16-Sep-2011 -- As we were meeting in the area to discuss our favorite topic--Geographic Information Systems in education--a confluence visit seemed like the perfect excuse to get into the field, even if the field meant someone's front yard! And thus, we were soon carpooling north on I-494 to I-694, north again, west along 34th Street North, north on Century, west again on Holloway, and north on Lakewood to Cowern, through the streets of North St Paul on a late summer's day. The day was partly overcast, but quite mild, and here I was with excellent colleagues. What could be finer?
This was the closest confluence to where we planned to meet to discuss GIS in education over the weekend. Plus, after ruining my camera in the rain during the last visit I made, about 7 years prior, I was anxious to get back to this point when the weather was better. It was definitely better today than the October day those years ago during a downpour. We parked our collective vehicles to the north of the "confluence house" and walked the short distance to the yard. So that nobody would be alarmed with the small army of people we brought, I knocked on the front door. A man opened the door. He was getting ready to go to work, but was quite amiable and had no problem with geographers in his front yard. Even so, we made haste, especially when it was clear that the tall trees would prohibit us from zeroing out any of the units we brought.
I had only been to 93 West a few times--here in Minnesota and in Iowa. But I had stood halfway to the pole from Oregon on the west to South Dakota, Minnesota, and New Hampshire and Maine on the east. It was a significant line of latitude! We all felt quite centered here and I am sure we will reflect fondly upon our collective memory years from now.
The weather was a bit hazy, but a warm 77 F (25 C). It must have been trash pick up day as the photographs show numerous bins on the street curbs. We took pictures while standing on 45 North and then also while standing on 93 West, separately. We determined that the closest we could reach the actual intersection of the latitude and longitude lines was near and inside the fence in the front yard, just south of one of the tall evergreens. It was amazing that, just like last time I was here, the tall evergreens effectively blocked the satellite signal. Even so, we were only a few meters from the actual confluence, and celebrated The Feeling of Centeredness. From the looks of things to the south and east, it looked to be trash-pick-up day in the neighborhood. It was a beautiful neighborhood with the trees just about ready to change colors for autumn. We spent about 15 minutes total on site and were soon on our way to our location where we would talk more about our favorite topic--GIS in education. Indeed a perfect way to get out in the field and break up the day!