the Degree Confluence Project

United States : Tennessee

5.6 miles (9.0 km) SW of Bellevue (Davidson), Williamson, TN, USA
Approx. altitude: 209 m (685 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreeMap topo aerial ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 36°S 93°E

Accuracy: 250 m (820 ft)
Quality: good

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: View looking up valley between trees #3: Natchez Trace Bridge nearby #4: Sheltowee (and Dodger on right) on Walkabout of America

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  36°N 87°W (visit #1) (incomplete) 

#1: Gate blocking entry to valley with degree confluence point

(visited by Steve Becker)

16-Oct-2001 -- Planned on hitting a degree confluence in SW Michigan (42°N 86°W) on the way back from Homecoming at my alma mater, Valparaiso University, on October 14, 2001, but that point got nabbed two weeks before my trip (I'm based in the Washington DC area, but there aren't any degree confluence points left anywhere near me).

Planned for a major detour (doubling my travel distance) to the next nearest degree confluence point in NW Tennessee (36°N 89°W). The shortest route there would take me over the Mississippi River for the first time (I've taken some perverse pleasure in having avoided it until now, even though I've been to Europe, various Caribbean islands and Canada--joking how the East Coast is the "right side" of the U.S. while the West is the "wrong side" ;-) Given that this would be my first crossing of the "Mighty Mississippi", I detoured on Sunday (14 Oct 01) to St. Louis for a day and a half to spend with a cousin and her family, and to make my "first time across" a lot of fun (very successful and amusing, as that first time turned into six times the first afternoon--a little navigational trouble because we were gabbing too much :-)

On the morning of 16 Oct 01, checked the website to show my cousin and her husband the project and the point I was going for, and found that someone else had snuck in and nabbed it the day after I could have, and a day before I had altered my plan to. Darn. The next point East is in the middle of the Tennessee River, so that wasn't happening; and the next one in was just off my plotted return route from the one I just got beaten to. I planned to check that out enroute back home to Washington DC, but now it was the only goal left in my time window.

Got there late in the afternoon of 16 Oct 01, and found that the entire valley with the degree confluence point was apparantly owned by a corporation, Traceland, Ltd. Inc., with "No Trespassing" signs and a gate (9160 Hestor Beasley Road). I got very lucky and managed to intercept on his way off the property a worker who only visited that site every couple weeks, and explained the project. While he didn't have a problem with it, the decision about permission would have to be made by the company headquarters, and I should see the regular caretakers of the property when they arrived in the morning.

Having some daylight to kill, I explored the area. The historic Natchez Trace Parkway and bridge run close behind the target valley, so I wandered along there a bit. I ran into Dan "Sheltowee" Rogers on his Walkabout of America in the shadow of the Natchez Trace Bridge. We exchanged info on the projects we were engaged in bringing us together there (our meeting is mentioned in his online journal for Phase I, on 16 Oct 01).

Seeing that the parkway is part of the National Park Service, I hoped maybe a fair amount of land around it was also national park land, and so tried to do an overland penetration from south of the degree confluence point. However, I got stopped by signs within a couple hundred feet informing me that the company's land extended all the way down here too, so I turned back.

I got to the gate early in the morning, and explained the project to the caretakers when they arrived. They didn't see a problem with it, but would have to call their headquarters to get permission. In comparing my maps plotting the degree confluence with his map of the land owned by the company, the point is pretty much smack dab in the middle of the huge sprawling property. A couple hours later I was informed by him that headquarters' reply was "absolutely do not let anybody onto the property", so the mission was a bust.

GPS reading of the front gate of the property, the closest I could get to the degree confluence point, was 36-00.891°N 87-00.681°W. I took a couple pictures of the gate and up the valley between some trees, and headed home

 All pictures
#1: Gate blocking entry to valley with degree confluence point
#2: View looking up valley between trees
#3: Natchez Trace Bridge nearby
#4: Sheltowee (and Dodger on right) on Walkabout of America
ALL: All pictures on one page