The Midland Texas Confluence
While the location of a confluence never changes, its appearance, and means of getting to it may. That certainly is the case with 32N 102W. A new oil well pump jack sits just to the SW of the confluence that did not exist during previous visits, and the service road going to it leads within 60 feet of the confluence itself. Neither the pump jack or the service road going to it show in the Google Earth data of 2 Feb 2013 – so this change is quite new and finding the new access was quite a surprise.
Having been in Midland for the last couple of months, I knew that the confluence was nearby and decided to seek it out on one nice day. Farm to Market Rd 307 goes just to the north of the confluence, but I was unsure of what would be the best way to get there from this busy road. The oil boom has filled all of the back roads with lots of traffic and oil field trucks, so driving slowly to find a parking place and safely pulling off the road requires caution.
I first tried from the west. I went through the open gate of the Permian Basin Law Enforcement Academy and drove south. This took me within a third of a mile of the confluence. Getting there would require a fence crossing, but was certainly doable. Of course the “Caution, Entering Firing Range” sign made me a bit hesitant about entering from this side.
I decided to try perhaps from the east. South County Rd 1140. looked like it would provide some access that would not require me to cross private yards or firing ranges. As I headed in that direction on Farm to Market Rd 307, I saw an oil field dirt service road going south. The map data on my phone GPS showed that that would get me closer than County Rd. 1140 so I took it and soon ended up by a pump jack and the cleared area around it.
What I did not expect was another service road from this pump location heading west in the direction of the confluence. I followed it where it ended at a new pump jack and set of collection tanks sat just a very short distance from the confluence itself. The pad surrounding the pump jack provided a good parking place and I quickly located the confluence in the adjacent field – no fence crossing required. The view consists of the field, adjacent pump jack and tanks, the Midland skyline to the west, large fuel storage tanks to the north, and farmland in other directions. Like the views in almost every other location in the Permian basin, those here of oil wells, storage tanks, and drilling rigs lie in almost any direction.
While visiting the site, a couple of oil field service vehicles showed up. I was concerned that they would ask me what I was doing and tell me to leave. But, I just made every effort to look like I was supposed to be there. They went about their work and ignored me.
Accessibility = 1 (easiest) any vehicle can drive within 20 meters – no fences or gates to cross. One of the easiest.
Quite close to Interstate 20.
Terrain = 1 (flat)
Scenery = C+ (neither beautiful nor ugly). This portion of West Texas is not known for its scenic panoramas, but the view of the Midland skyline moves gives it a +