21-Jan-2000 -- Dan Klein writes: Early in January, I got email
from Henry telling me he'd found an interesting way to waste some
time, asking if was I interested. My immediate response was
"of course", because I knew it would be fun, and it definitely
wouldn't be a waste of time. He explained the Confluence
Project, and two weeks later, we were off.
It was 11:30 on the coldest day yet recorded for the new millennium
(yeah, yeah, we know, but it sounds cool even if it's wrong :-) Armed with
a Garmin GPS III Plus, a G3 Macintosh laptop, and both Delorme's Street
Atlas for the gross resolution and GPSy with aerial mapping synchronization
for the fine resolution, we headed off towards the Pennsylvania Turnpike in
search of 40N 080W. The drive was uneventful; both the car heater and
radio worked just fine, although the Delorme software showed that we were
plowing through the trees about 100 yds to the right of the highway. We
exited the Turnpike at New Stanton (right next to Old Stanton, as we discovered),
passed Love and Yukon (the latter being best renowned for the much
fabled "Live Nude Girls" sign). We crossed or passed the
Monongahela River a few times as it meanders through the countryside, and
crossed the Youghiogheny river, too. When we reached Fredricktown, we
decided to rough it, and abandoned the printed Delorme directions, relying
instead on the accuracy of the aerial photographs. Luck was with us, and
soon we were ascending the hill to Fredricktown Hill. We parked the car
outside of St. Michael Archangel Church, and donning coats, hats, and gloves
(Henry had forgotten his and borrowed one of my pairs), trekked last the 30 feet
up the road until the gods of selective acquisition swept 40N 080W over the
point at which we stood. Since it was about 12F with a fair wind blowing, we
hastily took our pictures, and drove home again.
Not exactly a thrilling confluence (although I have tried hard to make it
sound like one :-), but we were the first! That is, if you don't count the people
living in the house in whose front yard the USGS marks the confluence. We
promise we'll try something more exciting when it gets warmer.
Henry Schmitt writes: Picture #3 shows us next to the confluence, which
is in the snow to the right of us. Picture #2 is the GPS; we brightened the left
side of the GPS screen to remove the shadow of my hand. Picture #1 is looking
east from the confluence. Picture #4 is in front of a "hard to miss"
landmark about 20 yards south of the confluence. Picture #5 is about 30 yards
south of the church overlooking the Monongahela River. And Picture #6 is
the town of Fredricktown viewed from the railroad tracks, with the Mon River
in the background.