27-May-2023 -- It had been two years since I had the opportunity to take a multi day trip just for collecting confluence points, seeing the landscape, and meeting local people. Finally the opportunity arose. My goal on this trip was to connect my Minnesota block of points to those points in another big block on my map, east and south and west, in Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas. To fill those gaps would require some planning but could be quite fun and doable. Thus after flying to Sioux Falls the previous day and visiting 3 points, including 2 in Iowa, today my goal was to at least visit the remaining 2 points in Iowa that I had not yet visited, along 43 North Latitude. Once done, I will have visited all 16 confluence points in Iowa!
And thus, at 7:00am, I departed the overflow area of the campground I was in, because the regular area was full, and set out to the east. I tacked to the east and a bit north along some paved and some gravel roads, most of which were along section lines owing to the predominance of the Public Land Survey System, which has a fascinating history. Although I was on a mission to visit as many points as possible today (and as it turned out, would visit 5 points),
I crossed over I-35 and was now in the "eastern" side of the state. Already this morning, the terrain became a bit hillier than the neighborhood that 43 North 94 West occupies, which I had visited the previous evening. Always wanting some walking to these points, I decided to park at the intersection of Balsam and 250th Street. Donning hat and gathering supplies, I set out on a brisk walk on the gravel road to the north. I was nearing the farmhouse on the west side of the road when a dog that I would dub "Connie the Confluence Dog" ran out to meet me, barking furiously. Should I show the dog my landowner request for access permission letter? My heart skipped a beat but I made reassuring noises and told Connie that I was just a geographer, letting Connie sniff me and then giving Connie a rub. Connie liked this so much--maybe it was lonely out here, so then proceeded to jump up on me, and Connie was not a small dog, either. I invited Connie to come to the confluence point with me, and we set out on the edge of the field toward the east.
Connie was ahead of me and I soon lost sight of the dog. I transferred up the slope from Field A (pasture) to Field B (most likely soybeans), making sure not to step on the clearly newly sprouting plants. After 7 minutes in the new field, I had arrived at the confluence point. It was a glorious late spring morning, moderate winds, temperature about 70 F (21 C). The confluence lies on a small knoll with some nice views in most directions except to the west, where the land rose a bit higher. I saw no people, animals, or birds. A few farmhouses were in the distant view. I had stood on 43 North many times, from Idaho on the west to New Hampshire on the east, including all but one on 43 North in Iowa (and the last remaining point on 43 I planned to visit next!). I had also stood on 93 West from Minnesota on the north to Missouri on the south. I filmed a video and placed it on my Our Earth channel. Then, I walked back out the way I came in--to the west, to the road, and then to the south.
I saw Connie again on the gravel road as I headed back south. Connie still made me a bit nervous because the bark did not sound friendly, but fortunately showed me earlier that she indeed was friendly. At least I hoped the dog was still disposed to be friendly. After glancing at the farmhouse and not wanting to disturb anyone due to the early hour, I could not determine if anyone was home. Thus I continued walking. It was about an hour round trip back to the vehicle.
Connie ran ahead of me and I decided to visit the large building housing pigs to the southeast of the road intersection. I knocked and someone came out, explaining he was in the middle of showering, so now was not a good time to visit. I tried to look into the windows to see how the pigs were doing, but the windows were too clouded. Connie was off on the east side of the building; all looked good and well maintained. Back at the intersection, the crossroads reminded me of the Texas intersecting roads at the end of the movie "Castaway" so I filmed a tribute video there, reflecting that north of here was Minnesota and Canada, east was Wisconsin, south was Missouri, and west was the Nebraska-South Dakota border, on my Our Earth channel.
I have now visited all but 1 point in the state of Iowa, and the final was next on my plans! But on the way, I could not resist stopping at the city park (with a fountain made of river stones), the Freedom Rock (of which there are many wonderful examples in Iowa), and the historical buildings in Rockford, Iowa, for about 25 minutes, even speaking with a pleasant local townsperson there. And then to my first Kwik Trip of my expedition (in Iowa they (convenience stores) are called Kwik Star) in Charles City, which was wonderful, and then set off to 43 North 92 West!
When the trip was all said and done, here are the final statistics:
Confluence points attempted: 15.
Confluence points successfully visited: 15.
Points where I met the local landowner = 4 of 15 points.
Miles = 1731, Kilometers = 2785.
Campgrounds = 3.
Windy confluence points: 6 of 15.
Beautiful confluence points: 15 of 15.
Kwik Trip convenience store stops = 5. Casey's = 1. Circle K = 1. Flying J = 1.
Points along 43 North 4
44 North 3
45 North 4
46 North 1
47 North 3
Points visited on Day 1 = 3
Day 2 = 5
Day 3 = 4
Day 4 = 3
Points visited in the morning = 5
afternoon = 7
evening = 3
Points visited in Minnesota = 5
North Dakota = 3
Wisconsin = 3
Iowa = 4
Get out there and explore!