13-Nov-2012 -- I was in Milwaukee for GIS Day, an annual event where organizations all over the world host open houses, workshops, and presentations designed to showcase what they do with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and help people understand the relevance of GIS to society. As I would be conducting presentations and workshops on the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee campus for this event this year, a confluence visit seemed like the perfect beginning to the few days I would be in the area. In addition, I was looking forward to seeing one of the premier map and geography libraries in the world, right there on campus, that of the American Geographical Society. Everything was converging this week on geography and GIS. And thus, as soon as I had flown into Milwaukee, arriving about noon, I was heading east on Interstate Highway 894 to the nearest confluence, that of 43 North 88 West.
Unfortunately, my rental car had been smoked in, and so I rode with all of the windows down. Yet the good news was that the weather was surprisingly mild for Wisconsin in November, about 44 degrees F, and the skies were clear. I wasted no time at all rounding the bend on I-494 and heading north, and exiting on Beloit Road, heading to the northeast. I enjoyed the sights of Milwaukee on my way and turned right on Buchanan Road, and once this was accomplished, I was already just about there, or within 100 meters. I parked a short distance south from the confluence, always preferring at least a little walk to these points if possible. However, at this confluence, as at one I visited in New York a few years ago, it is entirely possible to drive to the point and hold the GPS in your hand while in the vehicle, and capture the zero-zero photograph.
The neighborhood was much the same as the last time I had been here with my friend and colleague Barb Wallner in 2006. That visit was accomplished in January, and this one would be in November. It did not seem possible that nearly 7 years had elapsed since then. After exiting the vehicle and gathering supplies that I had packed, I walked to the north less than 100 paces. There, I found, like I had found in a surprisingly large number of other confluence treks, a "for sale" sign at the confluence point. Thus, if the reader acts quickly, he or she could own the land on which this confluence sits. This happened also in Virginia and Colorado as I recall, and a few other places.
I had arrived in early afternoon in mid-November. I found the confluence point without much trouble in the driveway between the sidewalk and the street, less than 1 meter north-northeast of the fire hydrant. The view to the south, down South 70th Street, was the least obstructed. One can see at least 4 blocks down that way. One can also see a few blocks southwest along West Dreyer Place. The view to the east, into the house, was the most obstructed.
I had stood on 43 North several times over the past decade, from a grassy knoll in Idaho on the west to a street in Massachusetts on the east. I had also stood on 88 West a few times as well, from a woody hike in Michigan on the north to my memorable visit to the power plant in Alabama on the south. It was a pleasant day and I hated to depart, but I had some preparation to do before my meeting this afternoon at Milwaukee Public Schools, and so I soon took my leave. I was in the confluence neighborhood about 20 minutes total. I saw no people or animals; the neighbors to the west left as I arrived, and aside from the traffic noise on Beloit Road, it was pretty quiet. Milwaukee is a city of very nice neighborhoods and it was only fitting that the city's confluence lies in one of them. Happy GIS Day!