22-Oct-2004 -- I, Joseph Kerski, was in Kansas City to attend the 89th annual meeting of the National Council for Geographic Education, the major organization of geography educators for North America. As 550 of us were emphasizing and modeling the teaching and learning of geography during the meeting, and as I had conducted a GPS geocaching workshop the day before, a confluence trek seemed particularly appropriate. During the NCGE's 2002 annual meeting in Philadelphia, I visited 40 North 75 West, and made soggy attempt on 41 North 112 West in the Great Salt Lake marshes in Utah during the 2003 annual meeting.
I left the conference site in downtown Kansas City at 5:30am, driving east along Interstate Highway 70 to Odessa in Lafayette County. I doubled back toward the west and south through a factory outlet shopping mall and onto gravel county roads. After crosssing a railroad track and arriving at a bend in the road about 250 meters from the confluence, I set out on the trek. At the start of the walk, a semi-truck trailer was parked. I first walked due north along the fenceline, and then west-northwest until I reached the spot with a minimal confluence dance to zero out the unit.
I arrived at the confluence at 7:35am local time under dark, cloudy skies (my GPS unit is set for mountain time, one hour earlier). However, the weather was surprisingly warm and humid (15 C, 60 F) for mid-October. The confluence lies on an embankment that slopes to the northeast. The embankment backs up an small reservoir that lies in a field of tall (knee-high) grasses and thistle. No doubt the field had been cultivated or pastured at some time in the past, but for the present, all I found were a few indications that the landowner had mowed the grasses near the lake. The nearest farmhouse could be seen from the vehicle but no structures could be seen from the confluence. I saw a few birds but no animals. The only thing disturbing the peace of the morning were the sounds of traffic along Interstate Highway 70 to the north.
I had been to 39 North several times, in Colorado and in Kansas, but this was my first visit to 94 West and my first confluence in Missouri. After a 20 minute visit, I walked around the small lake and back to the vehicle. I proudly bore some Missouri mud on my pants and shoes during the rest of the day at the geography education conference, where I arrived at 8:15am, just in time for the opening series of workshops that day.