01-Apr-2012 -- As I had participated for the last several days in the National Science Teachers Association convention in Indianapolis, and as I had a string of confluence visits from several NSTA conventions in the past, and as our presence at the NSTA convention included an exhibit and workshops on the integration of GIS and GPS in science education, a confluence visit seemed the perfect capstone. However, the conference turned out to be so busy, with 8,000 educators present, that the only time to visit would prove to be on the way to the airport.
I had enjoyed so much good weather over the nearly 10 years of confluence hunting that I almost took good weather for granted. Today, however, the morning began with thunder and lightning. I approached this confluence from the north, driving along US 231. Western Indiana lies on the western edge of the eastern time zone, so dawn comes late here. Today, dawn did not even break, but rather became a gray murkiness. Conditions improved slightly for awhile, but by the time I reached Worthington, the sky to the west became pitch black. I could barely see two miles in that direction and it looked foreboding. US 231 then headed east, and I left the road at County Road 250 West, driving south, then west on 150 South, and south again on County Road 275 West, up and down a few hills. Despite the weather, I was enjoying the countryside, as it was my first time in this part of the state. I stopped and just as I was about ready to get out of the vehicle, a long rolling thunder sounded, and the deluge began. Fortunately, the deluge was without hail.
I thought about my next step a good long while. After all of my best laid plans, could I call this an attempt from here? I had no desire to ruin my camera in the rain, having done that once before at 45 North 93 West in St Paul many years ago. I decided to try to wait it out. After 20 minutes, two nice fellows drove past me, backed up, and asked if I needed any assistance. I made sure I had the necessary equipment if I decided to make a run for it. I waited another 10 minutes and the rain seemed to slacken.
I got out, and having already gathered supplies, set out in a brisk walk through the wet field to the west. Fortunately, no fences impeded my progress. The rain seemed to pick up. Had I waited too long to embark? The western sky still looked dark but the weather animation on my smartphone was indicating clearer skies to the west beyond the current squall line. So, I was ever hopeful. Fortunately, I had brought a raincoat and had the camera underneath it. The slope dropped off and descending, I was now at the back of a sort of dumping pile for tree stumps and other organic debris. I could see a field of last year's corn, harvested last fall, straight ahead. I also saw a large ditch between myself and the field. Fortunately, as I neared the field, I found a bridge. Upon walking over it, I could see that the ditch was running ferociously, and I would have had a very wet swim over my head had the bridge not been there. Thank you to the landowner! I was prepared for what looked like a very muddy field walk straight ahead, but the confluence proved to be no more than 20 meters or so - possibly 40 - in the field.
The confluence therefore lies on the northeast side of the field, in nearly flat ground. The temperature was 55 F under rainy skies, and the wind and rain picked up as I was standing there. The murky skies would make for blurry pictures, I knew, but I was glad I had waited for a break in the storm and come out here. The longest view was to the southeast and the shortest was to the west due to the hill in that direction. A telephone line ran to the north of the confluence point. I could see just a few houses from where I stood. I saw no animals or birds; they were probably wisely seeking shelter. This was my first Indiana confluence since 2006 and my second overall Indiana confluence. I had stood on 39 North numerous times, from California on the west to Maryland on the east; 39 North is probably my most visited line of latitude. But this was only my third time on 87 West. My other two visits to 87 West were in Michigan and in Alabama.
It felt good to be here, but I couldn't delay. I was concerned about being struck by lightning, and I was only on site for 10 minutes. I "high tailed" it back the way I came, as the rain continued to fall with more strength. The total round trip time came in at about 45 minutes, making this for quite an easy confluence had the weather been pleasant. The sky let loose again just as I was about 50 meters from the vehicle but not before I took one photograph of the lovely field to the east. Victory had been secured!