09-Jun-2001 -- After an unsuccessful attempt at N41W105 by John and Dave on 6/8/2001, John, his
son-in-law Dave, and Dave's friend Brian set off for N41W104. The confluence is in
Colorado, just south of the Nebraska/Colorado state line. As we were preparing to leave,
the TV was posting a severe storm warning for the target area. We intrepid confluence
seekers would be undeterred by the threat of severe weather, marauding herds of plains
bison (popularly called buffalo), and shotgun-wielding ranch owners.
We left Cheyenne, Wyoming and headed east for Pine Bluffs, just this side of Nebraska.
We got rain on Interstate 80 and hoped we could outrun the storm enough to visit the
confluence before the storm got there. We exited the interstate at Pine Bluffs and
proceeded south towards the confluence along county roads that digressed from
pavement, to dirt, to tire tracks in grass.
After half a mile or so on the tire tracks, the GPS said we were about a quarter mile due
north of the confluence (photo #2). We had planned to come in south of the confluence
on a road that was just a few hundred yards from the confluence. Since we were so close,
we decided to cross the barbed wire fence and hike the quarter mile to the confluence
rather than driving around anymore. We passed through high grasses, weeds and
remnants of agricultural endeavors. We were at the confluence in just a few minutes.
The confluence is in the middle of a grassy field, much like the miles of terrain we had
driven through. There is little interesting to see from the confluence, but by moving south
about a hundred feet, we could see ranch buildings to the west and some machinery to the
south. Dave and Brian made a small cairn at the confluence (photo #4) while John took
pictures. After waking back, Dave took advantage of his 4X4 by simply turning around
in the rutted road, causing considerable concern among the passengers, and exiting the
same way we came in.
Having conquered the confluence, we decided to see Panorama Point, the biggest nearby
"landmark". This point is the highest elevation in Nebraska at 5424 feet above sea level.
It wasn't much of a hill, but it is the highest around. The point is marked with a stone
monument and a rusty old desk that said "Register here" in faded letters. We would have
registered, but the desk didn't have any paper. Dave settled for trying to get his truck as
dirty as possible by aiming for mud at high speed on the descent back to the main road.
As we left Panorama Point, we looked at the entrance signs. One featured bison meat for
sale at the nearby ranch. Dave and Brian figured bison steaks would be good for dinner.
We drove a quarter mile or so to the High Point Bison Ranch (photo #6) and knocked on
the door about 0.4 miles west of the confluence. We were greeted by Jill Klawonn who
runs the ranch with her husband Glen. We explained that we had just been to the
confluence. Jill said that it was on their property, as they owned the nearby land in all
directions. She wasn't surprised to hear about the confluence as a geography class had
been there some time ago. There was no problem being on the property in a vehicle, but
hiking and biking are not permitted due to possible bison attacks. Of course, we learned
this AFTER we had visited the confluence... However, the area we crossed appeared to
have been used for farming and we didn't find any evidence of bison having been there
(cow pies, meadow muffins, etc.). Any future confluence visitors should stop at the ranch
first and not risk a bison attack.
With bison steaks in the cooler, we started back, stopping at Uncle Fred's Restaurant in
Pine Bluffs for lunch. We topped off lunch with chocolate peanut butter pie we won't
soon forget. As we drove back to Cheyenne, we realized we had completely missed the
Despite the featureless terrain, we decided that the confluence visit, Panorama Point,
buying bison steaks at the ranch, and lunch at Uncle Fred's made an enjoyable and
different road trip.