05-May-2004 -- A weekend rock-collecting trip south of Riyāḍ lead, unexpectedly, to a secondary visit to this Confluence. As we were driving down the road, Tom who was watching the GPS commented that we'd soon be crossing the Tropic of Cancer (23.5 degrees north latitude). Until then, on this particular trip, I had not thought about visiting a Confluence, and Tom was unaware of the Degree Confluence Project. I asked, "What is our longitude?" Tom replied that we were nearly on longitude 47 degrees east.
Knowing that we had more than another 50 km to reach our destination, I asked Tom to program in 23N 47E and hit the "Go To" button on my GPS. Then I told him about the Degree Confluence Project. To our surprise we were almost headed directly to the Confluence on the major highway!
It was even more of a surprise when we got to where we had originally planned to turn off the main highway and found that it was only about 5 km from the Confluence. At that point we couldn't resist, as the terrain was an almost perfectly flat pea-gravel plain. So with Tom navigating, we drove almost onto the Confluence, then got out of my Hyundai Galloper (OK, laugh... but so far I've kept up with all my friends in their Landrovers!) and zeroed in on the exact point. We took the obligatory cardinal points' photos and then were on our way with barely a detour from our original travel plans.
The next few days were spent driving for hours out into the desert to collect rock samples, and at one point we were less than 10 km from another Confluence, 23N 46E, but time would not permit us to make this detour.
Although it was late in the spring for a trip to the desert, recent rain had dusted the desert with a smear of green grass and little yellow flowers that seemed oddly out of place in the searing heat. One of the many exciting aspects of the trip was witnessing a very large dust devil (called Genie Sticks, by the Bedouins) which persisted for more than half an hour and extended for an estimated 1000 feet (300 m) into the sky. It was directly on our path but moving away from us so we were never able to get close enough for a very good photo. Another exciting side benefit was visiting some stone structures high atop a jabal that just happened to be at a site where we were collecting rock samples. These structures are said to date from around 200 BC.