26-Apr-2001 -- How many engineers does it take to find the 29 N 81 W confluence?
On April 26, 2001 it took three guided by a five year old boy. Mark Snaufer, Andy Kimball, Matt Pantone and Matt's son Conner left from the intersection of Florida SR 528 and Hwy. 1 around 4:40 p.m. on the 26th. After a drive of 40 miles north on I-95, we took exit 84 to Highway 44 West. The energy of a 5 year old is amazing as Conner sang, talked and laughed the whole way. Passing several gated dirt roads to the south of us, we found an open dirt road leading south toward the confluence (1 mile to the west of I-95 on Highway 44). Although we did not take Matt's 4x4, we had the penultimate offroad vehicle, a rental car.
Taking the dirt road, we passed by a small pond and drove about 0.5 miles south toward the confluence. The road ended but a dirt trail was located just due east on the other side of a drainage ditch. We jumped the ditch and began our hike. At 29°00.242' N and 81°00.443' we noticed a fire break trail leading toward the confluence. The land gradually became more and more swampy and the trail became less obvious the deeper we walked toward the confluence. Conner got the piggyback ride on Matt's shoulders and said he would warn us if Godzilla approached which greatly heartened us.
As we approached the confluence, we found out that not all of Florida is in a drought as we began stepping in ankle deep water and the confluence welcoming committee of mosquitoes arose from their slumber. Matt found out why one should not wear a brightly colored shirt in mosquito country and we all swatted at the bugs. The combination of bugs, trees and water finally forced us to stop short of the confluence but within distance to lay claim to it (29°00.052' N 80°59.996' W). After taking pictures and paying the mosquito confluence toll, we hastily departed to the fire trail where the wind kept the mosquitoes away.
All in all it was a good time at the expense of some mosquito bites. Conner had a good time because he got to go on an adventure with his dad, get dirty and push his toy truck around in the mud. What more could a five year old boy ask for ? The three engineers had a good time because they got to go on an adventure, get dirty and play with their GPS gadgets. What more could an engineer ask for ?