06-Mar-2014 -- As I had been in the Dallas-Fort Worth area planning our annual summer T3G GIS institute for educators for several days, and as the institute was focused on geotechnologies, a confluence visit seemed like the perfect capstone to the week. It was at this time one year ago that I participated in a similar planning session, and afterwards, visited 33 North 96 West. All of the nearby points in northern Texas were ones I had already visited, so it was time today to try to reach the next nearest one before my own flight out: 32 North 98 West. It turned out to be farther than I thought. Would I make it in time?
After dropping off some dear friends and colleagues with whom I was working at the DFW airport, I headed south on Highway 360 to US Highway 287. I then had an extensive conference call with another colleague for about an hour about the My Community Our Earth Youth Technology Camps that she was setting up in Central America, South America, and Africa. My route placed me near to one of my favorite place names: Waxahachie, Texas. However, I resisted temptation to visit it, given my time constraints, instead turning west along US Highway 67 at Midlothian. Next, I drove west-southwest along US Highway 67, where the terrain was more varied than I expected, including some magnificent rocky outcrops. The gray skies started giving way to sunshine. I passed Cleburne and Glen Rose. After a long time, I took State Highway 220 to the southeast. At Hico, I drove east on 9th Street and then followed the gravel Road 242 to the place just north of the confluence site.
It was very late morning by this time. However, the walk to the confluence required less than 15 minutes on flat terrain covered with short grasses and an occasional prickly pear cactus. I kept an eye out for snakes but didn't even see a mouse on my walk. I found the confluence with no problem beside one very thorny tree. As I have stated in other narratives, many US states have thorny bushes and shrubs, but Texas seems to have many trees composed entirely of thorns. The temperature was approximately 56 F (13 C), making it a very pleasant day and the warmest it had been all week. This spot was on fairly high ground and it could have been quite windy, but today it was not, for which I was thankful. The longest view was to the south and covered several miles. As is often the case with my visits, the sun came out after I had taken all of my photographs, but this time I had the chance to retake them all for more colorful shots. I saw no people or animals; just a few birds. I could only see one building from the confluence, to the east, a fairly new ranch building, and so it was great to be out in the wide open terrain.
With this visit, I had stood on just about all of the confluences in northeast Texas. There was nothing close to Dallas that I have not visited, which would make future visits more challenging and perhaps nothing I could do in the future on the way to the airport, as I was doing today. Okay, to a geographer, just about anything can be considered "on the way" to something else.
I spent about 20 minutes at the site, but then enjoyed another hour in the close vicinity. What did I do in the neighborhood? I first filmed my walk back to the vehicle, and then went on a 50 minute walk to the east down Road 242, where a magnificent vista awaited me. I placed these videos on my video channel. After taking several walking videos and some artsy photographs of barbed wire, live oak trees, and shrubs, I exited the area the way I came in. On the way out of the area, one highlight was hearing some music from Texas 1800s history on the radio. Another highlight was seeing the kids playing at the elementary schoolyard and seeing the high school athletes cross the road, heading to the football field there in Hico.
It wasn't until I was on the east-west highway that would take me to the south end of Dallas-Fort Worth international airport when I decided to abandon plans to visit 33 North 97 West before I left the state. The reason is that my 32 North 98 West visit had taken more time than I had expected, and the traffic back to Fort Worth was heavy: By now it was nearly midafternoon and I did not want to miss my flight. Moreover, now I could get in several hours of work at the airport, so that is what I decided to do. After turning in the car, I had an unexpectedly nice discovery at the DFW airport when I found the chapel in one of the terminals. My flight was crowded but uneventful, and visiting this confluence was one of the best ways to end the week of working with geotechnologies.