A Landing a Day

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Culpeper (and nearby Civil War battle sites), Virginia

Posted by graywacke on December 7, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2312; A Landing A Day blog post number 742.

untitledDan:  Today’s lat/long (38o 21.555’N, 77o 56.758’W) puts me in north central Virginia:


My local landing map shows a VP* of small towns:


*veritable plethora

My streams-only map shows that I landed very close to the Rapidan River, and obviously in the Rapidan River watershed (1st hit ever!):


As you can see, the Rapidan discharges to the Rappahannock (2nd hit), on to the Chesapeake Bay.

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight on in to North Central Virginia.  Click HERE, enjoy the trip, and hit your back button.

There’s decent Street View coverage of my landing:


Although he’s close, the Orange Dude (OD) can’t quite see the precise landing location:


I sent the OD a little ways upstream to get a look at the Rapidan:


Here’s what the he sees:


I like the name “Rapidan,” so had to learn a little more.  From Wiki:

The name is a combination of the word “rapid” with the name of Queen Anne of England. Originally, it was known as the Rapid Ann River.

Well, I think it should have been the Rapid Anne River – I mean, really – if you’re going to name the river after a queen, get her name right.  And incidentally, I’d vote for the Rapid Anne (or Ann) over the Rapidan . . .

And here’s another bit from Wiki:

The Rapidan River was the scene of severe fighting in the American Civil War, and historic sites such as Chancellorsville and the Battle of the Wilderness are nearby.

I’ll get to some Civil War content in a bit, but first, a personal story about Culpeper.

I worked for the USEPA Region III in Philadelphia for a couple of years, more-or-less centered on 1985.   (VA, along with DE, PA and WV make up Region III).  I worked in the Superfund program, as part of the “Enforcement” group.  Our job was to get “Responsible Parties” (i.e., industries that caused the pollution) to step up and do the investigations and clean-ups.  I was strictly a technical guy, providing support to the site managers.

I still remember a trip to Culpeper to visit a Superfund site.  The site was a wood treatment facility.  (Some nasty chemicals, both organic and inorganic, are used to pressure-treat lumber).  I remember practically nothing about the trip.  Anyway, I Googled Superfund Culpeper to see what was going on some 30 years later.

The EPA has a Culpeper website:


The website tells me that the Culpeper Wood Preservers site used arsenic and chromium compounds to treat the wood, and spills / leaks of these compounds ended up contaminating the soils and groundwater.  The site became a Superfund site on June 10, 1986 (towards the end of my stint at EPA).

The site investigation (taking samples to determine the extent of soil and groundwater contamination) is yet to be completed!  And the clean-up plan for the site has also not been completed!

Two things:  Most site investigations can be completed within 5 years, 10 years at the outside.  And after that, it doesn’t take much time to develop a clean-up plan (Feasibility Study in Superfund parlance).  This obviously speaks to the bureaucracy and inefficiency of the federal Superfund program.  Way more money is spent on attorneys than on actual clean-ups.

Secondly:  In my not-so-humble opinion, there is no reason that this site became a Superfund site in the first place!  From what I can gather, no off-site water wells have been contaminated; in fact, the groundwater contamination hasn’t left the site (and very likely never will).  Most, if not all, of the soil contamination was cleaned up in 1983 before the site went Superfund.

In other words, this site, in the environmental world of contaminated sites, is no big deal!  Superfund sites should be the worst of the worst, with extreme risks to either the public or the environment.  (I had nothing to do with the selection of Superfund sites.)   If this is a Superfund Site, there should be thousands of Superfund sites in NJ alone!

Don’t get me wrong:  I’m not saying that the Culpeper Site shouldn’t be investigated and cleaned-up / controlled (it should).  But let the State of Virginia take care of it!  It’ll be less expensive and way more efficient (and the public / environment will be protected).

FYI, there are some 1,300 Superfund Sites.  I’ll bet that at least half of these should be left to the states . . .

I’ll get off my soap box (which, as regular readers know, I’m practically never on).

Moving on to a topic more typically ALAD-like:  As mentioned above, two very significant Civil War battles were fought near my landing:  Chancellorsville and the Wilderness. 

Here’s a GE shot showing Wilderness (one of the VP of small towns shown on my local landing map), along with Chancellorsville (the battle site) and the Battle of the Wilderness site:


The stories of these battles are complex and way too lengthy for a simple ALAD post.  Chancellorsville is known as a high point for the Confederacy, and is considered perhaps the greatest of Confederate victories, won in spite of the fact that Robert E. Lee’s troops were outnumbered 2 to 1 by the Union Army led by General Hooker. 

But it was a costly victory for the Confederacy, as Stonewall Jackson lost his life here.  He was wounded at the battle (by friendly fire); his arm was amputated, and then he died of pneumonia a week later.  So, how about a brief Stonewall feature?  Here’s a Wiki picture of the General:


From Son of the South.net, this about how he got his nickname:



Robinson House, Bull Run.—”Stonewall” Jackson won his name near this house early in the afternoon of July 21, 1861 at the First Battle of Bull Run. Meeting Confederate General Barnard Bee’s retreating troops, Jackson advanced with a battery to the ridge behind the Robinson House and held the position until Bee’s troops had rallied in his rear. General Bee  said to a colleague:  “Look at Jackson standing there like a stone wall.”  Bee was killed soon thereafter just as the Confederate troops took the upper hand.

When General Lee heard about the amputation of Stonewall’s arm, he lamented, “”He has lost his left arm, but I have lost my right.”  History doesn’t record what he said when he learned Stonewall had died.

As I always do, I looked at various GE Panoramio shots in the vicinity of my landing.  I came across this:


And yes, the Pano shot showed a gravestone.  But here’s a better shot of the gravestone, from Bucknell.edu:


Really?  I quickly Googled “grave Stonewall Jackson’s arm,” and found an NPR story:  “The Curious Fate of Stonewall Jackson’s Arm,” by Ramona Martinez (heard on Morning Edition in June of 2012).  Here are some excerpts:

[After the amputation], Jackson’s arm was about to be tossed on the pile of limbs outside the medical tents — until his military chaplain decided to save it.

Park Ranger Chuck Young tells a group of visitors: “Remembering that Jackson was the rock star of 1863 — everybody knew who Stonewall was, and to have his arm just simply thrown on the scrap pile with the other arms, Military Chaplain Rev. Lacy couldn’t let that happen.”

So the arm was buried in a private cemetery at Ellwood Manor, not far from the field hospital where it was amputated. Soon after, Jackson died of pneumonia, and his body was sent to his family in Lexington, Va.

But, Young says, Jackson’s arm was never reunited with the rest of his remains.

“When Mrs. Jackson ass informed that the arm was amputated and given a full Christian burial,” Young says, “they asked her if she wanted it exhumed and buried with the general. She declined, not wishing to disturb a Christian burial.”

In 1903, one of Jackson’s staff officers set up a granite stone in the small cemetery. It’s unclear if the stone marks the exact location of the arm, or if it indicates that the burial happened somewhere in the area.

Just a little more about Stonewall.  About his military prowess, From Wiki:

Military historians consider Jackson to be one of the most gifted tactical commanders in U.S. history.  His Valley Campaign and his envelopment of the Union Army’s right wing at Chancellorsville are studied worldwide, even today, as examples of innovative and bold leadership.

About his character and his ambivalent feelings towards slavery (Wiki):

In Lexington [VA, where he lived and worked before the war], Jackson was revered by many of the African Americans, both slaves and free blacks. In 1855, he was instrumental in the organization of Sunday School classes for blacks at the Presbyterian Church. His second wife, Mary Anna Jackson, taught with Jackson, as “he preferred that my labors should be given to the colored children, believing that it was more important and useful to put the strong hand of the Gospel under the ignorant African race, to lift them up.”

The pastor, Dr. William Spottswood White, described the relationship between Jackson and his Sunday afternoon students: “In their religious instruction he succeeded wonderfully. His discipline was systematic and firm, but very kind. … His servants reverenced and loved him, as they would have done a brother or father. … He was emphatically the black man’s friend.”

Jackson’s family owned six slaves in the late 1850s. After the Civil War began he appears to have hired out or sold his slaves. Mary Anna Jackson, in her 1895 memoir, said, “our servants … without the firm guidance and restraint of their master, the excitement of the times proved so demoralizing to them that he deemed it best for me to provide them with good homes among the permanent residents.”  James Robertson wrote about Jackson’s view on slavery:

Jackson neither apologized for nor spoke in favor of the practice of slavery. He probably opposed the institution. Yet in his mind the Creator had sanctioned slavery, and man had no moral right to challenge its existence. The good Christian slaveholder was one who treated his servants fairly and humanely at all times.

“The Creator had sanctioned slavery,” eh?  I don’t know the bible very well (in spite of the fact that my father was a Presbyterian minister), but a little research, and I came across this, from religion.blogs.cnn.com:

How the Bible was used to justify slavery, abolitionism

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) – How did churchgoing, Bible-worshiping Christians justify holding slaves? It’s a question I’ve long had as a Civil War buff.

Henry Brinton, a pastor at Fairfax Presbyterian Church in Virginia, writes that the Bible was used a weapon by both the North and the South.

Slaveholders justified the practice by citing the Bible, Brinton says.

Ephesians 6:5 – They asked who could question the Word of God when it said, “slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling”

Epistle of Paul to Titus 2:9 – “tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect”

All I can say is that Paul was, as all of us are, a product of their time. . .

Wow.  First I’m on a soap box criticizing the Superfund program, and then I’m quoting controversial Bible verses.  What is this blog coming to?  Fear not, dear readers.  I will continue my custom of avoiding trips into contentious waters . . .

On that note, I’ll go to the safe harbor of a GE Panoramio shot. This is a lovely one, taken by T. K. Ogden, about 3 miles east of my landing:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day


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Guntersville, Alabama

Posted by graywacke on December 1, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2311; A Landing A Day blog post number 741.

untitledDan:  Today’s lat/long (34o 15.787’N, 86o 13.457’W) puts me in NE Alabama:


You can see that I practically landed in Albertville, and not far from Guntersville:


My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of the East Fk of Drum Ck; on to Drum Ck; on to Short Ck:


Zooming back some:


You can see that Short Creek discharges in Guntersville Lake, which is the dammed-up Tennessee River (31st hit).

Zooming back further, you can see that the Tennessee heads out of Alabama, into (of course) Tennessee and then Kentucky before discharging into the Ohio R (141st hit).  The Ohio of course discharges to the MM (902nd hit):


It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight to NE AL.  Click HERE, enjoy the trip, then hit your back button.

Notice anything on your way in?  Like that this was the first yellow push-pin in Alabama?  In case you missed it:


A couple of near misses, but it is amazing that this was Alabama’s first.  This particular Google Earth rendition shows all of my landings since January 2013 – landing 1976 to landing 2311, or a total of 336 landings.  Amazing.  I would challenge anyone to throw 335 darts at a map of the lower 48 and never hit Alabama!  OK, OK – you gotta use a small map so that you couldn’t aim at any specific area!

Here’s what 336 push-pins in the lower 48 look like:


So how long has it been since I landed in Alabama (one might ask).  The answer is landing 1749, or 563 landings ago!  So forget about 336 darts!  Try 563!

In fact, since I began blogging (landing 1538), I’ve only landed in Alabama twice.  That’s two out of 741 landings.  Amazing.

Bear with me while I do a little math.  The area of Alabama is 52,423 square miles and that of the lower 48 is 3,061,636 sq mi.  So, what percentage is that?  Doing the math:  52,423/3,061,636 = 0.017, or 1.7%  So, 1.7% of 741 landings is 12 and I should have authored 12 or 13 posts about Alabama, but instead, today’s post is only my third.

My last Alabama landing (#1749) was in the town of Phil Campbell.  The town was named after a railroad guy by the name of (you guessed it) Phil Campbell.  Here’s a little Wiki from that post:

In June 1995 the writer Phil Campbell organized, held and wrote about a convention of people who shared their name with the town of Phil Campbell, Alabama. Twenty-two Phil Campbells and one Phyllis Campbell, hailing from all over America, gathered in Phil Campbell.

OK, my connection to Phil Campbell is a little weak for this post, but I’m in charge and I want to revisit Phil Campbell (and Phil Campbell)!  Anyway, here are some bullet points that tell the Phil Campbell/ALAD story:

  • Phil is a writer, author of the book “Zioncheck for President,” a non-fiction account of him as campaign manager for a young man seeking a Seattle City Council seat. This is a funky, counterculture David vs. Goliath story (and of course our heroes are on the David side).
  • After my post about Phil Campbell (where I discussed Phil’s book), he happened upon my post and commented thusly:
    • Yes! Absolutely you should read Zioncheck for President. It’s a great book! And then see the film, after Jake Gyllenhaal’s father Stephen Gyllenhaal is done adapting it to the big screen. Also, you should read the novel I’m now finishing about Memphis, whenever it gets published.  Seriously, Thank you for the random mention. What an interesting blog. Think I’ll check out some of the other posts.
  • Phil and I corresponded a little; I read the book and posted that I heartily recommend it. By the way, the movie (“Grassroots”) came out in 2012, and I must admit that I haven’t seen it.  Sorry about that, Phil.
  • My wife and Phil became friends on Facebook. My son Ben (who lives in Brooklyn) and Phil (who also lives in Brooklyn) became Facebook friends.
  • I was talking to Ben a few months ago and he said that he saw Phil on the street, but he didn’t talk to him. Ben!?!?

So in 2011, a devastating tornado roared through Phil Campbell.  Tragically, 26 people were killed.  I came across an Alabama News Center article that begins by discussing the Phil Campbell/Phil Campbell connection:

Fast-forward to 2011. The 100th anniversary of Phil Campbell, Alabama, is coming up and Brooklyn Phil, as he has come to be known, decides to pull the stunt again, this time having the advantage of Facebook and the Internet to spread the word exponentially farther and wider. As the invitations to “The International Phil Campbell Convention in Phil Campbell, Alabama, for the 100th Anniversary of Phil Campbell Alabama” are about to go out, though, a deadly EF5 tornado rips through the state, devastating the town and killing 26 people.

Here’s Phil’s “call to action,” as posted on the same website:


So Phil Campbell got all of the Phil Campbells together in Phil Campbell for a relief effort.  There’s a cool t New York Times story about what happened.  You MUST read this story.  Click on the big T, below.

After that long detour, it’s time to get back to business. Here’s a shot of Albertville, showing that I landed in a field just west of town:


And yes, there is excellent GE Street View coverage along the road that leads to a condo complex:


And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:


Very close by, we get a look at the East Fork of Drum Creek:


And here ‘tis:


Well to the northwest, just this side of Guntersville Lake, Drum Creek winds its way through a wooded valley.  Here’s a GE SV shot looking down the road towards the bridge . . .


 . . . and here’s the view from the bridge:


So.  Of course, I carefully checked out Albertville.  And it is absolutely, positively:


So what about Guntersville?  Well, under Notable People, I found the following:

  • Marx Edgeworth Lazarus, American individualist anarchist, and
  • Pat Upton, former lead singer and songwriter with Spiral Starecase

Not under “Notable People,” but in the “History” section is mention of the fact that 50s – 60s rocker Ricky Nelson’s fatal plane ride took off from Guntersville.

I’ll start with Marx Edgeworth Lazarus, American “Individualist Anarchist.”  Wiki let me know that other IAs include Ralph Waldo Emerson (hey!  I wrote about him just a few posts ago!) and Henry David Thoreau (Hey! I wrote about him just a few posts ago!)  From Wiki:

American individualist anarchism stresses the isolation of the individual—his right to his own tools, his mind, his body, and to the products of his labor.

In other words, the government should keep the heck out.  Here’s a quote from Mr. Lazarus (Wiki):

“Every vote for a governing office is an instrument for enslaving me.”

He was against the institution of marriage (as sanctioned by the government), thinking instead that every relationship should be based solely on love.  He also wrote about homeopathic medicine and non-traditional Christianity, in many ways a precursor to “New Age” spirituality.

Moving right along to Pat Upton and the Spiral Starecase.  These guys (with Pat as their lead singer and main man) were a one-hit wonder, with 1969’s “More Today Than Yesterday.”  Two things:  1) I clearly remember the song, and 2) I had no idea they spelled “Starecase” the way they did.

Here’s an excerpt from his bio on AllMusic.com:

After the demise of his band the Spiral Starecase, lead vocalist and guitarist Pat Upton returned back to his hometown of Guntersville, Alabama and took stock. After a downtime period, he eased himself back into it, doing session work and finally landing a permanent job as a backup vocalist in Rick Nelson’s Stone Canyon Band.

He stayed with Rick for several years (he can be heard on Nelson’s Playing to Win album) until home and hearth beckoned again, opening up a local nightclub in Guntersville.  His club was the last place Nelson worked before flying out that night to his fiery death in a plane crash in 1985.

Pat Upton remains active, writing and recording new material and performing when he damn well feels like it.

Here’s a You Tube of the band playing (and lip syncing) their greatest (and one and only) hit:


Wow.  1969 seems so long ago . . .

You no doubt noticed that in Pat’s bio there was another reference to Ricky Nelson’s fatal plane crash. (OK, Ricky was known as Rick later in his career.)  But anyway, I did a full feature of Ricky Nelson (including his fatal plane crash) in an earlier post.  Can you guess why?

And the answer is:  I landed near DeKalb, Texas back in April 2013.  Ricky’s plane crashed in DeKalb, Texas.  So . . . I’ve landed where he took off, and I’ve landed where he crashed.

Let me start with a shot of a young Ricky Nelson (from his website):


Most of the Ricky Nelson portion of that post concerned the song “Garden Party,” far and away my favorite Ricky Nelson song. Here’s Ricky from the Garden Party era:


Here’s a You Tube video of Garden Party (with the words).  I’ll follow up with an analysis of the words from my DeKalb post.


Most references are obvious – Yoko and her walrus (John Lennon), Johnny B. Goode and playin’ guitar like ringing a bell (Chuck Berry), and his own songs,  “Mary Lou” and “She Belonged to Me.”  The reference to “honky tonk” is explained by Wiki:

On October 15, 1971, a Rock ‘n Roll Revival concert was given at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Nelson came on stage dressed in the then-current fashion, wearing bell-bottoms and a purple velvet shirt, with his hair hanging down to his shoulders. He started playing his older songs “Hello Mary Lou” and “She Belongs to Me”, but then he played The Rolling Stones‘ “Country Honk” (a country version of their hit song “Honky Tonk Women“) and the crowd began to boo. While some reports say that the booing was caused by police action in the back of the audience, Nelson took it personally and left the stage.  [Official ALAD verdict:  Ricky was way too sensitive – the booing was about police action.]  He watched the rest of the concert backstage and did not reappear on stage for the finale.

The most mysterious reference involves “Mr. Hughes hid in Dylan’s shoes.”  From Wiki:

One more reference in the lyrics pertains to a particularly mysterious and legendary audience member: “Mr. Hughes hid in Dylan’s shoes, wearing his disguise”.  The Mr. Hughes in question was not Howard Hughes, as is widely believed, but ex-Beatle George Harrison, who was a next-door neighbor and good friend of Nelson’s. Harrison used “Hughes” as his traveling alias, and “hid in Dylan’s shoes” most likely refers to an album of Bob Dylan covers that Harrison was planning but never recorded.

It’s time for at least one (maybe two) GE Pano shots.  OK – two.  First, here’s one by Kudzupatch of one of my watershed streams, Short Creek:


I’ll close with a sunset over Lake Guntersville, by Tim Haynes:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day


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Spink, South Dakota (Revisited) – Plus: All Things Spink

Posted by graywacke on November 27, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2310; A Landing A Day blog post number 740.

untitledDan:  Today’s lat/long (42o 51.457’N, 96o 44.755’W) isn’t very different from my most recent landing in Iowa:  (42o 9.545’N, 95o 1.121’W).  In fact, today’s landing is just 100 miles NW of my last.  Here’s my regional landing map:


And my local landing map:


I’ll zoom out, and you can see that Spink is only game in town . . . er . . . the only town on the map:


Here’s my streams-only map, showing that I landed in the Brule Creek watershed (2nd hit); on to the Big Sioux R (5th hit, the 167th river on my list of rivers with 5 or more hits); on to the Missouri R (416th hit):


Of course, I can’t forget the MM (901st hit).

So.  It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) space flight in to far southeastern SD.  Click HERE, enjoy the trip (and then hit your back button).

Well, I do have halfway decent Street View coverage:


And here’s what the Orange Dude sees, looking north from beautiful downtown Spink:


Not much development north of town, eh?

Speaking of downtown Spink:


And here’s a Street View shot of the town’s only hot spot, the Spink Café (more about the Café later):


Before I forget, I have a nice local Street View shot of Brule Creek:


And here ‘tis:


I must admit that at first, Spink didn’t ring a bell with me.  But I recalled landing in far southeastern SD in the past, so I went ahead and searched for Spink in the ALAD search box.  And there it was.  A Spink SD post from May 2011.

Here’s my local landing map from that post:


And some words from that post:

Believe it or not, I found this in Wiki:

A community named Spink was established in Spink township in 1871.  At its peak, the community was strong enough to compete for the title of county seat.

Toward the end of the 20th century, only a few business remained in the community of Spink. The Spink Cafe was (and still is!) the center of life in the township and is still a place were farmers would gather to talk about the bean or corn crop and share a pot of coffee.  Gary’s Repair was (and still is!) the place where people could get the truck or tractor a little work.  The old Co-Op that went by the name of Spink Oil was the town’s gas station. Spink Oil closed in 1997.

[The above Wiki entry is still active, although it’s under Spink Township.]

I found an article about the Spink Cafe in the October 18, 2006 edition of the Akron (IA) Hometowner.  I lifted some excerpts and pictures:

Saving Spink Cafe — one of South Dakota’s landmarks

By Julie Ann Madden


“The Friday night Fish Fries during Lent and Sunday dinners tend to draw the largest crowds.  Recently, we served 70 people Sunday dinner and last spring we served 150 during a Fish Fry,” said owner Diane Otten. “Sometimes there’s only three customers in a day. It just depends on which fields the farmers are in and who else is in the area.”

“The Spinkburger is the best in town,” she said. “It’s two hamburger patties, mayo, mustard, lettuce pickle, onion and tomato.”

Breakfast is available any time they are open. They sell beer and the coffee pot’s always on. Spink Cafe is open Wednesday through Sunday. Wednesdays are until 8 p.m. or “until the last customer leaves.”

Fridays and Saturdays, they open until 10 p.m. or so. Sundays is 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.  “It’s really a family-run business,” said Diane, “and I think the cafe is an important part of history.”  Otten admits they don’t make a lot of money operating the café – “there’s is always something to repair. It takes a lot of work but we have a lot of fun here.”


I love that the Spinkburger is the best in town.  In a town of eight people and (of course) only one restaurant, it’s hard to argue the point! 

Also, I looked long and hard to find the origin of the name “Spink.”  The info is probably out there somewhere, but I have only so much time to search . . .

Back to real time.  Guess what?  I now know how the town got it’s name (which I’ll share with you in a minute).  But first, the Akron Hometowner newspaper has an update article about the Spink Café!  This is from an undated article (but clearly later than 2011), by Eden Hemmingson:

South Dakota is home to one of the Midwest’s best kept secrets: the Spink Cafe. The cafe has been around for 16 years, and the building has been standing for over a hundred.

Recently, the owners have repainted walls and retiled the ceiling and now the inside of the Spink Cafe looks brand new.

“We’ve wanted to repaint for awhile now but couldn’t decide what to do. We started with new ceiling tile and painted the vents red,” said owner Rhonda Otten. “I’ve wanted a red wall in the cafe ever since I read an article saying red makes people hungry. “

After the big red wall was painted, Rhonda wanted to keep making changes.

She decided on a red, black and light blue color scheme, with a big vinyl record mural on the dining room wall.

“We have an amazing artist as our waitress, Eden, so it made me think to have an actual record painted on the wall. And with the three colors we went with, it all just works so well together,” said Otten.

“Our father, Junior, passed away in May and he has a collection of over 3,000 records. We wanted to incorporate them some how,” said Otten. “Music is a huge part of our entire family’s daily lives.”

The new look goes well with Spink’s classic Elvis memorabilia and has been loved by all the customers. The drastic change has sparked some ideas about the menu.

“The new look is definitely inspiring us to try other new things. We are having an old fashioned shake and burger night on Wednesdays in July. We have some new menu ideas also,” said Otten. “It’s kinda like a whole new feel when we walk in. It’s fun thinking up all these new things.”

And here’s the new wall decor:


Now to the story on the origin of the town’s name:  I found a post about South Dakota town names on the website reallyweirdplacenames.blogspot.com.  Here’s an excerpt:


Which of the following represents a correct use of the word “spink”?

  • Ursula expressed considerable surprise when she found a small spink in her sleeping bag.
  • Bob sure showed a lot of spink in taking on the Hell’s Angels, didn’t he?
  • You’re going to need a new spink, ma’am, if you’re going to get that toilet to work properly.

Spink, interestingly, is both a town and a county. The county is in the northeast part of SD, has 6,400 Spinkers, and comes in at over 1,500 sq. miles. It’s the home of the rather off-color town of Athol.  Pronunciation?  Let’s not go there.

The town of Spink, oddly, is not in Spink County, but in Union, which is in the very southeast toe of the state (that little part that kind of just dribbles down there all by itself). It’s got 245 Spinkites.

The name? Well, S.L. Spink just so happened to be Secretary of Dakota Territory when the county and the town were founded.

There you have it.  And yes, I googled S.L. Spink (Solomon L.).  There’s not much on the web about him, but Wiki confirms that Solomon was, in fact, a representative of Dakota Territory from March 4, 1869 to March 3, 1871.  Here’s a Wiki pic:


It looks like he blinked when the flash went off.  If I were Sol, I would have preferred another shot . . .

Since this post doesn’t have all that much substance, I decided to shift the focus of this post to:

All Things Spink

Of course, I Googled spink, and dominating the internet is a London Auction House, Spink & Son.  They’re really big into coins:


And then, down a ways on the Google search, I found out about a spink, which is a finch.  From Wiki:

The common chaffinch, usually known simply as the chaffinch or spink, is a common and widespread small bird in the finch family. The spink breeds in much of Europe, across Asia to Siberia and in northwest Africa. It prefers open woodland and often forages on the ground.

The name spink is probably derived from the bird’s call note.

And here’s a pic:


And then, I found a small (incredibly small) town in Ireland, even smaller than Spink SD, just down the road from Knock:


Zooming back a little (OK, a lot):


Here’s the very little that Wiki has to say:

Spink is a small village in County Laois, Ireland. It is situated near the Kilkenny border on the R430 regional road.

I have excellent GE StreetView coverage of Spink:


And here’s a Street View shot of a lovely patch of Spink:


Just outside of Spink, I found this GE Panoramio shot of an exotic stone structure (by Giedruteg):


But I couldn’t find anything about it’s history or origin . . .

Also just outside of Spink, I found this GE Panoramio shot, entitled “View from the spink” (by Alan Larkin).    “The spink?”  Say what?  Well, here’s the shot:

pano-alan-larkinThis shot gives me no clue what “the spink” is.  However, with a little Google work, I found this (from discoverIreland.ie):


This describes a hike one can take in Glendalough which is quite a distance from Spink (about an hour and half drive, according to Google Maps).  The website included this map:


Hmmmm.  The “looped walk” (obviously to be taken with a flask) is along the red dots.  You can see hike goes right along “The Spink,” just south of lake.  But what exactly is it?

And then I found a flickr photo of the very same spink (by rockface), taken just off the southwest corner of the lake (looking east):


The photo had a caption that started out with:

“An Speanc – The Cliff or Crag.”

So, in Irish Gaelic (I think), “an speanc” (the spink) means the cliff or crag.  Looking at the above photo, that’s the spink to the right of the lake (which corresponds with the label “The Spink” on the map above the photo).  Phew.

So, going back to the Pano photo entitled “from the spink” near the town of Spink.  Doesn’t look like there’s much of a spink in Spink.  Oh, well.

Now that I’ve fully explored the Spink universe, it’s time to return to good ol’ Spink SD, and look for a GE Pano shot to close things out.  Well, here ‘tis, by Doe4Rae:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day


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Breda, Arcadia and Westside, Iowa

Posted by graywacke on November 22, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2309; A Landing A Day blog post number 739.

untitledDan:  Today’s lat/long (42o 9.545’N, 95o 1.121’W) puts me in W-Cen Iowa:


And here’s my local landing map, showing a veritable plethora of small towns:


OK, OK.  So I didn’t need to say “veritable.”

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of the Middle Raccoon River (1st hit!); on to the South Raccoon River (1st hit!); on to the plain ol’ Raccoon River (2nd hit); on to the Des Moines River (12th hit):


Zooming back, you can see that the Des Moines (after a stint as the state boundary between IA & MO), discharges to the MM (900th hit). 


The triple point between IA, MO and IL would be a little tough to visit . . .

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight on in to rural West Central Iowa.  Click HERE; enjoy the trip; hit your back button.

There’s nothing in the way of decent GE StreetView coverage for the landing, but here’s a map showing where I could get a look at the Middle Raccoon River:


And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:


So what about all of those little towns near my landing?  Well, I’ll start with an annotated local landing map:


As you can see, four of the towns were discussed during an April 2015 post.  I went to that post, and honest to Pete, it is wonderful.  Sometimes, I’m inclined towards a bit of exaggeration when it comes to praising my own posts, but this is for real.  This is a great post!  It’s so good, I’m not going to make you do a search.  Nope, I’m going straight to the click HERE function. 

No kidding!  Check it out!

And what’s more, I’m going to include one of my all-time favorite embedded You Tube videos from that post (just in case you didn’t take the detour and read it just now).  It’s about the Welsh language – it’s informative and really funny.

Oh no!  You Tube has de-legitimatized this wonderful video!  Here’s what happens when one tries to look at the video (by Fretwell Topper):



Oh, well.  So anyway – why Welsh?  Well, because the town of Cararvon is named after the Welsh town of Carnarvon (or Caernarfon in Welsh).

Boyer and Vail are totally hookless.  How about Arcadia?  From Wiki:

Arcadia (pop 484) was named for the region of Arcadia, in Greece. The original name of the town was “Tip Top”, chosen for its location on the Missouri-Mississippi Divide and it being Iowa’s topographically most elevated town.

Wow.  Very cool.  Of course, I must have a map showing the divide:


Surprise, surprise!  The divided goes right through Tip Top . .  er . . Arcadia.  You can likely guess that I’m distressed that it was decided to ditch Tip Top for Arcadia!

And this is déjà vu from not long ago when I landed near Continental Divide, NM. Introducing a very similar map, I said “Here’s a shot that shows the continental divide running right through Continental Divide (amazing but true).”

Just a quick word about the Greek region, Arcadia.  Back in August 2015, I landed near Arcadia, Florida.  And of course, I provided a little information about the region in Greece.  Here’s a map:


And a cool shot of an Arcadian town, Leonidio:


So what about Westside?  Wiki:

Westside (pop 299) takes its name from the fact that it is just slightly to the west of the divide between the Mississippi and Missouri river watersheds.

Also very cool!  I wonder how many residents are aware of the hydrological nature of the town’s name?

So how about my closest town, Breda?  From Wiki:

Breda (pop 483) [one soul less than lives in Arcadia] was named after the Dutch city of Breda by a settler native to that place.

How about that?  Greece, Wales and Holland, all within a few miles . .

I’ll follow up with a couple of GE Panoramio shots from Breda, the Netherlands in a bit.  But first, this about the liberation of Breda, Holland from the Nazis, from Wiki:

During World War II the city was under German occupation. It was liberated following a successful outflanking maneuver planned and performed by forces of 1st Polish Armored Division of Gen. Maczek on October 29, 1944.

Each year during Liberation Day festivities, Breda is visited by a large Polish contingent and the city of Breda reserves a special portion of the festivities for the fallen Polish soldiers.

Very cool.  I never would have guessed.  Here’s a monument to the Poles in Breda (from Wiki):


Back to Wiki under “Notable Residents:”

“Colonel” Thomas Parker, the manager of Elvis Presley, was born and raised in Breda.  His birth name was Andreas Cornelius van Kuijk.

Wow.  There’s a hook!  From Wiki:

Thomas Andrew “Colonel Tom” Parker (born Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk; 1909 – 1997) was a Dutch-born American talent manager, best known as the manager of Elvis Presley.

His management of Presley defined the role of masterminding talent management, which involved every facet of the client’s life and was seen as central to the success of Presley’s career.

“The Colonel” displayed a ruthless devotion to his own financial gain at the expense of his client. While other managers took compensation in the range of 10–15 percent of earnings, Parker took as much as 50 percent toward the end of Presley’s life.

Presley said of Parker, “I don’t think I’d have ever been very big if it wasn’t for him. He’s a very smart man.”  For many years, Parker falsely claimed to have been born in the United States, but it eventually emerged that he had been born in the Netherlands.

Early Life

At age 15, Parker worked on the boats in Rotterdam.  At age 17, he first displayed signs of wanting to run away to America to “make his fortune”.   A year later, with enough money to sustain him for a short period, he entered America illegally by jumping ship from his employer’s vessel.  During his first visit there, he traveled with a Chautauqua educative tent show, before returning briefly to the Netherlands.

There were questions about a murder in Breda; Parker might have been a suspect.   This might have motivated Parker to avoid seeking a passport.

Parker returned to America (once again, illegally) at age 20, finding work with carnivals due to his previous experience in the Netherlands.  He enlisted in the United States Army, taking the name “Tom Parker” from the officer who interviewed him, to disguise the fact he was an illegal immigrant.

He served two years in the Army in Hawaii, and shortly afterwards re-enlisted in Florida.   Although Parker had served honorably in Hawaii, he went AWOL this time and was charged with desertion.  He was punished with solitary confinement, from which he emerged with a psychosis that led to two months in a mental hospital, and he was discharged from the Army due to his mental condition.

Phew.  Back to Wiki:

Following his discharge, Parker worked at a number of jobs, including food concessions and gaming carnivals.  He began to build up a list of contacts that would prove valuable in later years.

In 1935, Parker married 27-year-old Marie Francis Mott. They struggled to survive through the Great Depression.  Parker would later claim that at times they had had to live on as little as $1 a week.

[Starting in 1938, Parker began working in the music industry as a promoter and manager.  He moved to Nashville and began to become more established in the Nashville music scene, including managing / promoting Eddy Arnold and Minnie Pearl.]

In 1948, Parker received the rank of colonel in the Louisiana State Militia from Jimmie Davis, the governor of Louisiana and a former country singer, in return for work Parker did on Davis’ election campaign.  The rank was honorary since Louisiana had no organized militia, but Parker used the title throughout his life, becoming known simply as “the Colonel” to many acquaintances.

So, the Colonel stumbles across one Elvis Presley, and sees tremendous potential.  He became an advisor, and then his manager. The Colonel rode/directed the Elvis wave, all the while with a tremendously tumultuous relationship between the two.  Elvis’ ups and downs are legend, and not covered in this post.  Needless to say, the Colonel became very wealthy.  Towards the end, the Colonel was very aware of Elvis’ addiction to prescription drugs, but was unable to do anything.  Presley died in 1977.

More Elvis Presley photos+ 10,000+ more pictures www.morethings.com/photo_gallery_index.htm

In 1994, at the Colonel’s funeral (at age 87), Priscilla Presley offered the following eulogy:

“Elvis and the Colonel made history together, and the world is richer, better and far more interesting because of their collaboration. And now I need to locate my wallet, because I noticed there was no ticket booth on the way in here, but I’m sure that the Colonel must have arranged for some toll on the way out.”

Enough of the Colonel.  How about some GE Pano shots of the historic center of Breda (“Breda Centrum”)? 

By Gadellaa:


By Rhuls:


And finally this, by Rene Speur:


Before I left Breda, Holland, I did a quick, totally random GE Street View “landing.”  I just plunked the Orange Dude down on some street in the Centrum district.  This is what he sees:


Honestly!  I didn’t wander the streets looking for a cool shot.  When the Orange Dude first opened his eyes, this is what he saw!  And then, I did the same thing a few blocks away.  Check this out:


What a cool town to spend a few days in, eh?

Back in Iowa, I had to go a full 15 miles away from my landing to find a halfway-decent Pano shot.  And here ‘tis, a shot of a creek way over in the Missouri watershed, by Fat Tire:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day


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Victor, Driggs and Pierre’s Hole, Idaho

Posted by graywacke on November 17, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2308; A Landing A Day blog post number 738.

untitledDan:  Today’s lat/long (43o 36.222’N, 111o 15.626’W) puts me in SE Idaho:


My local landing map puts me in the boonies, 7 miles from Victor:


StreetAtlas typically has good stream coverage in Idaho, as is the case here:


You can see that I landed in the watershed (and right next to) Red Creek, on to the North Fork Pine Ck, to Pine Ck, to the Snake R (79th hit); on to the Columbia – trust me – 162nd hit.

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight on into SE Idaho.  This one’s a little funky as you’ll see.  Click HERE, enjoy the trip, then hit your back button.

Looks like some interesting territory – and I certainly did landed next to Red Creek!  Here’s an oblique GE shot looking west down the Red Creek valley:


Here’s a northward-facing shot, looking out at the Big Hole Mountains:


More about the name Big Hole in a bit.  Here’s the view, zooming way back (still looking north):


See the large mountain range off to the east?  Those are the Tetons, and the valley east of the mountains is Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

So, I thought I’d head east, and look west over the Tetons towards my landing:


So, of course, I checked out Victor and Driggs.  They are pretty-much hookless.  Here’s all Wiki had to say about Victor:

Victor (pop almost 2,000) was established in 1889, and was named for George Victor Sherwood, a dedicated mail carrier who delivered the mail despite threats of Indian attacks.

The city has become a bedroom community for the nearby resort area of Jackson Hole, accessed over Teton Pass in Wyoming at 8,431 feet above sea level. The pass is accessed from Victor on State Highway 33, which continues east of the state border as Wyoming Highway 22 to Jackson.

Here’s a map showing Jackson and the road over the mountains:


And here’s a GE Street View shot (from Wyoming 22), looking east down into Jackson Hole from the pass:


And Driggs?  From Wiki:

Driggs (pop 1,700) is located in the Teton Valley [as is Victor].  The Teton Valley was discovered by John Colter in 1808, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–06). It became known as Pierre’s Hole, and it hosted the well-attended 1832 Rendezvous, which was followed by the Battle of Pierre’s Hole.

And there’s my hook!  Pierre’s Hole it is.

First, a GE shot of Pierre’s Hole, along with its neighboring (but much more famous) Jackson Hole:


From Wiki:

The Teton River flows northward though the mountain meadows of Pierre’s Hole [once known as the Big Hole, thus the Big Hole Mountains] and then joins up with Bitch Creek just before it turns west and into Teton Canyon.

To mountain men, a large low-lying valley, such as this, with abundant beaver and game was called a “hole”. Mountain men preferred these areas of numerous beaver rich streams as they provided ample food and comfortable camping in addition to beaver pelts.

Pierre’s Hole was named in honor of Pierre Tivanitagon, a Hudson’s Bay Company trader said to be of Iroquois descent, who was killed in a battle with Blackfoot Indians in 1827.

Pierre’s Hole was the site of the huge Rendezvous of 1832. Hundreds of mountain men, trappers, Indians and fur company traders met to sell furs or trade for supplies. At the end of the 1832 rendezvous, an intense battle ensued known as the battle of Pierre’s Hole.

Gratuitously (and you’ll see why in a minute), here’s a little more from Wiki:

After the fur trade subsided in the 1840s, Pierre’s Hole returned to a quiet summer hunting valley for Native Americans. An Englishman named Richard ‘Beaver Dick’ Leigh came to the Teton region sometime around 1860, and frequently trapped and hunted in the Hole.

Here’s the gratuitous part:  This area seems like a middle school boy’s ideal geography:  Pierre’s Hole, Bitch Creek and Beaver Dick . . .

Back to the rendezvous (from Wiki):

A mountain man rendezvous was a yearly event held in the summer for fur trappers to gather together, sell their furs, and resupply themselves for another season of trapping. Representatives of eastern fur-trading companies would arrive with pack mules loaded with trade goods to meet the needs of the trappers for the upcoming year.

If trappers were employed by a particular company, they turned their furs, mainly beaver, over to the company representative and received their pay, less the amount used to cover what they would need for another trapping season. Profits could purchase additional goods, including whiskey, tobacco, and other luxury items. Free trappers, i.e. men not contracted with a company, could negotiate a purchase price for their accumulated furs.

In general, trappers and merchants settled into a protected valley for two to three weeks. The rendezvous would generally include recreation and entertainment, including contests, games and gambling. Most participants had a good time, swapping tall tales and drinking.

The 1832 Rendezvous included 400 mountain men, along with over 100 lodges of Indians (Nez Perce and Flatheads).  In all, the camp grounds covered over 7 square miles in the Hole.

And the battle?  A group of about a hundred trappers was traveling south in the Hole (headed for new trapping grounds north of Salt Lake), and they came across a large migratory party of Gros Ventres Indians, including women and children, traveling from one camping site to another.  A chief came forward to greet the trappers, and, for no apparent reason, he was shot dead.

From Wiki:

The murder provoked an intense battle between the Gros Ventres, with an estimated 250 warriors, and the party of American trappers aided by their Nez Perce and Flathead allies. The badly outnumbered mountain men sent riders to the rendezvous site for aid and prepared the camp for attack.

The battle raged all day with little gain on either side.  In the brief but bloody battle at least twenty-six Gros Ventres were killed, including some women and children, and perhaps a dozen traders and Flatheads.

The Gros Ventres moved on under cover of darkness, and that was that.  Was this stupid or what?  There may be a hidden story about why the Gros Ventres’ chief was murdered, but still.  Forty or so people killed for no apparent reason . .

It’s time for some GE Panoramio shots. I’ll start with this idyllic skiing shot, looking east from the Big Holes across Pierre’s Hole towards the Tetons (by Ross Mitchell):


Here’s a shot taken just north of my landing by Ross Mitchell:


I can imagine Ross coming across this beautiful view of a small mountain lake and thinking “this would be perfect if only a moose would came down to the lake for a drink.”

I’ll close with this shot of one of my watershed streams (North Fork Pine Creek) by frequent ALAD contributor, Ralph Maughan (who, of course, probably doesn’t know he’s a frequent contributor):


Great shot, Ralph.  The fence really makes it . . .

That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day


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Longfellow, Emerson, Rosenfeld and Tesnus, Texas

Posted by graywacke on November 12, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2307; A Landing A Day blog post number 737.

untitledDan:  Today’s lat/long (29o 53.616’N, 102o 44.490’W) puts me in SW Texas:


Here’s my local landing map:


I’m going to put off my watershed analysis for a while (you’ll know why in a bit), and jump right to my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight.  Click HERE for a trip to perhaps the boonie-est part of Texas.

Here’s a static GE shot that shows a well-defined drainage system:


My StreetAtlas map tells me nothing about the streams near my landing, but when I follow my drainage path, it’s obvious that it discharges into the Rio Grande.  Here’s a close-up oblique GE shot showing where this unnamed tributary hits the Rio Grande:


I checked GE Panoramio, to see if some picture-taker labeled a shot with the name of the stream.  No luck. 

So, I gave up, and moved on to check out my towns, looking for that elusive hook.  I checked out Emerson, Longfellow and Rosenfeld (more about them later), and then Googled Tesnus. 

I found a TexasEscapes.com article about Tesnus.  The first thing that caught my eye was a picture of a house in Tesnus with snow on the ground.  And boy, did that look familiar.  I immediately went to ALAD, and typed Tesnus in the search box.  Sure enough – I have a February 2010 post entitled (of all things), Tesnus, Texas (landing 1851). 

I realized that landing 1851 was very close to landing 2307:


A little ALAD history is now in order.  Pre-2013, I had a computer that ran an old version of Street Atlas.  I got a new computer in January 2013, with a new operating system that was no longer compatible with my old Street Atlas.  When I upgraded to a newer version of Street Atlas, I was deeply disappointed by a huge drop in the detail presented on the courses and names of smaller streams.

So anyway, I went to my old Tesnus post, and here’s my local landing map (with a couple of notes added):


How about that!  There’s no doubt that I landed in the watershed of San Francisco Creek, on to the Rio Grande (49th hit).

Before revisiting Tesnus, I’ll spend a little time with Longfellow, Emerson and Rosenfeld. 

Of course, I googled all three, but could find essentially nothing, except that Wiki conceded that Emerson was named after Ralph Waldo.

Although I’m close to illiterate about American literature, I am able to recognize Henry Wadswroth Longfellow & Ralph Waldo Emerson as American essayists/poets (I think).  OK, just a few words about each (from Wiki):henry_wadsworth_longfellow_photographed_by_julia_margaret_cameron_in_1868

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882) was an American poet and educator whose works include “Paul Revere’s Ride”, The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline.

How about Emerson?


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882), was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States.


Excuuuuuuse me.  “A prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society?”  I’ll readily admit I have no clue what this means.  This is why I wasn’t an English major . . .

By the way, Wiki says that Ralph Waldo preferred dropping the “Ralph” altogether and being known as Waldo Emerson.

So how about Rosenfeld?  I could find nothing on the internet about the “town,” but I thought I’d see if someone named Rosenfeld was likewise an American literary figure.  Bingo!  From Wiki:

morris-rosenfeldMorris Rosenfeld (1862 – 1923) was a Yiddish poet whose work sheds light on the living circumstances of emigrants from Eastern Europe in New York’s tailoring workshops.

He was well published back in the 1890s, so the timing is right.  Although I have little basis for the following pronouncement, here goes:

It is the official position of ALAD that Rosenfeld, Texas was named after the Yiddish poet Morris Rosenfeld.  In honor of Mr. Rosenfeld, I’ll present some of his poetry (translated from the Yiddish).

I’ll start with the first verse from “In the Factory:”

Oh, here in the shop the machines roar so wildly,
That oft, unaware that I am, or have been,
I sink and am lost in the terrible tumult;
And void is my soul… I am but a machine.
I work and I work and I work, never ceasing;
Create and create things from morning till e’en;
For what?–and for whom–Oh, I know not! Oh, ask not!
Who ever has heard of a conscious machine?

And then, this heart-tugging poem entitled “My Little Boy:”

I have a little boy at home,
A pretty little son;
I think sometimes the world is mine
In him, my only one.

But seldom, seldom do I see
My child in heaven’s light;
I find him always fast asleep…
I see him but at night.

Ere dawn my labor drives me forth;
‘Tis night when I am free;
A stranger am I to my child;
And strange my child to me.

I come in darkness to my home,
With weariness and–pay;
My pallid wife, she waits to tell
The things he learned to say.

How plain and prettily he asked:
‘Dear mamma, when’s ‘Tonight’?
O when will come my dear papa
And bring a penny bright?’

I hear her words–I hasten out–
This moment must it be!–
The father-love flames in my breast:
My child must look at me!

I stand beside the tiny cot,
And look, and list, and–ah!
A dream-thought moves the baby-lips:
‘O, where is my papa!’

I kiss and kiss the shut blue eyes;
I kiss them not in vain.
They open,–O they see me then!
And straightway close again.

‘Here’s your papa, my precious one;–
A penny for you!’–ah!
A dream still moves the baby-lips:
‘O, where is my papa!’

And I–I think in bitterness
And disappointment sore;
‘Some day you will awake, my child,
To find me nevermore.’

OK.  Time to move on to Tesnus. As mentioned above, I had a 2010 post devoted exclusively to Tesnus.  I’ll cut and paste some highlights:

Moving right along – I found an article about Tesnus by Mike Cox (TexasEscapes.com). 

Here’s a fairly extensive piece (both text and pictures) taken from this article.  This is worth the read, if for nothing else to find out how Tesnus got it’s name:

Tesnus, Texas is one of those ethereal ghost towns—except for a railroad siding and a sign, no physical evidence of it remains.

Fortunately for posterity, one of the few surviving former residents emailed me to share her memories of Tesnus, as well as providing a collection of family photographs showing where she had lived and other scenes.

Founded in 1882, the town (a stretch of the word) consisted of a railroad section house, houses for the section foreman and the water pumper, telegrapher’s house and a few other structures.  In addition to its role in keeping the tracks maintained and the locomotive boilers full, Tesnus provided ranchers a way to ship their cattle to market.

First called Tabor, the railroad enclave lost that name when a post office application got rejected by Washington because a similarly named town already existed in Brazos County. Then Sunset arose as a fitting name for the place, considering the famed Sunset Limited passenger train came through each day.

But nope, Montague County had a monopoly on Sunset, Texas.

OK, how did they finally come up with a lasting name for Tabor cum Sunset?

Using a railroad metaphor, someone suggested switching the caboose with the locomotive and spelling Sunset backwards as in T-e-s-n-u-s.

Of Tesnus, the former resident states, “It was mostly a railroad town, in the middle of the Gage Ranch. There was a siding for trains to meet or pass each other and it was a place for the chugga puffers [steam locomotives] to stop for water, coal, and salt.”

But clever nomenclature is powerless against change. With diesel-powered trains needing fewer stops than “chugga puffers,” the railroad closed its operations in Tesnus midway into the 1950s.

The post office closed on June 15, 1954. The railroad razed all the structures it had there, leaving only the siding.

“Now,” the former Tesnus resident [Tesnusan? Tesnusite?] says, “when someone asks where I am from, I normally tell them I am not from anywhere, because my home town was torn down.”

Here’s the picture of the snowy house that I mentioned earlier:


I’ll close this post with my usual GE Panoramio shots.  I found four by Greg Anderson, taken along the Rio Grande south of my landing:





That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day


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Humble and Moonshine Hill, Texas

Posted by graywacke on November 7, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2306; A Landing A Day blog post number 736.

text-2Dan:  Today’s lat/long (30o 3.498’N, 95o 25.184’W) puts me in SE Texas:


Near Houston, it looks like to me.  Let’s take a closer look:


Well, it certainly looks suburban.  I’ll zoom out a little:


And then a little more:


It’s official. I landed in the northern Houston suburbs.

Here’s my local streams-only map:


You can see that I landed in the Lemm Gully Cypress Creek watershed (known as simply Lemm Gully by the locals), on to Cypress Creek, to the West Fork San Jacinto River (3rd hit), to the San Jacinto River (also 3rd hit).

Zooming back, you can see that the San Jacinto ceases to be a river at Galveston Bay:


We need to take a close look at my landing location via Google Earth (GE).  To do so, click HERE, and take a quick trip from outer space to greater Houston.

Here’s a static view of my landing neighborhood:


My local Street View map told me that the athletic fields are part of the Arthur Bayer Park. 

And yes, I have excellent Street View coverage of my landing:


And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:


I think that I landed just outside the maintenance yard for the park.  And it just so happens that if the Orange Dude goes up the road a little and turns his head, he gets a good view of Lemm Gully:


And how am I sure it’s Lemm Gully?


Quick note:  I have long observed that Texas does an excellent job of putting stream name signs along roadways.  Much appreciated, Texas!

I could also get a look at Cypress Creek:


And here ’tis:


Before moving on to the towns near my landing, let me point out that I landed near the main Houston airport, where more traditional landings occur regularly.  (OK, it’s the George Bush Intercontinental Airport):


I have flown in and out of this airport on numerous occasions, (20, if I had to try to estimate a number).  But one trip stands out in my mind.   Sometime around 1990, I was working for Mobil and had a meeting at the Beaumont Refinery.  Sometimes I caught a puddle jumper to Beaumont, but generally, I rented a car at the Houston airport and drove the 1.5 -2.0 hours to Beaumont.

So on this particular trip, I walked over to the car rental counter, and discovered that my company-issued Amex didn’t “work.”  Mobil provided the Amex card, but each employee was responsible for paying the monthly bill.  So maybe I was a little behind in paying off the card.  I had a Visa as well, and maybe I was a little behind there as well.  But give me a break, I was going through a divorce.

I discovered that if you don’t have a working credit card, the car rental folks don’t even want to give you eye contact.  So:  what to do?  It was early evening, and it seemed I had no way to get to Beaumont where I had an 8 o’clock meeting the next day. 

But necessity is the mother of invention, and fortunately, I could use an ATM and get enough cash for a cab ride to the center city bus terminal and enough cash for a bus ride to Beaumont.  (Note that back in the day, ATM cards were just that, and didn’t double as a credit card.)

Phew.  I could get to Beaumont after all.  After relatively uneventful cab and bus rides, I arrived in Beaumont quite late (after 11, as I recall).  I discovered that after 11:00, there are no cabs parked there waiting for customers.  Fortunately, a colleague of mine from NJ (Mike) was already in town, and was staying at the same hotel.  The Beaumont Bus station had no working pay phones (and this was way before the era of cell phones).  I went across the street to a phone booth to call Mike. 

Once in the phone booth, a fist fight between two young men broke out across the street.  I dialed the hotel, and asked for Mike.  The phone rang, and rang, and rang.  Of course, I was trying to make myself invisible in the phone booth.

“Come on, Mike, wake up!” I thought.  And yes, he finally answered.  I quickly explained my situation (including the on-going fight scene) and asked (begged?) him to get dressed and come and pick me up at the bus station ASAP.  While we were talking, one of the fighters was thrown into a plate glass window, which amazingly bowed in and out, but didn’t break. 

All’s well that ends well.  The fighters moved on, Mike arrived and we made it to the hotel, where I checked in using Mike’s credit card.  Luckily, Mike was in the same 8 o’clock meeting, so I had my ride to the refinery.  What’s more, we were booked on the same return flight to Philly. . .

Moving right along to items more traditionally ALAD-ish . . .

I’m generally not all that happy about landing in the typically hookless burbs (Houston, we have a problem).  And my skepticism about the burbs is born out, after looking at Spring, The Woodlands, Westfield and Bammel.  But as I clicked on Humble, I thought about my childhood, and being in the family car when we filled up at a Humble station (Ohio, I think).

And yes, Humble is the founding location of the Humble Oil Company (which merged with Standard Oil of New Jersey to form Esso, later Exxon).  The large Humble Oil Field was located nearby. The town was named after Pleasant Smith “Piez” Humble, who opened the first post office in his home, and was the first Justice of the Peace.  How about the name “Pleasant Humble?”  Forget the Smith and the Piez (whatever that is).

Under notable people, I found that Howard Hughes was (or may have been) born in Humble.  Of course, more about Howard in a bit.

But then there’s Moonshine Hill.  Since my last name is Hill, and I have enjoyed moonshine from time to time, I particularly like this name.  It was a rip-roaring oil boom town, as discussed in The Handbook of Texas:

By March 1905 numerous wells in the Humble field were producing an estimated total of 87,775 barrels daily, and some 10,000 people resided at the Moonshine Hill townsite.  By the end of 1905 the Humble field was the largest in Southeast Texas. By 1909 Moonshine Hill had six or eight saloons, three grocery stores, a dance hall, a meat market, a drugstore, a two-room school building, and a union church. At that time the community was larger than Humble.

And the name Moonshine?  It came from the Moonshine Oil Company, founded by three gentlemen, one of whom was Howard Hughes.

So I guess I should spend a little time on this larger-than-life Texas character.

Where to begin?  Borrowing from numerous sources (mainly, of course, Wiki), here are some highlights (beginning with the first Wiki paragraph):

Howard Hughes Jr. (1905 – 1976) was an American entrepreneur, known during his life as one of the most financially successful individuals in the world. First making a name for himself as a film producer, he then became an influential figure in the aviation industry. Later in life, he became known for his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle which was caused in part by a worsening obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and chronic pain from a plane crash.

It’s bullet time:

  • The birthplace of Howard Hughes is recorded as either Humble or Houston, Texas. [Obviously, I think it’s Humble.]
  • His father patented a specialized drill bit, which allowed rotary drilling for petroleum in previously inaccessible places. [This is huge, and formed the basis for Howard’s eventual fortune.)
  • Howard Hughes Sr. died of a heart attack in 1924 (Howard was 19 at the time).  Howard inherited 75 percent of the family fortune, and became the owner of the Hughes Tool Company (which made the drill bits).
  • Hughes entered the entertainment industry after dropping out of Rice University and moving to Los Angeles.
  • He produced 6 well-known movies, was nominated for numerous Academy Awards (and won two). Best-known are Scarface (1932) and Hell’s Angels (1930).
  • Another portion of Hughes’ business interests lay in aviation, airlines, and the aerospace and defense industries. He was the founder and president of the Hughes Aircraft Corporation.
  • In 1937, Hughes set a new transcontinental airspeed record by flying non-stop from Los Angeles to Newark in 7 hours, 28 minutes, flying the Hughes Aircraft’s H-1 Racer. His average ground speed over the flight was 322 mph.
  • The H-1 Racer featured a number of design innovations: it had retractable landing gear and all rivets and joints set flush into the body of the aircraft to reduce drag. The H-1 Racer was donated to the Smithsonian in 1975 and is on display at the National Air and Space Museum.
  • In July 1938, Hughes set another record by completing a flight around the world in just 91 hours, beating the previous record set in 1933 by Wiley Post by almost four days.
  • On May 17, 1943, Hughes flew a Sikorsky S-43 amphibian aircraft from California carrying two CAA aviation inspectors, two of his employees and actress Ava Gardner. Hughes dropped Gardner off in Las Vegas and proceeded to Lake Mead to conduct tests. The test flight did not go well. The Sikorsky crashed into Lake Mead, killing a CAA inspector and a Hughes employee. Hughes suffered a severe gash on the top of his head and had to be rescued by one of the others on board.
  • Three years later, Hughes was in another near-fatal crash. This time, an engine failed, and Hughes attempted to land at the Los Angeles County Golf Club.  Instead, he crashed into a nearby Beverley Hills neighborhood.   When the plane finally came to a halt after destroying three houses, the fuel tanks exploded, setting fire to the aircraft and a nearby home.  Hughes managed to pull himself out of the flaming wreckage, but suffered significant injuries.
  • Hughes designed the huge amphibious transport the Hughes H-4 Hercules. Only one was built, and with Hughes at the controls, it only flew once, to a maximum elevation of only 70 feet.

Here’ s a Wiki picture of the “Spruce Goose,” so named because it was made of wood!


  • In 1939, Hughes bought a majority share of Trans World Airlines. He served as president of the airline until 1966.

Also from Wiki, here’s a 1938 shot of Mr. Hughes:


And a later shot, from the 1950s?


And now, it just gets strange.  I was generally aware of some of this stuff (as are most of my readers, I suspect), but it still makes for an interesting read.  Here’s a long excerpt from Wiki (edited by yours truly):

In 1947, Hughes told his aides that he wanted to screen some movies at a film studio near his home. He stayed in the studio’s darkened screening room for more than four months, never leaving. He ate only chocolate bars and chicken and drank only milk, later urinating in the empty bottles and containers. He was surrounded by dozens of Kleenex boxes that he continuously stacked and re-arranged.

Throughout this period, Hughes sat fixated in his chair, often naked, continually watching movies. When he finally emerged in the spring of 1948, his hygiene was terrible. He had not bathed nor cut his hair and nails for many weeks.

Hughes insisted on using tissues to pick up objects to insulate himself from germs. He would also notice dust, stains or other imperfections on people’s clothes and demand that they take care of them. Once one of the most visible men in America, Hughes ultimately vanished from public view—though tabloids continued to follow rumors of his behavior and whereabouts. He was reported to be terminally ill, mentally unstable, or even dead.

Injuries from numerous aircraft crashes caused Hughes to spend much of his later life in pain, and he eventually became addicted to codeine, which he injected intramuscularly

The wealthy and aging Howard Hughes, accompanied by his entourage of personal aides, began moving from one hotel to another, always taking up residence in the top floor penthouse. In the last ten years of his life, 1966 to 1976, Hughes lived in hotels in many cities—including Beverly Hills, Boston, Las Vegas, Nassau, Freeport, Vancouver, London, Managua, and Acapulco.

In November 1966, Hughes arrived in Las Vegas by railroad car and moved into the Desert Inn. Because he refused to leave the hotel, and to avoid further conflicts with the owners, Hughes bought the Desert Inn in early 1967.

Hughes’ considerable business holdings were overseen by a small panel unofficially dubbed “The Mormon Mafia” because of the many Latter-day Saints on the committee, led by Frank William Gay.

In addition to supervising day-to-day business operations and Hughes’ health, they also went to great pains to satisfy Hughes’ every whim. Hughes once became fond of Baskin-Robbins’ banana nut ice cream, so his aides sought to secure a bulk shipment for him—only to discover that Baskin-Robbins had discontinued the flavor. They put in a request for the smallest amount the company could provide for a special order, 200 gallons, and had it shipped from Los Angeles. A few days after the order arrived, Hughes announced he was tired of banana nut and wanted only chocolate marshmallow ice cream. The Desert Inn ended up distributing free banana nut ice cream to casino customers for a year.

He became obsessed with the 1968 film Ice Station Zebra, and had it run on a continuous loop in his home. According to his aides, he watched it 150 times.

Hughes was reported to have died on April 5, 1976, at 1:27 p.m. on board an aircraft en route from his penthouse at the Acapulco Fairmont Princess Hotel in Mexico to the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas.

His reclusive activities (and possibly his drug use) made him practically unrecognizable. His hair, beard, fingernails, and toenails were long—his tall 6 ft 4 in (193 cm) frame now weighed barely 90 pounds, and the FBI had to use fingerprints to conclusively identify the body.

A subsequent autopsy recorded kidney failure as the cause of death.  X-rays revealed five broken-off hypodermic needles in the flesh of his arms.

Enough!  It’s time for some Pano pictures.  It turns out that the immediate vicinity of Cypress Creek (west and south of my landing) have some natural beauty and wildlife.  Here’s a shot by Jan Åge Pederson (who’s Norwegian) of the creek:


Also by Hr. Pederson:


And yes, Hr. is Norwegian for Mr. (I think).

And, this by Michael Martin, of a bald cypress swamp along the creek in the Mercer Arboretum (about 2.5 miles SE of my landing):


I’ll close with this shot by quatrock, also from the Mercer Arboretum:





That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day


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Fargo, Fort Supply, Mooreland and Woodward, Oklahoma

Posted by graywacke on November 2, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2305; A Landing A Day blog post number 735.

untitledDan:  I’ve been thinking about changing my format for some time.  I’ve talked to a number of the members of the ALAD Nation, and most don’t care about my opening paragraphs where I blather on about OSers and USers and my Score. 

What’s worse, I figure it’s off-putting to a number of readers (maybe some of whom stumble on my blog and then stumble right off when they start reading).

But I’ve been writing about OSers and USers for over 700 posts and several folks (well, at least you, Dan and my son Jordan) actually care, so I can’t just give it up.

So, I figured I’d put it in a box off to the side, where it’s more easily ignored . . .

So today’s random latitude is N36o, 31.732’, and today’s random longitude is W99o 24.994’ which puts me here:



Zooming in, here’s a more local landing map:


My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of the North Canadian River (17th hit); on to the Canadian (45th hit); on to the Arkansas (123rd hit):


Of course (and trust me on this), the Arkansas makes its way to the MM (899th hit).  And just in case you’re curious, the Arkansas ranks 6th on my river list (123 hits), behind the Ohio (140 hits), and ahead of the St. Lawrence (104 hits).

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) trip from the fringes of outer space to a mundane patch of Woodward County, Oklahoma.  Click HERE, enjoy the trip, then hit your back button.

GE Street View coverage isn’t bad, thanks to a little “subdivision” off the main road (you’re looking at its western end):


And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:


My closest Street View of the North Canadian is just north of Woodward:


And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:


Just to verify that this is, in fact, the North Canadian, I sent the Orange Dude out to the north end of the bridge, and lo and behold, there’s a sign:


But get this.  See the diamond-shaped sign off to the left?  That provides north bound drivers (who just finished crossing the bridge) with some important information.  Here’s what the Orange Dude sees, looking north away from the bridge:


AYKM? “Bridge Ices Before Road?”   The sign is in the wrong place!  The sign should say:  “Congratulations!  You just crossed a bridge that ices up before the roadway!”

And the sign looks pretty beat up, like it has been there for decades.  Maybe (I hope), this is a very clever prank . . .

Enough already.  It’s time to look at Fargo.  It’s absolutely hookless, but I found this picture from Oklahoma Historical society:


JFTHOI, I did a little tour of Fargo Main Street via Street View.  I found the place to be quite deserted:





This last picture fits in with the string of deserted buildings, eh?  It looks like the Co-op has seen better days.  But I moved the mouse scroll wheel one click, and everything changed!  Note that the date of the above shot is 4/2014.  One slight movement down the street, and here’s the same building one month later (note 5/2014 date):


Business is thriving!  And the leaves popped out on the tree!  And I have no idea why the GoogleMobile driver had a one month hiatus!

And then there’s Mooreland.  Here’s what Wiki has to say about the name:

Prosperous area resident J. H. Dail was one of the founders of the Mooreland Town Company and the Mooreland Town Company founded the town of Dail City.

Residents petitioned the federal government for a post office.  Because there was another “Dail” in Oklahoma Territory, the government denied the request. Residents then selected the name “Moreland.” An error occurred when an extra “o” inadvertently crept into the name on the official plat and registration.

Wait.  This makes no sense.  The “Mooreland Town Company” would name the town “Mooreland,” not “Moreland!”

 But then there’s this from what should be a better source, the Oklahoma Historical Society:

The town was founded in 1901 by the Mooreland Town Company, which was formed by J. H. Dail [among others], and the town was initially named Dail City.  Residents petitioned the federal government for a post office. The request was denied, because there was already a “Dail” in Oklahoma Territory.

[OK so far, but then it gets interesting:]

Residents then selected the name “Moorland,” a designation derived from the nature of the site, which was a valley or moor. An error occurred when the “e” inadvertently crept into the name on the official plat and registration.

This is no better!  It wasn’t the Moorland Town Company, it was the Mooreland Town Company!  This explanation adds an extra layer of information about the “moor,” but I don’t buy it, unless it was Moorland Town Company.

It’s funny that Wiki states that an “o” inadvertently crept into the name and the Historical Society states that an “e” inadvertently crept into the name.  Amazing, how they both used the phrase “inadvertently crept into the name.”

This seems like a load of malarkey!  And here’s a rare (for me) bit of Shakespeare:  a curse on both your houses!  

Listen up, Wiki.  Listen up, OK Historical Society.  How about this: 

“Residents petitioned the federal government for a post office. The request was denied, because there was already a “Dail” in Oklahoma Territory. The residents then selected the name Mooreland, after the Mooreland Town Company.”

Nothing would have to inadvertently creep anywhere!

KISS!  And don’t forget Occam’s Razor:  “The simplest explanation is usually correct.”

Enough Moorland.  Enough Moreland.  Enough Mooreland.  (And, by the way, there is no Dail or Dail City in Oklahoma).  And (sticking with Shakespeare), this has certainly been Much Ado About Nothing.

So Fort Supply is also hookless.  It was a supply camp for the army (fighting the Indians, of course), named “Camp Supply,” and was upgraded all the way to Fort status.  From the OK Historical Society, here’s a pic of the Guard House, which has obviously been refurbished, and serves as an exhibition hall for the site:


So what about the big town in the area, Woodward (pop 12,000)?   From the town’s website, I learned that after the “opening of the Cherokee Outlet on September 16, 1893…[Woodward became]…one of the wildest and woolliest towns in the Outlet. At one time, 23 saloons and 15 brothels lined the red-dirt streets.

I don’t think the “opening of the Cherokee Outlet” refers to a shopping area just outside of Woodward  where one can buy discount “Genuine Cherokee Crafts & Gifts.”

So what is it?  From Wiki:

It was a sixty-mile wide strip of land south of the Oklahoma-Kansas border. It was about 225 miles long and in 1891 contained 8,150,000 acres.


The 1836 Treaty of New Echota assigned the 60-mile wide strip of land to the Cherokee Nation. This 8,000,000+ acre area was to be a perpetual “outlet” to be used by Cherokee Indians for passage to travel and hunt in the West from their reservation in the eastern part of what became Oklahoma.

Hmmm.  I somehow doubt “perpetual” was perpetual.

So what happened on September 16, 1893 (the date referenced in the town website, above)?  The “opening” of the Cherokee Outlet?  Opening?  What kind of word is that?  Sounds good, right?

From Wiki:

In 1889, Congress authorized the Cherokee Commission to persuade the Cherokee to cede their complete title to the Cherokee Outlet. After a great amount of pressure, and confirmed by a treaty Congress approved March 17, 1893, the Cherokee agreed, for “the sum of $8,595,736.12, over and above all other sums” to turn title over to the United States government.

[The Cherokee Outlet is something over 8,000,000 acres.  You don’t need to be a math whiz to figure the Indians got about a dollar an acre.]

On September 16, 1893, the eastern end of the Cherokee Outlet was settled in the Cherokee Strip land run, the largest land run in the United States and possibly the largest event of its kind in the history of the world.

Before talking about the Cherokee Strip land run, I found this, about a shopping outlet near Tulsa:

Located at I-44 at 193rd East Avenue, the 350,000-square-foot Cherokee Outlets will be the shopping destination for Northeast Oklahoma and neighboring states. The open-air center will feature approximately 90 top retail outlets, alongside a variety of dining options, a casino, live entertainment, and hotel and meeting accommodations.

With more than 783,000 square feet of gaming floor, you’re never far from the excitement. Play one of our 2,600 electronic games or get in the action with your choice of 45 table games and poker. Then unwind in a luxury hotel tower featuring 454 rooms and suites offering state-of-the-art amenities and browse the shops for one-of-a-kind gifts.

Oh well.  I guess it was inevitable.

Anyway, here are a few Cherokee Outlet land rush shots:



People registered, got some paperwork, lined up, waited for a gun to go off, rode like hell to stake out a tillable piece of land, got some more paperwork, and presto, they were land owners.  Here’s what Wiki has to say:

The Land Run itself began at noon on September 16, 1893, with an estimated 100,000 participants hoping to stake claim to part of the 6 million acres and 40,000 homesteads [that comes to 150 acres each, and I’m not sure what happened to the other 2 million acres] on what had formerly been Cherokee grazing land. It would be Oklahoma’s fourth and largest land run.

Four land offices for the run were specially set up to handle the event [one of which was in Woodward].  Troops were stationed at those sites and at various encampments in an attempt to maintain order. Despite that, ‘Sooners’ — those who started before the designated time — still managed to sneak in and secure some of the best locations, especially in the eastern third of the Outlet and at many of the townsites.

With demand for the land far outstripping that which was available, a majority of the participants did not actually secure a claim for themselves.

Wait a second.  Oklahoma is the Sooner state, and a Sooner is a cheater!  And, the University of Oklahoma sports teams are the Sooners!

Oh, well.

One more little story, from Chapman University’s Digital Commns:

Charles Lindbergh was flying with his wife in Oklahoma, had mechanical problems and were forced to land at the ranch of Homer Aitkens near Woodward, OK.  The Lindberghs are shown in photo below with the Aitkens family, their hosts for the three days that they had to wait for repairs.


(left to right) Mrs. Garland Aitkens, Garland Aitkens, Miss Ella Vance (a school teacher), Mrs. Homer Aitkens, Anne Lindbergh, Charles Lindbergh, Homer Aitkens, Mrs. Harrison Parsons and Harrison Parsons.

Remember my Camp Wood, Texas post (February 2016)?  No?  Well, it was all about “Lindbergh’s wrong turn” that resulted in a crash landing near my landing location (before he became famous).

Well, it’s time for a couple of GE Pano shots.  Here’s a landscape shot by TW Visionary (from about 15 miles SW of my landing):


And from just west of Ft. Supply, this sunset shot by Dave Mardis:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day

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Titusville and Maytown (Road), Florida

Posted by graywacke on October 28, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2304; A Landing A Day blog post number 734.

Dan:  I’m on a roll –  4 straight USers, and seven out of the last eight.  Of course, a new record low Score (from 599 down to 583).  What’s more, this was my first Florida landing since I changed how I get my random lat/longs 88 landings ago.

“What is he talking about?” you may ask.  Check out “About Landing (Revisited)” to answer all of your questions.  Well, maybe not all your questions.  For that, you’ll need to read “About Landing.”  Or, more simply, don’t worry about it and just keep reading.

Here’s my regional landing map:


And my very local landing map:


Let me back up a little:


You can see that I landed in what appears to be a relatively empty hunk of real estate between Orlando and Daytona Beach (more about that emptiness in a bit).  FYI, that’s the northern portion of Cape Canaveral to the south and east of Titusville.

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of Cow Ck:


Cow Creek makes its way to Deep Creek, on to the St. John’s River (5th hit, making the St. Johns the 166th river on my list of rivers with 5 or more hits).

Zooming back some you can see that the St. Johns makes its way north (past Jacksonville, trust me on this), and out to the ocean:


But before I go any further, I have to tell a little story about this particular landing.  It was Thursday, October 6th, and I had just finished up preparing and saving the draft of my Prewitt & Thoreau NM post.  (I generally have a few posts in the queue at any given time). 

Hurricane Matthew was the big story on the news, and my wife Jody and I were looking at some of the projected storm path graphics.   At that moment, the storm was off the coast of southern Florida, headed north towards a possible landfall in central Florida, not far from Cape Canaveral. 

As is my custom, I alerted Jody to the fact that I was about to land, and would be letting her know about my new landing location in a minute or two.  When I saw my lat/long, I thought to myself, “either the ocean or Florida” (I have a pretty good sense of where I’ll end up after a quick look at the lat/longs.  After all, I’ve done this 2,304 times . . .)

So anyway, I was looking at windytv.com, which is a cool website that shows wind patterns and velocities around the whole world.  As one would expect, the hurricane really stands out.  You can also look at future wind patterns, and I was checking out where Matthew’s eye would be Friday morning.

And then I landed and I couldn’t believe it.  Here’s a windytv shot showing the Friday morning location of the eye coinciding with my landing location:


FYI, the wind velocities are represented by the colors on the map.

Of course, as it turned out, the eye stayed off-shore.  Here’s the actual windytv shot from the next morning:


So how did Titusville (the largest coastal town on my local map) make out?  Not bad at all.  Here are some damage shots from FloridaToday.com, starting with this apartment complex (Titusville Bay Towers) that looks OK but has been condemned because the roof blew off, and the water damage was so severe:


And this, the standard shot of a tree that fell on a house:


And this:  Musician down!  Musician Down!


Before leaving Titusville (which is essentially hookless), I have a personal story to tell.  Titusville was named after Henry Titus (1823-1881).  He was born in Trenton NJ, just down Route 31 from my home in Hopewell Township.

Also just a few miles from my home (and in Hopewell Township) is the town of Titusville, named after what I assume must be the same Titus family.

It just so happens that my father’s family has deep roots in the greater Trenton (Mercer County) area, with the Hill family arriving from Long Island the late 1600s.  The only reason I’m living in the geographic bosom of my father’s family is because my former employer (Mobil Oil) used to operate a research facility in Hopewell Township, where I worked.

Anyway, my cousin Jim did some family research, and discovered that way back in the day, three Hill brothers married three Titus sisters.  I’m not sure exactly where I’m going with this, but obviously my Hill family has a historical (and genetic) connection with the Titus family . . .

After all of the above verbiage, I’m way past due for my GE (Google Earth) spaceflight.  Instead of taking off from Cape Canaveral, I’m landing there.  Click HERE to check it out, then hit your back button.

Who’d a thunk that between Orlando and Daytona Beach, I’d land in the woods?  Not much for a GE Street View, but I thought I’d take a look at the dirt road you’d have to take to get close to my landing:


And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:


Just down the same road (headed west), I could get a look at Cow Creek:


Just for the heck of it, I thought I’d take a look at the St. Johns River:


By the way, the huge blobs of blue representing intense Street View coverage are Sanford to the south and Deltona to the north (with Orlando a little further west).  Further east and north towards Daytona, it’s also intensely blue.  But anyway, here’s what the Orange Dude sees:


Back to my landing, I found an article from Florida-Backwoods-Travel.com, entitled “Maytown Road – Pathway Through Florida Wilderness.”  This article addresses the none-blue area around my landing.  Here are some excerpts:

It’s hard to believe that just a few miles from Orlando there is a huge quiet zone that is largely unpopulated.  It doesn’t really have a name.  It’s the vast wilderness between Deltona, Sanford and the East coast.  It’s probably 150,000 acres, more or less.

The main access through this wilderness is Maytown Road.  This road starts in the small town of Osteen and heads east across Central Florida to Oak Hill on the Halifax River.  It is a lightly traveled paved road.  When I first traveled it some 40 years ago it was dirt all the way.  It was all too easy to get stuck during muddy conditions. Today it’s a breeze to make the drive and it’s almost as quiet as it was back then.

Here’s my local landing map with Maytown Road labeled:


And a GE shot, showing the area around my landing, and labeling Maytown:


Back to the write-up:

There are no real towns in this wilderness.  Names of old places that maybe once existed can still be found on some maps: Kalamazoo, Farmton, Cow Creek, Maytown.

Kalamazoo is a private tract of about 11,000 acres that was once planned to be a giant celery farm and self sufficient village.  Pioneers from Kalamazoo, Michigan bought the land and tried to get it started about 100 years ago.

Maytown is a ghost town that used to be a crossroads for two railroads. The railroads are long gone and all that remains in Maytown are a few old abandoned buildings:


Make sure you pull off Maytown Road now and then, turn off the car engine and just listen to the quiet.  You will be amazed.

Here’s a random GE Street View shot of Maytown Road near my landing:


Well, boys and girls, we’ve come to one of your favorite parts of the show:  checking out GE Panoramio shots, taken near my landing.  These two come from 7-8 miles west of my landing.  First this, by Mike Holdsworth of Palmetto (the ground cover) and “Long Leaf” evergreen trees:


I’ll close with this artsy Live Oak / Palmetto shot by Popcorn Studios:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day

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Prewitt, Thoreau and Continental Divide, New Mexico

Posted by graywacke on October 23, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2303; A Landing A Day blog post number 733.

Dan:  Two New Mexico landings in a row!  My 60th double (and my 6th NM double).  In spite of this double, NM is still undersubscribed, and my Score went down from 615 to a new record low, 599.

Here’s my regional landing map:


And my local landing map:


My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of the Rio San Jose (1st hit ever!):


And then, on to the same river as my last landing, the Rio Puerco (4th hit); and thence to the Rio Grande (48th hit).

Notice the town of Continental Divide on my local landing map (OK, and in the title of the post)?  Here’s a shot that shows the continental divide running right through Continental Divide (amazing but true):


To the east, of course the Rio Rio Rio San Jose, Puerco, Grande discharges into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

To the west, runoff heads towards the Rio Nutria to the Zuni to the Little Colorado to the Colorado (and thence to the Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean).

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight on into NM (almost a repeat of my last spaceflight).  Click HERE, enjoy the trip, and hit your back button.

Since I don’t have much to say about Continental Divide, I’ll start there.  Wiki tells me nothing, but LegendsOfAmerica lets us know that old Route 66 ran through town, and the highest point on Route 66 is at the Continental Divide, at 7,263 feet above sea level. 

The topography’s not very dramatic as you cross the divide; there’s a gentle slope coming to the town from both directions.  There’s a cheesy (and oh-so-predictable tourist souvenir shop there (GE Street View shot):


So what about Thoreau?  From Wiki:

The population was 1,863 at the 2000 census. It is majority Native American, primarily of the Navajo Nation, as this community is located within its boundaries.

Practically all residents pronounce the town’s name like “thuh-ROO,” [not as fans of the American philosopher/writer might expect.]  The town is not named for Henry David Thoreau, though this is a common misconception. A history of the town was compiled by local author Roxanne Trout Heath in her 1982 book Thoreau, Where the Trails Cross!

All well and good, but how did the town get its name?  After stating that the town is not named after Henry David, there’s not a word about who it is named for.  I Googled the book title, to no avail.  But then I found this, from TheRoute-66.com, about Thoreau (the town):

The Mitchel brothers, William and Austin moved to the area in 1890. They had their eyes on the forests on Zuni Mountains, where they wanted to build a sawmill and sell the lumber in the Southwest. They platted a town that they named “Mitchel”. But their business did not prosper.

In 1896 Talbot and Frederick Hyde, heirs to the Babbit Soap fortune sponsored a archeology expedition in New Mexico. The Hyde Exploring Expedition set up its base in Mitchel and from there conducted excavations in Chaco Canyon until 1901.

Professor Frederick Ward Putnam of Harvard University was in charge of the expedition. The scientific expedition led to a growth in trading with the Navajo and the town was renamed as Thoreau by the Hyde brothers.

OK, so the Hyde brothers (from upstate New York, I think) named the town, and a Harvard professor was involved.  The prof might think that Thoreau (after Henry David) might be a cool name for a town, what with Walden Pond being in the greater Boston area.

I then checked out Ancestry.com for Talbot Hyde (actually Benjamin Babbitt Talbot Hyde) and found that he took some courses at Harvard.  Hmmm. Another vote for Henry Thoreau.

But the pièce de résistance came from a portion of TheRoute-66.com article that I initially missed (it was in a box off to the side):

Wikipedia denies that the town was named after Henry David Thoreau and the locals maintain that “Thoreau” was a person who worked for either the railway, the Mitchels or the US Army.  However, the book Thoreau, Where the Trails Cross! by Roxanne Trout Heath (1982) affirms that it was named after the famous philosopher.

Interesting, isn’t it, that both Wiki and TheRoute-66 use the same source as the basis for opposite claims?  My vote goes solidly with TheRoute-66, considering the Boston connection for the folks that named the town . . .

This makes me want to figure out how to log in to Wiki and actually make a legitimate change to one of their entries.  Stay tuned (but don’t hold your breath).

Quick personal story about Henry David Thoreau.  I have long been aware of the quote “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” from his book Walden.  Way, way back in the day (many decades ago), I felt like one of those “mass of men.” 

Many, many years later, (well beyond the time of quiet desperation), I was in a used book store, and came across Walden.  I riffled the 352 pages with my thumb, and randomly stopped, then looked down at the page. 

The absolute first words that I focused on were “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” 

Blew me away.

Being left-brained, I was immediately suspicious that many others had found that quote in that same book, causing the book to naturally open on that page.  I held the book loosely and let it open naturally with no bias.  Nope.  It had no tendency whatever to open there.  Out of 352 pages, some Higher Power decided I should see that quote for myself. . .

So.  It’s time for Prewitt.  Prewitt immediately caught my eye, because a good friend of mine is one Bob Prewitt.  His circle of friends occasionally call him Bob, but for the most part, he’s Prewitt.  So, of course, I had to check it out. 

Wiki had nothing, but I found a link to RoamingPhotos.com, a blog by one Glenn Campbell (one Glenn Campbell, not the Glenn Campbell).  Here’s his first three pics (his captions below each shot):

img_2952So I’m driving east on I-40 in New Mexico….


 When I pass this sign, which happens to remind me of a colleague.

 [This is uncanny.  If I were driving on I-40, and I saw an exit for Prewitt, I would also be reminded of a colleague, and would also get off the road to check it out.]


So I take the exit to find out what Prewitt is all about. This is already a good sign: Thoreau is one of my heroes.

I strongly recommend you check out the remainder of Glenn’s blog entry.  It’s really funny.  Click HERE.

I then found this, from LegendsOfAmerica.com:

A small settlement was in this area before it became Prewitt. Called Baca, after a local ranching family, it dates back to at least 1890. However, in 1916 two brothers, Bob and Harold Prewitt, moved to the area and established a trading post in a large tent along the National Old Trails Highway. When a post office was established in 1928, it took the name of Prewitt. In 1946 it was described of consisting of little more than a trading post and a railroad siding.

How about that.  Bob (not Robert) Prewitt.  My friend (when he’s not “Prewitt”) is Bob, never Rob or Robert . . .

It’s time for some GE Panoramio shots.  To set the stage, here’s a GE shot, showing a cluster of Pano shots nearby:


Of course, I’ll only present the best.  I’ll start with this, by BurnedDeathWash:


And here’s one by Tom Rael, with a friend posing to provide scale:


I’ll close with another by Tom:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day

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