02-Oct-1999 -- Each Saturday, some friends get together at
O'Bagelo's in Rochester, NY for lunch and to discuss the weekend
activities. On this particular day, I (Jason) showed up and plunked down
my GPS and shiny new digital camera and said, "Ok, what are we going
to do today?" Jan immediately chimed in and with a "Good idea," as he
was the one who originally introduced me to the Confluence Project. All
we got were puzzled looks when we explained to everyone else what
we were out to do. I guess I need to find new friends.
Anyway, after lunch we were off to grab my film camera (just in case)
and a pair of boots in case of mud and we were off to LeRoy (pronounced
'luh-roy'). We knew the confluence point was not far from a road, so we
didn't need no stinking maps! I just kept an eye on the Magellan GPS
pointing me in a direction. Once were within a couple miles of the point,
we were out of highway, sort of--I got off I-490 at exit 1 just before the
NYS Thruway. Continuing in this manner of taking turns when the GPS
passed the 45-degrees-off-course mark, we made our way through a
couple back roads until we were within a tenth of a mile.
We parked in this nice old lady's driveway and asked if we could take
some pictures her back yard. We explained what we were doing (I'm sure
everyone gets the same question: "What group are you with?") and she let
us go ahead for no better reason than she really didn't care as long as we
weren't bothering anyone. As it turned out, I was off by a bit, and neglecting
a compass I wasn't making progress as we proceeded back onto her
Taking a stab at the location of the 2:00 sun as either south or west, we
surmized our compass points and took a right turn which tended to put us
back on course. Why GPS's don't have a hall effect compass built in, I'll
never know. Despite the inconsistency of my outdated GPS, I noted that
we were indeed making progress in the right direction.
By this time we were in the middle of a bean field. The plants had pretty
much died there, so we surmized it wasn't going to be harvested. We
treaded lightly anyway, realizing we had left the domain of the nice old lady,
and could very well be treading on some mean shotgun-wielding redneck's
land. Nonetheless, we made our way back to Bergen Road without incident
and continued down it another tenth of a mile or so.
Once within the last hundredth of a mile, I switched to lat/long view and
found we were fractional minutes away. Doing the standard dance, I found
the spot which then of course moved, so I found it again. We repeated this
pacing for a minute or so until I realized the estimated percieved error
reported by the unit was 140 feet or so at best, so I just gave up and figured
we were close enough.
The actual confluence at 43N 78W is right at the northeast corner of the
property at 8543 Bergen Road. I was shocked that nobody had bothered to
come out here -- you don't even have to step off the pavement.
I took the requisite picture of the GPS, then we snapped some of me and
a kids playhouse on the side of the house. Sadly we couldn't contact the
owners who apparently weren't home at the time. Hopefully they won't mind
pictures of their home posted on the Internet.
Interestingly, it seemed to be a large old farmhouse -- perhaps the oldest
on the street -- leading me to believe the original builders were aware of the
curious importance of the location. Too bad the house number is 8543
instead of 7843. I like to think that a hundred years ago someone noticed
that they were on a confluence point, and Jan and I rediscovered it, bringing
back to life just for a moment the thoughts of someone from so long ago.