04-Dec-2009 -- As I was in the region for the Crossing Boundaries project, an innovative effort where students learn about biodiversity and conservation using GIS and GPS technologies, I thought a confluence visit would make a perfect beginning. I took some photographs and video on the shores of Lake Seneca, then visited 43 North 77 West. All of this took place earlier this morning, and since I had time, I made one final confluence trek for the year, to 43 North 78 West.
I have visited some easy confluence points over the years, but this has to be the all-time easiest. One can drive right to the point, as it is in the middle of a roadway. This could even be a "drive-through" confluence; that is, one might not need to get out of the car, although stopping in the middle of a road might not be the safest thing to do. Not only was this confluence incredibly easy to visit, but I set my own record of the shortest time between confluence visits. Checking the date stamp on my photographs later on that day in the hotel room, the last picture I took at 43 North 77 West was exactly 73 minutes before the first picture at 43 North 78 West. Interstate Highway 90--the New York State Thruway--practically makes a straight east-west beeline between the two points, with 43 North 77 West lying slightly north of the thruway, and 43 North 78 West lying slightly south of the thruway.
As I exited the Thruway, the sky to the west became dark and it began to drizzle. I turned west too early, on Selden Road, but it was a lovely valley that I traversed, so I did not mind. Selden turned into a wonderfully named "Thwing Road", and I took it to the next intersection. This road, Bergen Road, I knew would lead me straight south to the confluence. Not near the confluence, but straight to it, as I mentioned, because it lies in the middle of this road. I wondered on the way there: Would the confluence be in the middle of the road, or on the shoulder? One never knows with the current configuration of the GPS satellites where one will end up standing. That is part of the thrill of confluence hunting, even when the point has already been located by someone else. I passed the confluence in a more congested area dotted, by homes on both sides of the road. I would still characterize the area as rural, however. Finding nowhere to pull over, I continued down to the south and parked. Plus, I wanted just a little walk to the confluence, at least! I walked along the east shoulder of the road and located the confluence about 5 minutes later.
I found the confluence nearly in the middle of the road, slightly to the east of the center line. The confluence lies on flat ground and I wondered how long the road had been here. It could have been here for a century as one of the buildings to the west looked that old, although some of the homes were only about 40 years old. I did not delay, because, once again, I am always amazed at the heavy traffic on these rural roads. It was a challenge to stand there and be aware of oncoming cars. Someone in the house to the north came to post some mail in her mailbox by the side of the road, and I considered talking with her about the importance of her location. But then I reconsidered: Just let her be, Joseph. Just before I left, I zeroed out the GPS receiver again, this time to the west of the center line. The temperature was a warm-for-December 48 F (9 C) but became noticeably cool while I was there. The rain came and went, and as I was leaving, the sun shone, which would have made for better photographs, but I needed to get some work done before my afternoon meeting at Hobart William Smith Colleges.
Therefore, I departed, but wanting to make a circular trip of it, and wanting to see some upstate New York towns and countryside, I declined heading back on the New York State Thruway. Instead, I decided to drive through Le Roy, and then east along US Highway 20 back to Geneva. Le Roy was a pictureque town, and I took more photographs of the town and terrain to the east. It was settled in 1797, and is known as the birthplace of Jell-O, and also the home of the former Ingham University, the first chartered university for women in the USA. I took photographs and video along the road and posted them online. I knew this would be my last confluence of the year and I hated to see it end. Another great year of exploring the world!