This is the second of a two-confluence trip. The first was at 39N 95W.
on a trip to the U.S. with my wife, we stopped in Kansas City, MO for a couple
of days. While my wife was in meetings, I took the opportunity to track down the
two closest confluences, this one near Odessa, MO and one in Kansas near
Linwood. This trip was part of a multi-stop US trip where I was able to pick up
my recumbent bicycle that has been in storage since 1998. I decided that I
wanted tackle this confluence without reading the previous reports so that it
would totally fresh to me. After I post this report, I will read the previous
worked in Kansas City as a traffic engineer from 1986-89 and had only been back
once in the interim. Cruising the streets I once patrolled was a bit like deja
vu, old names returning to me like passing ships in the fog.
at 9:00 AM from the Hyatt in downtown at 27th and MacGee, I headed east on 27th
Street through the rundown neighborhoods of the east side. Despite being
"rush hour," the roads were eerily quiet with a few people hanging
around on the sidewalks. My recumbent drew quite a bit of attention as I passed.
made my way to 31st Street and then to Truman Road (Route 40). In Independence,
the crank on my recumbent came loose and I stopped at a car repair garage to ask
for assistance. Most mechanics, when they see my bike express some interest, but
at this particular garage, the mechanic was in a surly mood and didn't feel like
helping, but did in the end and even refused payment. I suppose the sticker on
the front on my bike that says "CARS ARE STUPID" didn't help matters
again underway, I stopped again at a convenience store where a helpful attendant
offered water and I made me laugh, so I bought a huge bear claw donut; the first
one in more ten years.
a strong tail wind pushing me along I made rapid progress through the names of
the past: Lee's Summit, Blue Springs, and Grain Valley, all places I cycled
years ago. When I got to Oak Grove, I stopped at the Apple Grocery for some food
and was greeted with outright hostility by the cashier. Later, while passing
through the east side of town, a school bus passed and I was rained with trash
and insults by the students heading home for lunch.
Bates City, I had to leave the paved roads and head east on County Road 445. It
was bumpy going on the recumbent with a few hills along the way. Mapquest
indicated that I needed to turn north on County Road 421. The area was rural
farmland with a few houses along the way. Bates City boasts a population of 142
people, fewer than the number of condos in my building in China. These are the
north to the bend in the road, I was happy to see that the nearest house at
least a half a mile away. At the bend, there was a cable across an entrance and
thankfully without any dreaded "NO TRESPASSING" signs. A 45' trailer
was parked just inside the entrance and I parked my bike behind out of sight
from the road. There was a farmhouse in sight about a quarter of a mile across
the field and I watched for people coming out to investigate, but no one
appeared. The CP is about 300 meters inside the property and the land looks like
it has been used for growing hay thankfully short now. The CP was nearby (but
fortunately not in) a small pond.
obtain the satisfying zeros on the GPS with a minimum of dancing around and then
sat down to a well-earned lunch of a series of peanut butter and bananas
sandwiches. Unlike the confluence points I hunt in China, there are no
celebratory fireworks. The sun was hot; the shade was scarce, so after a short
break, I headed back to the trailer where my bike was parked. While I haven't
done anything illegal that I know of, I am happy to have found the confluence
point without detection. My luck with the locals was decidedly tenuous, and it
seems I would have a hard time convincing anyone of the innocuous nature of my
mission. Foolishly, I neglected to bring the DCP explanatory letter, but luckily
I didn't need it.
trailer had the words painted on the back, "This is MY-TE-FINE
ride back was significantly more difficult due to an ever-stronger headwind
coming from the west. Also, I had told my wife that I would be back before 5 PM.
returned exactly the same way, which allowed me to notice a number of things I
missed on the way to the CP. Not far from the CP is a cluster of earth-sheltered
houses with their south-facing fronts soaking up the bright sunshine.
half-way back, as I was passing through Lee's Summit, I was overcome with the
desire to take a break and, not realizing how exhausted I was, stopped and
virtually collapsed along the side of the road in front of a chiropractor's
office. I was laying there for some time, and perhaps even dosed off for a bit
when I heard an approaching siren and then decided to get up and continue on my
way. As I was mounting the bike the patrol car was passing by and then suddenly
swerved over to my side and screeched to a stop beside me. I was rather
stupefied by all this and thought something must have happened nearby, when the
two pot-bellied officers sporting mirror sunglasses told me to stop where I was.
Things were getting curiouser and curiouser. They asked me for my ID and what I
was doing here. I gave them my brand new Massachusetts driver's license, which
caused a bit of a stir. I was glad I didn't give them my China driver's license.
I told them I had been cycling all day out to Odessa and I was tired so I
decided to take a rest for a few minutes.
told me that had a report that it looked like someone was dead lying on the side
of the road. This made me laugh, but with my me and recumbent sprawled on the
side of the road, I could see how someone could come to the conclusion cruising
by at 40 miles an hour.
I assured them I was very much alive, next came the interrogation, asking where
and why was I going to Odessa on my bike. So then I started to explain about the
Degree Confluence Project and they wanted to know how much I get paid to do
this. They were flabbergasted to hear I received no pay, but then wanted to see
my GPS. After about 20 minutes of using public security resources and getting a
clean bill on my driver's license they wished me good luck and let me go. The
rest of the return trip was uneventful and I returned to the Hyatt dead beat. After a much needed shower I collapsed on the
ends the second of my two-confluence point trip to the U.S. in March 2005