My wife and I wanted to take a drive to Nebraska City and east to the beautiful Loess Hills of Iowa. I thought this might be a good opportunity to visit my first confluence in the State of Iowa. The day was bright and sunny with cool temperatures in the high 30’s F and strong winds gusting to 40 mph.
We left our home in southeast Nebraska and headed southeast on NE Hwy 2 toward Nebraska City and the Missouri River. We crossed the Missouri River and continued eastward to the famous Loess Hills with the intention of approaching the confluence of 41N 95W from the south. We proceeded east to the intersection of Hwy 2 and Hwy 275. The Loess Hills Scenic Byway is a beautiful drive comprised of Hwy 275 as the spine road and many loop roads to the scenic areas. We proceeded north on 275 enjoying the views in this rare land from that resulted from windblown earth deposited against the ice during the last period of glaciation. The soil erodes into cat steps on some slopes, and into very steep hillsides on others. Near the town of Sidney we again joined Hwy 2 and proceeded east toward the town of Clarinda and then turned north on Hwy 71. We reached the town of Villisca, went north to the intersection with Rd 205 and turned west having passed 41N. We turned south at T Ave and continued south to 41N. We came upon a small stream flowing to the east to join the nearby West Nodaway River. I was uncertain which side of this stream the confluence was on. The fields either side of the stream were covered with corn stubble. A quick check of the GPS showed the C.P. was on the north side, so I turned around and parked by the side of the road near what I thought was a field drive, but later learned was marked on the maps as a continuation of T Ave that turned east following the north bank of the stream to a dead end in the field.. On the drive northbound on Hwys 275 and 71 we noted a very dark cloud front to the north that seemed to be moving southward. It looked very likely that heavy rain could be coming. I hoped I could complete the hike to the confluence point without getting soaked.
The GPS showed the C.P. lay 0.22 mi to the ENE from where we parked our vehicle. My wife had a minor foot surgery earlier in the day did not wish to attempt the hike over the uneven ground. The confluence was in a stubble field that was muddy, but well covered with corn stalks and leaves from the recent harvest. There had been heavy rains the night before the visit, but I was pleased to see that the field was quite passable without me gaining several inches of height from accumulation of mud on my boots. However, the heavy clouds were now over us and the beautiful sunshine was gone. It was very dark and I was concerned that my photos would be too dark. As I started into the field, the going was easy, but I did need to cross the corn rows to get a bit north to the point. As is the usual case on the prairie, the GPS was easily zeroed out. The crop rows were not exactly east and west, so I used my compass to orient the photos of the cardinal points. The cardinal points are therefore centered on the horizon in the directional photos. I also set my zoom lens to 55mm (the 35mm equivalent of 89mm) on the digital camera in an effort to get more of the distant scenery in the photos. While I made the photos a few sprinkles of rain fell. The wind was raw and cold at the C. P. I saw no people, birds, or animals while I was in the field. There was a harvest crew working at grain bins perhaps a half mile to the north and I could hear the noise of their machinery, perhaps an auger or grain dryer. I returned to my vehicle and made a few more photos of the surroundings. As we were about to pull onto the road, a large tractor passed. The driver gave us a friendly wave, which I returned; but he did not stop. He continued north to where the other men were working. My photos showed that I first zeroed out my GPS at about 3:38 P.M. CST, and took my last photo at 3:57 P.M. CST (I note that my camera is set to CDT) prior to departing.
We then returned to the town of Villisca and stopped at a convenience store for refreshments. We had enjoyed the Loess Hills, and the confluence hunt. On the trip home we were treated to a very lovely, lingering sunset that silhouetted buildings, grain bins, and trees along Iowa Hwy 2 adding a perfect conclusion to a successful confluence visit.