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. Day 3 of my confluence trek began when I hiked some prairie, woodland, and lakeshore at Annie and Abel Van Meter State Park, followed by an unexpectedly long and muddy, but rewarding, successful hike to visit to 40 North 93 West in Missouri.
From the Missouri point, I drove on some wonderful back roads to Lineville Iowa, on the Missouri-Iowa border. I do love border towns. From there, I drove north and then at Des Moines, west on another new state highway 141 (for me) towards where the sky was darkening, but I was in one of my favorite states, so all was well. At a point southeast of the confluence, I turned north on Road N14 and then west, then north again on gravel roads. I was hoping that the rain would hold off because in this rental car, I was not sure how passable wet roads would be. For the moment, they were OK.
I parked and in my excitement, and lack of GPS signal for awhile, I walked the wrong direction from the road, to the east. But after I few minutes, I re-crossed the road and into a grassy area that was southeast of the confluence point. Then, I proceeded west and climbing out of the low-lying area, uphill to the northwest. The grassy path between tilled fields of corn was about 5 meters wide and led in an angle of almost constant bearing to the northwest: I was amazed to discover that it led almost straight to the very latitude-longitude point. After a hike of about 15 minutes, which felt a bit longer due to the windy and worsening conditions, I neared the point and then arrived at the spot. The temperature stood at a very windy 65 F, beginning to rain. I saw no animals, birds, or people. The confluence lies on ground sloping to the southeast. The rainfall on the dry stalks of corn from the previous growing season made some amazing popping sounds.
I had not stood on this confluence before, although I had over the years stood on this 42nd parallel many times, from a Wyoming field on the west to a Massachusetts sidewalk on the east. It was good to be back on 42 North again. I had also stood on this 95th meridian, numerous times, from this point 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 had almost completely covered the state on 42 North and had completed 41 North some years ago. This was my 9th confluence point on this, my third day of trekking.
It had been nearly 20 years when the first and only other visit to this point took place, in 2001. It is surprisingly easy to reach though admittedly away from major highways. After spending about 10 minutes on site, owing to the ominous skies, I made my departure. I posted my video of the site on my Our Earth YouTube channel, here: 42 North 95 West, on my Our Earth channel . I walked successfully back to the vehicle after a total round trip hike of 50 minutes. A short time later, I drove through a short but intense deluge.
At Vail Iowa I passed a beautifully restored exterior of a 1930s gas station and could not resist stopping to take photos and video. The sun shone as I drove generally west for about 2 more hours to the next attempted point, 42 North 96 West, the furthest point to the west on 42 North in Iowa. How would things turn out there? Would I make it before the sunset and still be able to make my proposed campsite at the Lewis and Clark State Park?
Get out there and explore the world.