15-Nov-2015 -- As I had arrived in the area for a series of presentations, workshops, and meetings surrounding Geography Awareness Week and GIS Day, what better way to start the week than a confluence visit? I was looking forward to visiting 40 North 75 West, a point I had not seen in over a decade. I was in the process of writing a book and thus chose a point that would be easy to reach and that would not require too much of my day, so I could resume work on the book.
I drove from the Philadelphia airport, where I had just landed, to Cinnaminson, New Jersey, to where I would be spending the night. This was, I think, one of the first times I had selected my hotel lodgings based on proximity to a confluence point, although I have certainly camped near confluence points in the past. More importantly, it was close to near I would be working the next day, visiting Hopeworks. I checked in to the hotel on Burlington Pike and was soon out walking northeast along the road to the point. It was surprisingly warm for mid-November in New Jersey: No snow, nearly 60 degrees F, under fairly clear skies. The only problem was that this street was definitely not built for pedestrians--few sidewalks, and merge lanes without crosswalks, made me wary but I moved forward. When I reached Riverton Road, I turned left and walked northeast into the surrounding neighborhood. The walking was challenging there too, owing to the massive piles of leaves that the residents had mounded, waiting for presumably the city to pick them up. After a time, I turned west along Thomas Avenue and sighted my goal: The Riverton Country Club. Yes, the point is on the golf course!
I soon realized that the warm and sunny nature of the day also meant that many people would be out golfing. In addition, it was a Sunday afternoon. As I walked west on the street and approached the golf course, my suspicions were confirmed: It was very crowded. My chief challenge for the next 15 minutes was to be very respectful of the golfers, making sure I wasn't in their way, and also making sure I did not get struck by a golf ball. I talked with a few of them and felt like I was on a conveyor belt, moving with the golfers. When I neared the point, I had to cross a few fairways, and the last person I talked with mentioned that a marker had been installed at 40 North 75 West in the grass. I had not seen this on my last visit; perhaps it was installed in the intervening decade.
Looking both ways, I hurried out into the fairway where I knew the point would be. The point lies on flat ground with views of the golf course in most directions and some houses in the neighborhood to the north. It is a beautiful course. After zeroing out the GPS unit, I found the marker was indeed nearby, and I quickly laid down on the grass for a few additional photographs. The marker is very tastefully done and I am sure that the golfers appreciate the fact that it is sunk into the grass, rather than a tall marker that would interfere with flying golf balls. I reflected on all that had happened since my last visit, 13 years and one month ago. I was working for USGS then; and for Esri now, but still focused on Geographic Information Systems in education. I had only a few points back in 2002, but now had visited over 300 points. In some ways, visiting this point was like returning to my roots: When I visited here in 2002, this was only my 7th point. By now I also had visited many points along 40 North, from Nevada on the west to this point on the east, as well as 3 stops along 75 West, here, one point north of here in New Jersey, and in New York to the north of that. It was good to be back, but owing to the fact that I was in a very busy golf course, I did not stay long on the fairway, though I did spend five more minutes along the "rough" on the west side of the fairway, having reverence for the moment.
Always favoring a loop route, upon leaving the point, I walked west and then through the neighborhood to the southwest of the golf course. This helped me avoid walking on Burlington Pike again, and it was very pleasant to see people raking leaves and enjoying the day. I took a conference call as I walked. Eventually I made it back to the hotel, whereupon I worked on my book and got ready for my week of presentations and meetings at three universities. The round trip time came in at about 90 minutes and it was a very pleasant way to begin my week of teaching and meetings about GIS in education, beginning with a visit to one of my favorite programs, Hopeworks 'N Camden, the following morning. Get out there and explore the world!