08-Jun-2004 -- This confluence has two geocodable addresses: 42N/88W, and 70 Brentwood Avenue.
I, Joseph Kerski, Geographer, along with geo-enthusiasts Janell, Emily Grace, and Lilia Aubrey Kerski, visited 42 North 88 West one fine late spring morning. We departed the rental car emporium in downtown Chicago at 920am local time. After an hour of white-knuckle, bumper-to-bumper traffic, we found ourselves west of O'Hare Airport in the bright sunshine of Du Page County. The western suburb of Elk Grove Village turned out to be quite a bit nicer than I had expected after viewing some of the earlier confluence photographs, with no sign of suburban decline among the shade trees, 1970s housing, and manicured lawns. We drove south on Arlington Heights Road in the red car Lilia dubbed "The Tomato." We headed east on Kennedy, past a school, to Brantwood Avenue. Passing a very pleasant park to the south and east of us, we drove west on Brantwood to the spot we had identified on the aerial photograph. We reached it at 1020am local time. This approach makes this one of the easiest of the 40-plus confluences I have visited. High adventure in suburbia!
After parking, we did the confluence dance that took us to various parts of the street. Only one car passed during our site visit, making it easy to stand in different places in the middle of the street. I thought it fortunate that we did not have to ask permission to enter anyone's backyard. We had a bit more trouble than expected to zero out the GPS unit, perhaps because of the numerous trees on the block. As we took photographs and the movie, Janell said to me, "There is a man approaching." The man came out from the home at 73 Brantwood and immediately said that he knew why we were there! Ron considered the lamppost in front of his house to be "The Spot," and mentioned that he asked the Elk Grove Village government to consider placing a marker there. Apparently they were not interested. Our readings of the confluence were about 4 meters to the north of the lamppost, slightly to the north of the center of the street. The nearest house to the confluence is 70 Brentwood Avenue, but Ron's home on this particular day came in a close second.
The confluence lies on nearly level ground, sloping perhaps 5 degrees to the east. The ground cover has all been modified by humans--bluegrass lawns, concrete, sand boxes, and gardens. Nevertheless, it was a fine morning and a beautiful neighborhood, surrounded by churches and parks, with the sound of lawnmowers in the distance. The temperature was a pleasant 32 degrees C (89 degrees F).
I had been to 42 North once before, at 101 West in the Nebraska sand hills. I had also visited 88 West once before, in a Michigan forest at 46 North. This Illinois confluence was my second truly urban confluence, along with my Dallas trek to 33 North 97 West.
After spending 20 minutes at the site, we continued west along Brantwood Avenue and toured the neighborhood to the south. Who says that a confluence trek cannot be a meaningful part of a family vacation? We finished the morning with a stop at another famous suburban Chicago locale, Eli's Cheesecake Factory.