A Landing a Day

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Doland, South Dakota

Posted by graywacke on September 29, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2123; A Landing A Day blog post number 551.

Dan:  Back to the dark side (now 7 of the last 9), thanks to this OSer . . . SD; 58/53; 3/10; 9; 148.8.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My local landing map shows my titular town (and the fact that I landed in the Timber Creek watershed):

 landing 2

My Google Earth (GE) shot shows (of course), an agricultural setting:

 GE 1


Expanding a streams-only map, you can see that I landed in the James River watershed (19th hit); on to the Missouri (384th hit); on to the MM (832nd hit).

 landing 3a

Moving along to Doland (pop 180).  It has quite the famous son – Hubert Horatio Humphrey.  Consider this:

  • He served as a U.S. Senator from Minnesota from 1949 to 1965 and 1971 to 1978.
  • He was Vice President of the United States from 1965 to 1969 (under Lyndon Johnson).
  • He was the 1968 Democratic Party’s candidate for President, losing narrowly to Republican Richard Nixon.
  • His father ran a pharmacy in Doland from 1915 to 1929, and served as the town’s mayor for several years.

I remember him well, especially as candidate for President in 1968.

Boomer alert!  Mention 1968 and the memories start flowing.  In my life, it was that uniquely memorable year when high school is finished and college begins, but man – what a crazy year.  In today’s world (which is certainly crazy enough), it’s hard to convey just how crazy it was back then.  I’ll get to the 1968 election and Hubert Humphrey in a bit, but let me start with some bare facts about what went on in 1968:

  • The Vietnam War was in full bloom. The Tet offensive (the largest Communist campaign of the entire war) was launched in January.
  • One week after the Tet Offensive was launched, the North Koreans captured the USS Pueblo, a Naval intelligence ship and held 83 Americans as spies for 11 months. Interesting fact:  the North Koreans are still in possession of the ship. 
  • In March, US Troops massacred 347 civilians in Viet Nam (the My Lai massacre).
  • In April, Martin Luther King was assassinated.
  • Also in April, Columbia University students took over the Administration Building and closed down the University.
  • In June, Robert Kennedy was assassinated (and I graduated from High School).  In August, Czechoslovakia was invaded by Russia, crushing the “Prague Spring” liberalization movement, led by Alexander Dubcek.
  • Also in August, the Democractic Convention in Chicago (where Humphrey was nominated) was disrupted by massive protests.
  • In October, the famous black-fisted salute was performed on the medal podium at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City.
  • Three Apollo missions (6, 7 & 8) were launched during 1968, culminating in a manned lunar orbiting mission in December.

I was visiting a website that contained “Images of 1968.”  The images are very powerful, and for the most part disturbing, except for this memorable, uplifting photo from Apollo 8:


But then again, the spring of ’70 was even crazier.  Not to worry, I’ll probably have to land near Kent, Ohio to head off in that direction.  Anyway, getting back to Hubert Humphrey & the 1968 election.  I’ll start with a screen shot from Wiki:

 wiki candidate gallery

How about Eugene McCarthy?  From Wiki:

Running as an anti-war candidate in the New Hampshire primary, McCarthy hoped to pressure the Democrats into publicly opposing the Vietnam War. Since New Hampshire was the first presidential primary of 1968, McCarthy poured most of his limited resources into the state. He was boosted by thousands of young college students who shaved their beards and cut their hair to be “Clean for Gene”. These students organized get-out-the-vote drives, rang doorbells, distributed McCarthy buttons and leaflets, and worked hard in New Hampshire for McCarthy. On March 12, McCarthy won 42 percent of the primary vote to Johnson’s 49 percent, a shockingly strong showing against an incumbent president.

And then,

On March 31, 1968, following the New Hampshire primary and Kennedy’s entry into the election, the president announced to the nation in a televised speech that he was suspending all bombing of North Vietnam in favor of peace talks. Johnson concluded his speech and startled the nation by announcing “With America’s sons in the fields far away, with America’s future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world’s hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office—the presidency of your country. Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.”

Oh my.  Continuing . . .

After Johnson’s withdrawal, Vice-President Hubert Humphrey announced his candidacy. Kennedy was successful in four state primaries (Indiana, Nebraska, South Dakota, and California) and McCarthy won six (Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Oregon, New Jersey, and Illinois).  Humphrey did not actively campaign in these states.

The political landscape was different back then.  The delegates were not lock-step with the results of the primary voting like they are now.  Humphrey was biding his time, but he still put out this campaign poster:

humphrey campaign poster

Back to Wiki:

California was the next key contest.  Kennedy campaigned in the ghettos and barrios of the state’s larger cities, where he was mobbed by enthusiastic supporters. Kennedy and McCarthy engaged in a television debate a few days before the primary; it was generally considered a draw. On June 4, Kennedy narrowly defeated McCarthy in California, 46%–42%.

However, McCarthy refused to withdraw from the race and made it clear that he would contest Kennedy in the upcoming New York primary, where McCarthy had much support from anti-war activists in New York City.

The New York primary quickly became a moot point, however, for in the early morning of June 5, Kennedy was shot shortly after midnight; he died twenty-six hours later. Kennedy had just given his victory speech in a crowded ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

Obviously, Robert Kennedy’s death drastically altered the dynamics of the race. Although Humphrey appeared the prohibitive favorite [in spite of his lack of primary victories] for the nomination, thanks to his support from the traditional power blocs of the party, he was an unpopular choice with many of the anti-war elements within the party, who identified him with Johnson’s controversial position on the Vietnam War.

However, Kennedy’s delegates failed to unite behind a single candidate who could have prevented Humphrey from getting the nomination. Some of Kennedy’s support went to McCarthy, but many of Kennedy’s delegates, remembering their bitter primary battles with McCarthy, refused to vote for him. Instead, these delegates rallied around the late-starting candidacy of Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, a Kennedy supporter in the spring primaries who had presidential ambitions himself. This division of the anti-war votes at the Democratic Convention made it easier for Humphrey to gather the delegates he needed to win the nomination.

Note:  You can really see that this was when the infamous cigar-smoke-filled-back-rooms made a difference in who was nominated.  Humphrey never had near as many popular votes as Kennedy or McCarthy.  Oh, well . . .

When the 1968 Democratic National Convention opened in Chicago, thousands of young activists from around the nation gathered in the city to protest the Vietnam War. On the evening of August 28, in a clash which was covered on live television, Americans were shocked to see Chicago police brutally beating anti-war protesters in the streets of Chicago in front of the Conrad Hilton Hotel. While the protesters chanted “The whole world’s watching,” the police used clubs and tear gas to beat back or arrest the protesters, leaving many of them bloody and dazed.

Oh man.  I remember the scene and the chant . . .

Anyway, Richard Nixon was the Republican candidate, and George Wallace joined the fray.  George was a serious candidate:

The American Independent Party nominated former Alabama Governor George Wallace – whose pro-segregation policies had been rejected by the mainstream of the Democratic Party – as the party’s candidate for president. The impact of the Wallace campaign was substantial, winning the electoral votes of several states in the Deep South. Wallace was the most popular 1968 presidential candidate among young men.  Wallace also proved to be popular among blue-collar workers in the North and Midwest, and he took many votes which might have gone to Humphrey.

Politics have changed a little, eh?

But at the end of the day, here’s the vote:

Nixon:        31,783,783

Humphrey:  31,271,839

Wallace:   9,901,118

The Electoral College tally:

Nixon:  301

Humphey:  191

Wallace:  46

I would call Nixon an OSer and both Humphrey & Wallace, USers . . .

By the way, I think that the Electoral College is an abomination!

One last word about Humphrey.  He returned to the Senate in 1970, where he remained until his death (of bladder cancer).  After his diagnosis with the terminal disease (while in the final weeks of his life), he called on Richard Nixon to personally invite him to his funeral. 

Enough already.  Back to my landing location!  Take a look at this GE shot.  You can see that I was lucky enough to land near a cluster of Panoramio photos (just three miles away):

 GE 2 - pano shots

Except for the more isolated photo to the southeast, we have pictures of the Mayer Farm (taken by an excellent photographer, Devan Mayer).  I’ll start with her shot of Timber Creek:

 pano devan mayer stream

What’s a farm without a big red barn?

 pano devan mayer barn

Here’s another of the business end of the farm:

 pano devan mayer farm

Devan wandered across the road (to the southeast, as mentioned earlier) to take this shot of an old abandoned house:

 pano devan mayer old house

It turns out that the same old house caught the eye of another photographer, Bennett2904:

 pano bennett2904

Notice how the angle of each photo is the same, and the sun is behind the house in both shots.  But what incredibly different photos!

I’ll come back to Devan with this sunset shot from the Mayer farm:

 pano devan mayer sunset

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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New Castle, Indiana

Posted by graywacke on September 22, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2122; A Landing A Day blog post number 550.

Dan:  After six for seven in the wrong direction (i.e., OSers), I broke out with this USer . . . IN; 22/25; 4/10; 8; 148.5.

Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My local landing map shows why I had no indecision about my titular town:

 landing 2

Here’s the first part of my watershed analysis:

 landing 3

I landed in the watershed of the Flatrock River (1st hit ever!); on to the East Fork of the White River (5th hit, making it the 155th river on my list of 5 or more hits).

Here’s the second part of my watershed analysis:

 landing 3a

From the E Fk of the White, on to the White (9th hit); to the Wabash (23rd hit); to the Ohio (131 hits); and finally, inevitably, to the Mighty Mississip (831 hits).

 Even though I landed close to New Castle, you wouldn’t know it from this close-in Google Earth shot:

 GE 1

Zooming back a little, here’s the entire town:

 GE 2

By the way, my new feature (the Google Earth trip from my last landing) is bothering me.  For some reason, my screen capture software makes the trip so jerky as to be annoying.  So, until further notice, these trips will be suspended . . .

Moving right along to New Castle.  It’s quite the substantial town, with a population approaching 20,000.  I’m having a little trouble finding a good hook, but three Wiki items caught my eye.  First, it turns out that New Castle is home to the “largest high school gymnasium in the world.”  Hey.  If Wiki says it’s so, it must be so.  Here’s a picture:


It seats just a little below 10,000 people.  Wow.  Half of the town population would fit!

Then, there’s a young baseball prospect from New Castle with a name that absolutely grabs your attention:  Trey Ball.

He’s only 20 years old, and is currently a pitcher for the Red Sox Class A Minor league franchise in Greenville NC.  If Trey makes “The Show,” we’ll all no doubt remember we first learned about him on A Landing A Day.  One can only imagine the fun that Major League announcers will have with his name. 

And then, I see where New Castle is the hometown of one Robert Indiana.  Now, I’ve never heard of Robert Indiana, but (speaking of catchy names) he certainly has a catchy name, eh?  So why does Wiki even mention him?  Well, his claim to fame is the iconic rendition of the word “LOVE.”  Here’s the 1975 postage stamp version:

 wiki love stamp

Anyway, Mr. Indiana (sounds like a body-building champion, eh?) was born “Robert Clark.”  In 1958 (at the age of 30), he changed his last name to Indiana paying homage to his home state (I guess).  Makes me think of John Denver.  He was born Henry John Deutschendorf, but changed his name to John Denver (after the capital of his favorite state) early in his career.

Of course, there are numerous “Love” statues around the world (the first one was placed in Indianapolis in 1970).  I’m familiar with this one in Philadelphia (put up as part of the Bicentennial celebration of 1976):

 Love park philly wiki

According to Wiki, there are 17 of the statues in the U.S., two in Canada, seven in Europe and 11 in Asia.  A couple aren’t in English.  Here’s an Italian “Amor” statue:

 italian amor

And this, digitally-enhanced version (color-added) of a Love statue in Israel (in Hebrew):

 israel hebrew

Moving right along –  I stumbled on one additional item of local interest.  Here’s a Panoramio shot by AlanCrab of a statue in front of the Ice House Tavern in New Castle:

 pano AlanCrab Giant Blue Man

It is what it is.  (Not my favorite expression.  I’ll try not to use it again.)

I’ll close with this Panaoramio shot of a barn (by Sebass 10) about 7 miles SE of my landing:

 pano sebass 10 (Thomas) barn 7 mi se

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Hazen, Nevada

Posted by graywacke on September 17, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2121; A Landing A Day blog post number 549.

Dan:  I’m staying out west and staying with the OSers (in fact, 6 of my last 7 landings have been OSers), thanks to this landing in . . . NV; 83/77; 4/10; 7; 149.0.

Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

And my local landing map:

 landing 2

Fasten your seatbelts and let’s go via Google Earth from Swan Lake MT (my last landing) to this one:


Here’s a ground-level GE shot looking general east past my landing.  Pretty cool, eh?

 GE 2

Zooming back a little, you can see I landed on a double-humped hill:

GE - island

This is one of the landings (like Drummond Island MI), where a quick elevation trace on Google Earth (GE) shows my drainage pathway.  It goes in a fairly straight line between my landing and a local low point about two miles away:

 GE - drainage

OK, so if it was a huge rain and the local low filled up, I suppose I could extend the drainage analysis, but I’m in the Nevada desert and we all know any rain ain’t goin’ nowhere.

So, I checked out Fernley.  Not much in the way of a hook.  But let me tell you, this is a thriving community.  Just like I did 12 posts ago for Lonerock and Hardman, Oregon, I’ll present a population trend analysis.  By the way – before I do Fernley, let me remind you that Lonerock and Hardman peaked at less than 200 folks back in 1920 and have been going downhill ever since.  But check out Fernley:

 Fernley pop

OK, so an Amazon.com distribution center just announced it was relocating from Fernley to nearby Reno (about 30 miles away), but obviously, Fernley has more going for it than just Amazon . . .

So, I looked at Wadsworth. Wiki tells me that Joe Conforte was the owner of the first legal brothel in the United States (the Mustang Ranch in 1967).  But the Mustang Ranch was not in Wadsworth.  Back in 1957 or so, he opened the Triangle River Ranch in Wadsworth, with some questionable (read illegal) activities going on.  In 1959, Conforte served 22 months in jail after attempting to blackmail Washoe County District Attorney Bill Raggio, who summarily had the ranch burned down.

Now wait a second.  This scoundrel . . . er – I mean entrepreneur . . . is arrested and convicted of blackmailing a DA (and operating an illegal brothel).  And then, a mere 8 years later, the State of Nevada decides that he’s the right guy to open the first legal brothel.  Yea, right . . .

OK, moving right along.  How about Hazen?  Well, I had to use Hazen as my titular town, because . . . 

It's happening in Hazen

So let’s see.  Well, Hazen is the site of the last lynching in Nevada (a gentlemen named Red Wood in 1905), but that’s no hook. 

OK, there’s a Hazen site on the National Register of Historic Places.  Here’s a Wiki picture of the Hazen Store:

 800px-HazenStore2 wiki

Part of it was built in 1904, then moved to its current location in 1944, when the rest of the structure was built.  According to Wiki, it’s on the Register “as an illustration of a commercial property on the Reno Highway.”  Yea but – so’s the Dunkin’ Donuts in Fernley . . .

So it turns out that there’s no hook at all.  But there are some cool back-in-the-day pictures.  First this old Lincoln Highway road sign (taken on Route 50 about halfway between Fernley & Hazen):

 hazen motorcities.org lincoln highway sign

And this 1911 shot of the Palace Hotel.  Quite the place . . .


With a very nice lobby!


Here’s a shot of the Recreation Inn Café & Bar.  I wonder what sort of recreation goes on at the inn?

 hazen - old time

And this shot (most prevalent on the web) of “Saloons and Disreputable Places of Hazen, 1905”:

 hazen- Saloons_and_disreputable_places_of_Hazen_(Nev.)_June_24,_1905.-_By_Lubkin_-_NARA_-_

Moving right along.  Of course, I checked out Panoramio photos close to my landing.  The closest one is this, posted by Robert Stolting (of Fernley) with an intriguing title:  “Sculptor’s Work, High and Dry.”

 pano robert stolting .67 mi se tufa

The caption for the photo:  “Tufa formation, formed thousands of years ago from calcium carbonate precipitating out of a spring entering an ancient crash water lake.”

Right out of the gate, I had to see what a “crash water lake” is.  I mean, I’m a geologist and that’s an expression I’ve never run across.  After a quick Google search, it looks like no one else has ever run across it, either.  I think that Mr. Stolting intended to say “fresh water lake.”

Once that change is made, the caption makes perfect sense.  Tufa is a limestone rock formed when spring water, enriched with calcium carbonate (the stuff of limestone), discharges underwater into a fresh water lake.  The calcium carbonate precipitates out of solution, progressively forming tufa one microscopic layer at a time (all of this under water).  When the water levels retreat, out pops the tufa!  Tufa can result in some very interesting-looking formations. 

Here are two tufa shots (or is that tu twofa shots) at Pyramid Lake (located about 30 mi NW of my landing; just NW of Nixon on my local landing map above).  First this, from Photo River Blog (Hammon Photography):

 hammon photography photo river blog

And this, from Rachid Photo:

 rachid photo

Any question why it’s called Pyramid lake?  

So, we need a big ol’ lake near my landing.  As discussed in my Susanville CA post, the lake is Lake Lahontan, of which Pyramid Lake is a remnant.  Here’s a map of the lake (from Stanford U.):  

 stanford lake lanohan

You can see that my landing was right on the shoreline (more about that later).  Also – see the portion of the lake that crosses the border into California?  That’s near Susanville (mentioned above).

Here’s what Wiki has to say about the lake:

At its peak approximately 12,700 years ago (as the continental glaciers were in retreat), the lake had a surface area of over 8,500 square miles. The depth of the lake was about 900 feet at present day Pyramid Lake, and 500 feet at the Black Rock Desert. Lake.  At its peak, Lahontan, would have been one of the largest lakes in North America.

So let’s look a little closer at my landing location (thanks to a USGS map), and the location of the tufa deposit in Robert Stolting’s Pano photo:

 usgs lahonton map

Note that the lake elevation is 4370, and my landing elevation is 18′ above that.  So, I landed right on the shore of the lake, or even more likely, on an off-shore island (the double-humped hill shown on the GE shot near the beginning of the post).  The tufa (and its associated underwater spring) was less than a mile to the south of the island (in about 140’ of water, at the deepest).  

There you have it.

Moving right along (and keeping with Robert Stolting).  The second closest Pano shot to my landing is another of his photos, about 1.5 mi NE of my landing:

 pano robert stolting 2 mi NE

I’ll close with this shot by SlakingFool, about 12 mi SW of my landing:

 pano slakingfool, e of fernley looking towards hazen

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Swan Lake, Montana

Posted by graywacke on September 12, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2120; A Landing A Day blog post number 548.

 Dan:  Gee whiz.  I can’t get out of the greater Northern Utah / Idaho / Western Montana region (four in a row!).  Here’s my second recent visit to OSer . . . MT; 121/102; 4/10; 6; 148.7. 

Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

Here’s a regional map showing my last four landings:

 landing 1a

My local landing map shows my proximity to Swan Lake:

 landing 2

Zooming back a little, you can see how close today’s landing (2120) is to landing 2117:

 landing 2a

Here’s a map showing my more local watersheds:

 landing 3

You can see that I landed in the watershed of Silvertip Creek; on to the Spotted Bear River (1st hit!); on to the South Fork of the Flathead River (2nd hit – and the first hit was the nearby landing 2117!).  Moving back a little, we can see more of the watershed story:

 landing 3a

 From the South Fork of the Flathead River, on to the Flathead River (12th hit); to the Clark Fork (20th hit); to the Pend Oreille (22nd hit); to the Mighty Columbia (152nd hit).

OK, so you can’t see it on the map, but you’ll have to trust me that south of Flathead Lake, the Flathead flows into the Clark Fork . . .

It’s time for the Google Earth trip from Yellow Pine to Swan Lake:



Here’s a static oblique GE shot, looking north – what a cool spot!


Moving back, we see a fascinating geological landscape (still looking north):


Wow.  There’s some awesome geology going on here.  I wish I knew the story so I could relate it everyone.  It looks like the white beds are tilted, sloping upward to the west (that would be dipping east, to use correct terminology).  The rocks are totally different moving west, but it’s tough to figure out the structure.  Oh, well.

So, on to Swan Lake.  From SwanLakeMontana.org:

In the early 1900’s Swan Lake began as a community of loggers cutting timber for lumber and the ties to build the Great Northern Railroad. Some say that our name comes from the trumpeter swans that used to populate the lake.  Others say that it was named after Emmett Swan, an early resident. Others simply say the name comes from the mountains to our east. No matter how we got the name, Swan Lake is known today as home to those who enjoy everything this part of Montana has to offer.

I couldn’t really find a geographical, geological or historical hook.  The lake valley was dug out / dammed up by the glaciers (no surprise there).  So where to go with this post?  How about back to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, or, more specifically, his best-known ballet piece, none other than Swan Lake.  Here’s ol’ Pyotr’s picture (from Wiki):

True confessions:  I had no clue what this incredibly famous composer looked like!

Continuing my true confession, I had no clue what “Swan Lake” is all about.  So, I lifted a synopsis of the story line from the Houston Ballet website.  Right up front, let me apologize for the irreverent comments that I’ve inserted.  Hey – I’m just being honest (and left-brained).  Well, here goes:

 Act I

 Scene I: Deep in a Dark Wood

Odette, a young maiden, is in the forest.  The evil knight Rothbart appears and captures her, turning her into a white swan.

[“Ho Hum. I think I’ll turn this woman into a swan.  Why?  Because I can.”]

She is cursed to remain a swan during the day, and a maiden at night.

[Why not the other way around?  Why not a full-time swan?  Oh, well.]

Scene II: A Royal Hunt at the Edge of the Wilderness

Later, the young Prince Siegfried and his entourage arrive in the forest and set up camp, celebrating the day’s hunt.  The Queen calls her son aside and reminds him that tomorrow is an important day, as he is now a man and eligible for marriage.

She introduces him to four eligible young princesses, but he is distant and uninterested.

[Why would any healthy, red-blooded young man be disinterested??  Did he have a premonition that his one true love was soon to appear?]

The Queen sternly warns him that this is the last night of his youth and that he must soon take on the responsibility of adulthood.  Upset, Siegfried decides to leave the camp and venture out into the woods alone.

 Scene III: In the Forest

Deep in the forest that evening along the edge of a lake, Siegfried sees a young maiden.  Odette is beautiful, and he falls instantly in love.

[Oh, all right.  Love at first sight.  I get that.]

However, she is terrified, and begs him to leave, to no avail.  Charmed by his bravery, Odette finds herself falling in love with him.

As the sun begins to rise, the evil knight Rothbart summons Odette.  She goes to him and is transformed into a swan and flies away.  Soon thereafter, a large flock of swans lands on the lake.  Hunters from the royal party see the flock and prepare to shoot, but the Prince intervenes and orders them not to shoot.  Siegfried notices that one of the swans is Odette and he professes his love to her.

[Odette’s a swan.  How does Siegfried recognize her?  A distinctive birth mark?  Also - he professes his love to her!  Can Odette the swan understand Russian?]


Act II

The next night, the Queen hosts a ball and presents eligible princesses to her son, but the Prince pays little attention.  Suddenly, Rothbart and a maiden dressed in black arrive.

[Rothbart can crash the Queen’s party?  What about security?]

It is Odile.  She is the mirror image of Odette.

[The old “mirror image” trick.]

The Prince is smitten with the mysterious woman in black and begs his mother to consider the new arrival.

[Are you kidding me?  So quickly, he has forgotten about Odette?]

Siegfried and Odile dance and he proclaims his love for her; he tells his mother that he wants to marry Odile.

[I’m sorry, Sieggy’s a loser.]

Just then, Siegfried sees Odette in the crowd.  She is horrified by the betrayal and runs out.  The prince runs to Odile and realizes that she is one of Rothbart’s swans and that he has been fooled.

[Fooled?  Lousy excuse for abandoning your true love!]

The devastated prince chases Rothbart as he flees the court.



While it’s still dark, the Prince arrives at the edge of the lake in the forest and begs the distraught Odette for forgiveness.

The sun comes up and the maidens turn back into swans in the morning mist.

Before long, Rothbart and his black swans appear and he summons all of the swans, including Odette.  The Prince, desperate to be with his love, grabs his crossbow to kill Rothbart. The Prince shoots, but his arrow hits Odette (the swan) instead.

[I hate it when that happens.  Imagine if his aim were better - the ballet sure would have a different ending . . .]

Rothbart holds Odette in his arms but when she falls, she is a maiden.  The spell Rothbart cast on Odette is broken, and the Prince runs to her.  Odette, as a woman, dies in the Prince’s arms.

He picks up her body and walks into the lake, drowning himself.  Young maidens appear from the forest, forever changed.

Phew.  OK – so, maybe with beautiful music and beautiful dancing, I wouldn’t be so cynical.  Speaking of beautiful music and beautiful dancing, I’ll move right along to some of both.  This is Four Little Swans, performed by the Marlinsky Ballet and posted by ClassicClips10:



I’ll then move right along to this clip of a performance by the Great Chinese State Circus (posted by Alyaz).  Note that there have been nearly 26 million views:



Enough classical music & ballet!  Time for some Panoramio pictures.  Once again, I’ll stay as close to my landing as possible.  I’ll start with this shot of the Spotted Bear River, about 4 mi NW of my landing (by AngKillian):

 pano angkillian spotted bear 4 mi NW

I wonder if the river bed with potholes looks like a spotted bear from some vantage point?  

All the rest of the pictures are by MontanaBackPacker.  Here’s a shot taken two miles east of my landing, looking east towards Pentagon Mountain:

 pano montanbackpacker 2 mi E looking E

Here’s another shot, also about two miles east, looking SW towards Silvertip Mountain:

 pano montanabackpacker 2 mi E looking SW towards silvertip peak

I’ll close with this stunning shot (from the same area), looking north:

 pano montanabackpacker 2 mi E looking N





© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Yellow Pine, Idaho (revisited)

Posted by graywacke on September 8, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2119; A Landing A Day blog post number 547.

Dan –  My last landing (Bear Lake Utah) just missed Idaho by a mile – landing in the OSer UT as opposed to the USer ID.  I didn’t miss a second time . . .ID; 50/58; 4/10; 148.3.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

I’ve had three landings in a row are in the same neck of the woods: western Montana, then northeast Utah, and now central ID:

 landing 1a

My local landing map shows my proximity to Yellow Pine:

 landing 2

Yellow Pine!  AYKM*?  My very first blog post (landing 1583 in November 2008) was Yellow Pine!  And that landing was my third landing near Yellow Pine (the first being landing 492 in July of 2004 and the second, landing 1355 in February of 2008)!  And I had another blog post where I landed near Yellow Pine, but featured another town – Roseberry – instead (landing 1858 in February of 2010)!

       *Are You Kidding Me?

So, this is my fifth Yellow Pine landing, which may not sound extraordinary to you, but it certainly sounds extraordinary to me!  (OK, OK, I promise:  no more exclamation points this post!) 

 Here’s a map showing my five Yellow Pine landings:

 landing 4

Let’s head up to Yellow Pine from Bear Lake, courtesy Google Earth (GE):

Before I forget, here’s my watershed map:

landing 3

My landing drains to Johnson Creek, on to the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River (1st hit!); on to the South Fork of the Salmon River (2nd hit); to the Salmon River (13th hit); to the Snake River (75th hit); to the Columbia River (151st hit).  

Here’s a static, oblique GE shot of my landing, looking north:

 GE 1

So anyway, Yellow Pine it is.  I’m not going to wander off, and hook up with some other town.  No sir, not this time.  Here’s the GE trip from my landing to the town:

First off, I want to stress just how isolated this town is.  Here’s a slightly expanded landing map – the roads coming in from the south and west are both dirt roads:

 landing 5 isolation

I did a quick route map on Google Maps from Yellow Pine to McCall (the closest town).  Here ‘tis:

 google maps yellow pine to mcCall

Fifty miles takes three hours & ten minutes!!  Wow.  So, according to Google Maps, you average less than 20 mph on that road.  I have a feeling that with a tough pick-up, the trip can be made quite a bit faster (and generally is).

So, let’s have a listen to local resident Darwin DeBois for some history, some insights on wildlife management and local color:

In fact, it was the very same harmonica fest that I featured on the very first post of A Landing A Day.  Now I could update that post with news of the 2014 Harmonica Fest, but I think that the following from my original post captures the essence of the town and the Fest  just fine:

 yellow pine





            This is a  picture of Harmonica Fest 2008.  Wow!  Look at the crowds!  They actually close down Main Street for three days!!

 old post fest crowds

From the same website, this about the Village of Yellow Pine:

The village of Yellow Pine is high in the Idaho mountains (alt. 4,765 ft), 150 miles north of Boise, surrounded by national forests… and is known as the “Gateway to the Central Idaho Wilderness Area.”  You’ll see dirt streets, a real live “little red schoolhouse” (fondly known as The University of Yellow Pine), a wooded RV park, rustic cabins, country store, hotel, gas pumps, three tavern/cafes, and the Community Hall and Fire Hall.

The Pioneer Cemetery (which contains many historic grave stones) is in the forest near the Yellow Pine campground, about 1/4 mile from town.

old post cemetery


I love that “Dead End Road” has equal billing to the cemetery.

 If there’s a fire in Yellow Pine, don’t worry, this fine fire truck will be zooming to the scene:

 old post firetruck

Back to me in the here and now . . .

What I failed to mention back in ’08 is that there is no admission charge!  All you gotta do is figure out how to get yourself to Yellow Pine in early August, find yourself a place to camp, and then you’re all set for the time of your life!

I found the following video of an act at the 2014 Music & Harmonica Fest – a piece by the Half Fast Hillbillies:

And then this act, from the 2010 fest, entitled “Cirque du Saloon by Ali and Dylan.”  I mean where else will you find a woman performing with a hoola hoop, accompanied by a guitar and harmonica version of Sweet Georgia Brown?

While checking out You Tube, I noticed the following video by SunFlyer65, which shows a take-off and landing at a private airstrip near Yellow PIne.  This is very cool, and I highly recommend that you stay with it for the entire 4 minutes:

They’re flying over the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River, not far from where Johnson Creek comes in.  Anyway, here’s a GE shot of the airstrip:



Time for some Panoramio shots close to my landing.  I’ll start out 7 miles south, with this shot along Johnson Creek by ElkBender257:

pano elkbender257 on Johnson ck 7 mi n


Here’s one by Ralph Maughan (a familiar name) about 5 miles east:

pano ralph maughan  5 miles east


I used three of Ralph’s pictures in my Jackson Hole (part 2) post and one in my Cherry Creek NV post.


I’ll close with this shot by Jason Abbott of Johnson Creek about 2 miles north:

pano jason abbott 2 mi n johnson creek


That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Bear Lake, Utah (and Idaho)

Posted by graywacke on September 3, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2118; A Landing A Day blog post number 546.

Dan –  Give me a break.  Five OSers in a row, then three USers in a row, and now, four OSers in a row, thanks to this landing in . . . UT; 76/59; 3/10; 148.9.  Here’s my regional landing map, which looks like a toss-up between UT & ID:

 landing 1

But as you may have suspected by the post title, I actually landed in the middle of Bear Lake, in UT:

 landing 2

I landed almost exactly one lousy mile south of ID, which is, of course, a solid USer.  So, let’s look at UT & ID:  Although adjacent states,  UT is 76/59 (over-subscribed by 17) while ID is 49/58 (under-subscribed by 9).  Oh well, the Landing God works in mysterious ways . . .

It’s time to fly with me from Seeley Lake to Bear Lake:


Here’s a static, oblique GE shot looking north:

 GE 1

Here’s a GE Street View shot from the east shore of the lake looking out at my landing:

 GE SV landing from East shore

Below is a streams-only shot that more-or-less shows that a drop of Bear Lake water heads north out of the lake into a canal that feeds the Bear River (3rd hit); which flows into the Great Salt Lake (14th hit); from Great Salt Lake, my drop has little choice but to evaporate . . .

landing 3


For this post, I’ve decided to feature the Lake and only the Lake –  as a geologist sees it.  I shan’t be writing anything about people or towns.  So here goes:

As my regular readers know, I enjoy learning about lakes, and what excuse they have for existing at all.  After all, lakes don’t come into existence during the course of normal landscape development.  If you take a big patch of high ground and start eroding it with millions of years of rainfall, you don’t get a lake – you get a dissected landscape, with every surface sloping down towards a stream, which leads to another stream, etc.

Something else needs to happen, like a glacier needs to dump a bunch of dirt and rocks and block up a stream.  Or maybe it’s a landslide that blocks the stream.  Or, a glacier simply gouges out a hole. 

Or maybe, the earth is splitting apart thanks to deep-seated tectonic forces, and a huge block of the earth is sinking.  And maybe the big hole that results fills up with water.  And maybe the block of the earth is sinking at a faster rate than it’s filling up with sediment.  And maybe Bear Lake is the result of that very sinking block of earth.

So, the eastern shoreline of the lake is marked by a fault, with (obviously), the lake side of the fault going down.  The west side of the lake is more like a hinge, so the basin slopes down from west to east.  Here’s a screen shot of a page from a wonderful pamphlet put out by the Utah Geological Survey (no need to read the words unless you’d like to – more about the pamphlet later):

 cross section

The total movement along the fault has been about three miles!  There’s way less than three miles of elevation difference, because the mountain has been busily eroding at the same time (over millions of years) that the fault has been moving.

Not surprisingly, the deepest part of the lake is just off the eastern shore.  Here’s a bathymetric contour map from Utah State University:

 lake depth utah state u

These are 5-meter contours; the deepest part of the lake is about 60 meters (about 200 feet) deep.

I mentioned the Utah Geological Survey pamphlet above.  Here’s the cover:

 why is bear lake so blue utah.gov

So, I guess I have to let you know why the lake is so blue:

 why is bear lake so blue utah.gov 2

Also in the pamphlet is information about the relationship between the Bear River and the Lake.  Here’s a picture showing variations on a theme over the past 220,000+ years (the current situation is in the lower right):

 bear river hydrology from utah.gov

For those curious, detail-oriented folks, here’s some additional information about the comings and goings of Bear River:

 time line, open & closed; utah.gov

To check out the entirety of this pamphlet, click HERE.

Because the lake is important for both flood control and agricultural water supply, folks have messed with the natural system a little.  There are hydraulic controls for the incoming water from the Bear River (via Mud Lake, part of the wetlands system north of the lake) and for the outgoing water (via a canal that goes back to the river). 

Here’s a GE shot showing that the two structures are close together along the north shore of the lake:

 GE 2 lake out & in

GE Street View coverage is available on the road that crosses both structures.  Here’s a view of the outlet structure looking towards the lake:

 GE SV lake outlet 1

And away from the lake:

 GE SV lake outlet 2

Here’s a view of the inlet structure, with Bear Lake off to the right out of the picture:

 GE SV lake inlet

As usual, I’m going to close with some pretty pictures.  Here’s a lovely Wiki shot of the lake with its very blue water:

 wiki cool shot of bear lake

And a Panoramio shot of the east shore of the lake, looking south (by Layne Parmenter):

 pano layne parmenter e shore of lake looking south

I’ll close with a Pano sunset shot over the lake by Carl Hancock:

 pano carl hancock sunset over lake

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Seeley Lake, Montana

Posted by graywacke on August 29, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2117; A Landing A Day blog post number 545.

 Dan –  Here we go.  I had three USer landings in a row for a new record low Score.  But then what?  Three OSers in a row, thanks to this landing in the granddaddy of all OSers . . . MT; 120/102; 3/10; 148.5.

As I’m sure you recall, my last two landings were both in Michigan.  Not surprisingly, the lat/longs were pretty close:

Landing 2115:  W83.4952;  N45.9880
Landing 2116:  W85.1582;  N45.1925

Here’s my first attempt at Landing 2117:

Landing 2117:  W86.3826;  N47.0072

Look how close!  I was excited, thinking that perhaps this would be my first-ever three-in-a-row triple landing.  But ‘twas not to be.  Here’s what I saw:

 landing 0

My next landing attempt took me quite a ways west.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My local landing map shows my proximity to my titular town (plus a couple of other towns mentioned in good time):

 landing 2

What the heck – I’ll jump right to my Google Earth (GE) trip from my last landing (Charlevoix Lake):


Here’s a static GE shot looking north past my landing:

 GE 1

Note that I add the landing number to the push pin label.  I mean, really, I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long time, and don’t know why it took me so long to do it!

Looks like I landed right on a ridge, making my watershed analysis a little tricky.  Here’s a closer-in GE shot looking south from my landing:

 GE 2 ground view looking south

The GE elevation tool allowed me to chart the path of a drop of water leaving my landing (it went to the left on the above shot).  Here’s a map showing the drainage:

 GE 3 drainage

You can see I landed in the Danaher Creek Watershed.  More watershed info is shown on this map:

 landing 3

Danaher Creek discharges to the South Fork of the Flathead River (new watershed for me!); on to the Flathead (11th hit); on to the Clark Fork (19th hit).  Although not on the map, trust me when I tell you that the Clark Fork discharges to the Pend Oreille (21st hit) and then on to the Columbia (150th hit).

I landed in an incredibly beautiful area, so I’m looking forward to the Panoramio show coming up soon.  But first, I had to check out Seeley Lake.  Wiki?  Nothing.  Chamber of Commerce, not much, but this:

The vibrant and charming small towns of Seeley Lake and Condon lie between the Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Mission Mountain Wilderness, while the historic ranching community of Ovando is on the Lewis and Clark Trail.

The communities of Seeley Lake, Condon and Ovando serve as gateways to these natural wonders.

You will find more spectacular unspoiled nature here, than anywhere else in the lower 48 states providing breath taking experiences by day and relaxing hospitality by night. The Big Blackfoot River, location of Norman McLean’s A River Runs Through It, is a world class fishery [emphasis added by me].

The waterways, to the prairies, to the peaked vistas . . .  offer all of the scenery, wildlife and recreation that anyone can imagine.

OK, OK, so I never saw the movie A River Runs Through It.  But thanks to A Landing A Day, I’ve now seen the trailer:


OK, OK, so I never read the book.  But thanks to A Landing A Day, I’ve now read some of the best quotes from the book by Normal Maclean:


“In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing. We lived at the junction of great trout rivers in western Montana, and our father was a Presbyterian minister and a fly fisherman who tied his own flies and taught others. He told us about Christ’s disciples being fishermen, and we were left to assume, as my brother and I did, that all first-class fishermen on the Sea of Galilee were fly fishermen and that John, the favorite, was a dry-fly fisherman.”

Here’s another:

“Ahead and to the west was our ranger station – and the mountains of Idaho, poems of geology stretching beyond any boundaries and seemingly even beyond the world.”

And another:

“As a Scot and a Presbyterian, my father believed that man by nature was a mess and had fallen from an original state of grace. Somehow, I early developed the notion that he had done this by falling from a tree. As for my father, I never knew whether he believed God was a mathematician but he certainly believed God could count and that only by picking up God’s rhythms were we able to regain power and beauty. Unlike many Presbyterians, he often used the word “beautiful.”

The closing:

“Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise.

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

I am haunted by waters.”

Quite the poet, eh?  I guess so, but I’m a left-brained literalist, so I have a problem with language like that in the above two paragraphs (starting with “Eventually”).  But what the heck, I’ll give a shot at my interpretation (which will be lame for two reasons:  one, I’m so left-brained, and two, I didn’t read the book).  But this is my blog and if I want to (at least attempt to) suddenly veer to the right (brainwise, not politically), then I can.  Here goes:

OK, so all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.  I’m going to leave that alone, having not read the book.  But basically, I have no problem with it.  Then,  the river “runs over rocks from the basement of time.”  I’m a geologist.  I get that.  “On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops.”  I’m sort of with him; after all, I’m tracing the paths of timeless raindrops on every one of my landing posts.

“Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.”   I’ve got to veer right here.  But remember, my geologic specialty is groundwater, so I’ve been tracking (and thinking about) groundwater throughout my professional career.

Breaking it down a little, “Under the rocks are the words.” Thinking of the raindrops on top of the rocks, I think of groundwater under the rocks. The raindrops might be letters that come together under the rocks to become words (representing the wisdom of the natural world) and “some of the words are theirs,” so the words of the raindrops join the infinity of words (timeless, infinite wisdom) represented by the interconnected subsurface waters.

Oh man.  I’ll say this is outside my comfort zone.

“I am haunted by waters.”  While I probably wouldn’t use the word “haunted,” I get it in the sense that waters represent something much larger, much grander, much more timeless, than me.

I found a chat-room type of website discussing the above quote –  “The Floating Library.”  Someone put out the quote (beginning with “Eventually . . .” and ending with “I am haunted by waters.”)  Several people waxed somewhat vaguely (in my opinion) about why they were so moved by the quote.  And then, Dianne (bless her heart), had the following to say in response to a comment by Jerry:

hello jerry,

it seems from your comment that you really enjoyed this book, however after reading it, I am still somewhat confused as to what the whole meaning/main point of this novel was.

I know it’s supposed to be an amazing book, however it’s hard for me to enjoy it when i can’t seem to make sense of any of it….especially how the last line pertains to the whole book.

would love if you could clarify it.



Dianne and I are soul-mates!  There’s no way I’m going to read the book!

And, I really doubt Diane was totally satisfied with Jerry’s heartfelt response:


My take on the book is one of a painfully open admission by Norman Maclean of his perceived weaknesses and failures during his life. The loss of his brother, the emotional distancing from his father, the physical distancing from Montana for much of his life, all weigh on his spirit, but despite that there’s a quiet nobility in his acceptance of it, all done with the Big Blackfoot as the backdrop.

I live on the Blackfoot, not too far upriver from where his brother Paul in real life hooked that last monster trout. Norman was friends with the man who owned my property at the time, and they would often sit on the porch sipping whisky and generally being curmudgeonly.

While I felt the draw to this story long before I moved here, what I’ve since learned from the older locals about Norman’s personality help to fill out my mental canvas of his persona.

Do you see how I dissected the paragraph sentence by sentence?  That’s a left-brained approach that probably Diane would better relate to.  Notice that Jerry didn’t really explain the quote.  He gave a typically-lame (in my opinion) right-brained  response to Dianne.  Are there any surprises that I got bachelors degrees in both Civil Engineering and Geology, and a Masters degree in Geology (and not in English Lit)?  

Time to move on to Panoramio!  I’m going to stay as close as possible to my landing:

Here’s the shot closest to my landing, by BCHiker, about 10 miles NW of my landing.  It’s a shot of my river – the South Fork of the Flathead:

 pano bchiker s fk flathead

And this, by Tharwell (about 15 mi W of my landing):

 pano tharwell

And this, by mttrainwreck (also about 15 mi W of my landing):

 pano mttrainwreck

I’ll close with this by PhotoCop, about 15 mi NW of my landing:

 pano photocop

This is an exquisitely beautiful part of the world (and my left brain tells me that loud and clear . . . )

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Charlevoix, Michigan

Posted by graywacke on August 24, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2116; A Landing A Day blog post number 544.

Dan –  Not just two OSers in a row, but the same state twice in a row, thanks to this return landing to . . . MI; 50/40; 3/10; 148.1.

Because I keep track of all things landing, I want you to know that this was my 52nd “double” landing (Michigan twice in a row), and the second double for Michigan.  My last double was CA, about a year ago, with my Mount Shasta and Clear Lake landings.  My only other Michigan double was in September 2008, before I began my blog.

Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My more local map shows that I actually landing in Lake Charlevoix!

 landing 2

Here’s my streams-only map:

 landing 3

I included the Jordan River and the Boyne River just for the heck of it, since they’re not part of “my” watershed.  A drop of water that falls on my landing is obviously in Lake Charlevoix, then on to Pine River (first hit!); to Lake Michigan (33rd hit); to the St. Lawrence River (95th hit).

Wow – look how short the Pine River is!  I couldn’t help myself, so I Googled “shortest river in Michigan.”  I found a blog “Twelve Mile Circle” that actually addresses the issue.  Here’s an excerpt:

I’ve seen some short rivers during my journeys. I once traveled down the entire length of the Pine River in Charlevoix, Michigan:

The Pine River connects Lake Charlevoix to Lake Michigan. If one considers Round Lake to be a separate body of water from the Pine River (which appears to be the case according to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names) then this “river” stretches no more than about 1,500 feet (457 metres). I sailed along this diminutive river while taking the ferry to Beaver Island.

The post goes on to discuss other contenders to the title of “World’s Shortest River.”  It’s a fascinating read (really!), and I highly recommend it.  Click HERE.

By the way, here’s the description of the blog, which hits a sweet spot for me:

This site is dedicated to the many unusual places that can be found on maps that just don’t seem to make sense.  State highpoints, non-contiguous boundaries, latitude/longitude confluences, and other trivial geographic facts are all fair game here. [Although I must admit I'm puzzled about "latitude/longitude confluences". . . ]

By the way, “Twelve Mile Circle” refers to the arcuate border between Delaware and Pennsylvania which is a segment of a circle with a 12-mile radius centered on the spire of the New Castle, Delaware courthouse.  And, (by the way)2, I have never landed in Delaware!  After 2116 landings, one might think I would have landed in Delaware at least once.  I mean, really, I’ve landed in Rhode Island twice!

Moving right along . . . it’s time for the relatively short Google Earth (GE) trip from Drummond Island (my last landing) down to Lake Charlevoix:

I couldn’t find a good Street View shot of my landing; the clearest shot was from about a mile south, looking north up the lake towards my landing:

 GE SV 1.3 miles away

Of course, I checked out East Jordan (as the closest town) as well as Boyne City.  But I’ll tell you, I couldn’t really find a hook for either town.  The town of Charlevoix appealed to me more, just based on its wonderful location, perched between Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan, and bisected by the Pine River.  Right out of the gate, we all must make sure that we pronounce it correctly.  According to “Emma Saying”:

Anyway, here’s a GE shot of Charlevoix:

 GE Charlevoix

See the bridge over the Pine River?  It sure doesn’t look like a bridge high enough to allow anything but little boats under it, so a drawbridge it must be.  After a quick check, its status was confirmed.  Here’s a short You Tube video of a sail boat going under the drawbridge (heading in towards Round Lake):

Quite the busy little channel!

Checking out the history of Charlevoix onWiki, a short paragraph caught my attention:

Soon after its formation in the 1850s, Charlevoix entered into a short lived conflict with James Strang, leader and namesake of the Strangite Mormons, and then king of Beaver Island.

Say what!?!  This sounds interesting!  Real quick, here’s a GE shot of Beaver Island:

GE Beaver island - charlevoix

Continuing on Wiki:

Relations between Charlevoix residents and the Strangites were often tense. In 1853, a gunfight broke out between the two groups as the townspeople refused to hand over a man who was called for jury duty on the island, an event known locally as The Battle of Pine River.

When Strang was assassinated on June 20, 1856, many believed residents from Charlevoix to be responsible.

As regular ALAD readers know, I have stumbled on (and featured) the Mormons on numerous posts.  Phew!  I just checked, and I’ve used the word “Mormon” at least once in 29 posts (13 of which were in Utah)!

But this doesn’t look like the typical Mormon story!  Here we go . . .

From BeaverIsland.net (and please take a deep breath and read this carefully!):

James Strang, who would create America’s only kingdom on Beaver Island, was born in New York in 1813.  He expected great things of himself.  He established a law practice at the age of 23, but it failed to satisfy his ambition. When he met Joseph Smith in 1844, he converted to his new evangelical religion as a way of improving his position.

Strang’s debating skills impressed the Mormon leader, who assigned him to found a branch in Burlington, Wisconsin. While Strang was away, Smith was killed. Shortly thereafter Strang produced a letter (written by Smith) naming him as Smith’s chosen heir. He was challenged by Brigham Young, who was more solidly entrenched.  Strang led those who accepted him to Nauvoo, Illinois, and then Voree, Wisconsin, before deciding that God wanted him to bring his flock to Beaver Island.

Producing mysterious brass plates from the ground, and receiving directives from God, Strang formed a colony on Beaver Island in 1848.  It grew year by year, and soon had the numbers to elect Strang to the state legislature. Trouble with the “gentiles” led to the “War of Whiskey Point”, which the Mormons won by firing a canon at the unruly gang gathered at the trading post.

By the early 1850s, most of the non-Mormons had left the Island.  The ensuing degree of absolute power went to Strang’s head, and rumors spread about Mormon attrocities. Strang had himself crowned king, and began taking additional wives. Attempts to oust him by legal means failed, and in 1856 he was assassinated by two disgruntled followers [or two angry Charveloixians, as speculated in the Wiki entry I quoted earlier].

His people [Wiki says there were 2,600] were driven off the Island by an unruly mob from Mackinac Island, which was instigated by speculators eager to grab the land.  [My research says that the hapless Strangites were unceremoniously herded onto commandeered steamships and dumped onto docks in Milwaukee and Chicago.]  During their 8-year occupancy, the Mormons cleared and cultivated the ground, built roads and houses, and changed the Island from a wilderness to a moderate outpost of civilization.  But fate conspired to keep them from reaping the benefits of their toil.

What an amazing story, on several fronts.  James Strang joined Joseph Smith as a martyred church leader whose murderers were never convicted – and, in neither case does it appear that anyone made much effort to bring the murderers to justice.  And how about commandeering steamships, rounding up 2,600 people off of their land, and just dumping them penniless on a dock?  Amazing.  And then there’s the very fact that someone like James Strang could convince 2,600 people to follow him to Beaver Island (let alone the 70,000 who followed Brigham Young to Salt Lake City . . .)

Here’s a Wiki shot of Mr. Strang (taken not long before he was assassinated):

 320px-James_Strang_daguerreotype_(1856) Wiki

By the way, there are still some Strangites around Voree, Wisconsin (300 or so at last count).  And also, the northern end of Beaver Island is today St. James Township.  That would be St. James Strang Township . . .

Before leaving Beaver Island, check out this YouTube video posted by BTidmore.  I found it mesmerizing . . . and check out the boat and barge across the way . . .

Moving along to some Panoramio shots (trying to stay as close to my landing as possible).  Here’s a red barn about a half mile southwest of my landing (by Chaos901):

pano chaos901 red barn

Not to be outdone, I heard from the black barn contingent (about 2 miles northeast of my landing, also taken by Chaos901):

 pano chaos901 black barn

I can’t help but make this comment:  I’m relieved that someone with a handle as menacing as Chaos901 seems content to take pictures of barns . . .

I’ll close with this sunset shot of the lake, taken about a mile south of my landing by JRuhlman:

 pano JRuhlman sunset

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Drummond Island, Michigan

Posted by graywacke on August 19, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2115; A Landing A Day blog post number 543.

Dan –  The LG (Landing God)  wasn’t comfortable with two record low Scores in a row, so He sent along this OSer . . . MI; 49/40; 4/10; 147.8. 

Here’s a verrrry interesting regional landing map:

 landing 1

Looks like I landed right on the border, eh?  Well, let’s take a closer look:

landing 1a

 Just made it. Oh, what the heck, how about a closer look?

 landing 1b

You can see that the international boundary takes some interesting jigs and jags, but that Drummond Island is on the U.S. side (barely).

Here’s my more local landing map:

 landing 2

So, I landed on the deserted east end of Drummond Island!  Here’s the flight from my last landing (Vega & Wildorado TX):

Let’s look at a static Google Earth shot:

 GE 1

I’ll say, it’s deserted.  Looks like my watershed analysis won’t be much.  See the little bay northwest of my landing (part of the larger bay)?  Using the GE elevation tool, I figured out that my drainage heads in that direction.  Here’s a closer look:

 GE 2

It turns out there’s a GE Panoramio shot (by Jeeper2002) that almost shows the little bay.  Here’s a screen shot of Jeeper’s picture that shows just where he took it from . . .

pano jeeper2002 looking east towards where the drainage ends up

Speaking of Pano shots, check this out – there’s a Pano shot on the “road” just east of my landing, by Repoman.  First, here’s a GE shot showing the photo’s location:

 GE 5 shows nearest Pano shot

And here’s the shot.

pano repoman close to landing 

Continuing with Pano pictures, here’s one of “Marblehead,” a cliff at the end of the road just east of my landing (by Greg Tipton):

 pano greg tipton marblehead

Also by Greg, here’s a shot of the view towards Cockburn Island (Canada) from Marblehead:

 pano greg tipton view from marblehead

See the international boundary line out in the water between Drummond & Cockburn?  Me neither . . .

As a geologist, I was very excited to learn that the cliff at Marblehead is part of the same cliff that is the raison d’etre of Niagara Falls!  Who’d a thunk?  From Wiki:

The Niagara Escarpment is a topographical feature that stretches from New York to Wisconsin.  It is typically marked by a cliff that separates an extensive upland area from an extensive lowland area.

There is no displacement of the rock layers at the escarpment: this is not a fault line but the result of unequal erosion. The escarpment’s high side is dolomite, which is more resistant than the low side of the escarpment, which is underlain by more easily eroded shale. The escarpment thus formed over millions of years through the process of erosion of rocks of different hardnesses.

Through time the soft rocks weather away or erode by the action of streams. The gradual removal of the soft rocks undercuts the resistant caprock, leaving a cliff or escarpment. The erosional process is most readily seen at Niagara Falls, where the river has quickened the process, carving a lengthy notch in the escarpment.

Here’s a map:

 Niagara_Escarpment_map wiki

Back to Drummond – zooming back a little on GE, here’s the entire island, showing Cockburn Island (to the east) and mainland Upper Peninsula Michigan (to the west):

 GE 3

Notice the two big white spots?  They are dolomite mines.  By the way, the entire island is underlain by dolomite (the rock described as the “high side” of the Niagara Escarpment).  Here’s what the Drummond Island C of C has to say:

Dolomite’s chief use is in the steel industry, where it is used in blast furnaces as a flux, and in open hearth furnaces and foundries as a refractory material. It also is an important source of the metal, magnesium. Its toughness and hardness, as well as its structural soundness, make it an ideal aggregate for construction, including asphalt and concrete pavements.

Dolomite’s high magnesium and calcium carbonate content gives it great value as a soil neutralizer, therefore it also hold an important place in agriculture.

In 1968 Drummond Dolomite Incorporated was sold to Bethlehem Steel Corporation and continued to ship Dolomite in excess of 2.5 million tons per year. This was done with personnel of approximately 160 people.

In 1987, because of economic downturns and competition from foreign steel makers, Bethlehem Steel decided to sell its quarries and mines. In the spring of 1988 Drummond Dolomite was taken over by Osborne Materials Company of Grand River, Ohio. Osborne is now producing 1.3 million tons per year with approximately 30 people.

Dolomite is prepared for market by crushing, washing, and screening at the processing plant that is seen from the Ferry as you approach the Drummond shore.

The ferry, eh?  Here’s a picture of the ferry that runs back and forth between the mainland and Drummond Island all year long, carrying cars, trucks and people:


So, Drummond Island has about 1000 permanent residents.  Phew.  Strange place to live.  There’s no real town there, so I imagine that there’s a lot of use of the ferry by people who keep a car on the mainland (as well as one on the island), and who hop on the ferry to go to Home Depot or the supermarket to buy a couple of weeks’ worth of groceries.

A funny aside.  Check out this 9-hole golf course.  While playing, you actually have to cross the runway of the only airport on the island!

 golf at airport

As mentioned early, Cockburn Island Canada is just east of Drummond.  East of Cockburn is Manitoulin Island.

From MSN Travel:

Canada’s aptly named Great Lakes are so large, in fact, that one of them, Huron, is home to the world’s largest freshwater island – Manitoulin. This bucolic collection of farms, villages and First Nations settlements draws cyclists and hikers to its quiet country roads and trails. And in an amusing twist, Manitoulin itself has 108 freshwater lakes, some of which have their own islands, which in turn contain ponds. Lake Manitou, for instance, is the largest lake on a freshwater island in the world, and Treasure Island in Lake Mindemoya is the largest island in a lake on an island in a lake in the world.

Wow. Very cool!  If we call the little ponds “lakes,” we’d have a lake on an island in a lake on an island in a lake!

So, off I went to Google Earth to look for a pond on an island in a lake on Manitoulin Island.  I spent quite a while, but to no avail. I was hampered by poor quality aerial photos.  Knowing that Bing Maps uses different aerials, I checked it out.  Bing-o!  Better photos (although still pretty lousy, as you’ll see).  Bing-o! A pond on a lake (I think).  Here is the Bing Maps aerial of Mud Island (in Mud Lake), and a small unnamed pond:

 bing pond on an island in a lake on an island in a lake - mud lake

Moving right along . . . I came across a lovely moon shot over Cockburn Island, taken a little ways east of my landing.  The photographer (NailHed) titled his photo “Monoominike-giizis moonrise over Cockburn Island.”  This requires some research.  First off, the phrase comes from the Indian Ojibwe language.  The Ojibwe were also known as the Chippewa; a large Indian Tribe in the Lake Superior Region.  It turns out that the Odawa were the prominent Tribe on both sides of Lake Huron, including the islands, as shown on this Wiki map:


An Odawa expression would probably be more appropriate.  Oh, well . . ..

Anyway, from the Oijbwe dictionary, “monoominike” means:

She/he rices, goes ricing, makes rice, picks rice, harvests wild rice.

From the same dictionary, giizis means:

Sun; moon; a month.

Together, manoominike-giizis means:

the moon of ricing occuring in August or September

There you have it, and I’ll close with the lovely picture, once again, entitled “Manoominike-giizis moonrise over Cockburn Island,” by NailHed:

pano nailhed manoominike-giizis moonrise over cockburn island

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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Vega and Wildorado, Texas

Posted by graywacke on August 14, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2114; A Landing A Day blog post number 542.

Dan –  Oh my.  After all of my complaining about 5 OSers in a row, along comes 3 USers and then a new record low Score, thanks to this landing in . . . TX; 156/185; 5/10; 147.4.  FYI, here’s what a small portion of my landing spreadsheet looks like (with some of the more esoteric columns hidden):

landing spreadsheet


Left-Most column:       Landing Number
Column A:                       Landing date
Column B:                        Score
Column C:                        Delta Score
Column D:                       0 = OSer;  1 = USer
Columns L,M:                Lat & Long
Column N:                      Landing description

My record low Scores are marked in red and bold . .

Moving right along, here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

And my local landing map with my two titular towns:

 landing 2

Here’s the Google Earth (GE) trip from my last landing (Mackay ID):

A static GE shot shows an irrigated agricultural area:

 GE 1

Just outside of the above shot is a north-south road about a mile west of my landing.  And yes, it has Street View.  Here ‘tis:


Here’s a streams-only shot:

 landing 3

Using the GE elevation tool, I could see that the land basically sloped to the east-southeast.  After my hypothetical drop of rain made it around all of the little depressions shown in blue on my local landing map (including the one I landed in), it would make it to the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River (4th hit); on to the Red River of the South (56th hit); on to the Atchafalaya (63rd hit).

Moving right along to my titular towns, I’ll start with Vega (pop 1000).  From Wiki:

The name Vega, which is Spanish for “meadow,” was chosen because it reflected the vast prairie and surrounding countryside of the area.

I couldn’t find much of particular interest about Vega, except that it’s a Route 66 town.  Route 66 has pretty much been hijacked by I-40, but you can see on the following map that the Interstate spared the town:

 landing 4 (vega)

Business I-40 (40CB and Vega Blvd) is the old original Route 66.  Here’s a Panoramio shot (by Fred Henstridge) heading west into Vega:

 pano fred henstridge old route 66 sign, vega

Here’s Route 66 before the Interstate System supplanted it (this landing is just west of Amarillo):


Route 66 conjures images of the Joad family on their journey from the Depression-era Oklahoma Dustbowl to California.  They would have passed right through here.  (More about the Joad’s trip later).

Moving east to Wildorado (pop 200).  From Wiki:

Named for nearby Wildorado Creek, the community was founded in 1900 as a railway town along the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railroad.

“Named for nearby Wildorado Creek” doesn’t do much for me.  “Wildorado” is such a cool name.  Where did it come from?  After an inordinate amount of time searching, I gave up.  Obviously, the name origin is shrouded in mystery.

But get this.  When I did a Google search for “name origin wildorado,” a crazy thing happened.  I captured the sequence on this You Tube piece:

That’s crazy!  Google, in its near-infinite wisdom, figured that I’d be satisfied with the name origin of Vega!!  Are you kidding me?? 

I had to put Wildorado in quotes to make Google understand that I really cared about Wildorado, and not Vega.  Of course, as discussed above, I could find nothing.

I mentioned Wildorado to my wife Jody.  She did a quick search on her phone, and let me know that “dorado” means “golden” in Spanish.  So maybe a bilingual Texas pioneer was checking out the area and he gazed upon a wild, beautiful scene of the creek bathed in golden sunset light.  It was certainly wild and it was certainly golden . . .

Unless anyone else can come up with something better, that’s going to have to do as the official explanation of the origin of the name “Wildorado.”

From Oldham County Chamber of Commerce site, I found this about Wildorado:

The highway through Wildorado has metamorphosed from the Ozark Trail to Will Rogers Highway to Route 66, and now Interstate 40.  Traffic increased on Route 66 and by the early 1960’s a new super highway was needed.  The new interstate required a 300 foot right-of-way through Wildorado’s Main Street making it necessary for businesses on the south side of Rt. 66 to be destroyed.  These businesses included:  Wildorado Bank, Rodeo Café, Pop Well’s Station & Café, Dee McDade’s Texaco, Davis Mercantile/Post Office, A.F. Moore’s 66 Dealership, and Tapscott Mobil Station.

Now wait a second.  We’re out in the middle of gosh-by-golly nowhere, with miles of nothing north and south of Wildorado.  The powers-that-be couldn’t manage to push the Interstate just a little north or little south of town and save all of those businesses?

It’s amazing how people just rolled over back in the 1960s when most of the Interstate highway system was built.  “So, the government wants to put a highway through the town and I’ve got to close down my business?  Well, if that’s what the government wants, then I guess I’ll have to go along.”

Those days are gone.

OK, OK.  I featured my old friend (and primo musician) Frank Sugrue in my Watertown NY post.  Here are some lyrics from his song about growing up in the late 1950s and early 1960s, entitled, appropriately enough,  “Those Days Are Gone”.   Here, Frank is talking about his father enjoying “taking a drive” on Sundays:

Pull in and fill up the tank
“Hey buddy, check under the hood”
Give God and Washington thanks
For all that is good

Those days are gone

This song features great music & great lyrics.  Go to FrankSugrue.com to check out Frank’s music . . .

So, I mentioned the Joad family earlier.  I’m sure that most of my readers know who I’m speaking of, but just in case:  The Joad family are are the central characters in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, an incredibly powerful book that I read back in college and haven’t reread since.  You know what?  I’m going to have to do that. 

Anyway, the Joads are Oklahoma farmers and have lost everything due to the Depression and the dust storms and terrible droughts that plagued the central plains during the 1930s.  The book chronicles their journey from Oklahoma to California on Route 66.  Here’s what may be the original jacket (from Wiki):


Chapter 12 (or at least a portion of Chapter 12) discusses Route 66.  Here’s the excerpt, with the towns that I’ve featured in A Landing A Day highlighted in bold italics:

Highway 66 is the main migrant road. 66–the long concrete path across the country, waving gently, up and down on the map, from the Mississippi to Bakersfield–over the red lands and the gray lands, twisting up into the mountains, crossing the Divide and down into the bright and terrible desert, and across the desert to the mountains again, and into the rich California valleys.

66 is the path of a people in flight, refugees from dust and shrinking land, from the thunder of tractors and shrinking ownership, from the desert’s slow northward invasion, from the twisting winds that howl up out of Texas, from floods that bring no richness to the land and steal what little richness is there. From all of these the people are in flight, and they come into 66 from the tributary side roads, from the wagon tracks and the rutted country roads. 66 is the mother road, the road of flight.

Clarksville and Ozark and Van Buren and Fort Smith on 64, and there’s an end of Arkansas. And all the roads into Oklahoma City, 66 down from Tulsa, 270 up from McAlester. 81 from Wichita Falls south, from Enid north. Edmond, McLoud, Purcell. 66 out of Oklahoma City; El Reno and Clinton, going west on 66. Hydro, Elk City, and Texola; and there’s an end to Oklahoma. 66 across the Panhandle of Texas. Shamrock and McLean, Conway and Amarillo, the yellow. Wildorado and Vega and Boise, and there’s an end of Texas. Tucumcari and Santa Rosa and into the New Mexican mountains to Albuquerque, where the road comes down from Santa Fe. Then down the gorged Rio Grande to Los Lunas and west again on 66 to Gallup, and there’s the border of New Mexico.

And now the high mountains. Holbrook and Winslow and Flagstaff in the high mountains of Arizona. Then the great plateau rolling like a ground swell. Ashfork and Kingman, and stone mountains again, where water must be hauled and sold. Then out of the broken sun-rotted mountains of Arizona to the Colorado, with green reeds on its banks, and that’s the end of Arizona. There’s California just over the river, and a pretty town to start it. Needles, on the river. But the river is a stranger in this place. Up from Needles and over a burned range, and there’s the desert. And 66 goes on over the terrible desert, where the distance shimmers and the black center mountains hang unbearably in the distance. At last there’s Barstow, and more desert until at last the mountains rise up again, the good mountains, and 66 winds through them. Then suddenly a pass, and below the beautiful valley, below orchards and vineyards and little houses, and in the distance a city. And, oh, my God, it’s over.

True confessions.  I landed in Needles CA  just before I began posting, but was sending Dan full-fledged landing emails.  Here’s a little bit from my October 18, 2008 email to Dan about Route 66 in Needles:

Here’s a shot of Rt 66 in Needles back in the day.  The picture was taken in 1940, not many years after the Dust Bowl Okies made the trip through town.  In fact, in The Grapes of Wrath, the Joads stop for a while in Needles:


In my Holbrook AZ post, I included a 1931 Grapes of Wrath-era shot of Route 66:


And then, this:

I’ll close with this shot, just off Rt 66 outside of Holbrook, of a car that just couldn’t go any further west . . .


Speaking of closing, I’ll close this post with a picture of an old Magnolia Oil gas station in Vega, which was restored to its 1924 glory.  This picture is from urbex.50megs.com (urbex = urban exploration), which includes a whole section of Route 66 pics (click HERE for their Route 66 travelogue):

 USA - Vega TX - Restored 1926 Magnolia Gasoline Station (21 Apr 2009) Full

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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