05-Aug-2004 -- We took a road trip from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada to visit our daughters - one in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. and one in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This is one of fourteen successful confluence visits along the way.
We left the Pennsylvania Turnpike at exit 110 and drove through the town of Sommerset to get onto Highway 31. A short distance south of town we turned east onto Stutzmantown Road. We did not have to drive far along the road before we came to the confluence area. Since it was posted as "No Trespassing" we went to the home immediately to the east, behind the row of pine trees, to seek permission to go on the land. John and Linda Stoner live there. John came out to greet us, talked for a while, and gave us permission to explore on Spoerlein Farm which is owned by his wife Linda and her two brothers. John and Linda have lived in the "confluence home' for 27 years. They have a travel agency, J & L's Jaunts and Journeys, a Christian Tour Company. John did not realize his property had been featured on the confluence site.
The confluence is approximately 18 meters north of Stutzmantown Road in an area of tall grasses, various wild flowers and plants. A hill to the north provided a good overview photo from about 500 meters. Wind turbines can be seen on the horizon to the south as well as vehicles driving along the Turnpike. The land south of Stutzmantown Road is managed by Ducks Unlimited as a wildlife refuge.
Along Stutzmantown Road, 3.8 kilometers (2.6 miles) east of the confluence, is the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel. Flight 93 was the plane headed for San Francisco when it was hijacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001. It was flying towards Washington DC when the terrorists were overpowered by passengers and crew who heard reports over their cell phones of the horrific events at the World Trade Building and the Pentagon. It crashed into the ground in a fireball of flames just 10.5 kilometers (6.5 miles) northeast of this confluence. All forty of the passengers and crew have been lauded as heroes. A temporary memorial is set up to honor the victims at the crash site.
John Stoner, resident at the "confluence home", told us that when he first heard of the crash he climbed the hill behind his house and saw the black smoke rising from the site. He says it has changed the lives of everyone in the town of Shanksville, 8.5 kilometers (5 miles) from the confluence, and the surrounding area. We noticed that almost every home in Shanksville has patriotic symbols - American flags and red, white and blue bunting decorating their verandahs, homes and gardens. Many local residents voluntarily staff the temporary memorial to answer questions and provide a human point of contact for the thousands of visitors who come to the site each week. Others take care of the chapel and over 12,000 memorial items left at the temporary memorial.