01-Sep-2001 -- We left our home in Beijing for the 40 minute ride to the confluence of N40 E117 which lies just outside of the municipal boundaries of Beijing in Hebei province.
Unlike our first attempt at a confluence (N40 E116), this one was easy to find and to document. All we had to do was follow the main highway out of Beijing directly to the East. At E116.59.5 there is a 1 1/2 lane paved road that went directly North parallelling E117 a few hundred meters to the west. At the point we crossed N40, I turned onto a series of dirt paths through the corn fields, drove along these, crossed a small stone bridge (Photo 1) then parked the car and walked the remaining few hundred meters to the confluence. The actual confluence is in a corn field about 1 1/2 meters from a small clearing.
We were definitely a curiosity in the area. Foreigners are few and far between this far out into the Chinese countryside. Fortunately Jeannette speaks Chinese and we were able (sort of) to get permission to enter the fields and take the pictures. We were told that this place is called "Gong Zhuang". From what we could glean, the area appears to be a de-collectivized commune, now with each small plot in the hands of private owners. One local even offered to share his lunch of roasted corn with us. So as not to look like ungrateful guests, we took the proferred ear of corn and brought it home with us. A great souvenir of a fun day.