07-Jul-2014 -- It had been a great three days. Not only did I fulfill my longstanding dream of visiting Devils Tower National Monument and Theodore Roosevelt National Park, but I, with this visit, had visited 6 confluence points. Each of the points was new to my collection; each was unique, and each was remote, with the exception of 47 North 104 West and 47 North 105 West, which were in rural areas but surrounded by widely spaced ranches and farms. This sixth and final confluence of my trip, to 44 North 103 West, would surely be the easiest, located on a side of a state highway.
I took a conference call while walking near the geographic center of the USA in Belle Fourche, a very enjoyable town. I then took I-90 to the east, skirting the northern edge of the Black Hills. As I was rounding the wide bend in Interstate Highway 90 toward Rapid City, a huge deluge occurred. Skies lightened a bit as I passed the city, but it remained stormy. I overshot my intended jog over to State Highway 44 at Box Elder, and had to backtrack to Radar Hill Road. This I took due south over the grassy ridge, to Highway 44, passing near the Rapid City airport. Once on Highway 44, I proceeded to the southeast, reaching it about 10 minutes later. At Antelope Creek Road, I turned north and parked a short distance from the intersection. It was raining lightly with the temperature about 75 F. The trickiest thing about this confluence was to watch where you are walking, because this highway is the gateway to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and other points to the southeast, and is quite busy. I nevertheless was able to zero out the GPS receiver, locating the confluence at the northeast edge of the pavement. Pausing for a few moments while some large trucks passed, I spent a total of 10 minutes at the site. I saw no people or animals but there were some houses, trailers, and farmhouses in the area. Though I was feeling a bit disheveled, not having bathed in several days because I had been camping, it felt good to be at this point.
Being so easy to find, I was surprised that I had never visited it before, but I now had a tidy number of about 6 points in South Dakota. Some had taken place in the bitter cold; such as in March 2013 when I was near Watertown at 45 North 97 West; this point today was the easiest thus far. I had stood on 44 North several times before,
from South Dakota on the west to Maine on the east. I had also stood on 103 West before, from North Dakota on the north end to the border of Colorado and Oklahoma on the south end, just one year ago.
The wind was picking up. I created a video of the weather station on the west side of the road, with its anemometer twirling at high speed, as I walked back to the vehicle.
This was my last confluence of my trip. I felt great about being able to visit six of them. I then drove back to Rapid City, and then south into Nebraska; the weather was perfect and it was great to be in the Sand Hills again. It was a long way home but this stop in South Dakota was definitely worthwhile.