21-Jul-2001 -- I first heard about the Confluence Project from a neighbor in Virginia. He visited 36°N 77°W in North Carolina. I had plans to visit family in Kansas, so I searched the website for confluences nearby and convinced my siblings it would be fun. My brother, sister, her boyfriend and I set out with a map, aerial photo, handheld GPS, digital camera, and a wristband compass that would make the one out of the Lucky Charms cereal box look suitable for navigation.
The drive to the confluence near Potwin, Kansas was less than 30 minutes from my father’s house. Along the way we studied the aerial photo, which showed the confluence site to be located in a cultivated field at the front of a farm. As we passed by fields of corn that was nearly five feet tall and beginning to tassel, we began speculating on what had been planted this year in the field surrounding the confluence. My sister suggested a field of clover would be nice.
We drove straight to the site on a barely improved paved road called 120th Street. Standing on the side of the road looking out into a field of waist high milo we were already within the 100 meter visited tolerance, but the perfectionist in us all sought the exact GPS fix. We continued down the road another 50 meters or so and up the driveway to a beautiful old farm house to seek permission from the landowner. I was immediately designated spokesperson and polled my fellow adventures about which identity I should assume when asking to wade out into their field of sorghum; government agent from Virginia, global adventurer, or fellow Kansan. As a former Kansan, I stepped out of the vehicle with confluence project landowner’s permission slip in hand and knocked purposefully on their door. The residents were not home, so I retreated to the vehicle and we discussed our options. There weren’t any “No Trespassing” signs posted which we decided to broadly interpret as an invitation to trek the few meters into the field.
I walked South down the driveway until the handheld GPS read 38°00’00”N and pivoted to face West. My westward track took me about 50 meters into the field to get to 97°00’00”W. My sister’s friend had a handheld GPS also and when both of us were reading the exact fix we were standing approximately 8 meters apart in the field.