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.
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