29-Oct-2018 -- As I was in Ohio and Pennsylvania for a series of presentations, meetings, and workshops to promote the rigorous use of geotechnologies in education, and as the Degree Confluence Project is focused on and indeed would not be easily possible without geotechnologies, a confluence visit seemed like the perfect complement to the week's activities. And so, after working a full day at Kent State University, I departed in plenty of time, I hoped, before dusk, for 41 North 82 West. I drove south from Kent, west on I-76, through Akron, to I-71, continuing west-southwest. The day was gloomy but the trees were at their peak of orange and red--truly lovely.
This confluence is all about vehicles in all their forms, cars and trucks, primarily, plus a wetland. Most people who know me realize that I am a big fan of Pilot coffee, and so, knowing that this confluence sits a few hundred meters from one of the massive Pilot truck stops was an added bonus and a rather humorous one. The clouds were magnificent, ragged, scuttling across the western sky, and after 25 minutes, it began to rain. I knew the confluence would lie in the underbrush and I was already anticipating getting wet. Would the rain add to the excitement? I exited the highway at the "confluence interchange", turned north on Ohio 83, and then west on Willow road. I passed the 82nd Meridian and turned around in a driveway. There was truly nowhere to pull over--no shoulder at all, anywhere, not even a flat area. Therefore, I drove east to Pilot and parked there in the lot. I was probably the first person ever to park there (aside from confluence hunters) and get out and walk. After very carefully walking through the Truck Entrance, keeping an eye on the truly massive vehicles, I was walking west on the road that I drove on 10 minutes earlier--Willow Road. Given no shoulder, and considering that most residents in the area didn't expect anyone to be walking, I kept most of my attention on the traffic, rather than my GPS receiver. I walked to the first driveway and then backtracked to the 82nd Meridian.
I was already closer than 100 meters from the point, but stood for a moment before leaping across the concrete ditch there. Reeds and standing water lay on the other side. Could I get a bit closer? I stood in the reeds and took more photos. Gazing south, I once again considered, "Could I get closer?" And so it went for the next 10 minutes, with me gazing to the south, taking pictures, and then walking a bit more. There were several distinct vegetation zones in those 45 or so meters, from reeds to trees to burr-covered plants to some truly nasty thorns.
I arrived at the point, and much to my surprise, was able to zero out the GPS unit. The point is in an area where the wetland plants give way to more substantial shrubs and even a few trees. It would very likely be easier to approach this point from the residence to the west, but I did not want to disturb the people living there. The temperature was about 69 degrees F under cloudy skies, and was a rather peaceful place, except for the truck and car noise from the truck stop and from the highway to the east and south. I saw no animals, people, or birds. I had stood on 41 North numerous times over the years, from Utah on the west to New Jersey on the east. For some reason, I had only stood on 82 West a few times and only in Florida, up to today. It was good to get my first Ohio confluence in a few years, and now I have a nice tidy collection all over the state with the exception of the northwest corner. I was on site for quite awhile owing to the difficulty of zeroing out the unit.
On my way out, I filmed a video about the importance of wetlands, while scratching myself up the entire time. I reached the road and once again kept an eye out for traffic. Once back at Pilot, I had one of their magnificent coffees, and drove back to Kent State University the way I had come in, enjoying the colorful trees the whole way. Get out there and explore the world!