A Landing a Day

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Halfway, Oregon

Posted by graywacke on April 19, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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 2339; A Landing A Day blog post number 770.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long 44o 51.893’N, 117o 5.874’W) puts me in far Northeast Oregon:

My local landing map puts me about halfway between Halfway & Pine:

I’ll head straight over to my streams-only map:

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of Sag Creek, on to Pine Creek.

Backing up a little:

Pine Creek does not pass Go, does not collect $200, but rather goes directly to the Snake River (81st hit).  As 93 out of 100 of my readers know, the Snake makes its way to the Columbia (168th hit).  The 7 remaining readers just learned something.

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight, starting with an unusual perspective.  Click HERE to check it out.

Here’s an oblique GE shot looking north past my landing, across the Pine Creek valley, towards the Wallowa Mountains:

And another, looking up the Pine Creek Valley from the Snake River and the town of Oxbow towards my landing:

Speaking of Oxbow, I found Street View coverage of Pine Creek near Oxbow, just before it loses itself in the belly of the Snake:

I think it’s time to check out Halfway.  From the town’s website:

The town is located “halfway” between the communities of Pine and Cornucopia.

Good thing the word “halfway” is in quotes!  I mean, really!   Look at the map:

AYKM??  In what universe does “halfway” mean really close to Pine (less than 2 miles) and really far from Cornucopia (about 9.5 miles)?  There must be a story behind the story.  Wiki gives us a clue:

This town took its name from the location of its post office, on the Alexander Stalker ranch, halfway between Pine and Cornucopia.  While a post office was established in 1887, in 1907 the town was platted in another location [way further south, evidently]; the post office moved there in 1908.

OK, I guess.  I did a search for the Alexander Stalker ranch, but only found circular references to the town of Halfway.  But look at this GE shot:

Hmmm.  Carson pops up on GE, but is nowhere to be found on StreetAtlas.  Interesting that Carson is just a little north of halfway between Cornucopia & Pine.  So, it seems like the mysterious Alexander Stalker ranch might have been a little south of Carson. 

Wiki on Carson:

In 1870 Tom Corson settled in the area on a tributary of Pine Creek.  His neighbors pronounced his name “Carson” and named the tributary and a sawmill on the creek after him.  When a post office was established here in 1893, it was named “Carson” as well.  The town was platted in 1900, the first in Pine Valley.

Let’s sort this out.  Here’s the timeline:

1887:  a post office was established somewhere between Pine & Cornucopia – rumored to be halfway between Pine & Cornucopia, perhaps at the Alexander Stalker ranch.

1893:  a post office was established in Carson, which just happens to be about halfway between Pine & Cornucopia.

Now wait a second.  It’s hard to imagine that there was a Post Office within a few miles of Carson, and then a separate post office was established in Carson!  In fact, this goes beyond “hard to image,” bumping into “ain’t no way!”

ALAD will make it official:  This whole thing about “halfway between Pine & Cornucopia” is bunk.  We all need another, more plausible story.  Let me roll up my sleeves . . .

I’ll start with Pine:  The “town” of Pine is nothing.  Nada.  Isn’t now, never has been.  Of course, I Googled Pine Oregon, and the only – I repeat the only – Pine Oregon reference I could find anywhere is Wiki.  Here is the entire entry:

Pine is an unincorporated community in Baker County, Oregon, United States.  It lies along Oregon Route 86 about 2.3 miles southeast of the city of Halfway, and beside Pine Creek, a tributary of the Snake River.

That’s it!  And let me say again – there’s nothing else on the internet about this so-called town.

Let’s take a closer GE look (and don’t be distracted that GE strangely misplaced the “Pine” label). 

It is likely that Pine was never platted, never had a post office and was never anything much more substantial than what you see in the above GE shot.  So why would Pine be used as the southern anchor of the expression, “halfway between Pine and Cornucopia?” 

I get Cornucopia.  It was a thriving mining boom town back in the 1890s (platted in 1886).  But Pine?  Fuhgettaboutit.

So, let’s look at a StreetAtlas map:

Well, well, well.  What about Richland?  From Wiki:

Richland was platted in 1897 and replaced New Bridge as the primary rural service center in the area.

Hmmm.  1897 doesn’t quite work, since the Halfway story starts in 1887.  But what about New Bridge?

New Bridge doesn’t show up on StreetAtlas, but once again, it does show up on GE:

So.  What does Wiki have to say about New Bridge? 

New Bridge was founded on the banks of Eagle Creek near an important bridge built across the stream in pioneer times (the “new bridge”).  Joseph Gale was the first postmaster of New Bridge post office, which ran from 1878 until 1967.  [So New Bridge was founded 9 years before Halfway.  Makes sense . . . ]

New Bridge had a fruit and vegetable cannery, a box factory, and a packing shed for apples.  New Bridge was platted in 1908, only after irreversible decline had set in, due in part to nearby Richland being platted in 1897.

Good enough for ALAD (and way better than that Pine nonsense). Here’s my version of the story (and I’m stickin’ to it):

The Halfway post office (while apparently not actually in the current town location) wasn’t far north (certainly not at all close to Carson).  The Post Office was named Halfway, because of its location approximately halfway between Cornucopia and that bustling little town to the south, New Bridge.

When the post office moved to the newly platted town a little to the south, the town, of course, became Halfway.

Just for the record:  I could find no “deep” source that discusses the Halfway name origin.  The oldest source I could find (footnoted in Wiki) is a 1958 book by Winifred and Armond Moyer entitled “The Origins of Unusual Placenames.”  Here’s the entirety of the text about Halfway:  “The town was midway between Pine and the Cornucopia gold mine in pioneer days.”  That’s not enough to change my mind.  I’m not budging! Pine Schmine . . .

Phew.  And guess what?  There’s another Halfway hook (from Wiki):

Halfway earned a place in the history of the dot-com era in December 1999.  The town received and accepted an offer from Half.com to rename itself as Half.com for one year in exchange for $110,000; 20 computers for the school; and other financial subsidies.

[Quick aside:  Half.com (bought by eBay in 2001) was founded in 1999 as an on-line shopping site.  Products are limited to books (including textbooks), music, movies, video games and video game consoles).  The website pits commercial sellers against one another; they undercut each other so that they’re the lowest price on the site.  Actually, it’s pretty cool.] 

Back to Wiki:

It became the first city in the world to rename itself as a dot com. Among the less obvious reasons the town was chosen were its small population size (and thus its likelihood to accept such an offer) and the city’s location, which fit perfectly into Half.com’s marketing scheme:  “They’re within four miles of the 45th parallel which makes it halfway between the equator and the North Pole”.  [More on this in a moment.]

The proclamation did not legally change its name.  The city created and posted two signs at its borders that greeted visitors with “Welcome to Half.com, Oregon – America’s First Dot-com City”.

I had to search far and wide before finally finding a picture of the sign (from SeattleTimes.com):

The city auctioned one of these off in September 2007 for $1000; the winner was Half.com’s founder Josh Kopelman.

Here’s a GE shot showing the location of the 45th parallel (about a half mile south of Cornucopia):

Digressing a bit here . . . there are a number of very-cool road signs across America that inform motorists that they are crossing the 45th parallel.  Here’s one from MNMuseumOfThems.org (with the caption underneath):

I also read (somewhere) that Half Moon, California was considered for the name change (but it never happened).  I happen to know that Half Moon Bay is the location of “The Mavericks,” a wave-break well known to big-wave surfers.  I’ll use this opportunity to gratuitously post some pictures of some of these waves.

Here’s on from Wiki (by Shalom Jacobovitz):

And this on SurfTweeters.com by Frank Quirarte:

And what the heck, here’s a YouTube video by u2bheavenbound:


These guys are truly amazing.  Whatever you may think of the surfing culture, these guys are world-class athletes . . .

It’s time for some local GE Pano shots (most taken in the Pine Creek valley).  I’ll start with this by DonWadkins:

Here are three by long-time ALAD contributor Ralph Maughan:

I’ll close with this, by Tony Immoos:

That’ll do it . . .



© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Algodones, Bernallilo and Placitas, New Mexico

Posted by graywacke on April 15, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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 2338; A Landing A Day blog post number 769.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long 35o 27.830’N, 106o 30.472’W) puts me in Cen-N New Mexico:

My local landing map:

I’ll zoom out a little to let you know that I actually landing in the greater Albuquerque area:

On my local map, you may have noticed that the Rio Grande runs past my landing.  But before I codify my watershed, let’s look at my streams-only map:

So . . . I landed in the watershed of Wide Stream Intermittent (known as WSI by the locals), which discharges (rarely, I suspect) to the Rio Grande (50th hit).  Congratulations, Rio Grande, on this milestone!

I want to look at the WSI on Google Earth (GE), but first we’ll need to strap in for my GE spaceflight.  Click HERE, enjoy, and then hit your back button.

So here’s my drainage pathway:


And an oblique GE shot looking up the WSI towards my landing:


There’s no Street View coverage anywhere close to the WSI – let alone my landing.  The best I can do is have the Orange Dude look across the Rio Grande towards the break in the distant bluff that was carved out by the WSI:


Here’s what he sees:


I spent some time looking at USGS maps of the area, hoping to find a name for the WSI.  No luck.  I found a great map, which clearly shows the WSI valley:


Here’s a closer look at the same map; believe me there’s no label for the thin blue line that is the Wide Stream Intermittent:


Of course, I did get Street View coverage of the Rio Grande:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

But here’s a better picture of the Rio Grande (from Bernalillo), a GE Pano shot by Alex Tucker:

So what about Algodones?  It is truly hookless.  The only thing I have to go on is the name itself.  In Spanish, Algodone means cotton.  “Algodones” by itself doesn’t really make sense, it should be “los algodones,” which would be translated as “the cottons.” 

From TheRoute-66.com, about the origin of the name:

The name is a Spanish word that means “cotton.”  The name may be derived from the fact that cotton was grown in this area and sold to the other pueblos in the 1700s. But drought and less land available for cultivation plus the raids of the Apaches led to its demise.

I stumbled on this expression:  “vivir entre los algodones.”  In Spanish, this idiomatic expression means to be spoiled and overprotected.  Literally, it means, “live between the cottons.”  Maybe live between the sheets?  One may wonder why I brought this up, since the chance that this expression has anything to do with the town is practically nil. . .

About 15 miles SE of my landing are the Sandia Mountains.  Here’s a view (from a real estate website) that shows the view from 8 Via Sole Drive in Algodones, looking SE:

Moving to Bernalillo.  Here’s a screen shot of the “History” section of the city’s website:

You’ll have to trust me on two points:  First, this is, in fact, the top of the “History” section on the website (even though the word “history” is no where to be seen).  Second, the word “Coronado” doesn’t appear in the fairly extensive write-up after the title. 

Say what?  If “The City of Coronado” has nothing to do with history, what does it have to do with?  Well, a little bit of research, shows that there is, in fact, a Coronado connection.

I stumbled on some local information about Coronado, after seeing the title of this GE Pano shot:

It wasn’t a great shot of the Sandias, but I dug a little deeper into Kuaua, and found this, from NMHistoricSites.com:

The Coronado Historic Site and the ruins of Kuaua Pueblo are located in Bernalillo.  In 1540, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado—with 500 soldiers and 2,000 Indian allies from New Spain—entered the Rio Grande valley somewhere near this site.

Coronado was searching for the fabled Seven Cities of Gold.  Instead of treasure, he found a dozen villages inhabited by prosperous native farmers.  These newly “discovered” people spoke Tiwa, and their ancestors had already been living in this area for thousands of years.

Coronado called them “Los Indios de los Pueblos” or Pueblo Indians.  He and his men visited all twelve Tiwa villages during the course of the next two years.  They weren’t only looking for gold; they survived on food and other supplies that they obtained from them.  Without the assistance of the Tiwas (willing or unwilling), Coronado and his men very likely would have starved to death.

Kuaua was the northernmost of the twelve villages.  Its name means “evergreen” in Tiwa.  It was first settled around AD 1325 and was occupied by approximately 1,200 people when Coronado arrived.  Conflict with Coronado and later Spanish explorers led to the abandonment of this site within a century of first contact.  Today, the descendants of the people of Kuaua live in the surviving Tiwa-speaking villages of Taos, Picuris, Sandia, and Isleta.

From a Coronado perspective, it is interesting that back in June 2016 I landed near Lochiel, Arizona, which is more-or-less where Coronado entered the United States as he began his mission to find the 7 cities of gold.

Even more interestingly, in October 2016 I landed near Gypsum, Kansas, which is more-or-less where Coronado ended his mission.  Here’s a map:

So now I landed more-or-less where Coronado crossed the Rio Grande . . .

Moving right along to Placitas.  Let me go back a couple of days when I first landed here in the desert northwest of Algodones.  As has happened before, I was sitting at my kitchen table, using a website to select my random lat/long landing location.

My wife Jody was sitting across the table, and I let her know that I was landing.  Sometimes she’ll ask what I’m doing at my computer, and I’ll say I’m “landing,” even when I’m doing research/writing.  But when I’m actually coming up with a new landing location, I’ll let her know that now, I’m “really landing.”

So, this was one of those real landing moments, and I told her that I just landed in New Mexico.  Knowing that she used to live in New Mexico, I asked her if she knew Algodones.

“Algodones?  Yea, I’ve heard of it, but I’m not sure where it is.”

I zoomed back a little more, and I asked her if she knew Bernalillo.  Of course, I mispronounced it, and she corrected me (bern – a – LEE- o), and let me know that it was in Bernalillo County.  She was paying attention now.

When I zoomed back a little on my local landing map, I caught my breath.  Here’s our dialogue (more-oro-less):

“Jody – you’ll never guess where I just landed.”

“You landed near Placitas, right?”

I turned my computer around so she could see:

“Yup – Placitas.”

Oh my.  Jody used to live in Placitas.  To this day, she uses the word “placitas” (along with some miscellaneous letters and numbers) as one of her standard passwords.

She didn’t just “live” in Placitas.  While a student at the University of New Mexico, for about 8 months she lived in a non-functioning school bus that she and her then boyfriend bought for $300 and towed out to a piece of vacant land in Placitas (rent free, but with owner’s permission).  A school bus with no electricity, no water, no toilet.

They dug a pit and put an outhouse over it; they brought in two wood stoves – one for cooking and one for heat.  They used kerosene lanterns for light.  They built a chicken coop, and kept chickens for eggs.

As you might expect, this whole episode in Jody’s life has become one of our family legends.

About 20 years ago, she and I visited some friends who lived in Albuquerque, so of course we cruised around Placitas.  Things had changed so much, she couldn’t figure out where her school bus had been.  But while interviewing Jody for this post (and thanks to Google Earth), we pretty much nailed it.

Let me start with this GE shot of Placitas today:

She lived west of town, and the more she thought about it, she was able to say that she lived south of the main drag and just west of road with word “tunnel” in it. Hmmmm . . .

And there it is, Tunnel Springs road.  Zeroing in, she also remembered “the arroyo,” a little further west.  That nailed it.  I’ll put the magic yellow oval on this gotta-be-it zone:

“By jove, Sherman, I think we’ve found it!  All we need to do is crank up the Way Back Machine – let me see, let’s set it for April 23rd, 1971.  We’ll put the Orange Dude out on the main drag, and take a look:”

“The bus!   And yes, that’s Jody!  Good job, Mr. Peabody!”

Not a bad view from the bus – those are the Sandia Mountains in the background.

A quick detour on the Sandias:

Sandía means watermelon in Spanish, and is popularly believed to be a reference to the reddish color of the mountains at sunset.  [This is what Jody told me].  However, as Robert Julyan notes, “the most likely explanation is the one believed by the Sandia Indians: the Spaniards, when they encountered the Pueblo in 1540, called it Sandia, because they thought the squash gourds growing there were watermelons, and the name Sandia soon was transferred to the mountains east of the pueblo.”

Here’s a lovely shot (from Wiki) of the Sandias over the Rio Grande:

Back to Placitas.  No surprise, Placitas was quite the hippie community back in 1971.  From PlacitasSage.org:

In the 1960s, Placitas was an alternative to nearby urban areas which offered employment but little space. Improved roads allowed a reasonable commute, and the population of Placitas began to grow gradually.

Some moved here to write, to make art and music, to enjoy life at a slower pace. Some wanted to “live off the land,” a movement which gained strength in the 1970s. Some of these folks gathered in communes, others simply built their own homes on acreage that was affordable and available.

One of the Placitas communes was “Lower Farm,” which Jody remembers visiting.  Here’s a classic hippie photo by Roberta Price (check out the guitar player’s pants!).  She wrote a book on communes in the west (Across the Great Divide – A Photo Chronicle of the Counterculture) which includes this photo (with the caption below):

Placitas was the southern point of our commune explorations in the summer of 1969 and again in the early winter of 1970, and though we spent a short time there, we caught a glimpse of the vibrant counter-cultural life at that time.

But the real center of Placitas life was the Thunderbird Bar.  Jody remembers it well, and occasionally went there to hear some live music.  I googled the Thunderbird, and came across a facebook page belonging to Larry Goodell, the Placitas “poet-in-residence.”  Back in the day, he performed at the Thunderbird and has collected Thunderbird memorabilia and posted it on his page. 

Here are some posters, mostly from the early 1970s when the Thunderbird was at its prime (it burned down in the mid-70s).  Note REO Speedwagon, Tim Buckley, Mason Williams, Albert King, John Lee Hooker and Freddie King – some pretty big names . . .

(I really enjoyed perusing these.  If you’re not so inclined, you can scroll down quickly.)

Fifteen cent beers!

Here are a couple of inside shots from the same era (I don’t see Jody):

And, this, showing the outside (featuring, I think, Dolly from “Dolly and the Lama Mountain Boys):

From SandovalSignPost, this, by Bill Pearlman, relating a Thunderbird Bar conversation with Joe Gonzalez:

Old days that run the gamut. How the myriad conversations came and went, the goodwill exchanged in language. The strange creatures that appeared here, the wild days at the old Thunderbird Bar of Placitas. Joe reminds me that the Thunderbird was our center, our forum, our symposium— where ideas were explored, where stories were told, and where laughter surged from friendly voices and passed beyond us. The camaraderie of those days, what we did with our energies, our affections, our vehemence. Lived out a youth, a Volks camper, a bad war, a skyrocketing high, a refugee’s sense of distance.

In one of those JFTHOI* moments, here’s Mason Williams performing Classical Gas in 1968.  Great song.  He was a pretty big name to be playing the little ‘ol Thunderbird Bar!  This is skippable, but this song was a huge hit, and I enjoyed seeing him play it.

*Just for the heck of it


And in another JFTHOI moments, here’s Tommy Emmanuel (who I’ve seen four or five times) also performing Classical Gas.  In my humble opinion, if you don’t know Tommy, you should really check this out.  And if you do know Tommy, you’ll enjoy it.


For the record:  Even though I’m sure it was going on all around her, Jody was a non-drinker, non-druggie during her days in Placitas. . .

I came across a YouTube video of a 1970 BB King concert in Placitas, the “Medicine Ball Caravan” festival.  I wasn’t going to bother posting it, but I realized it’s a great performance with good sound quality, and well worth your time:


I’m going to cycle all the way back to my when-I-was-really-landing moment.  As most readers probably know, I often “land” outside of the lower 48, because of the roughly rectangular landing area I have to identify when coming up with my random lat/long.  Anyway, this was one of those times when I first “landed” in the Atlantic Ocean, and then Mexico.  And Mexico again.  And (AYKM?) Mexico again. 

I was blown away when Mexico came up for the fourth straight time!  But this one was special.  So special, that I’m going to let you see the special place I landed.  Click HERE (and don’t skip this trip!).

Here’s a static shot of the Isla San Jose (and the yellow push-pin that was my landing location):

The island is about 18 miles long and 5 miles wide, and is unhabited.  But it (along with the much smaller San Francisco Island just south) is incredibly beautiful.  Here are some GE Pano shots.  I’ll start with this, by Samir Gonzalez:

Rodriguez 324:

Also, Rodriguez 324:

And yes, another by Rod:

And again:

By you-know-who:

Geez.  Enough already . . .

Hold on to your hats, this is by KNBStover (of San Francisco Island):

Same beach, another angle, by Jack Bennett:


I’ll close this segment with this, by Bacamacari:

I’ll circle back to Placitas, and close with this lovely GE Pano shot of the Sandia by NMGuy:

That’ll do it . . .



© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Bearmouth, Ravenna and Garnet, Montana

Posted by graywacke on April 9, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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 2337; A Landing A Day blog post number 768.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long 46o 45.755’N, 113o 20.028’W) puts me in W-Cen Montana:


My local landing map shows two (of three) titular towns:

So where’s Garnet?

Before we can answer that question, let’s take a look at my watershed analysis:

You can see that I landed in the watershed of Bear Creek (in a valley known as Bear Gulch, as you’ll soon see), and that Bear Creek discharges to the Clark Fork (22nd hit). 

Zooming back, you can see that the Clark Fork discharges in (ends up being?) the Pend Oreille (24th hit), and that the Pend Oreille takes a brief sojourn to Canada (BC) before discharging into the Columbia (167th hit):

JFTHOI, I’ll zoom in to get a better look at the conjunction of the Pend Oreille and the Columbia:

And (borrowing from an earlier Montana Clark Fork watershed post):

Notice how the Pend Oreille (P.O.) heads up into Canada before it discharges into the Columbia (which is headed south out of Canada)?  It turns out that the P.O. discharges into the Columbia a few hundred yards north of the international boundary line.  Here’s a Google Earth (GE) shot, showing the “Boundary” hydroelectric dam – and yes, some of the kilowatts stay in Canada and some of them head south . . .

Now it’s time to watch as GE zeroes in on landing 2337. Click HERE (then hit your back button).

As always, the first thing I do when I crank up GE is check out Street Views of my landing.  This one’s not so hot (about three and a half miles away):

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

But wait!  Let me zoom in a little on the brown road sign:

Ah ha!  Bear Gulch (the home of Bear Creek) and Garnet, the titular town that doesn’t make it on my StreetAtlas map.

And here’s a GE shot identifying Garnet:

(For the record, Ravenna shows up on StreetAtlas, but not on GE.  Oh, well).

Here’s an oblique GE shot looking past Bear Gulch past my landing:

There’s Street View coverage along the road right before Bear Creek discharges to the Clark Fork.  But it looks like the creek is in a culvert, so there’s nothing to see.  But here’s the view from I-90, looking across the Clark Fork at where the creek discharges:

I took the Orange Dude a little further west, along the road that runs on the north side of Clark Fork.  Here’s a view of the river:

It’s time to move on to the town that shows up on both platforms:  Bearmouth.  Wiki:

Bearmouth [sometimes written as Bear Mouth, which I prefer] was not a mining camp, but rather a town that depended on the survival of other towns that were mining camps, such as neighboring Garnet. The town was also a main stop for stagecoaches on the old Mullan Road.

During the late 19th century, enormously rich ores from Garnet came into Bearmouth to be shipped to smelters. When Garnet died, Bearmouth followed suit.

It had a beautiful two-storied, balconied inn for travelers to spend the night, which still stands.

Still stands, eh?  Well, here’s a Street View shot looking across the Clark Fork at the very same two-storied balconied inn (now the Bearmouth Chalet, associated with an RV park):

Just a quick note about the Mullan Road (that ran through Bear Mouth.  From Wiki:

Mullan Road was the first wagon road to cross the Rocky Mountains, ending up in the Pacific Northwest.  It was built by U.S. Army troops under the command of Lt. John Mullan, between the spring of 1859 and summer 1860. It led from Fort Benton, Montana – at the navigational head of the Missouri and the farthest inland port in the world – across Idaho and into western Washington to Fort Walla Walla, near the Columbia River. The road previewed the route approximately followed of modern-day Interstate 15 and Interstate 90 [which runs right through Bear Mouth].

Moving on to Ravenna.  True confessions.  I probably would have ignored Ravenna if it weren’t for the fact that way back in the day, I lived just outside of Ravenna, Ohio.  I went to grad school at nearby Kent State University, and worked in Akron (also nearby) for a couple of years. 

I happen to know that Ravenna Ohio was named after Ravenna Italy.  I’d like to think that Ravenna Montana was named after Ravenna Ohio . . .

Anyway, all that remains in Ravenna, Montana (and the only reason it has any internet presence at all), is the remains of electrical Substation #9.  I had the Orange Dude travel a few miles west from Bear Mouth and look across the river.  Here’s what he sees:

One might ask why there is an electrical substation out in the middle of nowhere.  I had to go to YouTube to find out.  DavidEgg22 posted an artsy video of the abandoned substation.  He has a write-up, which I’ll present before the video:

Uploaded on Nov 12, 2011.  [Geez.  He missed 11/11/11 by one day . . .]

Ruins and rust; taken over by nature! The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad electrified 440 miles for their trains to cross the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. The electric locomotives were powered by substations that converted 110,000 volt AC current to 3,000 volts DC. The 22 substations were built in 1909 and were located approximately 30 miles apart. The electric operations ended during June 1974 and the line through here was abandoned March 1980. The Ravenna Substation #9 is one of 7 substations still standing.

In 1981, I walked the two miles of track to this remote station (and me without a camera!) The building looked to be in good shape and most of the windows were still intact but the interior equipment was all removed and salvaged. The floors were scattered with papers such as train orders, log books and the like. The nigh voltage power still ran up over the building (accessible by ladders) producing a humming sound. As you can see from this video, the building has started to deteriorate with the help of vandals and Mother Nature.

Here’s the video – with, believe it or not – 16,162 views!


I couldn’t help myself, so I took a quick Wiki look at Ravenna Ohio.  The only thing of interest was in the list of Notable People.  Here’s a screen shot of the top half of the list:

How about that!  See the entry after Robert B. “Yank” Heisler???

I scanned the list, looking to see if there was a truly Notable Person (besides, of course, yours truly).  Yank didn’t make it.  My skepticism about the list-worthiness of many of these individuals is confirmed by Wiki’s note in the box at the top of the list.  Here’s what it says:

This list of “famous” or “notable” persons has no inclusion or exclusion criteria.  Please help to define clear inclusion criteria and edit the list to contain only subjects that fit those criteria (August 2013).

It doesn’t look like anyone has done any editing.  If/when they do, I hope that I make the cut!

Someone who will definitely make any cut is Bill Bower.  He was the “last surviving pilot of the Doolittle Raid.”

From Wiki:

William “Bill” Bower (1917 – 2011) was a U.S. Air Force Colonel and veteran of World War II. Bower was the last surviving pilot of the Doolittle Raid, the first air raid to target the Japanese home island of Honshu.

A native of Ravenna, Ohio, Bower graduated from Ravenna High School in 1934.  He attended Hiram College and Kent State University from 1934 until 1936.

And this, about the Doolittle Raid (also Wiki):

The Doolittle Raid, on April 18, 1942, was an air raid by the United States of America on the Japanese capital Tokyo and other places on the island of Honshu during World War II, the first air strike to strike the Japanese Home Islands. The raid took place only 4 months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

It demonstrated that Japan itself was vulnerable to American air attack, served as retaliation for Pearl Harbor and provided an important boost to American morale. The raid was planned and led by Lieutenant Colonel James “Jimmy” Doolittle of the US Army Air Forces.

Sixteen B-25B Mitchell medium bombers were launched from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet deep in the Western Pacific Ocean, each with a crew of five men. The plan called for them to bomb military targets in Japan, and to continue westward to land in China—landing a medium bomber on Hornet was impossible.

[They must have physically loaded the planes on the aircraft carrier, knowing they could take off, but not land.]

Fifteen aircraft reached China, but all crashed, while the 16th landed at Vladivostok in the Soviet Union. All but three of the 80 crew members initially survived the mission. Eight airmen were captured by the Japanese Army in China; three of those were later executed. The B-25 that landed in the Soviet Union was confiscated and its crew interned for more than a year. Fourteen complete crews, except for one crewman who was killed in action, returned to the United States or to American forces.

Here are a couple of shots from the USS Hornet (via Wiki).  First this, of the bombers crowded on the deck just prior to the mission:

And this, of one of the planes taking off, headed to Tokyo:

As mentioned previously, Bill Bower was the last surviving pilot.  Four surviving crew members remain.  To learn more about the raid and the remaining survivors, Google Doolittle Raid and/or go to DoolittleRaider.com.

It’s time to head back to Montana and check out Garnet.  I found an April 2015 article from the Missoulian by Rob Chaney entitled “Garnet Ghost Town Seeks Volunteer Resident.”  Here’s a picture from the article (a BLM pic), followed by some excerpts:

A chance to really get to know the ghosts at Garnet Ghost Town is one of the benefits of a volunteer residency summer program at the historic site.

“It’s primitive, to say the least,” U.S. Bureau of Land Management Garnet Ranger Nacoma Gainan said. “It’s for people who love the outdoors and want to give back. There’s no electricity, no Wi-Fi and no running water. But there are trails to explore, artifacts to inspect. Volunteers are really left to their own devices after the visitors are gone.”

In the past, one volunteer from Buffalo, New York, spent 11 consecutive summers at Garnet, while another couple made it their summer plan for a decade. This year, however, the calendar is open for the months of August and September.

BLM provides a private furnished cabin with propane stove and refrigerator, wood stove and a food stipend. Volunteers will provide visitor information, lead tours and handle sales of souvenirs.

Garnet’s mining history started in the 1860s, when the first lodes of silver and gold were discovered there. At its peak, nearly 1,000 people lived in the small valley.

The town went through several booms and busts, and a small operating mine still functions near the boundary of the town site. Over the years, preservationists restored many of the town’s buildings, including its Miners Union hall, Kelly’s Saloon and several residences.

Here’s a GE pano shot (by Ostrom), reminding us all that they have a winter in Montana, and the miners were living and working all winter long:

Here’s a what-the-heck shot of a not-so-old piece of presumed mining equipment (pano shot by OffTheTrail):

I’ll close with this Pano shot by Elifino 57, taken near Bear Mouth.  I like the picture, even though the photographer pushed the “color saturation” bar on his photo editor a little too far to the right . . .

That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Onaway, Michigan

Posted by graywacke on April 4, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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 2336; A Landing A Day blog post number 767.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long 45o 17.215’N, 84o 0.570’W) puts me in N-Cen Michigan:

My local landing map shows a few towns, only one of which (as you already know) became titular:

Here’s a short and sweet watershed analysis:

I landed in the watershed of the Ocqueoc River (1st hit ever!), on to Lake Huron (17th hit); on to the St. Lawrence (105th hit).

By the way, this was my 57th landing in Michigan, yet my first landing in the Ocqueoc watershed . . .

So I need to Google the Ocqueoc River.  From Wiki:

The Ocqueoc River (pronounced AH-kee-ock) is 34 miles long and encompasses a watershed of approximately 95,000 acres or 150 sq miles.

[Actually, pretty small watershed; only 10 mi x 15 mi . . .]

The word Ocqueoc comes from a French term meaning “crooked waters.”

I spent some amount of time (aka too much time) trying to find a French phrase that means crooked waters (or something like crooked waters) that sounds even a little like Ocqueoc.  The French word for water is “eau,” (pronounced oh), which seems like a start, but still, no luck.  Oh, well.  Back to Wiki:

Ocqueoc Falls are the largest waterfalls in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan with a drop of about 5 feet.

AYKM?  Oh my.  This requires research!

So I googled “highest waterfalls in Michigan,” and found that the Ocqueoc Falls (which the website said were 10’ tall, not 5’) are the 107th highest falls in the state.  So the top 106 are in the Upper Peninsula?  Seems unlikely.

But it’s true.  The counties for each of the falls were listed, and I methodically checked the first 106 falls and aye-yup, they were all in the UP.  How about that?

Sorry about the “aye-yup.”  I fear that’s Maine, not Michigan . . .

We need a couple of Google Earth (GE) Panoramio photos of the mighty Ocqueoc Falls.  First, this by ChrisF66:

And this lovely winter view of the falls (reminding us that they really have winter in Northern Michigan), by PGerow:

Speaking of Google Earth, it’s time for my GE visit to landing 2336.  Click HERE.

My closest town is Millersburg (pop 200), but it’s totally hookless.  Tower has zero internet presence, and any references about Black Lake are all about the lake, not the “town.”  What’s left?  Onaway.  As is my wont, my first stop was Wiki:

Onaway is the Sturgeon Capital of Michigan, and there is a lake sturgeon streamside rearing facility on the nearby Black River, where the fish migrate down to the Cheboygan River and then to Lake Huron.

OK, I’ll have to look into the sturgeon angle a little more.  But first, back to a bulletized version of Wiki:

  • This farming community received a post office in 1882 with Thomas Shaw as postmaster. The town was name Shaw for him.

     [Logically enough.]

  • Arriving in 1886, Marritt Chandler platted the community under the name of Onaway.

  [No explanation for “Onaway.”]

  • Chandler took over as postmaster and officially changed the town’s name to Onaway in 1890.
  • In 1893, Shaw took back the postmaster position and changed the town’s name to Adalaska.

   [He gave up on “Shaw,” but whence cometh “Adalaska?”]

  • Once again, the post office was renamed back to Onaway in 1897.

   [Seemingly out the blue, back to Onaway.]

OnawayMi.com has a much more straightforward town name discussion, and fills in the crucial missing piece about Onaway:

The Onaway area was first settled in the 1880’s by Thomas Shaw and Merritt Chandler. Chandler was the first to plat the land, naming the town from a stanza in Longfellow’s “The Song of Hiawatha.” Onaway is an Ojibwa Indian cry meaning ‘Alert’ or ‘Awaken’.

So Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (known as Waddy to his friends) was an American poet (1807-1882), best known for “Paul Revere’s Ride” and “Evangeline” besides “The Song of Hiawatha.”  What a distinguished looking gentleman!

I’ll dig a little into “The Song of Hiawatha” – it’s a very long epic poem, based on Ojibwa myths and legends.  If you’re like me, you don’t know much more than the first half of the first line:

“By the shores of Gitche Gumee . . .”

In the spirit of full disclosure, here’s the second half of the first line, and as a bonus feature, the second line:

“by the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis, daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.”

Anyway, I found Cliff’s Notes for the poem.  Fom Schmoop.com (oh, all right – not really Cliff’s Notes):

The poem starts by telling us how the Master of Life, Gitche Manito, came down from the skies and told all the people of the Earth to stop fighting and get along. To seal the deal, he had these people make peace pipes, which they take out and smoke together whenever a conflict arises. Then Gitche Manito throws in an added bonus: he tells the people that he will soon send a prophet who will suffer on their behalf so that they will all live better lives.

Some time after Gitche Manito’s appearance, a boy named Hiawatha is born to a woman named Wenonah. Hiawatha’s father is a demigod who controls the west wind, but as a dad he’s a deadbeat. He deserts Hiawatha’s mother, who ends up dying from heartbreak. In the meantime, Hiawatha grows up to be a strong and wise young man whose great reputation travels all across the land.

The book goes on to tell us about all the great stuff Hiawatha does, like making the corn grow better and killing a giant fish-god named Mishe-Nahma. Eventually, Hiawatha gets lonely and decides to ask a woman named Minnehaha to marry him.  She says yes and they live happily together. Along the way, Hiawatha finds the time to invent reading and writing and to teach these things to his people.

In the second half of the poem, Hiawatha loses his two best friends. Then he has to chase down a troublemaker named Pau-Puk-Keewis who has been destroying everything in his path. Finally, a terrible winter kills Hiawatha’s wife Minnehaha with a fever. Hiawatha feels as though there’s nothing left in his life to keep him in his village. One night, he has visions of white men arriving in a giant boat and teaching his people a new religion. Sure enough, this vision comes true and Hiawatha trusts that his people will be safe with the whites (um, he might be mistaken on that one).

At the end of the poem, Hiawatha gets in his canoe and paddles away from his village. He doesn’t know when or if he’ll ever come back. And that’s that.

Now I need to get to the Onaway part.  At the wedding feast (after the wedding of Hiawatha and Minnehaha), Chibiabos is asked to sing a song.  FYI, Chibiabos is a mythical Native American character.  According to most sources, he’s a God of the Underworld (although not a bad guy).  But I prefer this, from InfoPlease:

He is the musician; the harmony of nature personified. He teaches the birds to sing and the brooks to warble as they flow.

In that musical vein, here’s a picture entitled “Chibiabos the Flute Player” by Ed Copley (from EdCopleyFineArt.com):

Anyway, quoting from the poem, here’s an introduction to Chibiabos:

“Sing to us, O Chibiabos!
Songs of love and songs of longing,
That the feast may be more joyous,
That the time may pass more gayly,
And our guests be more contented!”

The song begins (Chibiabos singing to Hiawatha):

“Onaway! Awake, beloved!
Thou the wild-flower of the forest!
Thou the wild-bird of the prairie!”

And later in the song:

“Onaway! My heart sings to thee,
Sings with joy when thou art near me,
As the sighing, singing branches
In the pleasant Moon of Strawberries!”

And again, as the song ends:

“I myself, myself! Behold me!
Blood of my beating heart, behold me!
O awake, awake, beloved!
Onaway ! Awake, beloved!”

Yo Chibiabos.  You’re a dude, and you only sang to Hiawatha?  Shouldn’t you say something about Minehaha?

That’s enough on the Onaway name origin; actually, more information than you need, eh?

Moving right along to sturgeon.  Onaway is the “Sturgeon Capital of Michigan” because nearby Black Lake is famous for its sturgeon, and also because there’s a sturgeon hatchery on the Upper Black River that flows into Black Lake.

I found a Feb 2017 Lansing State Journal article about Black Lake sturgeon by Kathleen Lavey.  I’ll be quoting from the article more extensively in a minute, but for background, I’ll start with this excerpt:

This ancient family of fishes has been recognized since the Upper Cretaceous period (136 million years ago), at a time when dinosaurs were at the height of their development.  To a casual observer, a sturgeon looks like a curious blend of catfish and shark. Like a shark, it has a skeleton made of cartilage, not bone; like a catfish, it finds food with the help of “barbels” hanging like whiskers from its chin.

Sturgeon don’t have scales, but wide-set rows of bony plates called scutes. The toothless beasts vacuum up snails, crayfish, clams and insect larvae from lake and river bottoms.

It’s likely that females hatched during the administration of President Ulysses Grant still swim in the Great Lakes! Female sturgeon live up to 150 years; males up to 80. It takes 12 to 20 years for males to mature and up to 25 years for females to do so.

Wow.  An amazing fish, indeed!  Although not mentioned above, they’re a very large fish, and can be up to 7’ long, weighing over 200 lbs!  Here’s a picture from Michigan State University, of a graduate student researcher:

And a fingerling, from the Black River hatchery:

From Wiki, more about Lake Sturgeon:

In 1860, this species, taken on incidental catches of other fishes, was killed and dumped back in the lake, piled up on shore to dry and be burned, fed to pigs, or dug into the earth as fertilizer.  It was even stacked like cordwood and used to fuel steamboats. When their meat and eggs (cavier) became prized (around 1880), they were caught by every available means, including nets.  Over 5 million lb were taken from Lake Erie in a single year. The fishery collapsed, largely by 1900. They have never recovered. Like most sturgeons, the lake sturgeon is rare now and is protected in many areas.

Due to conservation efforts (such as the Onaway fish hatchering) and improvements in water quality in the Great Lakes and the rivers and streams that feed the lakes, lake sturgeon are making a modest come back.

In fact, fishing for lake sturgeon is actually legal.  Getting back to the Lansing State Journal article by Kathleen Lavey.  It is entitled:

8 sturgeon, more than 300 fishermen and a 66-minute season

Here are some excerpts:

GRANT TWP. – It’s the Friday night before winter sturgeon season starts on Black Lake, and Brian Bailey stands inside the door of a party tent, selling $5 admission buttons while wearing a crown and fake velvet cape with the image of a sturgeon on the back.

Inside, it feels like Christmas Eve. Volunteers in fleece and flannel sell tickets for beer and serve chili from slow cookers. With their shanties in place, fishermen and women listen to live, mostly country music, swap fish stories and discuss their hopes for the next morning.

Bailey earned the crown, cape and title of “Sturgeon King” by spearing the biggest fish out of six caught in 2016, a whopping 97-pound, 70½-inch female.

Now he’s presiding over the annual shivaree — the word denotes a noisy party — thrown by the Black Lake chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow. The group’s members have worked tirelessly to save the threatened prehistoric fish, a toothless, bottom-feeding giant that can grow up to 8 feet long and live for 150 years.

The brief, shining ice-fishing season — which begins on the first Saturday of February and can last an hour, five days or anything in between — is their moment to enjoy the results of their hard work.

He called it “exhilarating.”

“You can’t explain it,” he said, with a wide smile at the memory. “You’re pulling this thing through a 4-by-8-foot hole in the ice.”

This year, 332 licensed fishermen and women checked in at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources field office in Onaway or on the ice to pick up flags and tags, signs they had permission to peer through holes in the ice starting at 8 a.m. Feb. 4.

They set up shanties over the 15-square-mile lake’s dozen or so sandbars and readied their spears for a chance at catching the biggest fish Michigan’s lakes have to offer.

The brief, shining ice-fishing season — which begins on the first Saturday of February and can last an hour, five days or anything in between — is their moment to enjoy the results of their hard work.

The shivaree is an acknowledgment of efforts to restock sturgeon populations in Black Lake and nearby Mullet and Burt lakes. It celebrates the fact that spear-fishing is simply a way of life in the northeastern Lower Peninsula.

Here’s a short video from the article about this year’s Black Lake catch:


The full article describes this year’s goings-on in detail.  Click HERE to check it out.

Time for some local GE Pano shots. I’ll start with this by Jason Barnes, taken about a mile and a half SE of my landing:

A couple of guys walking their dogs. How pastoral. Wait!  Is that a dog next to the road taking a dump?  Moving right along . . .

I’m always a sucker for a scenic hay bale shot.  Here’s one (from 5 miles NW of my landing) by David Coats:

I’ll close with (what else) a sunset shot over Black Lake by David Martinez:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Oreana and Rochester (and Lovelock), Nevada

Posted by graywacke on March 30, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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 2335; A Landing A Day blog post number 766.

boxDan:  Today’s lat/long 40o 13.555’N, 118o 16.571’W) puts me in Cen-NW Nevada:


Here’s my local landing map:


You don’t see Rochester, but more about that later.

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of the Humboldt River (29th hit).  The Humboldt occasionally makes it all the way to Humboldt Lake, but it never goes any further . . .


Let’s jump right on the Google Earth (GE) yellow push-pin, and take a ride.  Click HERE.

There’s some decent topography surrounding my landing.  Here’s an oblique GE shot looking SW past my landing:


And one looking E:


Although I’d expect lousy Street View coverage, considering the boonie-esque nature of this landing, it’s not bad:


And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:


Drainage from my landing ends up in an unnamed arroyo that goes right along the road with Street View coverage:


And here’s what the OD sees:


My drainage goes through that pipe!

During the spaceflight, you probably noticed a nearby landing (2200) on your way in.  For that July 2015 post, I featured Lovelock (the only actually-inhabited town anywhere close).  At that time, I noted that there was an even-early Lovelock post, (October 2009, landing 1798):


I checked out my two previous Lovelock posts, and decided I’d lift a highlight from each.  From my July 2015 post:

Of course, I checked out Street View coverage for bridges over the Humboldt.  Close to Lovelock, I found two spots:


Here’s the upstream Street View shot of the river:


For Nevada, I’d say this is quite the substantial river!  Now, let’s look at the downstream Street View shot of the river:


Oh oh.  What happened to all of the water?  I’ll zoom in to get a closer look at the river near the downstream shot:


So they dammed up the river and stole all of the water (reminds me a little of Joni Mitchell’s “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot”).  Anyway, what happens to the water?  This . . .


A 15-mile stretch of obviously-irrigated farmland surrounding Lovelock.

From the September 2009 post:

I’ve discussed the Humboldt before; it’s the longest internally-drained river in the U.S., with a length of about 300 miles (all within Nevada).  Staying with the Humboldt, I’ll present some photos of the river and the lake.  I’ll start with these two shots of the river, just upstream from where it empties into the lake.  Note that it is often dry; obviously these pictures were taken after significant desert rains:



Here’s a shot of the lake itself (taken at the same time as the river pictures):


A gentleman named Lawrence K. Hersh, a photographer, railroad lover and historian, put together a book entitled “Central Pacific Railroad Across Nevada, 1868 and 1997 Photographic Comparatives.”  Two of the comparative photos are taken near Humboldt Lake.  First this picture from 1868, with Mr. Hersh’s caption below the picture:


Photo number 316, “End of Track, near Humboldt Lake,” circa 1868, is an excellent view to the southwest, showing a construction train stopped, headed eastbound, with lots of tents in the foreground.  These tents were probably occupied by Chinese, whose contribution to the construction of this railroad made the Transcontinental Railroad a reality. The railroad grade parallels the west side of Humboldt Lake.

Here’s his 1997 shot taken from the same place, with his caption below:


Photo number 97316, taken in May of 1997, shows the general spot Alfred A. Hart photographed in 1868, from atop the sand hill on the east side of the railroad grade. This is one of my favorite photo sites. I can spend hours exploring this area, thinking only of going back in time, while standing on top of the sand hill. It appears as if the trail seen in the foreground of photo 316 can still be seen in today’s photo.

Enough of my old posts. For this post, I’ve decided to feature two ghost towns:  Oreana and Rochester.  But wait!  Are they really ghost towns?  Check out this Street View on I-80!


Well, Oreana kind-of-sort-of exists; here’s a Street View of downtown:


Rochester (as you’ll see) has some ghost town remnants, although most of it has been obliterated by a huge mining operation.

Anyway, I fund an excellent website that discusses both towns – Silver State Ghost Towns.com.  First this, about Oreana:

By 1866, Oreana two mills to crush ore from the Montezuma mine at Arabia. A smelter was also constructed to process the crushed ore. By 1867 the townsite had a post office, hotel, general store, boarding houses, restaurant, blacksmith shop, livery stable, and several saloons.

By 1868 more bullion was being shipped from Oreana than any other place in Nevada.  However, mounting debt and a tax default forced a total shutdown in 1869.

[Number 1 in Nevada, and then bankrupt?  Sounds like some serious mismanagement was going on!]

New owners acquired the facilities in 1870-1871, but also had debt problems. The mills operated intermittently during the 1870s until the smelter was destroyed by fire.

From the same website, here are pictures (by Warren Willis) of what remains of old Oreana.



Moving on to Rochester.  First, I need to locate it.  As is often the case, GE will identify “towns” that are not shown on Street Atlas:


Once again, from Silver State Ghost Towns:

Migrants from Rochester, NY discovered gold in Rochester Canyon in the early 1860s. The townsite, and mining operations, did not really take off until silver ore was discovered in 1912. By November of that year, a full scale rush was on.

By 1913, the population boomed to around 2200, divided between four different town sites over the two-and-a-half mile “Main Street” that ran between Lower and Upper Rochester along the floor of Rochester Canyon.

Here’s a GE shot, looking up Rochester Canyon and old Main Street, towards what used to be Upper Rochester, but is now part of the Rochester Mine:


Back to the website write-up:

The town consisted of several saloons, a newspaper (Miner and Journal), substantial stone buildings, hotels, office buildings, dance halls, a post office, and even The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

[Wow.  The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra!]

The district’s mines made their best showing during the 1920s, but by 1942 most operations ceased (after more than $9 million in gold and silver was produced).

The remains of Lower Rochester are accessible, but upper Rochester is all but covered up by tailings from the current Coeur Rochester Mine operation.

Here are some Rochester pictures, once again by Warren Willis:





So there’s an active gold & silver mining operation where Rochester used to be.  This about the mine from Wiki:

The Rochester Mine opened in 1986 and extracts ore from a conventional open pit operation. The ore is processed using cyanide heap-leaching to produce silver and gold bars. In 2012 the mine produced 2.8 million ounces of silver and 38,066 ounces of gold.  The silver production cost is $14.05 per ounce of silver. Reserves at the end of 2012 were 44.9 million ounces of silver and 308,000 ounces of gold.

FYI, today’s silver price is $17.72/oz, so they’re making 17.72-14.05 = $3.67/oz.  So in 2012, they made a healthy profit of 2.8 million x $3.67 = $10,300,000.

I perused the mine on Google Earth.  GE shows amazing detail that’s absolutely true to the topography.

I made a couple of very short videos that give you an excellent view of the mine (strongly recommended viewing!).

Click HERE.


I went to the Coeur company website.  They have an informative video about the mining operation and the community.  As you’d expect, it’s saccharine coated, but still worthwhile viewing.

Chick HERE.

On the Silver State Ghost Town website, I found this photo of a historical plaque in Lower Rochester (by Warren Willis):


It provides a little information, but check out the bottom.  It says:

J.U.N.K. September 20, 1986
Julia’s Unequivocal Nevada Klampouts
Julia C. Bulette Chapter 1864
E Clampus Vitus

What the . . . ?

I’ll start with E Clampus Vitus, and will borrow from three sources:

  1. Wiki
  2. “The Mysterious History of E Clampus Via” by Honorable Brother Al Shumate (on YerbaBuena1.com)
  3. “History and Ritual of E Clampus Vitus – a Non-Clampers Guide to Clamperdom” by Judge Frazier (on PhoenixMasonry.org)

Here are various tidbits from the above:

E Clampus Vitus is a fraternal organization dedicated to the study and preservation of the heritage of the American West, especially the history of the silver and gold mining regions of the area.

By 1850 two fraternal organizations were active in the mining regions of the American West:   the Masonic Lodge and the Odd Fellows (IOOF).  Virtually all men of influence were members of either or both of these orders. Both groups were viewed as very strict in nature with impressive badges of office and formal attire.  In short, they provided little humor and certainly no relief from the arduous task of just staying alive.

In 1851 a group of men at Mokelumne Hill, California, felt another fraternal organization, one much less serious of nature, was needed and The Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus, with an avowed dedication to the protection of “Widows and Orphans”, came to life in the west.

What is the purpose of the society? There is a description of the society that all of you have heard. It is claimed ECV is a historical drinking society; others claim it to be a drinking historical society. The debate continues; it has never been solved.

The motto of the Order, Credo Quia Absurdum, is generally interpreted as meaning “I believe it because it is absurd.”

The organization has raised historical plaques in many places throughout the West (often at sites such as bordellos and saloons overlooked by more traditional historical societies), with a traditional “doin’s,” or party, after each plaque dedication. These are now common in historical areas around California and the West — when in Gold and Silver Country, a Clamper-placed plaque is never far away.

It goes on and on . . . feel free to do your own Google search (“E Clampus Via”) if you’re so inclined.  Wiki identified more than 50,000 members in 62 lodges in 1991.  Peculiarly, I couldn’t find any more recent totals, although I get the feeling the Clampers are continuing to grow, with more lodges and more members.

I particularly like an opening statement in Judge Frazier’s piece:

“Material for this guide has been gathered from various sources including liberally plagiarizing, stealing, absconding, purloining, pilfering, looting and misappropriating the work of others. Be that as it may, I believe it is reasonably accurate.”

So, the Julia C. Bulette Chapter (chapter 1864) is responsible for the Rochester plaque.  I like their nickname:  Julia’s Unequivocal Nevada Klampouts (J.U.N.K.).  They have a website!


So who’s Julia C. Bulette?  From OnlineNevada:


Prostitute Julia Bulette moved to Virginia City around 1863 when the lively mining boom town boasted a population approaching 10,000. Four years later, an intruder strangled her during the early morning hours of January 20, 1867.

Local officials arrested Frenchman Jean Millian when he tried to sell a few of her possessions. Found guilty and sentenced to death after a brief trial, Millian went to the gallows on April 24, 1868. It was Virginia City’s first public execution.

“Jule” Bulette lived and worked out of a small rented cottage near the corner of D and Union streets in Virginia City’s entertainment district. An independent operator, she competed with the fancy brothels, streetwalkers, and hurdy-gurdy girls for meager earnings.

Contemporary newspaper accounts of her gruesome murder captured popular imagination. With few details of her life, twentieth-century chroniclers elevated the courtesan to the status of folk heroine, ascribing to her the questionable attributes of wealth, beauty, and social standing.

little-joeThere was an episode of “Bonanza” (the 1960s TV western) where Little Joe falls in love with Julia.  (Papa Ben is not happy).  They cast her as a saloon owner (not a prostitute), and Jean Millian (her real life murderer) is cast as a villainous rival for her affections.  She’s not murdered, and she ends up a heroine for helping the townspeople fight an outbreak of “the fever.”

Alrighty now.  It’s time for some GE Pano shots.  I’ll start with this one by Mark Moudrak, taken about 4 miles SW of my landing:


And this, by David Goulart, of the westward-sloping valley through which my drainage flows on its way to the Humboldt:


I’ll close with another in the same valley, by Nitro 929:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Lansing, Iowa

Posted by graywacke on March 25, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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 2334; A Landing A Day blog post number 765.

boxDan:  Today’s lat/long 43o 19.618’N, 91o 13.617’W) puts me in far NE Iowa (barely):


My local landing map shows why Lansing obtained titular status:


So this was a Lansing Landing. . .

My streams-only watershed map is pretty straightforward:


I landed in the watershed of Village Creek which has the distinct privilege of discharging directly to the Mighty Mississippi!

Notice Lake Winneshiek on the above map?  It’s pretty big:


It was formed by one of many navigational dams associated with locks on the river.  Here’s a Google Earth (GE) Panoramio shot of Lock & Dam #9 (by Pemo12):


Speaking of Google Earth, it’s time for my GE spaceflight, zeroing in on NE Iowa.  Fire the retro rockets!  (AKA click HERE).

Looks pretty good for Street View coverage, and it is!  (I moved the Orange Dude up the road a little so I could bring in the barn for reference).


And here’s what he sees:


I moved the OD a little south to get a look at Village Creek:


And here’s the creek:


There’s also Street View coverage of where Village Creek hits the Mighty Mississip:


Here’s the upstream view:


The downstream view shows nuttin’ but river:


From MyLansingIowa.com:

Lansing Iowa is a Mississippi river town of 1000 people located about 30 miles South of LaCrosse, Wisconsin and about 3.5 hours Southeast of Minneapolis. For the folks who live here all year, we have many of the things that make it a great small town like a grocery store, library and many small businesses that cater to locals and tourists alike.

Our downtown is very close to the Mississippi River and in fact, Main St. gently slopes down to and dead ends in The River. In the old days, that’s where you would have embarked and disembarked the steamboats that use to ply these waters. We still have a great amount of history on our Main St., with many original buildings and storefronts that all add to the value and charm of our Riverfront town.

Here’s a Street View shot of the end of Main Street mentioned above:


Here’s what the OD sees just after making a left on Front Street (near the silver sport SUV above):


I like Lansing.  I like that it has a viable downtown, but mostly I like its intimate connection with the Mississippi River.  That said, there’s not really a hook in Lansing to form a basis for this post.  But leave it to me, I found a hook (albeit more regional)!

Just a little further down in the MyLansingIowa.com website, I saw this:

Mississippi River Road Driftless Area Center Coming To Lansing

The roof is on and building continues for what is looking like a grand visitor center!  Lansing will soon be home to a new multi-million dollar Mississippi River Visitor Center complete with handicap accessible river access, classrooms, viewing decks and information about the driftless area and river on tap.

I shouldn’t be picky, but “on tap???”

So, they’re building a Driftless Area visitor center.  So just what is this Driftless Area?  I don’t need Wiki to talk about this a little – and yes, being a geologist helps a little. 

In the big picture, nearly the entire Upper Midwest was glaciated – covered by continental ice sheets up to a mile thick that came and went numerous times over the last bunch of hundreds of thousands of years.  The most recent (known as the Wisconsonan) peaked about 20,000 years and retreated a mere 10,000 years ago. 

So the Native American Homo Sapien ancestors (who came to North America 12,000+ years ago) were eyewitness to the ice age and its wildlife like woolly mammoths and saber-tooth tigers (which, by the way, they likely hunted to extinction).

As you know, glaciers grind away high spots and fill in low spots with gravel, sand and clay.  These glacial deposits are left behind everywhere the glaciers visited, and collectively, they’re known as glacial drift.

Ah.  So now you’re getting the drift.  (Unless, of course, you’re driftless.)

So:  the Driftless Area (red area on map) must have no drift!  And no drift means no glaciers!  And not just no Wisconsinan glaciers, but no glaciers over the last 1,0000,000 years!screen-shot-2014-05-04-at-9-47-30-am

Without glaciers lopping off the high spots and glacial drift filling in the low spots, the Driftless Area has more pronounced, dramatic topography, with bedrock exposed in steep valleys & cliffs.

I found in informative post on all-geo.org by Anne Jefferson.  Here are some excerpts:

Even before the last glacial period, the Driftless Area seems to have uniquely escaped the terrain smoothing, till depositing influences of the ice sheets. (Play with this animation to watch southeastern Minnesota avoid glacial advance after glacial advance.)

The map below shows the maximum extent of glaciers at:

  • (a) 1 million years ago,
  • (b) ~600,000 years ago,
  • (c) ~250,000 years ago (the Illinoian glaciation) and
  • (d) ~22,000 years ago (Wisconsinan glaciation).


In most parts of the Upper Midwest, the bedrock is buried under glacial drift; but millions of years of uninterrupted erosion have spectacularly dissected the landscape of the Driftless Area, creating 150+ meter bluffs and narrow valleys.

This dissected landscape stands out in sharp contrast to the flatter glaciated areas which surround it, as shown in the image below.


And what the heck?  Why not a You Tube video, “Serious Science:  The Driftless Area” by Into The Outdoors TV:


But here comes the best part.  Scott Sumner, a writer for Wall Street Pit, was looking at the 2012 election map, where individual counties are shown red for the Republicans and blue for the Democrats:


He focused on an apparently anomalous blue area:


From Scott’s article:

Do you see it now? There’s a big blob of counties where Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois come together, which are solid blue. Why is that? These are counties with farms and small towns; there are basically no cities of any size.

The biggest city is Madison, population 200,000, which is the big blue county in south central Wisconsin, on the eastern edge of the blob. I grew up in Madison, but I don’t have a clue as to why those counties further west are blue. I always assumed western Wisconsin was exactly like north-central and eastern Wisconsin—full of corn and dairy farms, and small towns with one church and 4 bars.

Counties full of people with northern European backgrounds. Everywhere else in the Midwest the farm areas went for the GOP, except that strange blob that overlays parts of 4 states. A few of those counties may have small cities with a few manufacturing firms, but look how uniform that blue area is. There is obviously some difference that explains this, and now I feel like we should have been taught in school that southwestern Wisconsin is really weird.

Or perhaps we were taught in school, and I wasn’t paying enough attention. There is in fact something weird about southwestern Wisconsin. The glacier that covered North America during the Ice Age missed this area; indeed it went completely around it, leaving it hillier than normal for the Midwest. It’s called the “Driftless Area.” If you grew up on the coasts you’ve never heard of this area, because nobody on either coast finds the American Midwest to be at all interesting. They rather go visit Paris or Bali.

So here’s a map of the Driftless area:


Whoa! That is exactly the same area as the strange blue blob of rural Obama voters. This is beginning to resemble a Stephen King novel. What’s going on in them thar hills? You might argue the blue extends a bit further south into Illinois, but that’s probably the Quad cities area, which is somewhat more industrialized. The mysterious blue farm counties almost perfectly match the Driftless Area.

If these counties were red like “normal” rural counties are supposed to be, the race would have been closer.

Why did farmers who settled hilly areas become more liberal than farmers who settled flat parts of eastern Wisconsin? I have no idea. The Appalachian and Ozark regions are far hillier than the Driftless Area, but are strongly red. It’s a mystery. Only God (or Nate Silver) knows the answer.

I also found a piece by Richard Longworth (“The Midwesterner,” writing in GlobalMidwest.typepad.com).  He read and then wrote about Scott Sumner’s article.  Here’s an excerpt, which shows a tongue-in-cheek (but decidedly democratic) perspective:

The area’s singularity was first spotted by Wall Street Pit, a financial news website, in a piece written by Scott Sumner, a Madison native who admitted that “I don’t have a clue” why these counties voted as they did.

If this phenomenon baffled Sumner, it was quickly explained by commenters to the blog, who said it was all due to the superior character of the residents — “hard-working, open-minded peaceful people, (who) value people above profit, are neighborly and fair-minded…not cut-throat capitalists…engaged voters…an epicenter for education, medicine and organic farming. People are against suffering, and believe in helping others and creating strong communities.” Organic farming in the area seemed especially vital to the region’s progressive, true-blue flavor.

Ah, that explains it. No argument here. I’ve spent time in the Driftless Area and it indeed is full of folks who are the salt of the earth, peaceable types who feast on organic produce, value fairness and hence are natural Democrats.

And then, I had to take one more step.  I had to look at the 2016 election map.  I found one with tints of red & blue, reflecting the margin of victory in each county:


There you have it.  Trump carried the Driftless Area, although it’s more pink than red.  Oh, well.

Time for some Pano shots.  I’ll start with this one by IdaWriter, with a sign referencing my watershed stream:


Also by Ida, here’s one from the bluff north of town, looking south:


And yet another Ida shot from the same bluff, looking northeast:


And this cool shot of the bridge, by AlKonMan:


I’ll close with this artsy shot of a Mississippi River backwater area (a slough), just across the bridge from Lansing, by MoFun:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Wendover and Salduro, Utah (with bonus coverage of Tinian Island)

Posted by graywacke on March 21, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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 2333; A Landing A Day blog post number 764.

boxDan:  Today’s lat/long 40o 53.866’N, 113o 53.416’W) puts me in NW Utah:


Here’s my local map:


Before going on, I need (want?) to mention that I suffered through 5 “waterings” (as opposed to “landings”) before I hit dry land:  2 in the Atlantic, 2 in the Pacific, and 1 in Lake Superior.

I’m in the desert, and there are no streams anywhere close to my landing.  So what the heck, I’ll jump right to my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight on in to NW Utah.  Click HERE, please.

So here’s my watershed analysis:


If Noah’s Flood were to occur (or I mean re-occur), runoff from my landing would make its way over to Great Salt Lake (which would get quite a lot bigger after 40 days and 40 nights of rain).  Otherwise, there ain’t no way any runoff from my landing will ever make it to the lake. . .

Here’s an oblique GE shot of my landing, looking west:


And here’s another, from just behind Pilot Peak, looking east:


In terms of distance, GE Street View coverage isn’t very good.  But considering the expansive vista across the salt flats, it’s not bad:


And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:


Here’s a GE Panoramio shot of Pilot Peak from just SW of my landing (by ANomad):


While I’m at it, here’s a Pano shot of the mountains to the NE of my landing, by Springlake:



Think maybe there used to be a lake here?  The horizontal lines are old shorelines!

And here’s my most local Pano shot, taken just a couple of miles to the SW of my landing (also by Springlake):


(Regular readers may be wondering why I didn’t save these shots for the end of the post.  I guess I could have, but I found some really spectacular photos for my close, as you’ll see.)

Time to move on to Salduro.  Salduro means hard (duro) salt (sal), a good name for a town on the Bonneville Salt Flats.  The town was founded because of local mining of salt and potash (a potassium-rich salt).  The mining declined in the 40s, and the town disappeared.

Here’s a Wiki shot of an eastbound train going past a couple of buildings in or near Salduro, in 1912:


Now we’ll move about 8 miles west to Wendover.  Just a couple of items caught my interest.  From Wiki:

The transcontinental telephone line was completed as workers raised the final pole at Wendover, Utah on June 27, 1914, after construction of 3,400 miles of telephone line.  The line was successfully voice tested by the president of AT&T, Theodore Vail, in July.

Six months later, on January 25, 1915, amidst the celebrations surrounding the Panama–Pacific International Exposition [aka the San Francisco World’s Fair], the first “official transcontinental call” was made between New York and San Francisco.

Alexander Graham Bell, in New York City, repeated his famous statement “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you,” which was heard by his assistant Mr. Watson in San Francisco, for a long distance call of 3,400 miles. Mr. Watson replied, “It will take me five days to get there!” President Woodrow Wilson and the mayors of both cities were also involved in the call, which officially initiated AT&T’s transcontinental service.

Also from Wiki, here’s the second item that caught my eye:

During World War II, the nearby Wendover Army Air Field was a training base for bomber pilots, including the crew of the Enola Gay. The Enola Gay was stationed here until June 1945.  The Enola Gay dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima Japan two months later, on August 6th.

Sobering, indeed.  Any mention of the Enola Gay and/or Hiroshima takes me back to the mid-1990s when I was working for Mobil Oil (as an environmental guy specializing in the clean-up of soil & groundwater contamination).  I had quite the business trip:

  • Travel from Newark to Sydney via L.A.
  • Four days in Sydney (which included a non-working weekend)
  • A travel day
  • Four days in Melbourne (which also included a non-working weekend)
  • All of the above with my wife Jody! A great trip!
  • A travel day (Jody going home, me going to Hong Kong)
  • Two days in Hong Kong
  • A travel day
  • Two days in Guam
  • One day in Saipan
  • One day visiting Tinian & Rota
  • One more day in Guam
  • Back home (via Honolulu and Houston to Newark)

So what does the above itinerary have to do with the Enola Gay and Hiroshima?  I suspect that at least a few of my readers know:  The Enola Gay took off from an air field in Tinian to drop the A-bomb on Hiroshima.

Here’s a GE shot to put things in perspective:


 My visit to Tinian included a trip to the deserted and overgrown airfield.

The entire scene was surreal.  We were the only people there; no souvenir stands, not at all touristy.  The runways were hardly visible, thanks to the tangle of vegetation closing in from both sides.

Most eerily, the trip included a visit to a large soil-filled rectangular hole in the pavement.

Large rectangular hole?  Here’s the story:  the A-bomb was loaded in the belly of the plane, and it was so big that they needed to first lower the bomb into the hole (which was not filled with soil back then), taxi the plane over the hole, and raise the bomb through the bomb bay door.

A plaque next to the hole identified it as the bomb pit for the Enola Gay.

Actually, there were two separate holes – one for the Enola Gay and the Hiroshima bomb (“Little Boy”) and another for the Bockscar (a name I might have read about on a plaque in Tinian, but don’t remember) and the Nagasaki bomb (“Fat Man”). 

Here’s a GE Panoramio shot (like what I saw) of Pit #2 (for the Bockscar) – Panoramio shot by MontaraPete:


 As part of the 60th anniversary of the taking of the islands (in 2005), both pits were excavated, and covered thusly (Pano shot by Likai):


To put the Tinian effort into a little perspective, here’s a little WWII history.  Before Tinian was captured from the Japanese, the Allies took Saipan (from Wiki):

The Battle of Saipan from 15 June to 9 July 1944 was one of the major campaigns of World War II. The United States Marines and United States Army landed on the beaches of the southwestern side of the island, and spent more than three weeks in heavy fighting to secure the island from the Japanese.

The battle cost the Americans 3,426 killed and 10,364 wounded, whereas of the estimated 30,000 Japanese defenders, only 921 were taken prisoner. Some 20,000 Japanese civilians perished during the battle, including over 1,000 who committed suicide by jumping from “Suicide Cliff” and “Banzai Cliff” rather than be taken prisoner.

During my stay, I visited the cliff (GE shot):


And a GE Pano shot by Rodger Springsteen:


And then the Allies took Tinian.  From Wiki:

The island was seized by the Allies during the Battle of Tinian from 24 July to 1 August 1944. Over 300 Americans lost their lives, but of the 8500-man Japanese garrison, only 313 survived the battle.

From AtomicHeritage.org:

Navy construction battalions known as the SeaBees began bulldozing mere days after the island was secured. Six runways were completed within two months and Tinian soon became the biggest air base in the world. North Field consisted of four airfields and supported 269 B-29s.


Phillip Morrison, who went to Tinian to help assemble Fat Man, spoke eloquently about Tinian’s transformation, stating:

“Tinian is a miracle. Here, 6,000 miles from San Francisco, the United States armed forces have built the largest airport in the world. A great coral ridge was half-leveled to fill a rough plain, and to build six runways, each an excellent 10-lane highway, each almost two miles long. Beside these runways stood in long rows the great silvery airplanes. They were not by the dozen, but by the hundred. From the air this island, smaller than Manhattan, looked like a giant aircraft carrier, its deck loaded with bomber…”

~From: Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bombs (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986), 681.

Unbelievable.  The whole story is unbelievable.  So much death, so much suffering, yet unfathomable dedication to victory.

On the lighter side (if you could call it that), here’s some more from Wiki:

The base was a 40,000-personnel installation, and the Navy Seabees laid out the base in a pattern of city streets resembling New York City’s Manhattan Island, and named the streets accordingly. The former Japanese town of Sunharon was nicknamed “The Village” because its location corresponded to that of Greenwich Village. A large square area between West and North Fields, used primarily for the location of the base hospitals and otherwise left undeveloped, was called Central Park.

The main drags on Tinian are Broadway and 8th Avenue:


Here’s the intersection of Broadway and 42nd Street:


I also found 86th Street, 2nd Avenue, and Riverside Drive.  There are likely more Manhattan streets, but these are all I could find on GE.

And why are the Navy SeaBees called SeaBees?  Because they were (and are) the Navy’s “Construction Battalion.”  Here’s their logo:


Well, it seems to me that it’s time to head back to Utah.  Although I didn’t mention it earlier,  I landed about 30 miles further east (landing 2164) a couple of years ago (March 2015).  For landing 2164, I presented some spectacular GE Pano shots of the Bonneville Salt Flats – actually much closer to this landing.

I’ll close out this post with some of them. Here’s a cool shot (by Micah Sheldon) of the western portion of the Flats in winter – when there’s often an inch or two of water:


Here’s a great shot by Will Huff (willhuff.net):


And some desiccation cracks by Cassegrain:


I’ll close with this other-worldly sunset shot by Nick Stelma:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Jasper and Newton, Texas

Posted by graywacke on March 13, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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 2331; A Landing A Day blog post number 762.


Dan:  Today’s lat/long 30o 54.365’N, 93o 59.968’W) puts me in SE Texas (about 100 miles NE of Houston):


My local landing map shows that I landed just south of Jasper:


My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of Sandy Creek, on to the Neches River:


Zooming back, you can see that the Neches makes its way to the Sabine:


Without further ado (whatever the heck ado is), I’ll launch my Google Earth (GE) Yellow Push Pin spacecraft for my trip on in to SE Texas.  Click HERE and enjoy the trip.  Some readers think this is much ado about nothing . . .

You can see that I landed in the woods, which always makes for an unspectacular Street View shot (even though I’m close):


Here’s what the Orange Dude sees:


I did my best to get a decent Street View of Sandy Creek, but to no avail.  So, I went a ways south to get a look at the Neches River:


And here ‘tis:


So what about Jasper?  (I’m holding off on Newton for now).  From Wiki:

The area around Jasper (pop 8,250), which was then part of Mexican Texas, was settled around 1824 by John Bevil. Thirty families occupied the settlement as early as 1830, when it was known as Snow River or Bevil’s Settlement.

In 1835, the town was renamed after William Jasper, a war hero from the American Revolution, who was killed attempting to plant the American flag at the storming of Savannah in 1779.

There’s a monument to Jasper in Savannah (photo from Wiki):


He was also known as a hero during the Battle of Sullivan’s Island (in South Carolina) on June 28, 1776 – right at the beginning of the war.  Back to Wiki:

When a shell from a British warship shot away the flagstaff, he recovered the South Carolina flag, raised it on a temporary staff, and held it under fire, thus rallying the troops.


Governor John Rutledge gave his sword to Jasper in recognition of his bravery.

Jasper County was one of the 23 original counties when the Republic of Texas was created in 1836.  Jasper and Jasper County became part of the United States with the Texas annexation in 1845.

This, about the Siege of Savannah (from Wiki):

The Siege of Savannah was an encounter of the American Revolutionary War in 1779. The year before, the city of Savannah, Georgia, had been captured by the British. The siege itself consisted of a joint Franco-American attempt to retake Savannah, from September 16 to October 18, 1779.

On October 9 a major assault against the British siege works failed. During the attack, Polish nobleman Count Casimir Pułaski, leading the combined cavalry forces on the American side, was mortally wounded [not to mention our hero, William Jasper].

[For the record, ALAD has featured Casimir Pulaski a couple of times:  for Mt. Pulaski IL (for the obvious reason) and San Pierre IN – where I featured the Jasper-Pulaski Wildlife Area.  Jasper!  How about that!]

With the failure of the joint American-French attack, the siege failed, and the British remained in control of Savannah until July 1782, near the end of the war.

Wiki lets us know that counties named after Jasper are in:  GA, IL, IN, IA, MS, SC, TX and MO.  Cities/towns named after Jasper are in:  TX, AL, AR, FL, GA MN, MO, TN, IN and NY.

Wiki also had this to say in their William Jasper entry:

Sgt. Jasper’s story is similar to that of Sgt. John Newton. Several states have adjacent counties named Jasper and Newton, as these two American Revolutionary soldiers were remembered as a pair, due to the popularity of Parson Weems’ treatises on early American history.

Several other states have a Jasper County with a county seat of Newton, or vice versa.

The above statement motivated me to take a broader look at the vicinity of my landing.  Well, check this out:


The circled “Jasper” and “Newton” are county names.

Son of a gun if we don’t have the city of Jasper in Jasper County right next to the city of Newton in Newton County.

So what about this guy Newton (and who is Parson Weems?).  From the Wiki article on John Newton:

Sgt. John Newton (1755–1780) was a soldier of the American Revolutionary War who was popularized by Parson Weems in his early 19th century school books.

Newton served under Brigadier General Francis Marion, the famous “Swamp Fox”. Today Newton appears to have been a very minor figure. However, place names across the United States demonstrate his former fame.

Parson Weems has Sgt. Newton bravely save a group of American prisoners from execution by capturing their British guards at the 1779 Siege of Savannah. However, no contemporary account of this rescue exist, and the only source is the very unreliable Weems.

In fact, according to Lieutenant Colonel Peter Horry, who took part in the campaign, “Newton was a Thief & a Villain.”

Sgt. Newton’s tale is similar to the true story of Sergeant William Jasper, who was a genuine hero but was exaggerated by Weems.

OK, so I have to check out this Weems character.  From Wiki:

Mason Locke Weems (1759 – 1825), usually referred to as Parson Weems, was an American book agent and author who wrote the first biography of George Washington immediately after his death.

He was the source of some of the historically-doubtful stories about Washington. The tale of the cherry tree (“I cannot tell a lie, I did it with my little hatchet”) is an example of a likely fiction.

The New York Times has described Weems as one of the “early hagiographers” of American literature “who elevated the Swamp Fox, Francis Marion, into the American pantheon and helped secure a place there for George Washington”.

[Hagiography = biography that idealizes its subject.  Continuing from Wiki about the cherry tree incident:]

Among the exaggerated or invented anecdotes is that of the cherry tree, attributed by Weems to “… an aged lady, who was a distant relative, and, when a girl, spent much of her time in the family …” who referred to young George as “cousin”.

Quoting Weems [with some edits for brevity and clarity by yours truly]:

The following anecdote is a case in point. It is too valuable to be lost, and too true to be doubted; for it was communicated to me by the same excellent lady to whom I am indebted for the last.

“When George,” said she, “was about six years old, he was made the wealthy master of a hatchet! Of which, like most little boys, he was immoderately fond, and was constantly going about chopping everything that came in his way.

One day, in the garden, where he often amused himself hacking his mother’s pea-sticks, he unluckily tried the edge of his hatchet on the body of a beautiful young English cherry-tree, which he barked so terribly, that I don’t believe the tree ever got the better of it.

The next morning George’s father, finding out what had befallen his tree, which, by the by, was a great favourite, came into the house to investigate the damage.

Nobody could tell him anything about it. Presently George and his hatchet made their appearance. “George,” said his father, “do you know who killed that beautiful little cherry tree yonder in the garden? ”

george-washington-cherry-treeThis was a tough question; and George staggered under it for a moment; but quickly recovered himself: and looking at his father, with the sweet face of youth brightened with the inexpressible charm of all-conquering truth, he bravely cried out, “I can’t tell a lie, Pa; you know I can’t tell a lie. I did cut it with my hatchet.”

“Run to my arms, you dearest boy,” cried his father, “run to my arms; glad am I, George, that you killed my tree; for you have paid me for it a thousand fold. Such an act of heroism in my son is more worth than a thousand trees, though blossomed with silver, and their fruits of purest gold.”

It went on to be reprinted in the popular McGuffey Reader used by schoolchildren, making it part of the culture, causing Washington’s February 22 birthday to be celebrated with cherry dishes, with the cherry often claimed to be a favorite of his.

In 1896 Woodrow Wilson’s biography George Washington was published, calling it a fabrication, after which almost all historians of the period followed suit.  The story was never denied by Washington’s relatives, notably Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis (1779-1852), whom Washington raised as his own daughter, and who spent her life preserving his memory and debunking false stories.

In spite of the speculation offered by some historians the story remains plausible and has not been proven or disproven.

Ça suffit.  (Regular readers know this means “that’s enough” or literally “that suffices” in French).

It’s time for some GE Panoramio photos of Hog Creek Falls (by Jonathan Gerland), taken about 8 miles NW of my landing.



That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Key West, Florida

Posted by graywacke on March 9, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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 2330; A Landing A Day blog post number 761.

boxDan:  Today’s lat/long 24o 34.958’N, 81o 48.695’W) puts me what looks like is out in the ocean:


Of course, based on the title of this post, well all know we’re not out in the middle of the ocean.  We obviously need a closer look:


And yet a closer look:


As all regular readers know, it is routine for me to “throw away” landings that are in water (or in Mexico and Canada).  This happens all of the time, because the program that I use for coming up with random lat/longs has me define a large rectangle that is bounded:

  • on the north by the latitude that defines the Canadian Border (49o)
  • on the south by the latitude that marks the southern edge of (you guessed it), Key West (24.5o)
  • on the west by the longitude that just touches the western-most point of the state of Washington (124.5o)
  • and on the east by the longitude that just touches the eastern-most point in the State of Maine (67o)

Geez.  After I wrote the above words (all 67 of them), I came up with this picture.  As they say, a picture is worth 67 words:


Reminder:  Lines of longitude are not parallel; they get closer together the further north one is.

Because I keep track of all things landing, I can tell you that out of 2330 landings, I have missed the “lower 48” 1657 times, as follows:

  • Atlantic Ocean – 566
  • Pacific Ocean – 295
  • Mexico – 258
  • Canada – 224
  • Gulf of Mexico – 206
  • Misc – 118 (includes the Gulf of California, Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay)

So, by the book, I should throw out today’s landing.  But it’s the exception that makes the rule, and today’s landing (along with one in Barnegat Bay NJ that I decided to keep) will be that rarest of all rare landings:  in tidal salt water.

For the record, here’s the NJ landing I mentioned (landing 503, well before I began blogging):


And zooming back:


We’re looking at Long Beach Island, well known to the Jersey Shore crowd.  My wife Jody’s parents owned a placed in Harvey Cedars, so I am well familiar with the scene.

I think it’s time to head back to Key West, via my Google Earth (GE) Yellow Push Pin spaceflight.  Click HERE.

When I switched on the GE photos around my landing, I noted several 360s – these are photos taken with a special camera that allow you to zoom in and take a look around.  Well, I noted one fairly close to my landing (exactly 1.50 miles away, as you can see):


Here’s a screen shot video showing what happens when you click on the 360. You’ll see that I was scanning left to right across Tank Island and then Wisteria Island.  When you see the yellow circle (my cursor) going up and down, I’m showing you my approximate landing location.  Click HERE.

Zooming way back, here’s a GE shot of the entire Keys:


You can see, physiographically speaking, that I landed in the Keys (i.e., there’s a large area of shallow water surrounding the Keys proper that are part of the same geologic structure). 

Here’s a shot of Key West:


And, zooming much further in, here’s a shot of the immediate (watery) vicinity of my landing:


Maybe it’s deceptive, but it sure looks extra shallow just west of my landing.  Notice the boats apparently anchored to the south in deeper water.  Probably fisherman, eh?  I think the white trails to the east are jet skis.

I had to find a nautical chart so I could determine water depth.  Well, here ‘tis, showing my landing location:


As you can see, the apparently shallow area shown on GE is actually shallow, shown on the chart as  typically 1 foot deep at mean low tide.  I just checked a tide chart, and it doesn’t look like the tide goes low enough to turn the shallows into an island.  Although, the chart does show that green area NW of my landing, labeled “uncovers 2 feet,” which I assume means it’s actually a low tide island.

And the chart gives me a basis for my “watershed” analysis.  A drop of rain that falls on my landing immediately becomes one with “Man of War Harbor.”

One other thing.  Notice a couple of symbols near my landing?  Here’s what they are:


That shallow water can be tough on boats (especially during a storm).

I found a cool map, courtesy of TopoZone.com:


So I landed right on the edge of Pearl Bank.

I Googled Pearl Bank, and found this (which obviously has absolutetly nothing with Key West).  In a what-the-heck moment, I decided to run with it:


So, this is a photograph that can be yours for a mere $2,800.  But before you’d spend that kind of money, you probably want to know something about the artist/photographer:


Just to finish up, the photo is of the Pearl Bank Apartment building in Singapore, so named because the building is in the Pearl’s Hill section of the city.  Here’s a picture, from ArchiTravel.com:


Let me get back on the main road after that little Singaporian detour.  So, what about Key West?  Well, since I didn’t land on Key West proper, I’ve decided not to feature the island per se (at least not much).  As I’m sure my readers know, it’s quite the tourist destination, with a reputation for life a little on the uhh . . .loose side.

A very quick look at Key West:

  • It’s about 160 miles by car from Miami
  • First European to visit was Ponce de Leon in 1521
  • Name comes from the Spanish Cayo Hueso
  • The island was more-or-less under Spanish control until 1822, when it was formally claimed by the U.S.
  • By 1889, Key West was the largest and wealthiest city in all of Florida
  • It was first connected to the mainland by rail in 1912. The railroad was destroyed by a 1935 hurricane.
  • A highway replaced the rail, and was completed in 1938.

And this, from Wiki, about “Conchs:”

Many of the residents of Key West were immigrants from the Bahamas, known as Conchs (pronounced “conks”‘), who arrived in increasing numbers after 1830.

In the 20th century many residents of Key West started referring to themselves as Conchs, and the term is now generally applied to all residents of Key West. Some residents use the term “Conch” (or, alternatively, “Saltwater Conch”) to refer to a person born in Key West, while the term “Freshwater Conch” refers to a resident not born in Key West but who has lived in Key West for seven years or more.

[I suspect that new arrivals throw a “Conch Party” to mark their new status after seven years in Key West.]

In 1982 the city of Key West briefly declared its “independence” as the Conch Republic in a protest over a United States Border Patrol blockade. This blockade was set up on U.S. 1, where it meets the mainland at Florida City.

The blockade was in response to the steady stream of Cubans who made it to Key West to escape to the U.S.  A traffic jam of 17 miles ensued while the Border Patrol stopped every car leaving the Keys, supposedly searching for illegal immigrants attempting to enter the mainland United States.

This paralyzed the Florida Keys, which rely heavily on the tourism industry. Because of the protests, the blockade was lifted.

Flags, T-shirts and other merchandise representing the Conch Republic are still popular souvenirs for visitors to Key West, and the Conch Republic Independence Celebration—including parades and parties—is celebrated every April 23.

People (alive and dead) associated with Key West include:  John Jay Audubon, Jimmy Buffett (of course), Ernest Hemingway, Calvin Klein, Harry Truman and Tennessee Williams.

It’s time to move on to some overall Florida Keys geology. I found an article posted on WordPress blog called EverybodyLovesRocks (posted by eheesche).  Some excerpts:

The Florida Keys are a chain of limestone islands that extend from the southern tip of the Florida mainland southwest to the Dry Tortugas, a distance of approximately 220 miles. They are island remnants of ancient coral reefs (Upper Keys) and sand bars (Lower Keys) that flourished during a period of higher sea levels approximately 125,000 years ago (an “interglacial” period, when there was much less glacial ice than today, and sea levels were significantly higher).

During the last ice age (beginning 100,000 years ago) sea level dropped, exposing the ancient coral reefs and sand bars which became fossilized over time to form the rock that makes up the island chain today. The two dominate rock formations in the Keys are Key Largo Limestone (ancient coral reefs) and Miami Oolite (ancient sand bars turned to rock).

During this time of lower sea levels, the Florida land mass was much larger than it is today and the area now referred to as Florida Bay was forested.

Here’s a map showing the Keys and the erstwhile-forested Florida Bay:


Time for some GE Pano shots. As you might expect, there are literally thousands of shots posted for Key West.  So, since I landed in the water, I stayed with water shots near my landing, northwest of the island.  I’ll start with a snorkeling shot by Syzygy2992:


As you might also expect, there are a plethora of sunset shots.  I like sailboats, so you’ll notice a theme here.  First this one, by Blue Cap:


And this, by Demi Pita


I’ll close with this wildly-different shot by TBourne125:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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