11-Feb-2011 -- As I had been gathering with a group of colleagues for the GeoTechCenter project, and as this project is all about connecting community colleges for geotechnology workforce development, a confluence visit seemed like the perfect end to our meeting in Atlanta. We had accomplished quite a bit and the project continues to make a positive impact. Therefore, on the way to the airport, I drove northeast on Interstate Highway 85 and then east on State Highway 316. Yes, the airport is in the opposite direction from downtown than the one I was now traveling, but to a geographer, everything is on the way to everything else!
I had already visited this point at about the same time of year, but I was curious to see whether anything had changed. Nothing was looking familiar upon my approach. I realized that I must have approached the neighborhood from a different location than I had six years ago, because once on 316, nothing seemed the same, except perhaps the traffic! I drove north on Collins Hill Road and then east on Russell Road Northeast. Turning right on Glendale Drive, suddenly, everything became familiar again. I drove up the hill on Ashwood Way and parked at the top, where Timber Laurel Lane meets Ashwood in a T-intersection. I stopped here, gathered supplies, and set out on my journey through the neighborhood, which took a grand total of 7 minutes.
As I have said before in these narratives, I always prefer a hike, even if it is short, and even if one can practically drive to the confluence point. That's why I parked at the top of the hill. One always sees more on foot. Sure enough, as I approached the confluence, a mom jogging while pushing a stroller ran up the street. I am sure this child will grow up to be a geographer, living in this neighborhood. I walked up the driveway of the house on the west side of the street, on its hilliest part, and knocked on the front door. No answer, which was the same thing I encountered on my former visit here. I therefore wandered into the front yard, trying to locate the point. Surprisingly, even though no trees were overhead, I had a difficult time picking up a decent number of satellites, and spent awhile wandering around the front yard until I had achieved all zeroes.
Had it really been 6 years since I was here last? Amazing. Time passes so quickly, yet the confluence seemed exactly like it had been the last time I had visited, which was also on a mild winter day. The temperature was about 58 degrees F under sunny skies. Someone across the street in the driveway looked at me, and I heard some dogs next door to the north. Six years ago, this was my first Georgia confluence. By now, I had a nice tidy collection of five confluences points in Georgia, including all four around Atlanta and one on the Atlantic coast near Savannah. I needed to get to the airport, so after about 10 minutes, I hiked back up the road to the vehicle. It was a lovely winter day, the kind of day that northerners long for in the wintertime. I paused, wished the occupants of the house well, and hoped that I could return in six more years.