28-May-2023 -- After over 20 years and over 400 confluence visits, I knew that someday I would need to visit one of the most famous points of all, the center of the northwest hemisphere, 45 North 90 West. The opportunity had come: It had been two years since I had the opportunity to take a multi day trip just for collecting confluence points, seeing the landscape, and meeting local people. My goal was to connect my Minnesota points to the points east and south and west, in Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas. To fill those gaps would require some planning but could be quite fun and doable. Thus after flying to Sioux Falls two days earlier and visiting 3 points, then 5 points yesterday, including the point mentioned above, and 1 point earlier today, I still had plenty of energy for more fieldwork.
And thus, after visiting 45 North 89 West early this morning, in Wisconsin, it was time to bypass all the points along 45 North that I had already visited. These were the points at 90, 91, 92, 93, and 94. This made for a 6 hour drive, which took me into Minnesota, west of the Twin Cities. By now it was mid afternoon and I neared the wide open spaces, mostly flat but ever-so-gently rolling terrain near 45 North 95 West. I went west on State Highway 7, and then north on a few country roads, resisting the temptation to visit Big Kandiyohi Lake, to the northeast. I drove on 150th Ave southeast, to the west, and then north on 30th St SE, a gravel road, parking on the shoulder.
I walked up the driveway to the house. The confluence was located behind the house and I wanted the owner to know who I was and what I was doing, and ask permission. After a short time, and after being slightly nervous with the sound of a barking dog, the owner answered. We had a very nice chat, and after receiving permission to visit the point, I invited the owner to the point with me. We walked to the backyard and then under the fence to the field beyond. This belonged to someone else and I was very careful not to step on any of the newly sprouting plants there.
It was mid-afternoon, late spring, on a magnificent clear day, temperature about 91 degrees F (33 C). Besides my companion, I saw no people or birds or animals. It looks radically different from the 2001 visit from January. This area definitely experiences all four seasons! The view was longest to the east; to the west was the home I had just visited. This is one of the flattest areas in Minnesota, it was only ever so slightly rolling. I have stood on 45° north many times in the past but it was always special to stand on a line that is halfway between the equator and the north pole. I have visited 45° north on the West Coast of United States over in Oregon across a line of many points all the way to the East Coast of the United States over in Maine. Each of these points at 45 North that I have visited, and it has to be at least 20 of them, are unique and wonderful. I have also visited 95° west several times in the past such as a snowy walk in the woods here in Minnesota last spring, on down to Texas on the south end in an active deforestation zone. I took photos and filmed this video: 45 North 95 West, Minnesota.
After a short time, and being respectful of my companion's time, I bade him farewell. Having these pleasant chats with landowners renews my faith in humanity. After walking to the car I noticed a large piece of agricultural equipment moving toward me. I should have moved my vehicle but the operator deftly moved around me and managed to avoid hitting the mailbox as well. I was impressed. I then drove north and then onward to the west, in a quest to achieve 45 North 96 West, and then 46 North 96 West before sundown and camping for the night. Would I make it?
When the trip was all said and done, here are the final statistics:
Confluence points attempted: 15.
Confluence points successfully visited: 15.
Points where I met the local landowner = 4 of 15 points.
Miles = 1731, Kilometers = 2785.
Campgrounds = 3.
Windy confluence points: 6 of 15.
Beautiful confluence points: 15 of 15.
Kwik Trip convenience store stops = 5. Casey's = 1. Circle K = 1. Flying J = 1.
Points along 43 North 4
44 North 3
45 North 4
46 North 1
47 North 3
Points visited on Day 1 = 3
Day 2 = 5
Day 3 = 4
Day 4 = 3
Points visited in the morning = 5
afternoon = 7
evening = 3
Points visited in Minnesota = 6
North Dakota = 2
Wisconsin = 3
Iowa = 4
Get out there and explore!