29-Mar-2014 -- As we had just arrived in Iowa on this day, landing at the Des Moines airport a few hours earlier, and as I would be speaking with some faculty at Grinnell College about geotechnologies, while Lilia attended meetings at the college, a confluence visit seemed like the perfect starting point for our trip. After I had a muddy hike to the point 1 degree to the west, and after a delightful stop at the Panera Bread in Ames, we were heading east toward Grinnell. This confluence stop would be very easy as it was practically on the way, traveling as we were on US Highway 30, a road rich in history and geography.
I love the terrain of Iowa, and today was a magnificent day to be in the field. The weather was clear, and fairly warm after the very cold winter that the folks here, as well as most others in the eastern 2/3 of the USA, had experienced this year. You could almost hear the terrain sighing with relief to be finally rid of its burden of snow. We exited US 30 at State Highway 330, traveled northeast for a mile, and then turned south on Marsh Ave. The terrain was slightly rolling here in central Iowa and most of the landscape was devoted to farming and ranching. We crossed over US 30 and the road turned to gravel. We stopped a few dozen meters past the confluence, gathered supplies, and set off.
We found the confluence point without much difficulty. We discovered it near where I had found it during my previous visit here: On the embankment on the west side of the road. This time, though, we found it about 7 meters south of where I had found it before. We located it on the west side of the gully to the west of the north-south road. The temperature was about 62 F (17 C) under clear skies and a slight-to-moderate wind blowing. This was my second Iowa confluence since the four that I obtained while teaching GIS and GPS here in 2009, which followed one earlier visit around 2005, and now I was up to what I calculated to be 7 total visits in the state. This point at 42 North 93 West was my one and only repeat visit. I had stood on 42 North many times before, from Wyoming on the west to Massachusetts on the east, but on 93 West only a few times before, in Minnesota and here in Iowa. We took photos and a video and were on site about 15 minutes. We saw no people and no animals. A few far away farmhouses were visible and the views were quite lovely in all directions, particularly to the west, with the sun getting lower. It was around 3:00pm. It was good to be back on this spot again, about a month earlier than the other time I had been here, back in 2009, but under similar pleasant conditions.
After visiting the point, I created two ultra-nerdy geography videos, one entitled "You really ought to give Iowa a try," imitating the song from the musical "The Music Man," and then singing the song "Old 30" by CW McCall on the bridge overlooking US Highway 30. Once these enjoyable tasks had been completed, we drove north, southwest to be able to access US Highway 30 once more, and soon were passing under the bridge we had just crossed over. At LeGrand, we turned south on State Highway 146 to Grinnell. Our adventures of the day were not quite over yet, as I made a few videos underneath I-80, discussing transportation geography. This was followed by a tour of the Grinnell College campus, and a visit to the excellent Candyland Station, a gas station in Grinnell that had been converted to a diner. It was indeed a magnificent day.