog through the jungle on chat with Skronk when he suggested throwing TNT at the problem. That seemed like an idea to explore.
I had never gotten around to playing with TNT in Minecraft up to that point. I knew about it, and had actually been saving up gun powder in order to make some one day. I ran back to one of my bases where I had been storing it up and brewed up almost a stack of TNT and brought it out to the jungle.
As it turns out, TNT is an excellent way to essentially bore a hole for a path through a dense jungle biome. I had to experiment with placing it right. If you put it too low, you end up having to fill in much of the resulting hole. But placed correctly I was able to stand back, shoot it with my flaming arrow bow, watch the explosion, and simply police up the debris.
I was able to put the TNT to good use and got through the jungle biome much more quickly than I would have otherwise… and a good thing too, because my damn horse kept wandering off and getting stuck.
That got me through the jungle, though I do not have much TNT left now. I did find a jungle temple along the way, the first one I have seen.
But other than that, the jungle was behind me.
I am going to have to scrounge some more gun powder… just in case. The next segment of the road runs along the coast of a hilly taiga biome, so I should be able to clear any path I need with flint and steel again.
Of course, the big challenges are still ahead. Much of my overland trip out to the manions was actually over water. If you look at the map, there are some wide ocean gaps to deal with still. I will need to scout those out to find a way around… or collect a lot of cobble to build some very long bridges.