14-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 finally made careful preparations, and made it into the field in May 2021. My goals was to visit confluences, back roads, state lines, grain bins, railroad depots, state parks, and other out of the way places that a geographer would love. The day before this visit, I left Colorado and visited two points on 38 North in Kansas, and one on 37 North on the Kansas-Oklahoma border. Today was Day 2 of my wanderings and earlier today I had visited 38 North 96 West in the Flint Hills and then 38 North 95 West. The route from 38 N 95 W to 38 N 94 W took me through more amazing back roads, and probably the highlights were the state line signs along the Missouri-Kansas border, and the general store at Hume Missouri. The general store was a very long old passenger car from a railroad, or maybe a mail car, parked right in the middle of town, so it was naturally one aisle long, and narrow. Wonderful. I then passed through Rich Hill, Rockville, wandering east and south to Taberville. Road construction delayed my progress a bit. Just past the Osage River bridge, going south, just past the boat access point, I turned west onto a gravel road, SW 200 Road.
Some confluence visits turn out easier than expected, and some turn out to be more difficult. The easy part of this visit was that the confluence point lies just south of the south side embankment of the road. The challenging part here was that two dogs came running toward me as I was pacing around with GPS in the road. I wanted to go to the house and notify the homeowner why I was at the base of their driveway, but the dogs made it clear that such a course of action might not be wise. Fortunately the dogs stayed on their side of the fence and then I felt that they got rather bored of me. After resigning myself to get "within a few meters" of the point, I kept at it, and after about 15 minutes standing there, to my amazement, I was able to zero out the GPS unit! I did so while pacing under the thorny branches that were at the fenceline, getting a bit scratched but it was well worth it.
Unlike the field one degree west of here, where I stood two hours ago on 38 North 95 West in Kansas, this one was on the side of a road. And it was hillier here in southwestern Missouri than in southeastern Kansas. Just a few hundred meters north of here, the point might not be reachable without a great deal of effort, because the Osage River cuts a big trough in the earth at that location: The whole riparian zone looks probably as it has for hundreds of years, very wild, and the river is running high right now. The temperature stood at about 85 F under breezy but partly sunny skies: Late afternoon, mid-late spring. I saw the dogs, a few birds, and no people. Nobody passed me on the road, which was a dead-end further to the west after some significant hills.
There had been two previous visits to this point; the last was 4 years ago by my colleague Ross. This was my 6th visit in the past 48 hours. I had not stood on this confluence before, although I had over the years stood many times - at least 25 - on this parallel from California on the west to Virginia on the east. I had also stood on this meridian before, from a thick Minnesota forest on 46 North 94 West on the north in 2019 to a rain-soaked and forested hike to 31 North 94 on the south in Texas in 2015. This was my first point in Missouri in at least six years, perhaps longer, and I was glad to be back. I thought about the Native Americans and pioneer settlers who have crossed this piece of ground. Had anyone actually stood on this exact spot before the confluence visitors had done so, or before the landowner?
After spending 25 minutes on site, with the additional time required because of my pacing, I made my departure. I placed the video of this site on my Our Earth channel, here: 38 North 94 West. I then set my sights on one more point for the day, tacking south and then east, bound for what would be my 4th today, at 38 North 93 West.
Could I make it to one more point before sundown and also make my destination campground in the state park to the north of there? We would find out! Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
Get out there and explore the world.