01-Apr-2007 -- As I had been in St Louis for 4 days teaching at the National Science Teachers Association conference, I visited my geography friends Emily and Rich Collop. A confluence trek seemed like the perfect way for us to do a bit of field work while we were visiting. We left the St Louis area in early afternoon, having lunch in the Missouri River floodplain at Chesterfield. This was land that was completely underwater in the summer of 1993, and unbelievably, 14 years later, was completely covered in commercial development. Nevertheless, we had a delicious lunch and stayed completely dry.
By 2pm, we were winging our way northwest into Troy. Rich mentioned that this county (Lincoln) was at several times in the recent past the fastest growing county in Missouri. We could see plenty of evidence of this in the traffic on four-lane US Highway 61 and new homes sprouting every which way. We drove by the spiffy new high school in Troy, west on Missouri State Highway 47, and north on County Highway H. The terrain was much hillier than I imagined it would be after examining the satellite images. We traversed some of these hills as the development at last gave way to something more of a rural character, but one that was still gave the "bedroom commuter community" feeling.
After turning east on Spring Creek Road, I stopped to get out the GPS and map. Despite being immersed in GIS and GPS technology, I haven't quite mastered the technology of the automobile key. Hence, I inadvertently set off the car alarm while opening the trunk, prompting Emily to observe quite appropriately, "Now that we've announced to the whole neighborhood that we're here..." We then made a hasty departure down the road to the east. After some mighty hills, we came to the end of the road, did a reconnaissance with the GPS, and drove back to the house nearest the 91st Meridian. Its address was "130 Spring Creek Road." Ironically, this was my 130th confluence attempt! Such a confluence of numbers was surely meant to be pursued until Centered Victory had been secured.
I walked up the driveway and was greeted by a large dog. It seemed on the verge of being friendly, but just to make sure, I greeted it with copious statements of good intentions. The dog showed me to the front door, where I knocked, but finding nobody home, walked back to the car and spoke to the Collops. Rich and I then walked briskly across the field. We took some photographs at the end of the field because we didn't know what sort of satellite reception we would have once we entered the woods. It turned out to be no problem to zero out the coordinates, however, as the trees were not leafed out as of yet. Plus, the confluence was only 1.5 meters south of the fence line.
The confluence is therefore on nearly level ground, just barely in the trees, near the south edge of a grassy field. We saw no people or animals except for the dogs in the backyard of the house to the north. There was no water visible but a pond existed in the field to the northwest. The weather was quite windy, as is evident in the movie we filmed. However, it was bright and sunny with a temperature of 63 F (17 C). The neighborhood is pleasant, particularly this time of year with the redbud and dogwood trees blooming. The neighborhood is comprised of nice homes, but not the over sized trophy homes I had seen on other confluence visits, with very large lots of several acres.
I had been to 39 North numerous times before. For some reason, this has been my most frequently visited latitude line. I have been here in Maryland, Virginia, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and Nevada. This was, however, my very first time to stand on 91 West. We spent about 10 minutes at the site taking photographs, and then walked rapidly back to the vehicle. We drove west on Spring Creek Road and back out the way we came. Another example of GPS and geography bringing friends together!