16-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. Today was now the 4th and final day of my Great Plains confluence trek. I had visited points in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and this morning, crossed the Missouri River into Nebraska and visited 42 North 97 West in a wildlife refuge. I was still feeling full of energy even though the clouds were low and gray on this May day. After visiting the point in the wildlife refuge, I made a beeline to 42 North 98 West. I made one stop at Norfolk for coffee and I looked forward to the next adventure.
Rather than traveling on US Highway 275, I decided to travel almost straight west along 839 Road. This was gravel through most part, but I enjoyed the hills and the low clouds. I passed grain bins, corn fields, and wind farms. At 526th Ave, I turned north, and then west again on 840th Road. When the road reached a hollow, I stopped. It was ever so slightly raining. I gathered a few supplies and set out. It had been over 20 years since this point was visited last, in January 2001, and it is listed as an incomplete visit. I therefore held out hope that my visit today would be listed as the first complete visit to this point. It has been years since I had been the first visitor to a point!
I crossed the road and strode up hill in the cornfield to the south. I walked carefully between the furrows to avoid tramping on any stalks. After 10 to 15 minutes, largely walking due south along 98 West, I arrived at the confluence point. It was only a tiny bit muddy as of this moment. Under gray skies, and an ever so slight mist, the temperature stood at a coolish 70 F. I had never stood on this confluence before, although I had over the years stood on this 42nd Parallel perhaps over 20 times from Wyoming on the west to Massachusetts on the east. I had also stood on this meridian, 98 West, numerous times from South Dakota on the north to Texas on the south. In between, I had seen a wide variety of landscapes. I now have a nice assortment of at least 10 points in the Great State of Nebraska. This was my 2nd point in Nebraska today, and it was great to be back. After spending about 10 minutes on site, owing to the gathering rainstorm, I made my departure. I posted my video to my Our Earth YouTube Channel.
The confluence lies near the top of a hill and the views especially to the northwest, northeast, and southeast were particularly grand. I walked out the way I had come in. The rain started to fall but it was pleasant, making popping sounds as it struck the dry corn cobs on the field from last year's crop. I drove back to the east, south, and then west toward the town of Elgin. But my adventure was not quite over. In Elgin, to the southwest of the point, I discovered a treasure of 150 school bells and church bells in someone's front yard, on display. I posted the visit on Atlas Obscura, on this page. I then set my sights on 41 North 98 West.
Get out there and explore the world.