23-Jan-2006 -- As I was in the Chicago area participating in a developers workshop for MyWorld Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software, a confluence visit seemed like an excellent way to end the trip. I had been discussing GPS, GIS, and spatial learning in a "think tank" with some of the smartest and most enjoyable colleagues from across the country that anyone could ask for. I left the workshop at Northwestern University at 11:00am, driving west, and by noon, I found myself in one of Chicago's northwestern suburbs, Elk Grove Village.
As I had done 19 months earlier with my favorite confluence hunters, I drove south from Interstate Highway 90 on Arlington Heights Road, east on Kennedy, and southwest on Brantwood Avenue. It was interesting to see the neighborhood in the winter this time, but quite a bit lonelier, as I was by myself. The snow that had fallen two days earlier lay on the lawns but had disappeared from the streets. After parking, a brief confluence dance took me to nearly the same spot as my previous visit: Just north of the center line of the street, near 70 Brentwood Avenue. For awhile, the confluence "drifted" to the lawn to the north, and I took a photograph of my confluence dance there. No cars passed during my site visit, making it easy to stand in different places in the street. Most folks must have been at work or school. The site is near O'Hare International Airport, and fittingly, one can hear an airplane in the movie I filmed.
The confluence lies on nearly level ground, sloping perhaps 5 degrees to the east. The ground cover has all been modified by humans--lawns, concrete, sand boxes, and gardens. Nevertheless, it was a fine midday and a beautiful neighborhood, surrounded by churches and parks, and really quite silent at this time of day. The temperature stood at 2 degrees C (35 degrees F) under clear skies.
I had been to 42 North several times in Nebraska, and 88 West in Michigan and Alabama. This Illinois confluence was my fourth truly urban confluence, along with my treks to Dallas, Washington DC, and Milwaukee.
After spending just 15 minutes at the site, I departed to the south and east to turn in the rental car and take off for Colorado. As it turned out, my flight was delayed and I could almost have taken in another confluence. I'm zeroing in on 100 confluences this year, a goal I've had since I began these quirky treks.