14-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. My goal was to visit confluences, back roads, state lines, grain bins, railroad depots, state parks, and other out of the way places a geographer would love. I was nearing the end of Day 2 of my four day journey and approaching my 7th confluence point in 48 hours. I had visited three points, all along 38 North, today, two in Kansas, and one in Missouri. The route from 38 N 94 W to 38 N 93 W took me eastward through more amazing back roads and a US highway (US 54). The Ozarks are not far away, so this point is in some beautiful southwest Missouri hilly terrain, much of it wooded.
At Macks Creek, a community, I turned north on County NN, and immediately photographed a wonderful public library I found there at the intersection of NN and 54. Its exterior was painted with the spines of books, facing out. Very creative, and I love libraries. Just north of the library and up the hill, high school students were graduating at the local high school; much joy was evident because they were gathering face to face after so much isolation from COVID. It was great to see the parents taking pictures of the graduates and their friends. North of there, after 10 minutes, I turned west on N-142 road which follows an east-west trending valley.
Some confluence visits turn out easier than expected, and some turn out to be more difficult. The easy part of this visit was that the confluence point lies on the south side embankment of a road. The challenging part here was that the road, further east, is in a bit of rough shape. It is situated in a pretty little valley and is well worth the visit.
Similar to the point one degree west of here, where I stood 2.5 hours ago on 38 North 94 West, this one was easily reached from walking on a road embankment. Just a few hundred meters north of here, the point might not be reachable without a great deal of effort, and it is likely that the GPS unit would not zero out, because to the north there is a heavily wooded bluff. The temperature at the moment stood at about 85 F under sunny skies: Late afternoon, mid-late spring. A bit humid and hot in the sun, but a wonderful time of day and season. I saw a few birds and no people. Nobody passed me on the road, which was nice given the pacing I was doing. It was good also because there really wasn't any shoulder, so I was parked a bit west of the point partly in the road.
There had been 3 previous visits to this point, the last by my colleague Ross 4 years ago. As I mentioned above, this was my 7th confluence visit in the past 2 days, with 3 yesterday and now this making 4 today. I had not stood on this confluence before, although I had over the years stood many times - at least 25 times - on this 38th parallel from California on the west to Virginia on the east. I had also stood on this 93rd meridian, numerous times, from Minnesota on the north to a field in Iowa on the south. Thus, I had stood on 93 West at least 5 or 6 times. This was my second point in Missouri today, but before today, the first set of points in at least six years, perhaps longer: I was glad to be back. To the northwest was a community called Coffee Hollow. Great name! I thought about the Native Americans and settlers who must have passed through this valley that I was now standing in. Had anyone actually stood on this exact spot before the confluence visitors had done so, or besides those who had walked this road for the past 100 years? Back when there was perhaps only a trail up this valley?
After spending 15 minutes on site, I made my departure. I placed the video of this site including some harmonica playing on my Our Earth channel, here: 38 North Latitude 93 West Longitude. With the sun sinking, I made haste to exit. Haste, because my destination campground was at least 2 hours away: Could I make it to my destination campground in the state park to the north of here before sundown? I drove out the way I came, to the south, then west, then north on US Highway 65, crossed I-70, to Annie and Abel Van Meter State Park.
I arrived about 25 minutes before sundown, with time to find a spot, meet some of the campers, and walk around the park. Then the bullfrogs came out loudly as the moon was setting. It was a beautiful place.
Get out there and explore the world.