18-Oct-2014 -- As I was in the area for the annual Applied Geography Conference, and as the conference focuses on how to use geography to solve problems in a variety of disciplines, a confluence visit seemed like the perfect way to end this event.
I left Baneberry on an absolutely beautiful autumn morning in eastern Tennessee. I drove west on Interstate Highway 40 through Knoxville and then through ridge and valley terrain. It was a wonderful landscape but I needed to adhere to my goal, as my flight was departing that evening from Atlanta, and I had a long way to travel before then, including a planned stop at Fall Creek Falls State Park. At the city of Crossville, an apt name for a city near the crossing of latitude and longitude lines, I drove north on state highway 298. It too was a beautiful road and my main challenge was determining where to pull over for the confluence walk. I drove back and forth a few times, but then found a short lane leading to a gate, where I parked near a puddle from a recent rain. My GPS reading was directing me to a location west of the road, which was puzzling after having read the previous narrative. But, I stuck to the GPS: After I stepped off the road, I was immediately confronted by a host of thorns that tore at my clothing. That was not a good thing for two reasons: First, I was wearing my work clothes, and second, as I recalled from the prior narrative, the confluence was on the side of a road, not in a thicket of vegetation. Could the satellites be pointing me to a different space today? I regrouped and walked back to the vehicle. Whether it was a better lock on the satellites, I do not know, but this time it had me walk southwest on the road for a few hundred meters toward the house I had considered earlier parking in front of, and then across the road to its southeast side.
It was there, about 20 feet (6 meters) east of the roadway, up a small incline and at the edge of a field, where I located the confluence. It was in a patch of thorny vines and very near to a scraggly tree that I tried my best to maneuver around. It was a mid-autumn morning, mostly clear, about 65 degrees F. The longest view was to the southeast, and the shortest was to the north, where the land rose. I now had a tidy collection of 5 confluence points in Tennessee, and 4 of those I had visited this year. I had stood on 36 North numerous times, from North Carolina on the east to California on the west. I had stood on 85 West a fewer number of times, from Georgia on the south to Michigan on the north. This was a beautiful confluence spot, and easily accessed, as no fences existed between it and the road. It would have been a bit more peaceful had it not been for the traffic. As I have remarked many times during these narratives, I am always amazed at the amount of rural traffic. I spent about 15 minutes on site, seeing the owner of the house on the west side of the road once, and a fair number of cars on the road.
I filmed a few videos of the landscape before leaving the confluence area, and once I left, I stopped at the Pilot Travel Center down the road for some of their excellent hazelnut coffee. I then drove through Crossville, and then south to the absolutely beautiful Fall Creek Falls State Park that features cliffs, waterfalls, and hardwood forests. My videos of the park are on my YouTube Channel named geographyuberalles. Then I drove through yet another series of wonderful landscapes through Chattanooga and back down to Atlanta. The confluence point was a wonderful one to cap off my trip to the region!