22-Nov-2010 -- Knee deep in Riley Creek! After completing successful visits to River Raisin National Battlefield Park, America’s newest national park unit, and 41N 83W, it is time to turn around and begin the twelve hour drive back to Mississippi. So far this month I have logged six confluence visits, with the extremities being eleven degrees of latitude and 850 miles apart. Re-entering Ohio on Interstate Highway 75, we cross the Maumee River, zooming past Toledo and Bowling Green. At Findlay, I notice, from there to Lima, I-75 forms the hypotenuse of a right triangle with the town of Ottawa at its apex. I recall interesting pictures of a confluence point near Ottawa that sits in an upper tributary of the Maumee. And if A2+ B2 = C2, then my quick mental calculation says A + B = not that far out of the way; and with the unseasonable later fall temperatures, this might be a great day for my November Visit #7.
We head west on US-224, then take a number of zigzag turns on a bunch of strangely named narrow local roads: County Highway 6, L, 5L, and, finally, Township Road K-6, which brings me to the bridge over Riley Creek. We drive across and then turn around. Cynthia is always excited when she can check off a successful visit while still sitting in the car. We park east of the bridge, and I walk back to see if my lean can bag ten zeroes. I can’t reach it from the bridge, so I try the west bank of Riley Creek, and then head back across the bridge to try from the east side. On all sides, no luck: my predecessor who achieved ten zero success from dry land must have some very long arms… Or perhaps, as this is the first visit without leaves on the surrounding trees, the better satellite reception is keeping the signal from bouncing around as much.
I am about to resign myself to a less than fully satisfying visit, when Cynthia points out the water can’t be that cold. I then remember my all-time favorite DCP photo: Matt Taylor chest-deep in an Alaska pond at 62N 150W. A close look at the clear waters of Riley Creek reveals a mostly sandy, level bottom, which can’t be over waist deep, probably less. I head back to the car to trade my Class A confluence hunting attire for something more appropriate for the task ahead. Twenty-seven feet from the west bank, just about equidistant from the bridge and two banks, I’m looking at N 41o 00.000’ W084o00.000’. Ah, success!