03-Apr-2010 -- It was Black Saturday morning when the idea of a confluence trip suddenly came up during breakfast and appeared to be a good family bonding for this year’s Easter without being stuck in our home.
Since it was a weekend holiday in observance of the Easter, my wife Starr was free from her weekend teaching class. We originally planned for geocache hunting in the nearby area but we suddenly thought that going a little bit further for a confluence visit was instead a better idea. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to contribute to the Degree Confluence Project as a family, and it turned out, the perfect day to do so!
CP N37º E127º is the nearest one from our home in Suwon city, only about an hour drive away and it is probably the most accessible CP in South Korea. But I had purposely saved this CP for such unprecedented family day like this. The confluence is located near Pyongtaek City, home to Korea’s naval forces and a large US military facility named Camp Humphreys.
We left home a little past 10am driving due south of the Gyeongbu Expressway #1. An hour later, we were still within the outskirt of Suwon moving slowly due to an ongoing construction on one of the lanes of a major road therefore causing abrupt traffic congestion. Although the traffic caused us quite longer time than expected, we did not discerned a bit because our son Jep has humorously indulged us with some of his knick-knack stories, even insisted the idea of adapting team name “‘G’-team” on this day’s getaway, so we went officially as “‘G’-team”.
After we got off at Osan Tollgate and drove National Road #1, cruising got smoother and faster. In no time, the GPSr now read about 1km away from our drive along Road # 38. The basemap indicated that we have to cross by an intersection of the national road and a small minor road that would lead closer to the confluence. Confused a little bit by the topological difference between my GPSr basemap and the actual geography of the area, I made a U-turn thinking that we had missed the intersection. We saw the bus stop that was described in the previous reported visit and momentarily parked beside it to check for correct directions. Jep and I got off the car for a short walk to gain a proper orientation of the area versus our personalized basemap since I started to doubt its accuracy; it was when I realized that the small inner road we were looking for was just several meters away from us; a protruding large canopy of a busy furniture workshop had obstructed my view of this road’s entrance! So we drove back, followed the inner road and finally arrived at the exact CP after several minutes.
The confluence is located in a rice paddy and surrounding terrain is mostly agricultural. The paddy was not yet planted so it was okey for all of us to step down on the field; however the soil was bit soft and muddy so we had to randomly criss-cross our steps for firm grounds. Fortunately, we had easily zeroed in the GPSr reading just few meters away from the cemented pavement where we parked our car. Our presence disturbed a large flock of wading migratory birds trampling and feeding on seeds around the fields and watching a large number of them flew above us was just an amazing sight.
Black Saturday as it was, the weather had been nice and endowed us with clear pleasant blue skies and spring season’s cool fresh breeze. That day on CP N37º E127º, we were not the only visiting family around; these birds brought theirs too.
After we took pictures of our successful visit and spent some time to clean our soiled shoes, it was time for next goal –eat late lunch. We drove as closed as possible to the CP into this narrow single lane road and the most practical way out was to follow where we came in. But with no wide berths to safely maneuver our car for a complete turn, I drove backwards literally for more than 100meters down until the junction of the road for a safe turn.
We shortly visited Songtan, a cityhood consolidated as district of Pyongtaek City. We found an appropriate place for lunch, where Jam enjoyed the play area more than the food.
We knew, of course that our visit to this CP was not the first one. But for us, there were apparent milestones achieved: first, it was our first family CP visit; and secondly, we just got a new name ‘G’-team for future CP visits and Geocache hunting! Next, we need to figure out what this G stands for. :)