26-May-2001 -- I only recently heard about the Degree Confluence Project and found that when I took a look at my home state of California, the majority of the points had been visited. But every year over the Memorial Day weekend, I go on a trip with family and friends to Middlegate, Nevada. Middlegate is nothing more than a bar with two converted mobile homes that are rented as rooms. We tow our dune buggies, motorcycles, quads, and other toys behind a couple of RVs, from my father-in-law's home in Sacramento and park up on a hill behind the Middlegate bar.
This year, I brought along my BMW F650 with the idea of visiting one or two points that are relatively near Middlegate: N39° W118°, and N39° W117°. After finding that the first point had just been visited (there was a pink flag and a white flag, the latter with "www.confluence.org" written on it), I took my pictures anyway and headed back to camp (60 miles round-trip). After drinking some water, I headed out again on Highway 50, "The Loneliest Highway In America", in search of N39° W117°. I took the old highway at Eastgate, continuing east until I reached Austin, NV, where I gassed up. About 15 miles outside Austin, I caught Highway 376 South. I followed this highway and tried to find a dirt road that led close to the confluence point. After several failed attempts, I decided to stick with the route that I could see on the map (the long way), and finally found the turnoff. About 15 miles of dirt road later, I came to where the point would be about 150 feet off the road. When I arrived, to my dismay, there was another one of the pink flags that I had seen at the point I'd visited earlier in the day. I took my pictures anyway in hopes that the pink flags were simply survey flags, got back on my bike, and headed back to camp.
All in all, I rode 270 miles round trip from camp to visit N39° W117°. Although it was disappointing to find that someone else had already visited the points, it was fun being a part of the project. Perhaps the other visitor that left the little pink flag was not participating in the Degree Confluence Project.