17-Oct-2014 -- As I was in the area for the annual Applied Geography Conference, and as the conference focuses on how to use geography to solve problems in a variety of disciplines, a confluence visit seemed like the perfect way to end this event. After breaking down my exhibit booth and saying farewell to the excellent attendees and colleagues at the conference, I drove north in heavy traffic, as expected, out of Atlanta on a Friday afternoon, on Interstate Highway 75. However, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful mid-autumn day. I paused in my journey to participate in a conference call and resumed my trip at Dalton.
North of Dalton, at Ringgold, I took US Highway 76 around some very interesting physical geography filled with knolls, rivers, and outcrops, and some no-doubt interesting historical markers, but the sun was getting low and I was on a mission. Therefore, I continued to State Highway 151, and drove north to the Tennessee border. The street view photos that showed a state line sign here that I had planned to photograph were sadly gone. In addition, there was a traffic jam just north of the line, as the Chattanooga metropolitan area was spilling far to the east, to this location. I took a series of wonderful rural roads to the east, one of them following right on the state line, and then northeast on Highway 2151 to McGhee Road and Red Clay Road. Turning north onto Howardsville Road, I noted a fenced area for pigs on the right, in the trees, with the road descending into a beautiful meadow. I drove a ways but finding no suitable place to pull over, I went back to the pig area and parked. Taking supplies and hearing some loudly barking dogs to the west, and hoping they were fenced, I set back out on foot this time to the road that descended into the meadow. The sun was casting beautiful rays along the white fences there, and I walked until I had just crossed the 35th Parallel, whereupon I turned west into the field.
The field was largely covered with chest-high grass, and hoping there were not any nasty critters in the underbrush, I set off across it. There were no fences and I was thankful that the confluence would lie here, instead of in the fenced yards to the east. My GPS was no doubt not seeing the full array of satellites because upon cresting the field, I began with dismay to walk gingerly on the newly seeded field beyond. Suddenly my GPS reset and pointed me to the southeast, away from the field, fortunately, and onto the edge of the tall grass.
I found the point a few minutes later. It lies on the west edge of the tall grass, with a slope of about 8 degrees to the west. It was about 4:30pm local time and a pleasant 70 degrees F. A perfect autumn day. I saw no people and few birds. A forested hill a few hundred meters to the west blocked the west view, and with the crest of the grassy hill to the east, the longest vista from the point itself was to the north. I had visited 35 North several times in the past, about 10, from North Carolina on the east to California on the west. I had only 4 times in the past stood on 85 West, in Georgia to the south and Michigan far to the north. This was my 4th confluence point in Tennessee and my first in eastern Tennessee. It was largely as beautiful as I had expected it to be, but I was still a bit dismayed at the encroachment of Chattanooga, to the west, upon this landscape.
After visiting the point, I hiked back to the road, filming while I walked through the tall grass. Upon reaching the road, the sun was hitting the white fence and the green fields and trees just right, turning the whole area a golden color, and prompting me to record a video while walking south along this very pleasant road. I walked to the field holding the pigs, and recorded two videos there while I talked with them. They were very friendly, coming right over to see what was happening. In part because an electrified fence separated myself and them, I did not get too close. Bidding the pigs farewell, I drove north along this very pleasant road, crossing a railroad track not far away, and all the while, thankful to be on these rural roads of Tennessee.