the Degree Confluence Project

United States : Missouri

2.5 miles (4.0 km) W of Odessa, Lafayette, MO, USA
Approx. altitude: 256 m (839 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreetMap topo aerial ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 39°S 86°E

Accuracy: 7 m (22 ft)
Quality: good

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: View from the confluence to the north #3: View from the confluence to the south #4: View from the confluence to the west #5: Perfect GPS reading #6: You're in MY-TE-FINE Country #7: his disturbing sign was seen just about everywhere I went...  Does EVERYONE in the US carry a gun these days? #8: Earth-sheltered house nearby the confluence piont #9: Peter Snow Cao at the confluence

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  39°N 94°W (visit #3)  

#1: View from the confluence to the east

(visited by Peter Cao)

05-Mar-2005 --

This is the second of a two-confluence trip. The first was at 39N 95W. While on a trip to the U.S. with my wife, we stopped in Kansas City, MO for a couple of days. While my wife was in meetings, I took the opportunity to track down the two closest confluences, this one near Odessa, MO and one in Kansas near Linwood. This trip was part of a multi-stop US trip where I was able to pick up my recumbent bicycle that has been in storage since 1998. I decided that I wanted tackle this confluence without reading the previous reports so that it would totally fresh to me. After I post this report, I will read the previous visit reports.

I worked in Kansas City as a traffic engineer from 1986-89 and had only been back once in the interim. Cruising the streets I once patrolled was a bit like deja vu, old names returning to me like passing ships in the fog.

Starting at 9:00 AM from the Hyatt in downtown at 27th and MacGee, I headed east on 27th Street through the rundown neighborhoods of the east side. Despite being "rush hour," the roads were eerily quiet with a few people hanging around on the sidewalks. My recumbent drew quite a bit of attention as I passed.

I made my way to 31st Street and then to Truman Road (Route 40). In Independence, the crank on my recumbent came loose and I stopped at a car repair garage to ask for assistance. Most mechanics, when they see my bike express some interest, but at this particular garage, the mechanic was in a surly mood and didn't feel like helping, but did in the end and even refused payment. I suppose the sticker on the front on my bike that says "CARS ARE STUPID" didn't help matters much.

Once again underway, I stopped again at a convenience store where a helpful attendant offered water and I made me laugh, so I bought a huge bear claw donut; the first one in more ten years.

With a strong tail wind pushing me along I made rapid progress through the names of the past: Lee's Summit, Blue Springs, and Grain Valley, all places I cycled years ago. When I got to Oak Grove, I stopped at the Apple Grocery for some food and was greeted with outright hostility by the cashier. Later, while passing through the east side of town, a school bus passed and I was rained with trash and insults by the students heading home for lunch.

In Bates City, I had to leave the paved roads and head east on County Road 445. It was bumpy going on the recumbent with a few hills along the way. Mapquest indicated that I needed to turn north on County Road 421. The area was rural farmland with a few houses along the way. Bates City boasts a population of 142 people, fewer than the number of condos in my building in China. These are the wide-open spaces.

Continuing north to the bend in the road, I was happy to see that the nearest house at least a half a mile away. At the bend, there was a cable across an entrance and thankfully without any dreaded "NO TRESPASSING" signs. A 45' trailer was parked just inside the entrance and I parked my bike behind out of sight from the road. There was a farmhouse in sight about a quarter of a mile across the field and I watched for people coming out to investigate, but no one appeared. The CP is about 300 meters inside the property and the land looks like it has been used for growing hay thankfully short now. The CP was nearby (but fortunately not in) a small pond.

I obtain the satisfying zeros on the GPS with a minimum of dancing around and then sat down to a well-earned lunch of a series of peanut butter and bananas sandwiches. Unlike the confluence points I hunt in China, there are no celebratory fireworks. The sun was hot; the shade was scarce, so after a short break, I headed back to the trailer where my bike was parked. While I haven't done anything illegal that I know of, I am happy to have found the confluence point without detection. My luck with the locals was decidedly tenuous, and it seems I would have a hard time convincing anyone of the innocuous nature of my mission. Foolishly, I neglected to bring the DCP explanatory letter, but luckily I didn't need it.

The trailer had the words painted on the back, "This is MY-TE-FINE country."

The ride back was significantly more difficult due to an ever-stronger headwind coming from the west. Also, I had told my wife that I would be back before 5 PM.

I returned exactly the same way, which allowed me to notice a number of things I missed on the way to the CP. Not far from the CP is a cluster of earth-sheltered houses with their south-facing fronts soaking up the bright sunshine.

About half-way back, as I was passing through Lee's Summit, I was overcome with the desire to take a break and, not realizing how exhausted I was, stopped and virtually collapsed along the side of the road in front of a chiropractor's office. I was laying there for some time, and perhaps even dosed off for a bit when I heard an approaching siren and then decided to get up and continue on my way. As I was mounting the bike the patrol car was passing by and then suddenly swerved over to my side and screeched to a stop beside me. I was rather stupefied by all this and thought something must have happened nearby, when the two pot-bellied officers sporting mirror sunglasses told me to stop where I was. Things were getting curiouser and curiouser. They asked me for my ID and what I was doing here. I gave them my brand new Massachusetts driver's license, which caused a bit of a stir. I was glad I didn't give them my China driver's license. I told them I had been cycling all day out to Odessa and I was tired so I decided to take a rest for a few minutes.

They told me that had a report that it looked like someone was dead lying on the side of the road. This made me laugh, but with my me and recumbent sprawled on the side of the road, I could see how someone could come to the conclusion cruising by at 40 miles an hour.

After I assured them I was very much alive, next came the interrogation, asking where and why was I going to Odessa on my bike. So then I started to explain about the Degree Confluence Project and they wanted to know how much I get paid to do this. They were flabbergasted to hear I received no pay, but then wanted to see my GPS. After about 20 minutes of using public security resources and getting a clean bill on my driver's license they wished me good luck and let me go. The rest of the return trip was uneventful and I returned to the Hyatt dead beat. After a much needed shower I collapsed on the bed.

This ends the second of my two-confluence point trip to the U.S. in March 2005

 All pictures
#1: View from the confluence to the east
#2: View from the confluence to the north
#3: View from the confluence to the south
#4: View from the confluence to the west
#5: Perfect GPS reading
#6: You're in MY-TE-FINE Country
#7: his disturbing sign was seen just about everywhere I went... Does EVERYONE in the US carry a gun these days?
#8: Earth-sheltered house nearby the confluence piont
#9: Peter Snow Cao at the confluence
ALL: All pictures on one page