21-Nov-2015 -- As I was wrapping up a week of presentations, workshops, and meetings at a series of universities in the region, including Temple University, Penn State, and Cornell, a confluence visit seemed like the perfect capstone. On a pleasant and sunny autumn day, I drove south on I-81 to Binghamton, then west on State Highway 17. I exited at Vestal, driving south-southeast on Highway 26. The road gained in elevation the entire way toward the Pennsylvania border, coming out of the Susquehanna River Valley, and there was some beautiful terrain all around. Just a few hundred meters north of the New York-Pennsylvania state line, I stopped, the chief challenge being choosing where to park. The road was busy and the pull-outs were few. I settled on a short lane no longer than the length of a single car, on the east side of the highway, perpendicular to the road.
Getting out, I gathered supplies, and walked a short distance to the south, up to the house, to knock on the door. After waiting awhile and finding nobody home, I weighed my options, and decided to hold onto the landowner permissions letter and walk to the edge of the yard to the east. I found the confluence point about 3 meters inside the forest. It was difficult to zero out the GPS unit due to the thick tree cover, but after about five minutes, I did so. The confluence lies on ground sloping to the west, but not too steep. The view was limited in all directions except for the backyard to the west. It was a lovely autumn day in early afternoon, with the temperature a surprisingly mild 60 F. A broken child's swingset seat lay on the ground not far from the confluence. It was a very peaceful spot and I hated to depart, but I was only on site for about 10 minutes. I most likely would never be back here.
I had stood on 43 North a number of times in the past, from Idaho on the west to Massachusetts on the east. I had also stood on 76 West a number of times as well, from 43 North 76 West just north of here, south to Virginia at 37 North 76 West. This was my first time on this confluence point. It was surprisingly easy to reach, especially given the hills and bogs in this area; it could have been much more difficult. I now had a nice collection of New York confluence points, probably around 5 by now. There is something extra special about a confluence point on or near a state line.
I walked back to the west: Still nobody home. Fortunately, there were no dogs. I walked to the road and then south to the vehicle. The challenge was next in backing up the car onto the highway, but once done, I proceeded a few hundred meters to the New York-Pennsylvania state line, where I took a few geeky geographic photographs. It was an odd state line, as a liquor store sits on the state line on the east side of the road. So, it was far from a lonely line. Next, I drove south into Pennsylvania on some wonderful rural roads to a place I have always wanted to see: The Tunkhannock Viaduct. This was the world's largest concrete structure for decades and one of the world's most beautiful bridges. Get out there and explore the world!