15-May-2021 -- As the COVID situation precluded travel for so many months, and as a geographer I was longing to get into the field, I finally made careful preparations, and made it into the field in May 2021 to visit confluences, back roads, state lines, grain bins, railroad depots, state parks, and other out of the way places. I began my trek in Kansas, then to the Oklahoma border, then to Missouri, and I was now in Iowa: Nebraska would happen tomorrow. The trip would total 2200 miles (3541 km) when the four days were completed. It was really an epic trip!
I was nearing the end of a great day of fieldwork, Day 3 of 4 of my trek, which began with a hike at the Abel and Annie Van Meter State Park in Missouri, a hike to 40 North 93 West, and then a drive into Iowa to 42 North 95 West. From 42 North 95 West, at Vail Iowa I passed a beautifully restored exterior of a 1930s gas station and could not resist stopping to take photos and video. I wasn't feeling weary at all as I approached my 10th confluence in 3 days. I passed into the valley of the Little Sioux river on State Highway 175, and exited the state highway at Locust Ave. On gravel roads now, I drove south and east, to the intersection of 240th Ave and Maple Road. The road to the south looked too rough for the rental car.
Thus after parking, I gathered GPS, hat, and other necessary supplies. Soon after I started hiking, amazingly, a person in a truck passed me, and I waved. After a hike of 15 minutes, straight to the south, I then set out due east along the 42nd Parallel, careful not to stomp on any newly planted corn stalks. After 5 minutes more, I arrived at the spot. The temperature stood at approximately 85 degrees F (29 C) under sunny skies; quite hot actually, even though the sun was sinking low.
I saw no animals, birds, or any additional people. The confluence lies on flat ground. The view in all directions was fairly extensive; the hills at the far side of the valley across the river were visible to the east. I had not stood on this confluence before, although I had over the years stood on this 42nd parallel many times, from Wyoming on the west to Massachusetts on the East. It was good to be back on 42 North again. I had also stood on this 96th meridian, numerous times, from Minnesota on the north, here in Iowa, to Texas on the south. I now have a very nice assortment of at least 10 points in the great state of Iowa. I believe I have now covered or nearly covered the state on 42 North and had completed 41 North some years ago. This was my 10th confluence point on this, my third day of trekking.
It had been nearly 16 years when the last visit to this point took place, in 2005. It is surprisingly easy to reach though admittedly away from major highways. After spending about 10 minutes on site, owing to setting sun, I made my departure. I posted my video of the site on my Our Earth YouTube channel, here: 42 North 96 West, on my Our Earth channel . After about 10 minutes on site, I walked due west, avoiding the plants, and then north back to the vehicle after a total round trip hike of about 1 hour and 15 minutes. I then stopped at the grain bins to the west to take a video and photos. It was a peaceful time of day. The sun shone on me as I drove west for 20 minutes, to Onawa, where I stopped at Casey's convenience store and to a wonderful preserved old school theatre near the main street of the town. My next destination was my proposed campsite at the Lewis and Clark State Park. I found a spot on the oxbow lake shore which made the perfect end for the day. The loons and frogs were all singing.
Get out there and explore the world.