07-Mar-2001 -- The 35N 97W confluence spot lies in a lonely part of
southeastern Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma. It's about halfway between
Norman and Ada.
I accessed the confluence spot by driving east on State Highway 39,
then north along a lonely dirt road, NS338 Rd, then west another mile
along another remote dirt road, EW139 Rd. The surface was soft dirt,
and it's a good thing I didn't attempt the expedition after a rainstorm!
Since the Oklahoma survey lines (and thus, the grid roads) don't quite
follow latitude/longitude lines, I did not have the same luck that
Richard and Mark Rutledge did on their visit when they merely drove up
to neighboring 35N 96W. My confluence point sat 136 ft (41 m) south of
the road, behind a densely-netted fence with barbed wire to boot!
Climbing or squeezing through were not options! Thankfully upon driving
another hundred feet west I found a short iron gate over a cattle guard.
This provided easy access, and after a short jog across the field I was
standing at 35N 97W.
The confluence spot sits on rangeland in a wide-open cattle field,
just north of a large pond. The nearest cattle were half a mile away,
and this field was very quiet. Being located in the North Rover oil
fields, I saw numerous rusty pumpjacks and storage tanks nearby, however
they appeared to be abandoned by the oil companies (which is a common
occurrence in Oklahoma). The soil was intricately imprinted with cattle
hoofs, providing ample evidence that this was a "lounging"
spot near the pond 150 ft (46 m) to the south. I couldn't help
wondering how much oil was seeping out of the rusty tanks and into the
cattle's water supply ("Beef and bubblin' crude! It's what's for
The nearest residence was about half a mile to the west, invisible to
me at the time, and I didn't see any vehicle traffic on any of the
roads. It's unlike anyone would be noticed visiting this spot. I also
saw a white structure on the TerraServer images at the junction of the
two dirt roads nearby, but this doesn't seem to correspond to anything
that I saw when I visited.
As I left I noticed a dead coyote slung over a fence 25 feet (8 m)
west of the meridian, north of the road where I had parked. Since it
was at a fence corner it seemed apparent that it was placed there by a
rancher to deter other coyotes, however on closer examination I
couln't see any ropes or string holding the coyote up. It was cleverly
"locked" into place by its own weight through the fence
netting. Perhaps future visitors will find the skeleton (kind of a