19-Aug-2008 -- This summer I had to drive from Chengdu to Panzhihua. Thankfully this time I took a look at Google Earth before I left. I found that 27N 102E was not too far from the road where I would be traveling. After finishing up business in Panzhihua, I was able to drive to the town of MiYi, which is the closest large town to this confluence. Miyi is pretty impressive, as countryside towns go - it seems that the entire town has been built in the last 2 years! There are hundreds of apartments and storefronts awaiting people to move in and start to make this area prosperous.
The next morning I set out pretty early for the confluence point. My Sichuan map showed a road heading right towards where the confluence should be. It has recently been rebuilt as well - perfectly wide and smooth concrete, and later, as the road climbs up the forested mountains it turns to smooth asphalt. The whole time there are locals tending to their fruit trees and rice fields.
As I got closer to the point, I found that we were heading directly to it - 500meters became only 100meters to go - and I was still on the road! I found a place to park the truck and set off on foot. It turns out that the confluence is directly behind a small building next to the road. When I strolled up with GPS in hand, I drew a lot of stares from the half-dozen guys hanging around the building. I got up some courage (I didn't know if they would let me go 'wandering' around behind their building (where there were cliff-side terraces with corn planted there). I approached a young guy and mentioned to him that this was a special place. I showed him the GPS and he had heard of them before and seemed curious. I said - "I have to make all of these numbers become zeros." Whatever he was thinking, he kept a straight face and said I could do whatever I wanted.
I headed off behind the building and found myself in some steep terraces clinging to the side of the hill. That was the difficult part - the confluence lies in a steep area amongst the corn, making 'zeroing out' the GPS unit a bit of a challenge. It seems the huge spider webs everywhere were also part of the challenge. You wouldn't have believed it - there were huge spiders everywhere! Quite large and colorful too. When I climbed back up the the building, I met another guy and showed him pictures of the spiders on my camera. I asked him if I die if I was bitten. He laughed and said no, but you might get sick. Seems they might have a little poison? Take a look for yourself and see if you can identify them.
By the way, Google Earth now has high-resolution images of this area, including the 27N 102E confluence point. You can see the confluence directly behind the building next to the road.