13-May-2001 -- On Mother's Day, 2001 I decided to try to find the closest confluence
point to my home in the Spokane Valley of Washington State. It was a nice
Spring day, overcast but with the sun peeking out occasionally.
I grabbed my Garmin GPS III+, fired up my BMW R1100GS "Adventure Touring"
motorcycle (which has a StreetPilot mounted on the crossbar), and headed towards
Blanchard, Idaho -- the closest settlement to 48 degrees North, 117 degrees
West, about 50 miles northeast of my home.
Blanchard is a tiny place in the Idaho panhandle, with just a convenience store
and a couple of seasonal businesses, at the intersection of Idaho 41 and a
scenic two-lane backroad that crosses the northern slopes of Mt. Spokane to the
east. This is rural country, and I'd guess a $100,000 home would be considered
a mansion there. Interestingly, there is a nice golf course southwest of
Blanchard, (Stoneridge) and I thought the confluence might even be on the green,
making it easy to find.
I discovered it was south of the golf course (about .390 minutes south of the
southern edge) so I circled around and found a farm road which led in the
correct direction to approach the confluence from the south. I parked the bike
in the forest, and hiked about 45 minutes up the mountainside, but couldn't
reach the confluence (which was due north but below me) due to the steep
terrain. Disappointed, I hiked back to the bike.
As I headed back to the highway, I noticed another dirt road which offered
promise. Luckly, it soon headed west towards a small lake. A tiny side "road"
(which I think serves as a cross-country ski trail in the winter) led to the
south side of the lake. There I parked, and hiked to the edge of the slope and
started climbing. It was extremely steep, and I had to use a game trail which
climbed the slope at a sharp angle. When I got to N48 00.000' I cut back
directly across the slope until I matched it with W117 00.000'. I captured the
GPS readout on my digital camera (Olympus C3030), shot some N/S/E/W photos, then
sat on a small slab of rock and soaked in the silence and the wonderful
springtime forest smells.
I figured some deer ticks would have latched a ride on me, but when I got home I
was pleased to discover I was tick-free! Made it home just in time for Mother's
Day dinner too.
This was fun. I think I'll try it again...