05-Jun-2018 -- As I was in Kentucky for a week of promoting geospatial technology, and as the confluence project is all about and would not be possible without geospatial technology, I considered it my duty to visit a point in Kentucky before departing its soil in a few days. Therefore, after a wonderful day visiting and teaching at Western Kentucky University, on my way back to Louisville, I made an attempt at 37 North 86 West. I had worked a full day, awakening at 4:30am. Now, the sun was sinking lower in the west. Would I have enough daylight to visit the point?
From Bowling Green and the WKU campus, I drove northeast on I-65 to the Cumberland Parkway, and then cut to the southeast. The sun angle was making everything golden and the karst hills covered with trees were beautiful. Just west of Glasgow I saw the confluence field to the right but had to wait a few more miles to exit, and once I did so, drove south and then west on Road 1297. Then it was five minutes on Bishop Road to the lane just south of the Parkway, where I stopped and gathered supplies. I could hear farm machinery in the direction of my point. The field here had been newly cut. I walked up the lane toward the southeast, paralleling where I had driven about 15 minutes before. What were the odds that the very field the confluence lies in would actively be mowed during my visit? Yet that is what was happening: As I crested the hill, I could see a large mowing machine cutting the grass there, which I assumed would be baled by another piece of machinery later. I debated what to do; the sun was getting lower and lower, and decided to flag down the person operating the machinery the next time he cut near me.
The operator was a man much younger than I; maybe in his mid to late 20s; I explained my mission and we had an amiable chat. I was very relieved, after making a special trip to be here; he granted me permission to visit. I could not resist asking him some questions about this large device he was riding. He said he seeded the field with some purple flowers because the cattle liked the grass better that way; which I thought was a nice touch. The blades were encased in sheathing, surely they were ferociously sharp, hence for safety reasons. Making sure I wasn't in his way or in the way of the blades, I made haste to the center of this field; it had not yet been cut. The operator told me to make sure I didn't fall into the sinkhole just west of the point, so I took care, and still wearing my work clothing, waded into the chest high grass. Fortunately it was pretty soft without thorns. I did see some of the purple flowers. When I found the point I had to reflect that it was one of the most beautiful I had ever seen.
The temperature was about 80 F here in late Spring, just slightly hot and humid, with almost completely blue skies and only a light wind here at the end of the day. There was some parkway highway noise, and the mowing machine even closer, but all was peaceful otherwise. The view especially to the northwest was wonderful; there were some trees to the south. The point lies on land sloping about 8 degrees west toward the sinkhole and to the northwest.
I had stood on 37 North many times in the past, from California on the west to Virginia on the east. I had stood on 86 West just a few times, from Michigan on the north to the north bank of the Ohio River in Indiana on the south. This was the furthest south I had stood on 86 West. This point was also significant for me as it linked my north-central block of confluence points with those I have visited in the south-central (Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee). I have several points by now in Kentucky that I have visited; all were beautiful. I was on the point for only 10 minutes, then walked west, and had one more chat with the landowner. I told him where the point had been located and wished him well. I had such a pleasant time walking back to the vehicle that I filmed a few videos such as me singing "Blue Moon of Kentucky."
I had a peaceful drive back due north to I-65 from the point, crossing under the parkway right after returning to the vehicle, and passing through some wonderful rural terrain. I arrived back in Louisville long after dark but had a magnificent day at Western Kentucky University, the arboretum, with the data science analysts at Fruit of the Loom, and to this confluence point. Get out there onto the landscape!