14-Mar-2015 -- As I was in the region to visit two colleges, and to talk with the education and geosciences faculty at each about the benefits of using geospatial technologies in teaching, learning, research, and campus administration, a confluence visit seemed like the perfect fit. And so, after my meetings and tour of the beautiful Augustana College campus in Rock Island, Illinois were completed, I drove south out of town on the Illinois side of the river, bound for 41 North 91 West.
I had scouted other nearby confluences, but as I love river bottomlands, and as I did not have a lot of time to devote to this expedition, and as 41 91 seemed to have few previous visitors, the destination was decided upon. I drove south on US Highway 67 past some wonderful gently rolling terrain to Monmouth, where I turned west into the lowering sun on US Highway 34 into Iowa. I crossed at the magnificent bridge at Burlington, and then turned north on the road that straddles the western edge of the Mississippi River floodplain. It was the perfect drive--one of the first warm days of the nearly spring season, and the sun lighting up the terrain off to the east as it was sinking to the west. This was State Highway 99, and I followed it to Meekers Landing Road. Turning east onto this dirt road, I proceeded to 40th Avenue and then took Lake Road to the northeast. My plan was to approach the point from the east, where there was a wildlife refuge, hoping to tap into the public aspect of that spot.
I parked just north of the wildlife refuge, gathered a few items, and set off to the west. No fence existed right there, and I decided to skirt the north side of the field to the south, where I knew the confluence would lie. I walked west along a dry field, not yet planted in anything, for which I was grateful; I'm always sensitive to agriculture and stepping on anything meant to be growing. In less than 15 minutes, I was doing the confluence dance, and because I only had my phone with me and not my GPS receiver, it was nearly impossible to zero out the phone. I spent at least 25 minutes trying to do so, enjoying the warm afternoon. No people or animals were in sight, and it was a late winter day, just a week before the Vernal Equinox. The confluence is in the northwest section of this field and I was glad I approached from the east, as the field to the north had been planted in a crop already.
I love Iowa. I had a nice collection of Iowa confluence points, at least 7 or so, and now this one. I had stood on 41 North from Utah to the west to New Jersey to the east, and on 91 West from Wisconsin to the north to Louisiana to the south. This was a beautiful spot, just as I imagined it would be, and I was thankful that it was so easily attained. I was reluctant to depart but I had a long drive back to the Quad Cities. Before doing so, I walked to the entrance of the wildlife refuge, and then took some different dirt roads back to Highway 99. In the Quad Cities once more after sundown, I had taken the Iowa roads all the way back. This visit was indeed a fitting way to end the day at Augustana College!