20-Feb-2009 -- International Confluence Day: Down in the Delta, commemorating the 13th anniversary of the Degree Confluence Project
As was the case last year, once again I was planning an ambitious multi-confluence point effort in New England to mark the observance of International Confluence Day, even to the point of purchasing my plane ticket, and making a bunch of hotel reservations. However, as the day approached, this five state marathon was overwhelmed by a fast approaching March vacation that promised a chance at confluence hunting in Asia – certainly a first for me – and that’s where all my time and resources had to be diverted. So, on February 20th, in a much more modest effort, I found myself driving 191 miles from home to celebrate ICD on the Mississippi River’s Island No. 71.
Coming from Memphis or Oxford, four-lane roads bring you to Batesville, where turning west you quickly realize you are officially “in the delta” as you head toward Clarksdale, the birthplace of the blues.
I passed the crossroads of Highway 61 and Highway 49, where blues legend Robert Johnson was said to have sold his soul to the devil, and headed on southwest, humming the Bob Dylan classic “Highway 61 Revisited”:
Mack the Finger said to Louie the King,
“I got forty red white and blue shoe strings
And a thousand telephones that don't never ring.
Do you know where I can get rid of these things?”
And the King said “Let me think for a minute, son.
Why, yes, I think it can be easily done -
Just take 'em all out in the sun, down on Highway 61.”
At Duncan I turned right on MS Highway 444, then turned left at its T-intersection with MS Highway 1 (The Great River Road), just north of Deeson. Next came a right turn on Bunge Road [33-59.322N 90-54.072W], marked by a sign to Bunge-North America’s Hurricane Point plant. Bunge Road makes a really big curve to the right at 33-59.327N 90-55.711W before intersecting with (although I never saw a sign marking it) Amel Road. A left turn takes you to the top of the Mississippi River Levee at 33-59.777N 90-56.820W, and on to the target. I crossed an ox-bow lake on a narrow causeway at the base of the levee, passed a large pecan orchard spread out next to the road on the north, and followed dirt roads on a number of twists and turns at the edges, and through the center of freshly tilled fields.
You could not ask for a more beautiful pre-spring day to be out: not a cloud in the sky, just a slight breeze, and temperatures quickly heading to the mid-fifties F. A little over two miles from the levee, the road came within sight of a side channel of the Mississippi River. There was no indication when I passed from Mississippi into the loop of Arkansas now cut off from the rest of its state by the ever-changing river. At about 3.75 miles from the levee, I stopped almost on top of the cp, which I found located barely two meters from the road. On the whole, the area is unchanged since the initial Little-Castleberry visit in November 2001.
This was my ninth visit to a cp on International Confluence Day, each in a different state, a streak that has now extended intact over six years. Maybe I can make that long anticipated, often delayed trip to New England next year for 2/20/2010. If so, I can only hope for weather half as good as I enjoyed today in a little bit of Arkansas, east of the mighty Mississippi...