06-Feb-2005 -- Having visited my "home" confluence (39N 77W, which is less than a mile from my house) but no others in the mid-Atlantic region, I've decided to visit a few that are within one degree of 39N 77W in any direction, starting with this one on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Today was one of the most beautiful days of the winter so far. After nearly three weeks of unusually cold weather, temperatures soared into the upper 50s with perfectly clear skies and not a breath of wind. Several inches of snow had fallen during the cold spell, and there was still enough left to make the scenery more interesting.
I headed east on the 65-mile drive from my home in Takoma Park, stopping to get a GPS reading after crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. At first, my GPS could not pick up any signal, despite having new batteries and a wide open view of the sky. I was quite perplexed and concerned that something might be wrong with the GPS. It would have been very disappointing not to visit the confluence on such a beautiful day! Undaunted, I got back on the road and drove to a spot on Little Eagle Road that was within a few hundred meters of the confluence, according to the map. I tried the GPS again. Still no trace of a signal! Either my GPS was malfunctioning (unlikely), or something was wrong with the satellites (very unlikely). After nearly ten minutes with no signal, I was close to giving up when, finally, a very weak signal began to appear. Gradually, over the next few minutes, it got stronger until it was good enough for navigation. I breathed a sigh of relief, got back in the car and parked on the side of Little Eagle Road, about 200 meters from the confluence, which is located in the middle of a cornfield.
The field was a bit soggy from melting snow, but there were enough dry spots that I was able to keep my shoes from getting completely soaked. Getting all zeroes on the GPS was easy since this area is very open country. Aside from occasional bird calls, there was almost dead silence, and the air was completely still. With the mild air and blazing sun, it sure felt like spring, even though the groundhog had indicated otherwise a few days ago!