13-May-2021 -- As the COVID situation precluded travel for so many months, and as a geographer I was longing to get into the field, I am pleased to report that I finally was able to get there. I launched into the Great Plains in May 2021 to visit confluences, back roads, state lines, grain bins, railroad depots, state parks, and other out of the way places. Plus, my goal was to visit unvisited (by me anyway) points in the Great Plains of the USA. The nearest unvisited points to me were 10 hours drive. By 1:00pm local time, I had visited 1° north of this point - 38° north 98° west. Now I was en route to a point on the Oklahoma - Kansas border. On the way from 38° north to 37° north, I passed through some wonderful roads named Boundary and other geographic names. I didn’t know if that was a coincidence or not. But there were some beautiful small towns, wheat fields, cornfields, and some pasture land. In addition, I should have stopped at the abandoned drive-in theater now used for storing agricultural equipment. Ah well: I was in a bit of a hurry because I wanted to pick up several confluences today, having had a dearth of visits for the past 15 months.
Anticipation rose as the road I was driving on along a section line traveling due south made a 90° turn to the east. I knew this was the Kansas Oklahoma state boundary. I skirted Manchester Oklahoma on its north end. Manchester contains a very large grain elevator for the size of the town. I continued on what was now a one lane gravel road heading east. As there was no traffic, I was able to, while I was driving, film a video, where I could see Kansas on the left and Oklahoma on the right. To a Geographer, driving on a boundary is a great thrill. The road was passable in a rental car but I wouldn’t want to come out here in such a vehicle in rain or snow. As I neared the confluence intersection, off to my left was a series of structures - what was it? I originally thought it was something like Carhenge in Nebraska, but it was actually stored agricultural equipment tilted up on its side. At a T intersection with one road heading north into Kansas, I parked, gathering GPS, hat, and other necessary supplies.
I could already see that the field containing the confluence was planted in wheat ready to be harvested: It was about waist high. That presented more of a challenge than the fallow field I had visited 1 degree north of here earlier this afternoon. This field looked like they had experienced a decent amount of rain this season. Not wanted to unduly tread on it, I walked north up the gravel road into Kansas, and then crossed into the field once I reached 37° north. It is noteworthy that the true 37° parallel lies actually in Kansas probably around 100 m to the north of the Oklahoma border. After a hike of 10 minutes, I arrived at the spot. It was the 2nd visit to this confluence -- nearly 20 years had elapsed since that first visit in 2001.
The temperature stood at about 85° F: Mid May, mid afternoon, with only a modest wind. The terrain here is flat, only ever so slightly rolling, with equal views in all directions but especially out to the north. I was taking care not to trample too much but with dismay I noted that they were harvesting maybe around 250 m north east of me. I recalled many times on these journeys spanning nearly 20 years that I was not alone in the field or forest where a confluence point lay. Fascinating. I kept expecting someone to walk over and wonder what in the world I was doing out there. I had not stood on this confluence before, although I had over the years stood on this 37th parallel North many times from California on the west to South Carolina on the east. I had also stood on this meridian, 98 West, numerous times, from North Dakota on the north to Texas on the south. I now have a very respectable assortment of over 15 points in the great state of Kansas. I believe that I have covered at least 3/4 of the state with a few more tomorrow. By tomorrow afternoon, I would only be missing a few points along 37 North and along 40 north in the easternmost sections of those parallels. I will have all of 38 and 39 North covered.
After spending only 10 minutes on site, I filmed a video and it is here - 37 North 98 West on my Our Earth channel. I then made my departure. It was getting a bit warm, and as I mentioned, I was a bit nervous about the folks out to the Northeast. I made very careful pains to walk due south between the rows of wheat. This allowed me to make a looping circuit which I love to do as a geographer to and from the vehicle. The total round-trip time walking was probably only around 45 minutes. I was still on schedule for today - however - I could now see that I would have to curtail my original plans to gather five points: As the next point was at least 2 hours drive away, it would be after 5 PM local time by the time I arrived. Five was not possible.
Therefore I cut back my plan to three points today. This would allow me time to get to my campground goal far to the east, before dark, so I could scope out a nice spot.
After making sure I had everything with me after visiting the point, I drove west on the state line, the way I had come in, snapping a photo of State Line Avenue. Then, as I already had visited both points one degree east and west of here, I headed diagnonally--northeast--for my next goal: 38° North 97° West. Get out there and explore the world!