14-Jan-2001 -- 5 intrepid travelers completed the visit to 40 N 122 W on Sunday 14 January 2001. Four of the participants attended at my request and to humor me.
My reason for venturing to this confluence:
40/122 marks the south eastern corner of the integer long/lat grid which has been my home since 1966. I live 45 miles at a bearing of 333 deg, my parents live 44 miles at 333 deg, I attended Mercy High School 17 mi at 315 deg, I was married one day short of a year ago 18 mi at 319 deg, and celebrated that wedding with a large reception at 7 mi at 289 deg one day short of six months ago. I also had a new GPS unit and had found a fun way to use it.
I studied the street, topo and aerial views of the confluence. The maps and picture clearly indicated that a road, which was probably dirt, ran within a stones throw. I plotted a course using the data from the TopoZone site to mark all the turns and intersections using one route to get there and another to return. It was about 5 miles off of Hwy 99E.
I then proposed that my wife, two daughters and mother-in-law might want to attend mass at the Abbey of New Clairvaux, 5.5 mi at 217 deg, in nearby Vina (and then head out to visit the confluence). My wife created some bitter reality by proposing that locked gates might prevent our planned vehicular approach. The Abbey is a Trappist Monastery that both my wife and I and our families have visited for decades. It had been 20 years since I had been there however. This community of men has many plum/prune and walnut orchards. They are also beginning to plant vineyards on the land that was once home to the largest vineyard in America owned by Leland Stanford Jr., Governor of California and of University fame.
A very interesting project that the Monastery has begun is rebuilding the 800 year old Chapter House from Sancta Maria de Ovila in Spain. The Chapel was purchased by Randolph Hearst, disassembled and brought to America in 1931. The stones languished in Golden Gate Park through two fires until being recently gifted to the monastery. Read the SF Chronicle article about the project. A book has been written about several of the monks: The Orchards of Perseverance: Conversations With Trappist Monks About God, Their Lives and the World.
The 40N 122W confluence lies on ranchland which overlooks the Sacramento River Valley at the Northern end of the California North Valley. The Sacramento River is 5 miles to the west. The loam soil along the river is prized crop and orchard land. Prunes, plums, almonds and walnuts are grown in abundance. The last Indian to contact the white man, Ishi, followed nearby Deer Creek out of the hills into the valley. Mt Lassen 10457 ft, is 43 miles at a 218 deg bearing, Mt Shasta 14162 ft is 98 mi at 354 deg.
On our way to the monastery, I noted that the road that I had planned to take off of Hwy 99E was gated, closed etc. It was near a construction site where a new bridge over Deer Creek was being built. I put the map in my pocket in hopes I could get some direction after the service. We were treated to a tour of the stones for the Chapter House. I was told that Vina Rd. continues for a way after crossing the highway. We headed out with my wife driving and I manning notepaper, camera, GPS and Palm running a Quo Vadis street map. We took Vina Rd. and immediately saw a sign to the Vina Cemetery - 4 mi, good evidence that a public road continued. We went about 2 miles and came to a T intersection and took Leininger Rd. North for about three miles. This is all paved road. At 1.8 miles from the confluence we came to a cattle guard and a large spray painted "No Trespassing" sign. The road continued as dirt/gravel beyond and the gate was open. We continued. After a mile the road made a slow eastward curve heading toward the confluence.
The road turned into a small valley with oak trees along the road. Cattle were scattered on the hills to the north. We noted a tree fallen into the road ahead and made our way around it and then realized that we had passed the 122 W line. Turning around we stopped on the road on the 122 W line, 240 ft north of the confluence. We ate a picnic lunch.
After lunch we walked south up the slope to the 40 N line. Recent rains had made the earth soft and cow pies and hoof holes were evidence that the cattle had already visited the confluence. The sky was mostly blue but clouds to the east obscured Lassen peak, Mt Shasta was behind hills to the north. To the west the low mountains had snowcover and the hills hid the view of the river valley. Another 200 ft up the slope to the south the hill was topped by a barb wire fence running E-W. A ranch truck drove by without stopping while we were on the slope.