31-Mar-2001 -- My co-explorer, Thomas C.H. Mueller and I set out in the morning from Wisconsin to Illinois with the goal of visiting three confluences along the 40th parallel. We reached N40W089 just before 1 p.m., so it was getting close to 2:30 by the time we got near W090. Although we were aware that this confluence had a claim pending (see visit #1), we decided to visit it anyway since it was right on the way to N40W091.
The initial approach that Tom & I took was south along Leinberger Road, the border between Menard and Cass counties. We thought about stopping near N40 and walking the fields west to W090, but N40 very nearly coincided with a farmhouse on the east side of the road. Tom and I don't much care for bothering the locals, plus we figured the Cass County confluence land was probably not owned by the residents of the Menard County farmhouse anyway. So we kept going on south and turned west on Pschirrer Rd, stopping the car on W090 and crossing the fields northward on foot. Pschirrer was little-travelled and had no homes in the vicinity, so we felt better about parking the car there. The north walk seemed about the same distance as the west walk would have been.
This turned out to be a little deceiving since the north-bearing approach must cross a small tributary of Middle Creek. Tom and I logged some extra hiking to find a good place to hop the creek. This is usually regular confluence-hunting fun, but the scattered rain-showers mentioned previously had suddenly turned rather unpleasant, with a chill wind now driving a harder rain and giving us a good soaking. Nevertheless, we zeroed in on the confluence rather easily with the GPS and took our pictures. As you can see from the photos, the fields are hilly in this area though rather featureless at this time of year, with only a little grass growing here and there.
A month later (at the time of this writing) with our pictures in hand and the previous claim posted, I can include a comparison of the two visits in this writeup. Though it's not easy to compare pictures of a mostly empty field to one another, there are differences in the terrain between our photos and the ones posted by Tom Engvall. His north picture, for example, shows a grassy depression and a hill to the northwest. From our picture, one can see that we were looking directly into a hill. In Engvall's east picture, the Leinberger Rd farm is clearly seen along with several of the buildings. Our east picture shows that we were much further from the farm, with only the tops of the trees visible over the intervening terrain.
Engvall's account of his trip helps to explain the discrepancies. Engvall had no GPS available to him, relying instead on maps, odometer, and counting paces on foot. This still had the potential of putting him close to the confluence, but unfortunately one of his maps misled him, as he reports "The road was 200 yards east of the confluence and there was a farmhouse there." Actually the USGS topo maps indicate that the distance is about 470 meters, the Mapquest map of the area shows 420 meters, and the DeLorme Illinois road atlas about 450 meters. Regardless, these sources all concur that Leinberger Rd is no less than a quarter mile from the confluence, a discrepancy in excess of 200 meters from Engvall's stated location. Tom Engvall did not walk far enough west to reach the confluence.
By 3 p.m. Mr. Mueller and I were back in the car and setting out for N40W091, our last confluence of the day.