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the Degree Confluence Project
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United States : Virginia

1.7 miles (2.8 km) S of Louisa, Louisa, VA, USA
Approx. altitude: 118 m (387 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo aerial world confnav)
Antipode: 38°S 102°E

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Private property?!  No obstacle for the serious Confluence Hunter! #3: The confluence is in the "front yard" of this unused house. #4: A view into the forested area protecting the confluence from aerial surveillance. #5: This confluence is in rural Virginia and located on private property.

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  38°N 78°W  

#1: Close-up view of the confluence.

(visited by Peter B. Jones)

Also visited by Ixodidae Dermacentor (Mr. Tick)

01-Jul-2000 -- "Ticks and Chiggers and Mites, Oh My!" Little did I know as I set off on my first confluence hunt that these words would be the theme for the day. I’d been waiting for the right weather to make the trek to 38N 78W for a couple of months now, because I wanted to make it a motorcycle trip, and it’s just been too hot and humid lately. Finally today, the oppressively muggy heat of Virginia let up a bit and I launched off on my iron horse.

After a scenic two-hour ride from the D.C. metro area down through rural Northern Virginia, I arrived in Louisa. It was a hot ride and I was pretty thirsty, so stopping for a soda was pretty tempting. But I decided I'd reward myself after finding the confluence. In retrospect I should have been more concerned about staying hydrated than self-discipline or personal reward, but hey, I was on a quest! :-)

Arriving in the area of the confluence, I initially missed the small road so helpfully described by both Street Atlas and my GPS’s map as "road". But the map was dead-on, and after making a quick "Uee", I discovered it was exactly where the map showed. It was easy to miss, being more of a driveway than a road, and without any signs or other markings. I could tell from the heavy growth of grass and weeds that the road was not well used. About 100 feet down the road I encountered a rope gate blocking entrance. So I parked the bike and dismounted, anticipating a door-to-door search for the landowner. I didn’t want to just start tromping around the backwoods of Virginia, lest some jealous landowner meet me with a shotgun, or worse, an unpleasant encounter with the resident canine. (My wife was just attacked by a pack of dogs a couple of weeks ago, and is currently undergoing the rabies shot series, so the thought was fresh in my mind.)

I was saved doing the detective thing, though, for as I pulled off my helmet I could hear someone behind me saying something. I turned around, and there was the landowner, fresh from the garden. I explained to him that I was on a scavenger hunt - which I figure is the best way to relate this to a layman - and then described it to him in more detail. He was dubious at best, so I showed my GPS and camera, and did my best to convince him that I was harmless. No doubt he was concerned about the security of the currently unused house in the area of the confluence, and rightfully wanted to make sure I wasn’t there with less than honorable intentions.

When I showed him the location of the confluence, about two-tenths of a mile down the road, he told me I’d be hiking through some pretty nasty, tick-infested country. The last resident of the house used to raise dogs down there, and there's no shortage of bugs. In my shorts and t-shirt I was hardly dressed for that. "Well," I told him, "I’ll just get as close as I can, and take a picture." No way I’m getting covered with ticks for an extra hundred feet!

So he agreed, no doubt happy to get back to his garden and I started off down the road. As I got to the end I found the house he mentioned, and noted that I was much closer to the confluence than he thought I would be. It was just off to my right, east of the house. The overgrowth was pretty heavy, but manageable. I picked my path carefully, trying to avoid rubbing up against the ticky weeds. The confluence is in a wooded area, with a heavy, low canopy. The ground is clear, which gave me a chance to check myself for ticks from my walk in. Sure enough, I already had three on me, which I flicked off with my knife. Nice to get them off before they had a chance to dig-in.

Now, on to finding the precise location of the confluence. This was a little difficult, because the tree canopy was throwing my HDOP up pretty high. Glad SA is off, or it would have been a real chore. As it was, I found a good clear spot that seemed to be averaging lots of zeros, and set the GPS down for pictures. I figure I was right on the spot, while the GPS thought I was off by about 30 feet. Not too shabby. From the pictures, you can see the view I had. Not a lot to see -- the visibility was pretty limited by the woods.

I didn't spend a lot of time in the woods. The mosquitoes and other flying insects flies were thick and so were the ticks, so I was outta there. Back through the brush and to the road, and time to remove another tick. Sheesh!

Back up the road and into the riding suit (ugh) and with a wave to the weekend gardener, I was heading back home. After a stop for my much-deserved soda, that is. The ride home was uneventful, aside from being very pretty, and due to the setting sun, pleasantly cooler. But as I was sitting here downloading the pictures, I found yet another tick on my leg; this one much smaller than the others. Who knows how many more hitchhikers I brought home with me. :-)

Also see Peter's web page on this topic: http://www.gpsriders.com/confluence.htm.


 All pictures
#1: Close-up view of the confluence.
#2: Private property?! No obstacle for the serious Confluence Hunter!
#3: The confluence is in the "front yard" of this unused house.
#4: A view into the forested area protecting the confluence from aerial surveillance.
#5: This confluence is in rural Virginia and located on private property.
#6: Looking roughly north from the confluence.
#7: Looking roughly SE from the confluence.
#8: Successful confluence hunt courtesy of Garmin.
#9: "Mr. Tick", taking a break after a successful confluence hunt.
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)
  Notes
From Louisa, take SR 208 south for 1.12 miles. Take a left onto SSR 646 for 0.77 miles. Turn left onto what is most likely someone's driveway, and go to the end (0.22 miles). The confluence is located 180 feet due east.