30-Aug-2013 -- I was on a Great Plains confluence expedition and truly enjoying some time on the highways and byways. The current byway I was on was a state highway in New Mexico, but the population density was so low that it was gravel for at least 20 miles. For an hour, I had only met 2 vehicles traveling the other direction. I did encounter a series of objects moving across the road at several points--upon closer inspection, they turned out to be swarms of enormous caterpillars. This was State Highway 456, winding through the buttes and valleys of the extreme northeastern part of the state. I entered Oklahoma and drove through Kenton. I turned left, or north, on the road indicating the turn to Black Mesa, and also a wonderful sign that indicated "Colorado--that way". By the time I drove north toward the confluence, the temperature really was heating up.
I passed a block of connected buildings that looked like an attempt to re-create the Old West as a hotel or resort, but it was vacant. A good place for a movie set, I thought. I kept driving but on my return, stopped for a photograph. Black Mesa, the highest land in Oklahoma, loomed to my left. The road was barely over one lane and I was nearly mowed down by an enormous truck heading my way--what it was hauling out here, I could not imagine. I drove through an abandoned farmstead and the turn off to a trailhead, but anticipation rose as the road bent to the northwest, toward the Colorado State Line. I turned west on a gravel road that seemed a bit too sandy for my car--I hoped I wouldn't get stuck out here. I drove past 103 West, turned around, and stopped there on the side of the road. Donning sunblock and gathering supplies, I walked northeast along the road and then through the prairie, and within 10 minutes was standing at the confluence point.
The confluence lies on flat ground, not far from the east-west road. A cairn lies a short distance from the location where I found the confluence on this day, clearly marking 37 North 103 West with rocks and a small metal object. There were magnificent views in all directions of mesas and buttes. The temperature was about 95 F (35 C) under clear skies and a light hot breeze. I had been to 37 North in California, Missouri, Arizona, Colorado, and over in Tunisia, and to 103 West from North Dakota down to this point. This confluence made my third along the Colorado-New Mexico border that I had visited. This was my first time at this confluence. I hoped I could return but it was doubtful as it was so out of the way. I was glad for the fairly good road from Kenton, as I had considered coming south to this point from Springfield, Colorado. The latter surely would have been on a gravel road much of the way. I saw no animals at the confluence, and no people. And fortunately, no snakes. Two trucks had passed me on the gravel road during my approach. It was just before noon local time.
After about 15 minutes, I made my exit. My car had a bit of trouble starting, which alarmed me a bit, as it would be a long time before I could be rescued out here. The engine was probably just very hot. After about 3 minutes driving, I saw a sign on my way back east that made me laugh: Speed Limit 55. That posted speed limit was much too fast for this road, which was only slightly wider than one lane and containing numerous curves. Slowing for numerous cattle guards, I made my way down to Kenton, and resumed my drive east. The buttes and mesas began to disperse and we were on the High Plains--nothing but sagebrush and shortgrass prairie, with ruts from those who passed this way before me on the Santa Fe Trail. This was some of the most remote and fantastic terrain I have traversed! It was a magnificent day.