17-Feb-2009 -- As I was in the Boston area for a very cool project combining augmented reality games, GPS, and after-school science education for middle school students, a visit to 42 North 71 West would be most appropriate. The project involves the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the meeting this week was on the MIT campus. A quick visit to the nearest confluence before the meeting began was all I had time for. Would I have time to squeeze in the visit?
Landing after a 4-hour flight at Boston's Logan Airport, I rented a blue car and was soon driving south on Interstate 93. I had an evening teleconference and then an evening meeting at MIT, and was hoping for light traffic. I drove through the "Big Dig" tunnel and so far, moved along nicely. A few slow spots clogged the road before I exited to southbound State Highway 24, with the radio stations filled with news about the government's stimulus plan. During the last time I visited this confluence, I approached the neighborhood from Brockton, from the northeast, but for variety, tried the southwest route this time. I exited on Highway 104, and slowly drove toward the northeast. I turned north on North Street, which ironically becomes South Street about a mile later. I turned right, or east, on Milebrook Street and on purpose, overshot the confluence so that I could have at least a little stroll to the site.
I found the confluence, this time, about 1 meter north of the driveway on the south side of the street. This is about 3 meters south of where I found it last spring when I was here. But, the confluence is still in Milebrook street, on the pavement. The temperature was 42 F (6 C) under clear skies; a very pleasant day for February in Massachusetts. There was surprisingly little snow on the ground as well. I must have caught a lull between storms. I was midway through photographing my visit when a woman and two girls walked up from the east. The woman owned the house on the south side of the street, and she remembered our conversation from the previous year. I chatted with them amiably about geography and GPS for a few minutes, and they departed. I filmed a movie in the middle of the road in which one can see cars passing slowly. I am sure the drivers must have wondered what I was doing standing there. Fortunately, the traffic here moves pretty slowly as Milebrook is only a few blocks long. I lingered at the "confluence wall" for a bit and my visit length was probably about 25 minutes in all.
Reluctantly, I left the site, driving out the way I came in. I backtracked all the way back to Logan Airport. Turning in the car 2 hours after I rented it had to be the shortest period I have ever rented a vehicle. Therefore, it wasn't the least expensive confluence of all time, but it was certainly one of the easiest. Only the seasons had changed since the last time I was there. I have visited all of the confluences near Boston now, in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Connecticut (there are none in Rhode Island), and so repeat visits are all I can do. It was grand to get onto the landscape, even if the landscape was typical 1970s suburbia. Once at the airport, I hopped on the "T" line and took two different lines to the MIT campus. A great afternoon!