A Landing a Day

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Martinsdale, Lenepp, Two Dot, Sixteen and Ringling, Montana

Posted by graywacke on January 15, 2018

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 2385; A Landing A Day blog post number 819.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (46o 23.391’N, 110o 14.310’W) puts me in central Montana:

Here’s my local landing map:

And yes!  Every town on the map is titular!

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of that fan-favorite, Stream Perennial; to the Little Elk Creek; to the Musselshell River (16th hit):

Zooming back:

The Musselshell heads east to join up with the Missouri (424th hit); on, of course, to the MM (927th hit).

As always, I checked out Google Earth to see if I could get a look at my landing.  Well, I’m quite a ways away:

Here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

And I got a look at Little Elk Creek:

Here’s the downstream view:

The above shot caught my eye, as looking like impressionist art.  I zoomed in to get rid of the roadway:

I’m going to make a statement, here, early in the post, the likes of which I’ve never made before:  I really enjoyed researching & writing this post!  It’s laid-back, folksy, pertinent, fun and real.  Wow.  What a set-up.  Well, here goes:

I’ll start with Martinsdale, which was the long-time home of a poet, Grace Stone Coates (1881 – 1976).  She moved there with her husband when she was 28 years old, and didn’t begin writing poetry until she moved there.

She was well published, and became known in some literary circles. 

I didn’t investigate her writing to any depth, but one of the first poems I ran across was entitled “Mutterkorn.”

I believe you’ll enjoy the poem more with a little background up front.  “Mutterkorn” is (I think) a German word for either ergot or ergotism.  “Ergot” is a purple plant fungus that grows on harvested grain crops that, if eaten, can cause ergotism with symptoms like convulsions, nausea, diarrhea, and gangrene formation. 

Wiki says this about ergot:

Dark-purple or black grain kernels, known as ergot bodies, can be identifiable in the heads of cereal or grass just before harvest.

The poem also mentions Gehenna. From Wiki:

Gehenna is a small valley in Jerusalem. In the Hebrew Bible, Gehenna was where some of the kings of Judah sacrificed their children by fire. It was deemed to be cursed.  (Note that modern archeology has established child sacrifice.)

In Hebrew, Christian and Islamic scripture, Gehenna is a destination of the wicked.  The King James Version of the Bible usually translates the Greek/Hebrew “Gehenna” with the Anglo-Saxon word Hell.

The poem also mentions “unmatured [corn] kernels”  After a deep search, I found a quote from a 1900 magazine for hoteliers (The Hotel & Motor Hotel Monthly), speaking about serving corn in their restaurants.  This is about “unmatured” kernels, which apparently are corn kernels ripe for eating.  I can only assume that “mature” kernels have hardened.

The unmatured kernels when prepared and cooked in different ways form the excellent vegetable, which is dear to the heart of every true American.  In buying, select the freshly picked and closely-kerneled ears, which have a snowy-white appearance and in the milky state; the latter feature can be easily determined by slightly depressing one of the kernels with a thumbnail.  If a starchy milk oozes out, it is in the peak of condition.

And finally:  an alternate meaning of the word “bland” is “soothing.”

So, you are now prepared to read (and understand) this poem, which is a doozy.  Apparently, Grace fell hook line and sinker for some guy, and the relationship turned a little sour . . .

Anyway, here ‘tis:


You are more bitter upon my lips than ergot
Purple corruption on the nourishing kernel;
Bitterer to me than brackish desert water,
Bitter as tears in dreams that shame Gehenna.

Because you were sweeter upon my tongue than honey,
Blander than milk in unmaturing kernels;
Stronger than swooning breath of the sun-sucked berry,
You are now more bitter in my throat than death.


Don’t worry.  This post goes uphill from here.  Time to move to Lennep.  Like Martinsdale, it was a railroad stop on the old electric segment of the Milwaukee Railroad, but unlike Martinsdale, it is now a total ghost town with no inhabitants.  It still has a Lutheran church that is being meticulously maintained (although note the lake of sidewalks or roads):

Lennep is named after Lennep Germany (in western Germany, just north of Cologne), which has a historic and scenic center.  Here are three GE Panoramio shots by Ralf Es:

OK, so maybe Lennep wasn’t much better than Martinsdale.  How about Two Dot?

Wiki lets us know that the name of the town came from a local rancher’s brand, which was, unsurprisingly, simply two dots.

I managed to stumble on a blog post written by Dr. Gregory Frazier in MotorcycleUSA.com, entitled “Two Dot Adventure.” 

Here are some excerpts:

“You going to crash that motorcycle,” the bartender said as he poured a third double-shot of whiskey into the cowboy’s glass.

“Nah, this stuff just loosens me up, lets me ride better than when I’m sober,” was the retort from the already well-oiled cowboy leaning on the bar.

“That’s what you said last time you busted yourself up on that motorcycle. You could get killed one of these times.”

The cowboy emptied the glass in one toss-back, coughed once or twice, set the glass on the bar and growled his reply towards the bartender, “Yeah, well you know I’m from Two Dot and don’t give a damn, so give me another.”

[Remember the above quote.]

The next double he drank a bit slower, sipping it while looking in the mirror behind the bar. About halfway through his drink he turned to me and asked, “That your BMW [motorcycle] outside?”

I said it was, not sure if my reply was going to prompt a compliment or challenge. Instead I got neither.

“Where are you headed?” he asked.

I told him I was looking for a quiet camping spot for the night further north, somewhere along the Musselshell River.

He pondered this for a few seconds, and then said, “I’ve got a Honda 900 out front. If you want we can ride up there together. I know a couple of places you might like, real quiet like and right on the river.”

I thought, “Why not, he’s a local and should know the best places.”

. . . . .

It was while eating the big, two-handed burger and wiping grease from my chin with a shirt sleeve that the cowboy came into the bar, sat down three stools away and quickly knocked back the two double-shots of whiskey. Sipping my cola and dipping fries in the pool of ketchup on my plate, I knew well enough not to bother a man in Montana who was obviously a serious drinker, so kept my eyes averted and voice to myself.

The cowboy never introduced himself by name, just asked if I wanted to join him, an offer I accepted.

Before leaving the bar my new guide bought two six-packs of beer which he stored in the six-pack designed storage spaces of the Vetter Windjammer fairing on his Honda.

While we filled our gas tanks before leaving town he reduced the 12-pack supply to 11, frowning when I declined to help him “lighten the load.” He said, “Hell, guess I’ll have to drink them all myself before we hit the gravel road or they’ll explode from being shaken up.” As we drove out of Big Timber across the Yellowstone River I saw him toss another empty can over the bridge railing. . .

Here’s a picture of a similarly-decked out “Vetter Windjammer Honda:”

To read all of Dr. Frazier’s post, click HERE.

Here’s a GE Street View shot of the Two Dot bar:

Remember that I said to remember the quote:  “I’m from Two Dot and I don’t give a damn?”

Well, Hank Williams Jr. has something to say about that (be sure to follow along with the words below):


“Twodot Montana”

I bet you been wondering why you ain’t heard from me
And what kind of trouble I’ve gotten into
Well just kiss all the babies and feed all the horses
And oh hell I might as well tell it to you

I’m in Deerlock Montana in the territory prison
They’ve got me for something that I didn’t do
I’ve been framed for killin’ a dude down in Dillon
But babe don’t you worry cause I always come through

I’ve climbed up the Rockies and swam down the Snake
I spent winters trappin’ in the mosery breaks
This ain’t the first time I’ve been in a jam
I’m from Twodot Montana and I don’t give a damn

These walls are so old that it’s easy to go
Right through the tunnel and out in the yard
There’s just one more fence of the barbed wire and then
I’ll be a free man but there’s one more old guard

I see his gun and there’s no way to run
But I’ve got to try cause I can’t live locked up
I feel the fire from that colt .45 and this
High country cowboy just run out of luck

I’ve climbed up the Rockies and swam down the Snake
I spent winters trappin’ in the mosery* breaks
This ain’t the first time I’ve been in a jam
I’m from Twodot Montana and I don’t give a damn.

*I Googled “mosery” and only found references to this song.  Oh, well.

And now for Sixteen.  From Wiki, about the name:

The town took its name from Sixteen Mile Creek, which runs through the narrow valley containing the village.

But there’s a truly amazing story from Sixteen.  From LostAndFoundMontana.com:

In 2000, Sixteen had a handful of part-time residents and only two year-round residents, Bill McDonald and his mom Helen.  A few years later Bill’s mom passed, leaving Bill to tend to Sixteen. Many who knew Bill said he was born 100 years late. He carried a .44-caliber pistol in the back of his pants and bowie knife on his hip.

In 2009, the town’s population grew to three, when part-time Sixteen residents Michael and Ingrid Eckberg moved there full time. Michael Eckberg had fallen in love with Montana in 1961 when he traveled there on the railroad with his dad, a dining car chef on the Northern Pacific.   In 1993, they bought a place in Sixteen. Once Eckberg retired, they moved their full time in 2009 – the draw too great.

Here’s a video from the same website, featuring Michael Eckberg:

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/84234534″>Sixteen, Mont.</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user6898324″>Montana Journalism</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>


Now, back to some website verbiage.  Here comes the amazing (and tragic) part of the story:

But in 2010, a tragic incident befell the town. Only the town residents know what happened that morning. It left Bill McDonald fatally shot and Michael Eckberg in the hospital with multiple stab wounds. Meagher County Attorney Kimberly Deschene said it was a case of self-defense. No charges were filed.

They were neighbors. They were friends. They were Sixteen. The Eckbergs and McDonalds often shared dinner together. When Bill left he’d always say, “thanks for the groceries.”

It’s the kind of tragedy played out on stage, but this was real. Now the town’s existence lies in the hands of the Eckberg family, the only year-round residents. When asked about the incident Michael Eckberg gazes toward the sky and wonders why did it have to happen? Yet, his love and passion for the town of Sixteen remains strong.

And here’s another video from the website:

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/46828886″>Sixteen</a&gt; from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user6898324″>Montana Journalism</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>



Moving along to Ringling.  From Wiki:

Ringling was originally called Leader, but was renamed for John Ringling of the Ringling Brothers Circus family.  John Ringling was a financier of the railroad through Ringling, as well as its president. He also owned a summer home & spa in the area.

Here’s a Wiki shot of town:

But more importantly, Jimmy Buffett wrote a song about Ringling!  I love the album cover.   As always, the words follow:


“Ringling, Ringling”

Ringling, Ringling
Slippin’ away
Only forty people, livin’ there today
Streets are dusty and the bank has been torn down
It’s a dyin’ little town

Church windows broken
That place ain’t been used in years
Jail don’t have a sheriff or a cell
And electric trains they run by maybe once or twice a month
Easin’ it on down to Musselshell

Ringling, Ringling
Slippin’ away
Only forty people livin’ there today
`Cause the streets are dusty and the bank had been torn down
It’s a dyin’ little town

And across from the bar there’s a pile of beer cans
Been there twenty-seven years
Imagine all the heart aches and tears
In twenty-seven years of beer

So we hopped back in the rental car
and we hit the cruise control
Pretty soon the town was out of sight
Though we left behind a fat barmaid, a cowboy and a dog
Racin’ for a Ringling Friday night

Ringling, Ringling
You’re just slippin’ away
I wonder how many people will be there a year from today
`Cause the streets are dusty and the bank has been torn down
It’s a dyin’ little town
It’s a dyin’ little town

I’ll close with a couple of GE pano shots, taken near my landing.  First this, by David Cure-Hrycluk:

And this, by Dann Cianca:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2018 A Landing A Day






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Hopkinsville and Cerulean, Kentucky

Posted by graywacke on January 10, 2018

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 2384; A Landing A Day blog post number 818.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (37o 9.258’N, 87o 29.930’W) puts me in west Kentucky:

Here’s my local landing map:

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of (and right next to) Craborchard Ck; on to Drakes Creek:

Zooming back, we can see that Drakes Ck makes its way to Pond River (2nd hit); on to the Green River (10th hit); on to the Ohio River (149th hit):

Although not shown, we’re in the mother-of-all watersheds (926th hit).

I have excellent Google Earth (GE) Street View coverage of my landing:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

Even closer is Street View coverage of the Craborchard Creek:

And here ‘tis:

So.  As seems typical for many recent posts, I spent an inordinate amount of Google time looking at the VP* of towns in the general vicinity of my landing.  I managed to find a little to write about for my two titular towns.  I think I’ll start with Hopkinsville.

*veritable plethora

It turns out that Edgar Cayce (1877 – 1945) was born just south of Hopkinsville, and spent formative years in Hopkinsville.  I suspect that for most of my readers, the name Edgar Cayce is familiar, and it is likely that some of you actually know at least something about him. 

I’m somewhat familiar with him, primarily because my wife Jody’s mother (aka my mother in law) was quite taken with Cayce and his teachings (especially about reincarnation).  Jody is probably somewhat less taken with Cayce, but still knows more about him than I do. 

So who is this Edgar Cayce guy?  From Wiki:

Edgar Cayce was an American Christian mystic who answered questions on subjects as varied as healing, reincarnation, wars, Atlantis, and future events while in an apparent trance. A biographer gave him the nickname, “The Sleeping Prophet”. A nonprofit organization, the Association for Research and Enlightenment, was founded to facilitate the study of Cayce’s work.

Some consider him the true founder and a principal source of the most characteristic beliefs of the New Age movement.

Cayce lived in Hopkinsville KY, Selma AL and Virginia Beach VA.  The headquarters for the Association for Research and Enlightenment is in Virginia Beach, and includes a health center & spa, a library, a bookstore/gift shop and conference center.

From EdgarCayce.org:

Cayce’s psychic abilities began to appear early in his childhood. As an adult, Cayce would put himself into a state of meditation, connecting with the universal consciousness and from this state, came his “readings”. From holistic health and the treatment of illness to dream interpretation and reincarnation, Cayce’s readings and insights offer practical help and advice to individuals from all walks of life, even today.

Here’s a screen shot of a segment of their webpage:

Back to Wiki:

Cayce’s clients included a number of famous people such as Woodrow Wilson, Thomas Edison, Irving Berlin, and George Gershwin.

Gina Cerminara published books such as Many Mansions and The World Within [in our library]. Brian Weiss published a bestseller regarding clinical recollection of past lives, Many Lives, Many Masters. Thomas Sugrue wrote the “definitive” biography, There is a River [also in our library].  These books provide broad support for spiritualism and reincarnation.

As one would suspect, Cayce was subject to a wide range of skepticism and outright criticism. There’s no doubt that he gave prophecies that didn’t come true and performed healings that were unsuccessful.  But he must have had some successes . . .

There’s no doubt that he’s a fascinating character, worthy of further research and reading – if you’ve a mind to . . .

Time to move to Cerulean.  There’s not much, but here goes.  From Wiki:

The greatest extent of the Solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 was at Orchardale Farms, located near Cerulean.

I’m not sure of the accuracy of the above statement; the longest duration of totality was in the vicinity of 2 minutes and 41 seconds, and was generally located in Western Kentucky / Southern Illinois.  Here’s a graphic from GreatAmericanEclipse.com:

Back to Wiki:

The local 19th-century health resort Cerulean Springs earned a reputation throughout the Upper South. According to legend, the spring’s color changed to cerulean by the New Madrid earthquake of 1811.

So, cerulean is a color?  News to me (although I doubt the earthquake story).  Anyway, “cerulean” was the Miriam Webster “Word of the Day” back on 11/1/2011:



I’ll close with this GE Panoramio shot of the Apex Natural Bridge (by Woodland Trekker), located about 10 miles southeast of my landing:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2018 A Landing A Day




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Mormon Lake, Canyon Diablo and Meteor Crater, Arizona

Posted by graywacke on January 3, 2018

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 2383; A Landing A Day blog post number 817.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (34o 48.726’N, 111o 19.104’W) puts me in central Arizona:

Here’s my local landing map:

A StreetAtlas streams-only map shows nothing about my watershed, so I jumped over to Google Earth (GE) to track the drainage from my landing:

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of the Canyon Diablo, on to the Little Colorado R (22nd hit).   Although not shown, we all know that the Little Colorado discharges to the Big Colorado (181st hit) just north of here in the Grand Canyon.

I won’t even bother with attempting to use GE Street View to get a look at my landing spot. But near to my landing are two entirely different landscapes.  First this, just south of Mormon Lake:

This is a scenic region filled with Ponderosa Pines:

And then, a few miles to the east:

A much more arid, flat landscape:

But, I could get a Street View look at Canyon Diablo (which is an arroyo, or often-dry drainageway), where it ducks under I-40:

Here’s what the Orange Dude sees. 

By the way, I had no clue that the arroyo was named Canyon Diablo until I checked out this Street View shot . . . which motivated me to Google Canyon Diablo . . . where I learned that there’s a nearby Canyon Diablo ghost town (which is shown on my local landing map).

Here’s a GE shot showing the town, the crater, and the Orange Dude’s location on I-40 when he looked at the Canyon Diablo:

From Wiki:

Canyon Diablo is a ghost town on the edge of the arroyo Canyon Diablo. The community was settled in 1880 and died out in the early 20th century.

[Interesting aside:]

The town, which is about 12 miles northwest of Meteor Crater, was the closest community to the crater when portions of the meteorite were removed. Consequently, the meteorite that struck the crater is officially called the “Canyon Diablo Meteorite.”


The ramshackle community originated in 1880, due to construction delays caused by the fact that the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad ordered a bridge that was not long enough to span Canyon Diablo.  This unfortunate fact was only discovered when the bridge arrived on site from the manufacturer.

Consequently, for six months the transcontinental railroad ended at the lip of Canyon Diablo while another bridge was manufactured and shipped to the work site.

Although the railroad ended at the edge of the canyon, work on the railroad route still progressed.  A community sprung up at the edge of the Canyon, which quickly included numerous saloons, brothels, dance halls, and gambling houses, all of which remained open 24 hours a day.

No lawmen were employed by the community initially, so it quickly became a very dangerous place. Its population was mostly railroad workers, along with passing outlaws, gamblers, and prostitutes.

The town was designed with two lines of buildings facing one another across the main street. This center street, however, was not named Main Street, but “Hell Street”. Lining Hell Street were fourteen saloons, ten gambling houses, four brothels and two dance halls.

Within a short time the town had 2,000 residents. Within its first year, the town received its first marshal. He was sworn in at 3:00 pm, and was being buried at 8:00 pm that same night. Five more town marshals would follow, the longest lasting one month, and all were killed in the line of duty. A “Boot Hill” cemetery sprouted up at the end of town, which in less than a decade had 35 graves, all of whom had been killed by way of violent death.

When the railroad bridge was completed, the town quickly died.

Here’s a GE Panoramio shot by Archelaus of ruins of some of the railroad workers barracks along the Canyon:

And a Wiki shot of the original bridge:

And a GE Pano shot (by PhotographersNature) of today’s bridge:

I hate to say this, but the Canyon Diablo is way smaller just a few miles upstream, where it is crossed by I-40.  Couldn’t they have re-routed the rail line?  Oh, well . . .

In total contrast (I suspect) to the town of Canyon Diablo is the town of Mormon Lake.  Although it’s not a Mormon town per se, the area around the lake was settled in 1873 by numerous Mormon families who operated dairy farms.  Do you think that young men from the community in the late 1890s were warned not to venture the 20 miles northeast to Canyon Diablo? 

The town has always been a tourist / resort community, centered around Mormon Lake Lodge (built in 1924).  This about the Lake, from Wiki:

Mormon Lake is a shallow intermittent lake located in northern Arizona. With an average depth of only 10 ft, the surface area of the lake fluctuates seasonally. When full, the lake has a surface area of about 12 square miles, making it the largest natural lake in Arizona.

Here’s a GE Street View shot of the lake in October 2011, when there wasn’t much of a lake.  Note that the San Francisco peaks are about 30 miles away:

So, the elephant in the room is Meteor Crater.  Here’s a GE Pano aerial shot of the crater by Sergio Araujo:

From Wiki:

The crater is about 3,900 ft in diameter (three-quarters of a mile), some 560 ft deep, and is surrounded by a rim that rises 150 ft above the surrounding plains.

The crater was created about 50,000 years ago.  At that time, the area was an open grassland dotted with woodlands inhabited by woolly mammoths and giant ground sloths.

It is believed that about half of the meteor’s bulk was vaporized during its descent through the atmosphere, leaving few remains in the crater.

The object that excavated the crater was a nickel-iron meteorite about 150 feet across.

The crater came to the attention of scientists following its discovery by American settlers [Mormons?] in the 19th century. Dubbed the Canyon Diablo crater – from Canyon Diablo, Arizona, the closest community to the crater in the late 19th century (but now a ghost town).

It had initially been ascribed to the actions of a volcano – not an unreasonable assumption, as the San Francisco volcanic field lies only about 40 miles to the northwest.

In 1891, two theories were presented for the crater:  Albert Foote said that it was caused by a meteorite and Grove Karl Gilbert said it was volcanic.

In 1903, mining engineer and businessman Daniel Barringer supported the meteorite theory, and further bought mineral rights below the crater, supposing that an iron meteorite was buried there.

Barringer’s arguments were met with skepticism, as there was a reluctance at the time to consider the role of meteorites in terrestrial geology. He persisted and sought to bolster his theory by locating the remains of the meteorite.

At the time of discovery, the surrounding plains were covered with about 30 tons of large oxidized iron meteorite fragments. This led Barringer to believe that the bulk of the impactor could still be found under the crater floor.

Impact physics was poorly understood at the time and Barringer was unaware that a large portion of the meteorite vaporized on impact. He spent 27 years trying to locate a large deposit of meteoric iron, and drilled to a depth of 1,375 ft but no significant deposit was ever found.

It was not until 1960 that research by Gene Shoemaker confirmed Barringer’s hypothesis. The key discovery was the presence in the crater of the minerals coesite and stishovite, rare forms of silica found only where quartz-bearing rocks have been severely shocked by an instantaneous overpressure.

It cannot be created by volcanic action; the only known mechanisms of creating it is naturally through an impact event, or artificially through a nuclear explosion.  Shoemaker was uniquely aware of this as he had been researching the shocked mineral formations that were formed after the nuclear detonation testing in the Nevada desert (particularly the Sedan crater).

[See photos of the Sedan crater, below.]

Therefore, when similar minerals were seen at the Barringer Crater, he was certain that a similar kind of sudden shock compression was responsible for the crater, which effectively ruled out the then more mainstream view that the crater was the result of a comparatively less sudden volcanic eruption.

Shoemaker’s deduction is considered the first definitive proof of an extraterrestrial impact on the Earth’s surface. Since then, numerous impact craters have been identified around the world, though Meteor Crater remains one of the most visually impressive owing to its size, young age and lack of vegetative cover.

I featured the Sedan Crater in my July 4, 2017 Indian Springs and Mercury NV post.  From that post:

Here’s a Wiki shot of the Storax Sedan blast:

And the crater:

I’ll close with a couple of Mormon Lake GE Pano shots.  First this, by Brian More:

And this, by AZWestyMan:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Fallbrook, Escondido, Pala and Mount Palomar, California

Posted by graywacke on December 29, 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 2382; A Landing A Day blog post number 816.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (33o 20.480’N, 116o 57.615’W) puts me in far SW California:

My local landing map:

I landed in the watershed of the Pauma Creek:

Which, as you can see, makes its way to the San Luis Rey River (1st hit ever!).

I’m going to knock over two beer cans with one stone, and look at my drainageway and my landing at the same time:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

So, we’ll take quickie visits to each of my titular towns, as I found no singular, compelling hook.  Let’s start with Fallbrook, where Wiki notes that a Notable Person is Tony Hawk.

For some reason, I was actually aware that Tony Hawk is (was?) a world-class skate boarder.  After a little research, I discovered that he was the first person in the world to do a 900.

900?  Well, if you spin all the way around once, it’s a 360.  You spin twice, it’s a 720.  You spin two and a half times, and it’s a 900.  So, here’s a You Tube video featuring Tony Hawk’s first 900. 




And here’s his last.  Give the guy a break.  His first was when he 31 (in 1999) and the last, in 2016, when he was 48. 


And in between Hawk’s first and last, another 15 guys have successfully landed a 900. . .

And this, from Wiki:

The advent of the MegaRamp, invented in 2002, gives much higher vertical height which enabled even more revolutions and on March 26th, 2012, Tom Schaar (at age 12) landed a 1080 on his 5th attempt:


Just in case you’re a skateboard junkie, here’s a video of Tony’s son Riley.  The kid’s not bad . . .


Moving way down south to Escondido.  While pretty much hookless (like Fallbrook), I noticed that the town is home to the Deer Park Buddhist Monastery, one of three monasteries under the leadership of Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.

As it turns out, I’m actually quite familiar with the writings of Thich Naht Hanh.  He has written over 100 books, and I’ve read maybe six or seven of them.  Although I can’t call myself a Buddhist, I do appreciate the wisdom of Buddhist teachings.

From his website (he’s the old guy):

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered around the world for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings on mindfulness and peace. He is the man Martin Luther King called “An Apostle of peace and nonviolence.” His key teaching is that, through mindfulness, we can learn to live happily in the present moment—the only way to truly develop peace, both in one’s self and in the world.

His teachings center around mindfulness and how to achieve mindful peace.

From Wiki:

In 1961 Nhất Hạnh went to the US to teach comparative religion at Princeton University and was subsequently appointed lecturer in Buddhism at Columbia University.  By then he had gained fluency in French, Chinese, Sanskrit, Pali, Japanese and English, in addition to his native Vietnamese. In 1963, he returned to Vietnam to aid his fellow monks in their non-violent peace efforts.

Nhất Hạnh returned to the US in 1966 to lead a symposium in Vietnamese Buddhism at Cornell University, and to continue his work for peace. While in the US, Nhất Hạnh stopped at Gethsemani Abbey to speak with Thomas Merton [an interesting fellow; more about him in a bit]. When Vietnam threatened to block Nhất Hạnh’s re-entry to the country, Merton penned an essay of solidarity entitled “Nhat Hanh is my Brother.  Merton also wrote a letter to Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1965 entitled: “In Search of the Enemy of Man,” mentioning Nhất Hạnh.

It was during his 1966 stay in the US that Nhất Hạnh met with King and urged him to publicly denounce the Vietnam War.  In 1967, Dr. King gave a famous speech at the Riverside Church in New York City, his first to publicly question the U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Later that year, Dr. King nominated Nhất Hạnh for the 1967 Nobel Peace Prize. In his nomination Dr. King said, “I do not personally know of anyone more worthy than this gentle monk from Vietnam. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity”.

The fact that King had revealed the candidate he had chosen to nominate and had made a “strong request” to the prize committee, was in sharp violation of the Nobel traditions and protocol.  The committee did not make an award that year.

From Wiki, about Thomas Merton:

Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968) was an American Catholic writer, theologian and mystic. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, he was a poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion.

Merton wrote more than 70 books, mostly on spirituality, social justice and nonviolent pacifism, as well as scores of essays and reviews. Among Merton’s most enduring works is his bestselling autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain (1948), which sent scores of World War II veterans, students, and even teenagers flocking to monasteries across the US.  The book was featured in National Review’s list of the 100 best non-fiction books of the century.

Merton was a keen proponent of interfaith understanding. He pioneered dialogue with prominent Asian spiritual figures, including the Dalai Lama, the Japanese writer D.T. Suzuki, the Thai Buddhist monk Buddhadasa, and the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh.

He remained Christian throughout his life, but he obviously embraced eastern philosophies. 

Time to move on to Pala. From Wiki:

Gem mines in the Pala District produce tourmaline, with the pink variety as the regional specialty.

China’s Dowager Empress Cixi (who effectively ruled China from 1861 until her death in 19098) highly prized the pink tourmaline mined in Pala. Under her influence, China’s demand for this gem created a boom in the California tourmaline industry beginning in the early 1900s.

Here’s a Wiki picture of “Green Cap” tourmaline from Pala:

My geologist wife Jody loves this type of tourmaline, which she calls “watermelon” tourmaline.  Here’s a picture of one of Jody’s earrings:

Yes, that’s me holding the earring . . .

I’ll now head up the road to Mount Palomar and its famous observatory:

And a closer look:

From the Observatory’s website:

Palomar Observatory is among the most iconic scientific facilities in the world, and a crown jewel in the research traditions of Caltech.

Conceived of nearly 100 years ago, the observatory has been in continuous scientific operation since the mid-30s, and remains productive and relevant today.

George Ellery Hale was the person most responsible for the building of Palomar Observatory. A graduate of MIT and a founder of Caltech, in 1928 he secured a grant of $6 million from the Rockefeller Foundation for the fabrication of a 200-inch reflecting telescope.

During the 1930s, he assembled a remarkable team of engineers and designers from academia and industry. Under his direction, these people set to work on the mirror, on the mounting, and on the dome and its support facilities on Palomar Mountain.

A triumph of innovation, insight, persistence, and precision the telescope was dedicated in June 1948 ten years after Hale’s death.  This is the Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory, an instrument that after many decades of service continues to play a leading role in the advancement of astronomy and astrophysics.

Perhaps the most historic scientific discovery using the 200 inch Hale telescope involved understanding the nature of quasars.  Here’s a bulleted Greg-style list:

  • In the late 1950s, astronomical objects were noted that had a strong radio signature, but no light signature. They had no idea where these objects were located.  In our Milky Way Galaxy, or in other galaxies?
  • In 1963, a faint blue star was noted at one of these radio source location (not by the Hale telescope). The light was studied, and its spectra could not be identified.  But astronomer John Bolton claimed that it was a Hydrogen spectra (common coming from stars), but red shifted a lot.  No one believed him.
  • Note 1: the red shift is similar to the Doppler Effect, whereby sound waves are lengthened when the sound is moving away from us, resulting in a lower pitch.  With light, if the light source is moving away (at incredibly fast velocities), the wavelength of the light gets longer – i.e., shifted towards the red end of the light spectrum. 
  • Note 2: The magnitude of the red shift is proportional to the recessional velocity.  It turns out that the farther a galaxy is away from us, the faster it is moving away from us.  Remember this.
  • Another visual identification of a quasar radio source was made using the Hale telescope. It showed the same spectrum, but better optics and sensors at Palomar allowed astronomers to definitely determine that the red shift interpretation was correct!
  • This discovery revolutionized quasar observation and allowed other astronomers to find redshifts from the emission lines from other radio sources. As predicted earlier by Bolton, 3C 48 [the radio source he observed] was found to have a redshift of 37% of the speed of light.
  • The term “quasar” was coined by Chinese-born U.S. astrophysicist Hong-Yee Chiu in May 1964, in Physics Today, to describe these puzzling objects:
    • So far, the clumsily long name ‘quasi-stellar radio sources’ is used to describe these objects. Because the nature of these objects is entirely unknown, it is hard to prepare a short, appropriate nomenclature for them so that their essential properties are obvious from their name.
    • For convenience, the abbreviated form ‘quasar’ will be used throughout this paper.

So here’s the bottom line:  A quasar consists of a super massive black hole surrounded by an orbiting accretion disk of gas. As gas in the accretion disk falls toward the black hole, immense quantities of energy are released. The most powerful quasars have luminosities exceeding 1041 W, thousands of times greater than the luminosity of a large galaxy such as the Milky Way.

Oh my.  Did you catch that?  One quasar releases light (luminosity) thousands of times greater than the entire Milky Way (which consists of approximately 250 billion stars). 

Here’s some more from Wiki:

The peak epoch of quasar activity in the Universe corresponds to redshifts around 2, or approximately 10 billion years ago.  (The Big Bang created the Universe approximately 14.5 billion years ago.) 

As of 2017, the most distant known quasar is ULAS J1342+0928 at redshift = 7.54.  Light observed from this quasar was emitted when the Universe was only 690 million years old (a mere toddler). The super massive black hole in this quasar is the most distant black hole identified to date, and is estimated to have a mass that is 800 million times the mass of our Sun.

I love it!  I love the fact that the Universe is so immense; so old; so exquisitely complex.  It drives me crazy that people of traditional religions generally reject (or ignore) science.  If one believes God created the Universe, why did He give us the brains to study it?

Moving right along . . .

Here’s a quote from my August 14, 2017 Liberty Mills and North Manchester, Indiana post:

By the way, this Breaking News just in:  yesterday, I saw my first Googlemobile!  It was in Pennington NJ on Broemel Place, and I was driving in the opposite direction.  I’ll be checking Broemel Place Street View coverage to see if my 2012 black Camry made the big time . . .

And here’s the very exciting update.  Yes, I checked Street View on Broemel Place and there I am! 

Here’s my Camry on Route 31, getting ready to turn left on Broemel Place:

And here I am in the middle of the left turn.  And yes, that’s me driving:

I immediately pulled over to try and get another look at the GoogleMobile (he turned right and sped away, never to be seen again):

I’ll close with some Mt. Palomar shots.  Here’s the dome (Pano shot by Ian Merritt):

Here’s the actual telescope inside the dome (from the Observatory website):

And a picture of the telescope getting ready for the night’s observations (by P.K. Cheng):

Here’s another GE Pano shot of the dome, by Kyrk Barron:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Smithfield and Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Posted by graywacke on December 18, 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 2381; A Landing A Day blog post number 815.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (35o 41.452’N, 77o 57.975’W) puts me in Cen-E North Carolina:

My local landing map shows many, many towns, with my two titular towns highlighted:

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of Contentnea Creek:

The creek discharges to the Neuse River (4th hit); as you can see, the Neuse makes it down to Pamlico Sound, behind the Outer Banks.

Google Earth (GE) gives me a good look at my landing location:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

I also get a good look at Contentnea Creek (just downstream from the Reservoir):

And here ‘tis:

So, I had a really tough time looking for that illusive hook.  Check out all of those towns near my landing (especially Wilson), but no hooks.  I spent an inordinate amount of time in my search.  But I had to go further and further away, and ended up with two a little less-than-inspirational hooks.

So, I’ll start with Smithfield.  Wiki notes that Ava Gardner was born in nearby Grabtown.  I searched for Grabtown, but couldn’t find it anywhere, so I’ll just trust Wikipedia that it’s somewhere near Smithfield.

Here she is:

So, here’s a bulleted, all-about-Ava list (pretty much from Wiki):

  • Born in 1922 in the afore-mentioned Grabtown, wherever that is
  • Raised in near-poverty; spent one year in secretarial school in Wilson (very close to my landing)
  • While visiting a sister in New York City, Ava’s picture was taken by her brother-in-law, a professional photographer. The photograph was placed in the display window of the photographer’s studio.
  • Some dude who worked for Loews theater (and was connected with MGM studios) saw the picture, and said “somebody should send this picture to MGM.”
  • She was interviewed by Al Altman, head of MGM’s talent department, and, with cameras rolling, was instructed to walk towards the camera, turn and walk away, then rearrange some flowers in a vase.
  • There was no attempt to record her voice because her Southern accent made it almost impossible for New Yorkers to understand her.
  • After seeing the film clip, Louis B. Mayer, head of the studio, sent a telegram to Altman: “She can’t sing, she can’t act, she can’t talk. She’s terrific!”
  • MGM’s first order of business was to provide her with a speech coach, as her Carolina drawl was nearly incomprehensible to them.
  • After a slow start with minor movie roles in the 1940s, Ava began getting roles in major movies with leading men such as Charlton Heston, Burt Lancaster, Gregory Peck, Clark Gable and Kirk Douglas.
  • Her personal life was more interesting; she married:
    • Mickey Rooney in 1942, divorced one year later due to Rooney’s “serial adultery.”
    • Band leader Artie Shaw in 1945, divorced one year later.
    • Frank Sinatra in 1951. The marriage was “tumultuous,” and lasted only 5 years, although they remained close throughout her life.
  • Ava was also a good friend to Howard Hughes through the 40s and 50s.
  • After divorcing Sinatra, she also became good friends with Ernest Hemingway (she had starred in the movie “The Sun Also Rises,” an adoption of Hemingway’s novel of the same name.)
  • She died in 1986 at age 67, of complications from smoking her entire life.

Pretty much confirming the above, here’s a quick You Tube bio:


In the movie “Show Boat,” her voice was dubbed when she sang a song.  I don’t know why, based on this video of the original take, with her singing:


And here’s a You Tube video of her 1954 appearance on the TV show “What’s My Line?”.  This is great, must-see TV:


Now, we’ll move from well south of my landing to well north, and the town of Rocky Mount.  Wiki notes that Thelonious Monk was born in Rocky Mount.

As likely known by nearly all my readers, Thelonious was a well-known and very accomplished jazz pianist (he died in 1986).   As known by some of my readers, I am also a piano player, but (of course), of minor skill and accomplishment.

Try as I might, I’ve never been able to embrace jazz.  Not as a listener, let alone as a piano player.  I remember back when we boomers were moving into our 40s, it became de rigueur to haughtily say something like, “I’m not rejecting rock ‘n roll, but I’m migrating to jazz.”

Not me.  I will remain a back-beat rock ‘n roller for the rest of my life.  The only jazz I can enjoy is jazz played with a back-beat rhythm (which rarely happens). 

Bottom line:  I would normally not feature Thelonious Monk, but will in this post for two reasons:  First, I landed in an incredibly hookless area – in fact, I normally would not feature Ava Gardner.  Second, Thelonious Monk has such a cool name, made all the more cool by his awesome middle name:  Sphere.

That’s right.  His given name is Thelonious Sphere Monk.  From Wiki:

Thelonious Sphere Monk was born on October 10, 1917, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and was the son of Thelonious and Barbara Monk.  Although his birth certificate does not list his middle name, it is taken from his maternal grandfather, Sphere Batts.

Although I’m no jazz fan (and therefore not a Thelonious Monk fan), he was a compelling character.  Always troubled (and suffering from bipolar disorder), he was passionately stubborn about his music in spite of a lack of commercial success.

From The Guardian (a very recent Jazz Music blog post by Candace Allen, 11/7/17):

Countering those who found Monk’s percussive, splay-fingered playing style untutored and crude, Juilliard-trained composer Hall Overton was among those who understood Monk’s genius, explaining that he “adjusted his finger pressure on the keys the way baseball pitchers do to the ball to make its path bend, curve or dip in flight.”  Tenor player Johnny Griffin said Monk’s music “was like leaves on a tree. His music grew from nowhere else but inside of him.”

He was a dedicated family man who worried about providing for his wife and children, but couldn’t give an inch. When you understand the inside the outside will be just fine, he’d say. Get inside the music and listen. Meanwhile, gigs and recording cash passed him.

When wearied beyond his considerable limits by his misdiagnosed and ignorantly medicated bipolar condition, ceaseless financial woes, his recording company’s unrelenting demands and the deaths of too many friends, Monk, in 1975, embraced the comforting mysteries of permanent silence. Taking refuge in the Weehawken NJ home of long-time friend and patron Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter, he stopped playing the piano, emerging only for neighborhood walkabouts until he suffered a stroke in February 1982.  The stroke that would prove fatal, and he died in the loving arms of his wife Nellie, 12 days later.

From The Guardian article, here are three pictures.  In New York City in 1947:

Also in New York, in 1959:

What’s he smokin?

With the Baroness Pannonica in New York in 1964:

Here’s a You Tube video of  “Round Midnight:”


I’ll close with this lovely GE Panoramio shot of Lake Wilson – just north of Wilson – by Scott Thompson:

I love it when the reflection is a richer, deeper, version of reality . . .

That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Cottonton, Dawson, Cuthbert and Plains, Georgia

Posted by graywacke on December 11, 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 2380; A Landing A Day blog post number 814.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (31o 57.222’N, 84o 50.817’W) puts me in southwest Georgia:

My local landing map shows the usual VP* of small towns:

*veritable plethora

Here’s my local streams-only map:

I landed in the watershed of good ol’ Stream Perennial; on to the Briar Branch; on to Pataula Creek.  Zooming back, Pataula Creek discharges into the dammed-up Chattahoochee River (3rd hit):

Zooming back even further, the Chattahoochee flows to the Apalachicola (10th hit) before making its way across the Florida Panhandle, into the gulf:

I’d like my readers to linger a bit on the preceding sentence, being sure to savor the poetic pronunciation of the two rivers:  “The Chattahoochee flows to the Apalachicola.”

And then, I’d like to head back to Pataula Creek.  Am I the only one who instantly thought of Petula Clark?  Probably.  But she takes me back in a rush to early 1965, with her hit song “Downtown.”  I was 14, and really getting into popular music.  I had been doodling around on the piano for years, including two years of lessons.  I had the ability to play simple tunes by ear (I remember playing the theme to the TV show Bonanza), but hadn’t yet figured out any Top 40 hits on the piano.  Until Downtown.

I loved the song, and began to pick out a halfway-decent arrangement on the piano.  I threw myself into it, and ended up with a version I liked (and play occasionally to this day).  I remember sitting in school (9th grade), aching for the day to end so I could rush home and play Downtown on the piano.  My poor mother heard the song dozens, if not hundreds, of times.

So, here’s Petula:


A quick side note:  Just now, as I listened, I realized that there’s a very distinctive piano introduction that I never played!  Of course, I sat right down and banged it out.

Even though I sounded a little arrogant in the preceding sentence, I am very aware of how lucky I am to have innate musical abilities.  As far as I’m concerned, it was jut something I was born with . . .

Let’s move right along to Google Earth (GE), and take a look at my landing:

Here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

And nearby, there’s a view of Briar Branch:

And here ‘tis:

I’ll be moving to my first featured town, but by way of introduction, I’ll start with a Bible story.  I can imagine that my regular readers are already thinking “Say what?  A Bible story??” 

So, class.  Today’s Bible story is about Nebuchadnezzar.  I’ll do it Greg-style (bulleted):

  • Nebuchadnezzar was King of Babylonia from 605 BC to 562 BC.  Babylonia was centered on what is today Iraq.  The City of Babylon was along the Euphrates River, south of today’s Baghdad.
  • He is considered the greatest ruler of Babylonia; creator of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (more about them in a bit).
  • He is mentioned by name 90 times in the Bible, and is a main character in the book of Daniel.
  • In Daniel, the story is told of Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of Judah (an ancient kingdom that includes the southern portion of today’s Israel; Judah’s capital was Jerusalem.)
  • Nebuchadnezzar had conquered Judah at the very beginning of his reign, but Judah had rebelled twice. Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t happy:  he destroyed the temple and most of Jerusalem in 597 BC, and deported most residents as slaves to Babylon.
  • According to the Bible, Nebuchadnezzar was God’s instrument of justice, punishing Judah for its idolatry, unfaithfulness and disobedience.
  • Daniel was an advisor to Nebuchadnezzar, held in high favor because of his ability to interpret one of Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams.
  • Nebuchadnezzar created a gold statue of himself, and required all of the people to bow down before it.
  • Three of Daniels friends – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – refused to bow down before the statue, citing their belief in the one true God; the King had them thrown into a blazing furnace.
  • Miraculously, God protected the three, and they walked out unharmed from the furnace.
  • This blew Nebuchadnezzar’s mind, and he quickly decided that the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego was, in fact, the one true God.

I’d like my readers to linger a bit on the preceding sentence, being sure to savor the poetic pronunciation of the three friends of Daniel.

There’s more, but the above is the central nugget of the story.  So what does this all have to do with southwest Georgia?  Well, check out Daniel 3:1:

Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, the height of which was sixty cubits [90 feet] and its width six cubits [9 feet]; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.

It just so happens that about 2400 years after Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, a very small town in Georgia was named “Plains of Dura,” after the Babylonian region.  Why it became the plural “Plains” rather than the singular “plain” mentioned in the Bible is not known. 

After the Civil War, local Plains of Dura businesses began to thrive.  However, the business leaders felt the name was awkward; they successfully petitioned the State Legislature to change the name of the town to simply “Plains.”

None of us would have ever heard of Plains, Georgia, if it weren’t for a local peanut farmer from Plains who gained national prominence:

Before moving on, here’s a quick word about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.  From Wiki:

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, a term given to it by ancient Hellenic culture. The Hanging Gardens were described as a remarkable feat of engineering with an ascending series of tiered gardens containing a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and vines. The gardens were said to have looked like a large green mountain constructed of mud bricks.

They were supposedly built by Nebuchadnezzar for one of his wives; however, there are no extemporaneous Babylonian texts describing the gardens, and no archeological evidence has been found – although it is possible that if remains of the gardens exist, they are buried under the Euphrates

From IslamiCity.org, here’s an artist’s rendition:

Time to move to Cuthbert.  Under Notable People, I saw that “Winfred Rembert, artist” was wiki-clickable.  So, wiki-click I did:

Winfred Rembert is an African-American artist who hand-tools and paints on leather canvases. Rembert grew up in Cuthbert, Georgia, where he spent much of his childhood laboring in the cotton fields. He was arrested during a 1960s civil rights march. As a prisoner, he learned to make tooled-leather wallets and design on leather.

Rembert stretches, stains, and etches on leather and creates scenes from the rural Southern town where he was born and raised.

An award-winning documentary film about his life, All Me: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert, was released in 2011.

From the website for the movie:

With his intensely autobiographical paintings depicting the day-to-day existence of African Americans in the segregated South, Winfred Rembert has preserved an important, if often disturbing, chapter of American history.

His indelible images of toiling in the cotton fields, singing in church, dancing in juke joints, or working on a chain gang are especially powerful, not just because he lived every moment, but because he experienced so much of the injustice and bigotry that is apparent in hi work.

Now in his sixties, Rembert has developed a growing following among collectors and connoisseurs, and enjoyed a number of tributes and exhibitions of his work. In “ALL ME: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert,” the artist relives his turbulent life, abundantly visualized by his extensive paintings and, in a series of intimate reminiscences, shows us how even the most painful memories can be transformed into something meaningful and beautiful.

Here’s the trailer for the movie:


Here are some of his works; I’ll start with “All Me,” whereby Rembert painted every garbed inmate as if it were him; i.e., all me:

Dye on carved and tooled leather, 21 1/2 x 24 1/2

And a few others:

Time to move on to Dawson.  Under Notable People was one Otis Redding.

For my generation, “Sittin’ on the Dock o’ the Bay” is one of our most memorable songs.  It was recorded just three days before Otis died in a plane crash, en route from Cleveland to Madison. 

He never knew the success of the song.  From Wiki:

In early December 1967 Redding was working on a new song,  “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” which was written with guitarist and musical collaborator Steve Cropper.  At the time, they were staying with a friend on a houseboat in Sausalito [at the base of the Golden Gate bridge, across from San Francisco].

Redding was inspired by the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and tried to create a similar sound, against the wishes of Stax [his label].  His wife Zelma disliked its atypical melody. The Stax crew were married to a more traditional R&B format, and were also dissatisfied with the new sound.  However, Redding wanted to expand his musical style and thought it was his best song, correctly believing it would top the charts.

The song reached #1 on Billboard’s Top 100 weekly charts, and was ranked #4 for the year of 1968.

Here ‘tis:


Here’s my favorite verse:

Looks like nothing’s gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can’t do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I’ll remain the same.

Of course, I noted that he “left home in Georgia, headed for the Frisco Bay,” and that he traveled two thousand miles.  That always sounded a little on the short side to me.  It’s time for an ALAD fact check!

Well, by car it’s a little over 2500 miles (and 38 hours).  So, Otis must have been talking about the shortest straight-line distance, which is a little less than 2200 miles . . .

One other thing.  Otis wrote “Respect,” which was a minor hit for him.  But it was a huge hit for Aretha Franklin, becoming a Motown anthem:


What you want
Baby, I got
What you need
Do you know I got it?
All I’m askin’
Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Hey baby (just a little bit) when you get home
(just a little bit) mister (just a little bit)

I ain’t gonna do you wrong while you’re gone
Ain’t gonna do you wrong  ’cause I don’t wanna
All I’m askin’
Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Baby (just a little bit) when you get home (just a little bit)
Yeah (just a little bit)

I’m about to give you all of my money
And all I’m askin’ in return, honey
Is to give me my propers
When you get home (just a, just a, just a, just a)
Yeah baby (just a, just a, just a, just a)
When you get home (just a little bit)
Yeah (just a little bit)

[instrumental break]

Ooo, your kisses
Sweeter than honey
And guess what?
So is my money
All I want you to do for me
Is give it to me when you get home (re, re, re ,re)
Yeah baby (re, re, re ,re)
Whip it to me (respect, just a little bit)
When you get home, now (just a little bit)

Find out what it means to me
Take care, TCB*

Oh (sock it to me, sock it to me,
sock it to me, sock it to me)
A little respect (sock it to me, sock it to me,
sock it to me, sock it to me)
Whoa, babe (just a little bit)
A little respect (just a little bit)
I get tired (just a little bit)
Keep on tryin’ (just a little bit)
You’re runnin’ out of foolin’ (just a little bit)
And I ain’t lyin’ (just a little bit)
(re, re, re, re) ‘spect
When you come home (re, re, re ,re)
Or you might walk in (respect, just a little bit)
And find out I’m gone (just a little bit)
I got to have (just a little bit)
A little respect (just a little bit)

*Taking Care of Busness

I’m going to close this post with a short visit to Cottonton.  Wiki has very little to say, but they did post a couple of back-in-the-day pictures.  First this, of a “well sweep:”

Here’s how it works.  The log with the chain on the end rocks up and down (teeter-totter style) on the fulcrum.  A bucket on the chain is lowered into the well, and then raised up using the sweep and emptied in the box.  The water then flows out of the box into the pipe at the bottom (headed towards the photographer). 

And the second Wiki picture is of an “old mule gin house,” which is a mule-powered cotton gin:

I found a working version of such a gin in North Carolina:

And here’s the mule doing his thing:

I’ll close with this Wiki shot (by Rivers Langley) from the town of Weston, about 14 miles east of my landing:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Pioneer, Ohio

Posted by graywacke on December 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 2379; A Landing A Day blog post number 813.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (41o 39.642’N, 84o 33.767’W) puts me in far northwest Ohio:

My local map shows that I landed just outside of Pioneer:

My very local streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of the East Branch of the St. Joseph R (first hit ever!); on to the St. Joseph (first hit ever!).

Zooming back:

You can see that the St. Joseph heads due southwest, and then, the water molecules therein do a 180, and end up heading northeast up the Maumee (3rd hit) to Lake Erie (11); on, of course, to the St. Lawrence (108).

I have excellent Google Earth (GE) Street View coverage:

And behold!  The magnificent yellow spear has landed in yonder field!

And with such excellent Street View coverage, a good look at the East Branch of the St. Joseph River is inevitable:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

As always, I have the Orange Dude check to see if there’s a road sign announcing the name of the river, and indeed there is!

Notice that the sign makers didn’t bother with the “East Branch.”  Oh, well.

So, Wiki told me absolutely nothing about Pioneer, so I went to the Pioneer town website:

Earliest recorded settlers of Pioneer were P.W. Norris and Owen McCarty (brothers-in-law), who were hired to clear James A. Rogers land in 1842-3.

Both men were ambitious businessmen, a trait that is still prevalent among the citizens of modern day Pioneer. Mr. Norris built a grist mill and a saw mill along the north side of the creek.

Mr. Norris finally moved away to north of Detroit where he named a village “Norris.” It now has been incorporated into Warren, Michigan (a Detroit suburb).

Normally, the above information is not hook-worthy.  But ever curious, I took a long shot and Googled P.W. Norris.  Wiki took me to “Philetus Walter Norris.  I had to confirm that he was, in fact, the same as the founder of the town of Pioneer OH:

In 1845, Norris married Jane K. Cottrell of Fayette, Ohio. Once married, the couple became two of the original settlers of Pioneer, Ohio.

OK, so that’s out of the way.  Here’s some more from Wiki:

When the Civil War began, Norris joined the Union troops, eventually rising to the rank of Colonel.  He served as a spy behind Confederate Lines and Captain of the West Virginia Mountain Scouts. While fighting near Laurel Mountain, West Virginia, Norris’s horse was shot out from underneath him, severely injuring his shoulder and spinal cord.  After his injury, Norris returned to Pioneer.

I’ll be returning to his injury later in this post . . .

A quick aside.  In my July 2016 Richwood WV post, I featured Nancy Hart (I landed near her gravesite).  Nancy was a fascinating character, who became famous as a Confederate spy.  Just to give you a sense of who she was, here’s a small piece of her bio, which recounts an episode when she escaped from captivity:

One evening, Nancy grabbed the pistol from her naive young guard, and shot him dead with a single shot. She leapt out a second-story window into a clump of tall jimson weeds, stole a horse, and escaped to behind Confederate lines.

I wonder if Nancy knew of Philetus and if Philetus knew Nancy?  Spy vs. spy, eh?

Back to Wiki:

In 1870, Norris traveled west, entering the Yellowstone Park area; he returned again in 1875.  During this time, Norris wrote a series of articles on “The Great West” which were published in the Norris, Michigan Suburban newspaper.

Perhaps because of the series of articles, Norris achieved some fame as a western explorer, and in 1877, Norris became the second superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, a position he held until 1882.

Here’s Wiki’s picture of Mr. Norris:

What a dude!

A quick word about Nathaniel Langford, the first Yellowstone Park superintendent (from Wiki):

After the park’s official formation, Nathaniel Langford was appointed as the park’s first superintendent in 1872 by Secretary of Interior Columbus Delano. Langford served for five years but was denied a salary, funding, and staff. Langford lacked the means to improve the land or properly protect the park, and without formal policy or regulations, he had few legal methods to enforce such protection.

[Say what?  Yellowstone was declared as a National Park, but no money was allocated?  Not unexpectedly, the park was not properly protected.]

Observations about the lawlessness and exploitation of park resources were included in a report by William Ludlow [a Yellowstone explorer].  The report documented the poaching of thousands of buffalo, deer, elk, and antelope for hides.

As a result, Langford was forced to step down in 1877.

AYKM??  Poor guy.  Gets no salary, fails because of lack of support, then gets fired.

Very strangely, P.W. Norris was hired as a replacement, even though Congress had still not approved any funding to run the Park.  And he took the job!  And, after an arduous 14 months serving as Park Superintendent (and not getting paid), he sent a petition to the Secretary of the Interior asking for reimbursement.  In his petition, he had quite the story to tell (although he told it in the third person).

I’m going to present his petition in nearly its entirety.  This is going to be quite long by ALAD standards, but bear with me, as (obviously), I think it’s well worth the read!

February 18, 1882.

To the honorable the Secretary of the Interior:

Sir:  Your petitioner [i.e., P.W. Norris] presents this memorial of facts in connection with his appointment as superintendent of the Yellowstone National Park by the honorable Secretary of the Interior, on the 18th day of April, 1877.

Your petitioner would respectfully state that he immediately entered upon the laborious and then dangerous duties of his office, and by the expenditure of his own private means proceeded to the said park and assumed exploration, care and protection thereof, which, under the name of the Yellowstone National Park, was set aside by an act of Congress, approved March 1, 1872, a copy of which act, as well as the rules and regulations of the honorable Secretary of the Interior for its management, are as follows:

[ALAD readers:  Although the ACT is interesting and worth the read, feel free to skim through it or skip it altogether.]

AN ACT to set apart a certain tract of land lying near the headwaters of the Yellowstone River as a public park.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that the tract of land in the Territories of Montana and Wyoming lying near the headwaters of the Yellowstone River, and described as follows, to wit:

Sec. 1 [A detailed description of the boundaries of the park follows but is not included here]

[The described area] is hereby reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale under the laws of the United States, and dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasure ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people; and all persons who shall locate, settle upon, or occupy the same or any part thereof, except as hereinafter provided, shall be considered trespassers and removed therefrom.

Sec. 2. That said public park shall be under the exclusive control of the Secretary of the Interior, whose duty it shall be, as soon as practicable, to make and publish such rules and regulations as he may deem necessary or proper for the care and management of the same. Such regulations shall provide for the preservation from injury or spoliation of all timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities, or wonders within said park, and their retention in their natural condition.

The Secretary may in his discretion grant leases for building purposes, for terms not exceeding ten years, of small parcels of ground, at such places in said park as shall require the erection of buildings for the accommodation of visitors; all of the proceeds of said leases, and all other revenues that may be derived from any source connected with said park, to be expended under his direction in the management of the same, and the construction of roads and bridle-paths therein.

He shall provide against the wanton destruction of the fish and game found within said park and against their capture or destruction for the purposes of merchandise or profit. He shall also cause all persons trespassing on the same, after the passage of this act, to be removed therefrom, and generally shall be authorized to take all such measures as shall be necessary or proper to fully carry out the objects and purposes of this act.

Approved March 1, 1872.


Ist.  All hunting, fishing, or trapping within the limits of the park, except for purposes of recreation, or to supply food to visitors or actual residents, is strictly prohibited; and no sales of fish or game taken within the park shall be made outside of its boundaries.

2d.  Persons residing within the park, or visiting it for any purpose whatever, are required under severe penalties to extinguish all fires which it may be necessary to make, before leaving them. No fires must be made within the park, except for necessary purposes.

3d.  No timber must be cut in the park without a written permit from the superintendent.

4th. Breaking the siliceous or calcareous borders or deposits surrounding or in the vicinity of the springs or geysers for any purpose, and all removal, carrying away, or sale of specimens found within the park, without the consent of the superintendent, is strictly prohibited.

5th.  No person will be permitted to reside permanently within the limit of the park without permission from the Department of the Interior, and any person now living within the park shall vacate the premises occupied by him within thirty days after having been served with a written notice so to do by the superintendent or his deputy, said notice to be served upon him in person or left at his place of residence.

[Amazing that the above ACT was passed, but no money allocated for implementation and enforcement.  Anyway, back to P.W.’s narrative.]

As above shown, at the time of your petitioner’s appointment as superintendent, although no money for services or expenses was furnished or specifically promised, it was confidently expected, that through the recommendation of the department, an appropriation for such purposes would be made, at a then anticipated special session of Congress, which however was not called.

[So at least P.W. thought he was going to get paid . . . ]

The honorable Secretary of the Interior made a request upon the War Department for transportation from Chicago to the Yellowstone National Park and return, but this request was never received by your petitioner, nor was the transportation or any portion thereof ever furnished him.

[So at least P.W.’s boss put in for some transportation expenses.  But alas, no luck.]

Therefore, by the expenditure of his own means he proceeded by railroad to Bismarck, and thence by steamers to Fort Keogh, at the mouth of Tongue River. At this point your petitioner purchased saddle and pack animals and outfit, and then proceeded up the Yellowstone Valley, and through the ”Gate of the Mountains” to the Mammoth Hot Springs in the National Park.

Here finding his animals worn out your petitioner hired fresh animals and proceeded 80 miles to Fort Ellis and Bozeman to purchase supplies, and for consultation with the civil and military officers of those regions.

From this point he returned to Bottlers, 40 miles below the park, where he hired an assistant and ascended the Yellowstone and Gardiner Rivers to the Mammoth Hot Springs, and thence throughout much of the central and northern portions of the park; with fresh animals and an additional assistant explored a new pass to the Stillwater and lower Yellowstone Rivers.

Thence returning to the Mammoth Hot Springs and Bottlers Ranch, went down the Yellowstone toward the “Gate of the Mountains,” until meeting Generals Sherman and Pope with a small escort, from which fact, as well as from a desire for further explorations in the park, he returned with them to Bottlers Ranch and hired fresh animals and outfit, and with two companions proceeded with General Sherman’s party to “Tower Falls,” 17 miles below the ” Great Falls” of the Yellowstone.

[Remember when I said that I’d have more to say about his injury when he was a spy in West Virginia?  “Norris’s horse was shot out from underneath him, severely injuring his shoulder and spinal cord.”  Well, check out the following:]

While your petitioner was proceeding alone, some miles in advance of the party, he met with a severe accident by the breaking of one of his stirrup straps, caused by a bucking horse; your petitioner was precipitated from a ledge of ”Lava Rocks,” receiving such severe injuries to his neck and spine as to render him unable to proceed or even to return, save, with extreme difficulty and great suffering; he was thereby compelled to return to Mammoth Hot Springs and Bottlers for aid and care.

[Hmmmm.  Sounds like he aggravated his previous injury!  He should call one of those ambulance-chasing injury lawyers!]

He would state that as a result of this accident, occurring in the line of his duty, he has suffered ever since much bodily pain and inconvenience, and has been obliged to expend considerable sums of money for medical aid and assistance.

[Dude!  Go for the jugular!  Pain & Suffering!]

Further: Your petitioner states that, in the line of his official duty, he had printed at considerable expense 500 copies, on cloth, ‘Notices of Warning’ to the public against careless use of fire, and acts of vandalism in the park, many of which were affixed to trees therein, and others distributed throughout the regions adjacent thereto, a copy of which is hereto attached, and reads as follows, viz:


Notice is hereby given that extreme caution is necessary and required in building and extinguishing fires within the National Park.

Vandalism in breaking, defacing, or carrying off cones or specimens from the geysers or hot springs or any section of the park is prohibited; also wanton destruction of game, fish, or fowl is in violation of law.

Law, public sentiment, the future attractiveness of Wonderland and the good fame of Montana alike forbid violation of this notice.



[At least $1.00 a copy.  That’s $500.00!  Anyway, continuing his narrative.]

Unable to otherwise return east, he here assisted in the cost of construction and outfitting a small boat, in which with two comrades he descended the Yellowstone through the ”Gate of the Mountains” and by the course of the river, fully 500 miles to a steamboat near the mouth of Tongue River, and then by steamboat to Fort Keogh.

Here your petitioner met General Miles. After this long and tedious journey he imparted to the general, information regarding the regions that he had explored upon this and previous expeditions and of the different Indian tribes therein, which proved valuable in his subsequent successful operations against Chief Joseph and his hostile Nez Perces.

[And go for a hazardous-duty Indian-fighting bonus!]

He descended the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers to Bismarck, thence by rail to Duluth and by steamer to Detroit, and from thence to Washington City, where he reported in person to the honorable the Secretary of the Interior, who approved the recommendations of your petitioner and in his report to Congress makes the following recommendations, viz :


[His recommendations follow.  As before, feel free to skim or skip.]

On the 18th of April, 1877, P. W. Norris, of Michigan, was appointed superintendent of the Yellowstone National Park. As no appropriation was made for the payment of a salary to the superintendent, the services rendered by Mr. Norris have been without pay.

By reference to his report it will be seen that he has visited the park and taken such measures toward the protection of its natural curiosities as were deemed practicable.

He recommends adequate appropriation for the following purposes:

First. Survey with distinct and durable evidence of the boundaries of the park.

Second. Construction of a plain but substantial wagon-road connecting the two entrances to the park, and the laying out of necessary bridle-paths.

Third. Salary sufficient to justify a capable and experienced superintendent, and at least one resident assistant, in devoting their time to the improvement and care of the park.

Other recommendations are made by the superintendent, looking to the improvement and protection of the park and its approaches.

Under the act of March 1, 1872, this tract of land was reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale, and dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.

It was placed under the exclusive control of the Secretary of the Interior, who was authorized to make such regulations as would provide for the preservation from injury or spoliation of all timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities or wonders, within the park, and their retention in their natural condition.

[OK.  Back to P.W.’s narrative.]

Very little has been done toward carrying out the provisions of the act referred to. No appropriation has been made for the pay of a superintendent or the survey of the park, and no revenues have been received, nor have any leases been granted by the department.

Without the necessary appropriation by Congress very little can be done toward making this land of wonders, what it deserves to be on account of its natural formation, one of the most attractive public parks in the world.

[Here comes a great summary . . . ]

During the arduous and responsible duties of your petitioner, while on horseback or on foot, in the snow-girt [snowbound] park, or on the desert paths around it, the dangerous descent in a skiff of a rapid and nearly unknown river, an aggregate distance of fully three thousand miles through regions infested with hostile savages, by whom several of his comrades were killed and various articles of his own outfit captured, your petitioner furnished his own outfit, consisting of provisions of all kinds, fire-arms, ammunition, saddle and pack animals, tools, and all necessary supplies, skiffs and such things as were needed in his undertaking as forage, assistants, guides, transportation, and innumerable articles necessary to carry out his commission and perform the duties incumbent upon him.

[Wow.  How can one read this and not pay the guy?!?]

From the 18th day of April, 1877, to the 30th day of June, 1878, a period of one year, two mouths and thirteen days, your petitioner was on continuous duty, and has never for his services or for money advanced, received one dollar in money, transportation (except transportation from Saint Paul to Bismarck and return), supplies, or other assistance or remuneration whatever, nor for continuous and costly medical treatment for the injury to his neck and spine, received at Tower Falls, while in the line of his official duty, and from the effects of which he never has, and probably never will recover.

In conclusion your petitioner will only add that from misfortunes largely resulting from inattention to his private interests while for nearly five years absent, and wholly engrossed in his official duty as superintendent of the Yellowstone National Park, he finds himself at the close of these duties in financial circumstances imperatively requiring the payment of what he claims his due

Such payments are necessary in order to provide for his advancing age, and hence most respectfully, but earnestly and confidently, presents this candid statement of facts and sustaining proofs, relying upon Congress for justice in this matter by making an appropriation at an early day to reimburse him for the time and means dedicated to the arduous and responsible efforts which have resulted in securing all the protection and improvement which has ever been afforded to the people’s heritage of wonders in the Yellowstone National Park.

The following bill of particulars, hereto appended, shows the amount due your petitioner, $3,180.41.

All of which is respectfully submitted.


Statement of salary due, and expenses incurred by P.V. Norris while discharging the duties of superintendent, Yellowstone National Park, for the period from April 18th, 1877, to June 30, 1878, inclusive, as follows, vis:

[Of course, the following is skimmable.  But check it out to the extent necessary to get a feel for it . . . ]

May 29. For salary, superintendent, Yellowstone National Park, from April 18, 1877, to June 30, 1878, inclusive, being one year, two (2) months, and thirteen (13) days, at $1500 per annum:   $1,805 57

May 29. For railroad fare from Detroit, Mich. , to Saint Paul, Minn:  $23.00

May 29. Sleeping car fare from Detroit, Mich., to Saint Paul, Minn:   $4.00

June 4. Sleeping car fare from Saint Paul to Bismarck:   $2.00

June 4. For charges on extra baggage from Detroit, Mich., to Bismarck, Dak:  $4.35

June 12. For meals and lodgings from May 29, to June 12, inclusive, including unavoidable delays at Chicago, awaiting transportation orders, and in Bismarck, awaiting a steamboat to ascend the Yellowstone River, being 15 days, at $3 per day:   $45.00

June 13. Steamboat fare (steamer General Meade) from Bismarck to Fort Buford, Mont:   $12.12

June 18. For meals on steamer, 13th to l8th June, inclusive, 6 days, at $2 per day:  $12.00

June 19. For fare on steamboat (steamer Ashland) from Fort Buford to Fort Keogh on Tongue River:  $18.95

June 24. For meals while on steamer Ashland, from June 19th to 26th, inclusive, 9 days, at $2.50 per day:   $22.50

Aug. 15. For use of saddle and pack animals and outfit from June 29th to August 15tli, inclusive, 48 days, at $4 per day:  $192.00

Aug. 15. For subsistence for self, forage for animals, fire-arms and ammunition furnished, and camp outfit during the period from June 29th to August 15th, 1877, inclusive, while engaged in exploring the park, going to, and returning from the park to the skiff near Bottlers, 48 days, at $5 per day:   $240.00

Aug. 15. For hire of guide or assistant with saddle and pack animals, including outfit and subsistence, from June 29 to August 15, 1877, inclusive, 48 days, at $5 per day $240.00

Aug. 15. For hire of passage on skiff in running the Yellowstone River from above the “Gate of the Mountains,” to near Tongue River:  $50.00

Aug. 15. For subsistence while descending the river from August 16 to 25, inclusive, 10 days, at $3 per day:  $30.00

Aug. 26. For transportation on steamer Far West, from above Tongue River (Ft. Keogh) to Bismarck, Dak:   $31.07

Aug. 27. For meals on steamer Far West, August 26 and 27, 2 days, at $2 per day $5.00

Aug. 28. Sleeping car from Bismarck to Saint Paul:   $2.00

Aug. 29. For railroad and steamboat fare from Saint Paul, Minn., to Detroit, Mich:  $27.35

Sep. 3. For 21 meals, from August 28 to September 3, 1877, inclusive, 7 days, at $3 per day:  $21.00

Oct. 2. For railroad fare from Detroit, Mich., to Washington, D. C, for consultation with the honorable Secretary of the Interior, on business concerning the Yellowstone Park:   $16.50

Oct. 2. Sleeping car fare from Detroit, Mich., to Washington, D. C.:   $2.00

Oct. 3. For 6 meals en route, at 75 cents each:   $4.50

Oct. 6. For board and lodging in Washington, D. C, October 4 to 6, inclusive,  3 days, at |1.50 per day:  $4.50

Oct. 7. For railroad fare from Washington, D. C. to Detroit, Mich:   $16.50

Oct. 7. For sleeping car fare from Washington, D. C, to Detroit, Mich.:   $2.00

Oct. 7. For 6 meals while en route from Washington, D. C, to Detroit, Mich., at 75 cents each:  $4.50

Dec. 12. For railroad fare from Detroit, Mich., to Washington, D. C.:  $16.50

Dec. 12. For sleeping car fare from Detroit, Mich., to Washington, D. C.:  $2:00

Dec. 12. For 6 meals, at 75 cents each, while en route from Detroit to Washington, D. C.:  $4.50

June 30. For board and lodging in Washington, D. C, from December 3, 1877, to June 30, 1878, while engaged on duty, 210 days, at $1.50 per day:  $315.00

Total amount due:   $3,180.41

I certify that the foregoing statement is correct and just; that the detailed items charged herein are taken and verified from memorandum kept by me; that the amounts charged for subsistence were actually paid, and were occasioned by official business or unavoidable delays, and that I have not been furnished with transportation, or money in lieu thereof, for any part of the journeys herein charged for.



Geez.  $3,180.41 doesn’t sound like much.  For the record: 1$ in 1877 is equal to about $22 today (according to some inflation calculator I found online).  So, $3,180.41 x 22 = about $70,000.  Still doesn’t sound like much!

Continuing this dramatic story, here’s a letter from President Chester A. Arthur:

MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, TRANSMITTING A communication from the Secretary of the Interior relative to the pay of P. W. Norris as superintendent of the Yellowstone National Park from April 18, 1877, to July 1, 1878.

March 1, 1882.

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I submit herewith, for the consideration of Congress, a letter from the Secretary of the Interior, enclosing a petition of Mr. P. W. Norris, for compensation for services rendered and expenses incurred by him as superintendent of the Yellowstone National Park from the 18th of April, 1877, to the 1st of July, 1878.


Executive Mansion, February 28th, 1882.

Department of the Interior,

Washington, February 24, 1882.

Sir: I have the honor to state that the act of Congress, approved March 1, 1872, setting apart a tract of land on the headwaters of the Yellowstone River as a National Park, placed the same under control of the Secretary of the Interior, who was authorized to make and publish regulations for its proper care and management. These regulations were to provide for the preservation from injury and spoliation all timber, mineral deposits, and natural curiosities within the park.

It was also made the duty of the Secretary to provide against the wanton destruction of fish and game within the park, and for the removal of all trespassers.

The Secretary of the Interior, on the 18th of April, 1877, appointed Mr. P. W. Norris, of Michigan, superintendent of the park, with the following reservation as to pay, stated in the letter of appointment:

As Congress has not provided any appropriation to carry out the purposes of the act of March 1, 1872, relative to the park, you will understand that no obligation is incurred by this department in regard to payment for your services.

[So they gave P.W. heads up that he might not be paid!]

Mr. Norris acted as superintendent under this appointment until the 1st of July, 1878, when an appropriation made by an act approved June 20, 1878, to protect, preserve, and improve the park became available, and he was reappointed at a salary of $1,500 a year.

I have the honor to enclose herewith a petition of Mr. Norris for compensation for services rendered, and for reimbursement of expenses incurred by him, as superintendent of the park, for the period prior to July 1, 1878.

As Mr. Norris, during the period stated, performed faithful service for the government, in enabling the department to execute the law relative to the park, his claim, in my judgment, should be favorably acted upon by Congress.

Very respectfully,


Acting Secretary.

Was he paid?  From Wiki:

Philetus W. Norris (August 17, 1821 – January 14, 1885) was the second superintendent of Yellowstone National Park and was the first person to be paid for that position.


Here’s the cover page of the President’s letter:

By the way – all of the materials I’ve quoted in this post were attached to the on-line document – which was digitized by diligent Mormon students from Brigham Young University.  OK.  I don’t know they’re Mormons, just guessing . . .

I have no choice but to present some iconic Yellowstone pictures!

From Wiki:

From You Tube:

From YellowstonePark.com:

From NationalParks.org:

From FoundTheWorld.com

From Wallpapers13.com:

From Yellowstone Valley Lodge:

And from Wiki – a picture of the location mentioned several times in P.W.’s narrative, Mammoth Hot Springs:

I’ll return to Pioneer to close things out with this GE Panoramio shot by my long-time contributor, JB the Milker:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Solomon, Arizona

Posted by graywacke on November 29, 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 2340; A Landing A Day blog post number 771.

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

My very local map shows that I landed close to Solomon:

Zooming back a little, we can see a whole string of communities along the Gila River:

FYI, Safford (pop 9,600) is far and away the largest town.

Speaking of the Gila River, let me jump into my watershed analysis.  Here’s my very local streams-only map, which labels a blue patch as the San Simon River (less than 3 miles west of my landing).

A quick Google search confirmed that the blue patch is indeed part of the San Simon River (we’ll get a much better look on Google Earth).  Anyway, this was my second San Simon River landing.  Just for the record, my only other landing in this watershed was landing 89, which occurred on 9/1/1999.  Wow.  Two thousand, two hundred and fifty-one landings ago!

Zooming back:

Not surprisingly, the San Simon discharges (very rarely, I suspect) into the Gila River (39th hit).  Although you’ll have to trust me on this, the Gila discharges (also very rarely, I suspect) into the Colorado River (178th hit).

OK, Dan.  It’s time to fess up.  I suspect that you have noticed nothing particularly unusual about today’s post.  Unless, that it is, you were paying close attention and noted that today’s landing number is 2340, while my most recent post (Lake Chelan) is 2378.  You also could have noted that some of the ALADus Obscurus numbers were not consistent with recent posts.  Well, here’s the story:

I was sitting at my computer with my son Jordan who was visiting over Thanksgiving.  While Jordan is an avid member of the ALAD Nation, he tends to slip behind.  But he refuses to skip any posts; he just keeps plugging away, albeit now months behind.

He mentioned that he had just read (and really enjoyed) my Placitas NM and my Halfway OR posts.  We had my landing spreadsheet open, and noticed that the next post would be Solomon AZ:

But on my A Landing A Day site, Solomon AZ was nowhere to be seen!  Trenton GA was next, right after Halfway!  As you can see on the above spreadsheet, I had duly noted Solomon as having been posted, but for reasons that will remain unknown to all (including me), I never posted it!

And get this:  I open the WordPress “Dashboard” every time I need to write, edit or post one of my entries.  And here’s what I see:

As you can see, “Solomon, Arizona  April 23, 2017” has been staring me in the face since April.  As I tell my kids, “I’m just a confused old man . . . “


Back to Solomon:

Let’s jump on board the Google Earth (GE) yellow push-pin, and blaze our way down into SE AZ.  Click HERE for the trip.

We’ll start right out with a dual-purpose GE Street View shot, showing both the closest “stream” (which discharges into the San Simon) as well as the landing:

And here’s what the Orange Dude (OD) sees:

See the pipe?  That carries runoff from my landing under the road!

Zooming back, we’ll go quite a ways (20 miles) south/upstream to get a look at the bone-dry San Simon:

And here’s what the OD sees (looking upstream):

I moved the OD a few hundred feet west, and had him take a look at the road as it crosses the San Simon (with no bridge):

I love the sign:  “DO NOT ENTER WHEN FLOODED.”

And now we’ll go downstream of my landing for a look at the downstream end of the San Simon:

The OD sees the San Simon, ever-so-slightly fortified by irrigation seepage:

And then I moved a little west to get a look at the Gila:

And here ‘tis:

FYI, the river disappears a couple of miles further downstream.

I checked out that whole string of towns along the Gila, and couldn’t come up with much of anything for this post.  In fact, this entire region is pretty much:

I started with Solomon, didn’t see much, and moved downstream and found even less.  By the time I had looked at all of them, I realized that my best story was where I started, in Solomon.

From Wiki:

In the early 19th century, settlers founded a town at Solomon’s location, and named it “Pueblo Viejo” (Old Pueblo) because of a previous Native American settlement, the ruins of which were still visible.

Isadore Solomon, a German Jewish immigrant, came to the town in the 1870s. He moved to Solomon with his wife and three children, the oldest of whom was three. When the Solomons came to town there were only five houses in the town.

Also in the 1870s Mormons moved to the Gila Valley region, although no Mormons moved to Solomon until 1884, when they began large scale irrigation. Solomon and Safford are the only towns in this local Gila Valley region that has not been historically dominated by Mormons.

From the 1880s to about 1910 Solomon had over 1000 residents, and reached 1,283 in 1930.  In the 2010 census, the population of Solomon was 426.

Getting back to the Solomons:  I stumbled on a piece about them in JMAW.org, which is the website for the Jewish Museum of the American West:

Isadore and Anna Solomon (both born in Poznan, Poland) first settled in Towanda, PA, where they had a livery business.  [Hmmmm.  Wiki says Isadore was German.  Well, some quick research shows that the political country of Poland didn’t exist in 1872 when Isadore and Anna were born in what is today Poland, so one could “accurately” say they were German, Polish or Prussian.]

In 1876, the Solomons sold all they possessed and headed to New Mexico with three babies. They traveled by train – to the end of the line – and then by stage to Clifton, Arizona Territory.


“We sold everything we possessed except our three children, and started on our journey to New Mexico. We had a very hard trip even on the railroad.  Traveling with those three babies was bad enough, but when we reach La Junta, the end of the railroad in those days, and had to travel by stage, packed in like sardines, traveling day and night for six days…when we got there I was so tired out to death.”

[They headed to Pueblo Viejo because Anna’s cousin owned a mine there.]

Isadore Solomon worked for Anna’s cousin as a miner until he landed a contract to supply the mine with charcoal.  The Solomons set up the mesquite-charcoal operation (and a new home) in Pueblo Viejo along the Gila River.

As the mesquite for charcoal was used up, the land proved fertile and productive. Isaac Solomon became the principal food supplier for four army forts and had government supply contracts for 25 years.

The Solomons expanded into livestock, merchandising, freighting, and forwarding [forwarding??] as the Solomon Commercial Company.

Isadore Solomon opened the Gila Valley Bank in 1900.

Anna Solomon opened the Solomon Hotel which became the social center of town.

The Solomon’s also owned the Montezuma Flour Mill and, in 1890, they partnered with Anna’s bother, Phoebus Frudenthal  to form the Solomonville-Sheldon Stageline.

Phew.  There you have it.  These Solomons did OK!  They obviously figured out how to work with Mormons . . .

It’s time for some GE Panoramio shots.  I’ll start with this, entitled “Lonely Dead Tree,” by Andreas Geh:

And this of a cotton farm between Solomon and Safford by the GilaRiverRider:

I’ll close with this by John Eby, taken about 8 miles east of my landing:

That’ll do it . . .



© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Lake Chelan, Washington

Posted by graywacke on November 24, 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 2378; A Landing A Day blog post number 812.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (47o 45.462’N, 120o 27.285’W) puts me in Central Washington:

And this is a first!!!  What “first” would I be talking about, you might ask.  Well, my titular entity is visible on the above totally-zoomed out Street Atlas shot!  So I labeled it!

Anyway, let’s take a more local look:

Today’s landing (2378) is the one southwest of Lake Chelan.  Amazingly, the landing shown to the northeast of Lake Chelan is landing 2375, just three landings ago!  That’s my November 9th Methow and Pateros post – with no mention of Lake Chelan.

Here’s my local streams-only map:

You can see that I landed in the watershed of that fan-favorite, “Stream Perennial,” on to the Mad River (1st hit ever!); on to the Entiat River (1st hit ever!).  I’ll zoom back just a bit:

The Entitat discharges to the Columbia (175th hit). 

As is often the case, I was so far out in the boonies that I have no relevant Google Earth (GE) Street View shots of my landing.  The closest is to the east by the Columbia River, about 11 miles from my landing. 

As for Street View shots of my drainage, I likewise have to go all the way east to the Columbia to see where the Entiat River discharges:

Here’s the lovely view that the Orange Dude sees, looking up the Entiat:

And when he turns around, there’s the mighty Columbia:

So of course, I checked the numerous small towns in the vicinity of my landing.  Guess what?  They were all

As I checked out the town of Chelan, of course I noted that it was at the downstream end of Lake Chelan.  And then – what the heck – I Googled the lake.  So, it’s a very beautiful lake and all, but where’s the hook? 

Then I googled “Lake Chelan Geology.”  I saw that there was a You Tube video posted by a Central Washington University geology professor entitled, appropriately enough, “Lake Chelan Geology.”  Of course, I clicked.

After just a couple of minutes of viewing, I knew I had my hook.

I told my wife Jody (who, like me, is a geologist) that I landed near Lake Chelan, Washington.  She immediately perked up.  Lake Chelan??  Cheryl’s brother Darrel and sister-in-law Carol live there!!

Now wait a minute.  Cheryl, Darrel and Carol? 

But anyway, this isn’t just any Cheryl.  This is Cheryl, one of the “Feathers,” a group of Media PA women who went to school together.  The seven of them (alas, now only six) were good friends in Junior High & High school and referred to themselves as the Feathers – based on a pillow fight gone bad.

So Jody and Cheryl and Sooze and Kathy and Debbie and Sally and (sigh) Sue stayed in touch through all these years, periodically getting together, but emailing and calling each other on a regular basis.  The husbands/significant others joined the fun, and all 14 of us got together on numerous occasions.  Amazingly (and I mean truly amazingly), all 14 of us really got along and enjoyed each other’s company.

We gentleman were jealous of the moniker the women had, so we came up with one of our own.  Proudly, we’re the Peckers.

But of all the Feathers, Cheryl has a special place in my heart because she (of all the Feathers) is the only devoted A Landing A Day follower.  And Cheryl saw a similarity in how I view the world with how her brother Darrel views the world, so she turned him on to my blog.

I was well aware that Darrel lived in Washington and was very tuned into geology, particularly the wondrous story of the Glacial Lake Missoula floods.  I knew that he and Cheryl went on a geology field trip, visiting the scablands and the Dry Falls.

I had corresponded with Darrel just a little, and I do believe that at some point he told me he lived at Lake Chelan – which, of course, I promptly forgot.

Well, Darrel (and Cheryl) – this post is for you!

Back to Lake Chelan geology.  I listened to the entire hour and seven minutes of Nick Zentner’s lecture, and totally enjoyed it.  And I learned a lot, as well.  I therefore cordially invite you, my readers, to similarly partake of the good Doctor’s lecture.  At least give it a shot, and see if he hooks you like he hooked me.

But I’m a realist, and know that probably the majority of my readers are already thinking “No way I’m using up an hour of my life listening to a geology lecture.”

So what did I do?  I rewound the tape (yea, right), but this time, I was typing, pausing, typing, pausing, etc., preparing not Cliff Notes but Greg Notes.

So here’s the lecture.  The Greg Notes (for those who’d rather spend 10 minutes reading than an hour watching) follow below.


Nick’s premise:  You’re a Washington geologist and you have a geologically-oriented friend named Jerry from New Jersey.  Jerry calls out of the blue and says that he has one day to spend in the State of Washington and he wants to learn as much about Washington geology as possible.  Considering the great geologic diversity in Washington, that’s a tall order.  Where do you meet him?

Mt. Rainer; the Dry Falls; the west coast?  Nope.  Nick would take Jerry to Lake Chelan.  Here’s what’s at (or very near) the Lake:

  • Continental ice sheets
  • Alpine glaciers
  • Third-deepest lake in the U.S.
  • The Columbia River
  • Glacial Lake Chelan
  • Ice age floods
  • Basalts
  • “Exotic terrains” (having to do with bizarre west-coast plate tectonics)
  • Metamorphic Rocks
  • Granite Batholiths
  • The biggest earthquake ever recorded in Washington

Everything but an active volcano.  OK, so maybe Jerry’ll need a separate trip to Rainier.

Lake Chelan is 50 miles long, one mile wide.  Most long and narrow lakes are artificially formed by damming up a river.  Not Lake Chelan.

Here’s a GE shot of the long, narrow lake:

Note the Narrows.  That’s going to be part of our story in a bit.

There is a dam, built in the 20s, but it only raised the existing lake about 20 feet.  Not sure why they built the dam . . .

But this is the third deepest lake in the U.S.:

  1. Crater Lake – 1949’ deep
  2. Lake Tahoe – 1645’
  3. Lake Chelan – 1459’
  4. Lake Superior – 1332’
  5. Lake Pend Oreille – 1152’

If you guessed the glaciers made the lake, you’d be right. But the bottom of Lake Chelan is 386 feet below sea level!  How did the glaciers do that?

Other nearby glacial lakes are formed when alpine glaciers (glaciers formed in a particular valley and limited in extent to the valley) push up moraines that dam up the valley, creating a lake.  But these are much, much shallower.  For years, Nick didn’t think much about it; he just figured that the alpine glacier in the Chelan valley somehow dug a deeper hole.

But he had to think again.  It turns out that the Canadian Ice Sheet made its way down to Central Washington.  That’s the same ice sheet that was 3000’ feet thick in Seattle.  And the same ice sheet that created the Lake Missoula floods [discussed numerous times in this blog.]  The ice sheet was about 5000’ thick in the Chelan valley.

The massive ice sheet crawled over and around the North Cascade Mountains.  An arm of it passed over a low spot in the mountains to the north, and ground its way down the Chelan Valley.  Five thousand feet of ice is a lot of ice that can move a lot of rock.

But there’s more to the story.  There was another arm of the same ice sheet that actually flowed north up the Chelan Valley.  It came from the east before curling up the valley.  The northern arm made it down to the Narrows.  The southern arm made it up to the Narrows:

Remember – these two “arms” are connected to the vast Canadian Ice Sheet. 

For nerdy, curious geologists, this is a big deal.  And if one were to make the claim about two separate continental ice sheet arms coming in from different directions, one better have good evidence.  Well, good evidence there is.

So, both arms of the ice sheet left moraines and till deposits – the moraines are the earthen debris that the glacier pushed out to the edges the valley (actually, much like an alpine glacier), and the tills are what it left behind as the ice melted.  Of course, geologists have studied the moraines and tills from both ends of the valley, and guess what?  They are entirely different! 

The northern arm came from the Cascade Mountains to the north and west, and the rocks in the moraines and tills are typical of the rocks in the Cascades:  granites, lava rock and light basalt (andesites).

The southern arm came from the east and was “bearing different gifts.”  This ice had traveled through the dark flood basalts (“layer after layer of German Chocolate cake”) of eastern Washington, and low and behold, the till and moraines of the southern end of the lake are loaded with these dark basalts.

Any questions?  And this unique glacial set-up also set up some interesting hydrology.  There were times when the two arms retreated, leaving a lake in the valley between the two ice masses.  Fed by meltwater, this lake reached elevations as high as 700’ above current lake level!

As happens with ice dams holding back huge volumes of water, the dam will fail, and a massive flood results.  For Glacial Lake Chelan, the massive flood headed south, towards the Columbia River.  The water left coulee scablands similar to those left behind after the much-more-massive Glacial Lake Missoula flood.

Moving on to bedrock and exotic terrains . . .

The deepest part of the lake is just north of the Narrows.  Why?  Well, just north of the Narrows, the lake is underlain by schist, a metamorphic rock with lots of mica that is softer than other metamorphic rocks.  So, the bottom blade of the ice sheet bulldozer was able to dig much deeper in the schist than other areas.

Further uplake is a much harder metamorphic rock known as gneiss.  It’s a much gneisser rock than the sloppy schist to the south. [My terrible pun, not Nick’s.]  Because the gneiss is harder, the northern end of the lake is much shallower.

Down lake (south of the Narrows) is a highly unusual and much rarer rock known as migmatite (the formation is known as the Chelan Migmatite Complex).  So what’s migmatite? 

Nick says it’s like a “swirl” cone you can order at a soft ice cream joint – that’s when the chocolate and vanilla are swirled together on the cone.  But the migmatite is a swirl of metamorphic rock and igneous rock.  More about migmatite in a minute, but first a quick word about “exotic terrains.”

Head further down stream, there’s another schist, and then another gneiss.

The various schists and gneisses are pieces of what’s known as “exotic terrains:” pieces of crustal rocks that came from far away, and were plastered against the North American tectonic plate by crazily complex tectonic movements.

They could have come from as far south as Mexico!

How do we know this?  The various schists and gneisses are very different in terms of temperature and pressure required for their genesis.  They couldn’t have been neighbors when they formed – they must have formed in regions far from each other, and were brought together by tectonic movement.

So where does migmatite come from?  Well, imagine this.  We’re in a volcanic region.  Below the volcano is a huge pocket of liquid magma that is the source for the volcano.  Way below the magma chamber is the boundary between the crust and the mantle (the Mohorovic Discontinuity, or Moho).

So what’s going on in this zone between the magma chamber and the Moho?  This is the zone where magma from the mantle is migrating upward to the magma chamber beneath the volcano.  And this migrating magma intertwines with the crustal rock, creating the swirl of metamorphic rock (the crust) and the igneous rock (the magma).  Ergo, migmatite.  Oh yea – by the way – the migmatite was forming 18 miles below the surface of the earth – 165 million years ago.

Here’s a very interesting aside:  It just so happens that to the east and north of the Chelan Migmatite is a large body of granite (more-or-less adjacent to the migmatite).  The traditional view is that they represent different exotic terrains, or at least are separated by some sort of fault that makes them very separate.  But there’s an alternate theory that is just now being investigated:

As mentioned above, the volcano/migmatite system occurred 165 million years ago.  Let’s imagine that the whole system was uplifted and cooled and turned to solid rock (granite for the magma chamber, underlain by migmatite).  Tectonic forces keep on doing their work, and the whole shebang is uplifted even more, layed on its side and exposed at the surface.

And then, a geologist happens on some outcrops of migmatite adjacent to some outcrops of granite.  As I just mentioned, he figures that there’s some kind of fault, or the two rock types represent exotic terrains.  But what if the two geologic bodies are intimately connected?  What if the migmatite has always been associated with that very same magma chamber?  Pretty cool, eh?  Stay tuned – ongoing research will figure this out one way or the other.

And an important aside – the 165 million year old migmatite is much older than the schists and gneisses in the vicinity (they’re like 100 million years younger).  Since the schists and gneisses are part of exotic terrains, does this mean that the migmatite was formed right here in Washington?  Or is it possible that it, too is an exotic terrain?  Oh my.  All of the unanswered questions . . .

Let’s talk a little more about the schist that’s south of the valley.  It’s for sure an exotic terrain – it was originally sediment at the floor of a deep ocean, and was transported to the surface, near Entiat.  [See my local landing map!]

So how do you do that?  Here’s a more-or-less direct quote from Nick:  “You take stuff on the ocean and you convert it into rock (#1); then it is metamorphosed into schist – with high temperatures and pressures (#2); and then get it to interior Washington and oh – by the way – at a couple thousand feet above sea level (#3).  Good Lord!  There are stories to tell.”

Continuing the quote:  “I mentioned there’s also a gneiss south of the Chelan valley.  This was originally sediment – mostly sand – deposited in an oceanic trench – also interpreted as an exotic terrain.  Once again, we need to turn the sand into rock, we need to apply heat and pressure to turn it into a metamorphic rock, and then somehow, we need to get it here along the Columbia in central Washington.  Am I blowing your mind?  Have you heard about this exotic terrain stuff before?  Boy, if I get gutsy enough, I’ll do a bunch of lectures, but you’ve got to eat your Wheaties to put all of this stuff together!”

One more piece of bedrock information. There are a slew of 50-million year old dark basalt “feeder dikes.”  These are the cracks in the older rock that transported the German Chocolate Cake from the depths up to the flood basalts.  They’re the obvious dark stripes you can see in outcrops all over the place around here.

Moving right along to the 1872 earthquake – estimated magnitude 7.4 – that was long suspected to be centered somewhere in the Lake Chelan area.  This quake (the largest in Washington in recorded history) shook the entire Pacific Northwest, but until three years ago, the location of the epicenter was unknown.

There was a large landslide south of Chelan where a big hunk of a mountain broke off during the earthquake, and temporarily dammed up the Columbia River.  This landslide – and its connection to the 1872 earthquake – have long been suspected.  It has been presumed that the landslide occurred somewhere close to the epicenter, but as I said earlier, the location of the epicenter has not been known until recently.

A seismologist from the USGS, Brian Sherrod, has been working on understanding the 1872 earth for many years.  But finally, Sherrod used LIDAR technology to find the fault trace. 

Here’s what NOAA says about LIDAR:

LIDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure variable distances to the Earth. These light pulses—combined with other data recorded by the airborne system— generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.

So, Sherrod managed to find the money to perform a LIDAR survey over a wide area around Lake Chelan (that “magically removes all of the vegetation.”)  He painstakingly checked the terrain, looking for a telltale linear feature – a “fault scarp” that might have been caused by an earthquake.

A fault scarp is an abrupt change in slope, where one side moved vertically relatively to the other, creating a linear cliff.

Here are some examples of fault scarps (from wherever, not Washington):


But my favorite:

Anyway, Brian found an excellent candidate in Spencer Canyon:

Here’s a GE Panoramio shot looking south towards Spencer Canyon (by LongBachNguyen):

Here’s a screen shot from the lecture, with Nick pointing out the trace of the fault scarp in Spencer Canyon.  You’ll never guess, but “U” mean “up” and I’m not going to even tell you what “D” stands for:

Moving over to Google Earth, I think I can see a little of the scarp:

He also found evidence of a relatively fresh landslide (the lighter area on this GE shot):

The Seattle Times actually covered Sherrod’s work as a news story (by Sandi Doughton, Nov 2014):

The quake struck on the evening of Dec. 14, 1872, long before the first seismometer was installed in the Northwest.

The fact that chimneys cracked in Olympia, trees toppled in Puyallup and fissures split the ground south of Seattle led early observers to assume the quake was centered under Puget Sound.

But windows also shattered as far away as Victoria, B.C., and people were knocked off their feet at Snoqualmie Pass. The first analysis of newspaper reports from the time put the epicenter not far from Vancouver, B.C.

The most compelling eyewitness accounts, though, trickled in from east of the Cascades, in the sparsely populated hills near Wenatchee. Settlers and Native Americans reported a massive slide that briefly dammed the Columbia River. Some claimed geysers spouted from the ground and gushed for months. Throughout Washington and Oregon, strong aftershocks kept the populace on edge for more than a year.

Subsequent studies proposed epicenters in the North Cascades and near Lake Chelan. Estimates of the quake’s size have ranged from magnitude 6.5 to 7.5, which would make it one of the biggest in recorded state history.

“No matter how you define it, that’s a big earthquake,” said USGS researcher Brian Sherrod, who led the modern-day hunt for the quake’s source. “It was felt from Montana and British Columbia down into Oregon and Northern California.”

Beginning six years ago, Sherrod brought a new tool called LIDAR to bear on the puzzle. The technique allows scientists to virtually strip away vegetation and generate detailed topographic maps by beaming laser pulses from an airplane and analyzing the way the signals bounce back.

The area near Entiat was already a prime suspect as the source of the quake, based on eyewitness reports and recurring swarms of small quakes. The first LIDAR images didn’t show much, though, so the USGS commissioned another sweep in 2013.

“When I looked at those, it just popped out,” Sherrod said on a crisp morning in late October as he led a team of geologists down a fire-blackened hillside in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and into a small valley that drains into the Columbia River.

He pointed to a faint ridgeline a few feet high that snaked across the landscape like an oversized mole track. “That’s the scarp.”

A scarp is a scar created when an earthquake ruptures the ground surface. This one extends at least 3.5 miles, bearing witness to a major upheaval in the recent past, Sherrod said.

“Clearly we have a fault. There’s no doubt about it,” he said, scrambling into a 15-foot-long trench cut perpendicularly across the scarp. He named it the Spencer Canyon fault, after the drainage where it’s located.

The steep terrain and winding road ruled out the use of a backhoe, so Sherrod and his team dug two trenches by hand.

Here’s a picture of hydrogeologist Tanna DeRuyter helping to dig one of the trenches:

[Hey!  I’m a hydrogeologist!]

In the exposed dirt walls, Sherrod traced the diagonal line that marks the fault. Soil layers on one side are higher than on the other, he explained, revealing the way the ground jerked during past quakes.

Scraping the walls of the trenches and using colored pins to delineate layers, the geologists have uncovered evidence of at least two quakes, and perhaps as many as four.

But did the most recent one strike in 1872?

Moving to LiveScience.com 2015 article by Becky Oskin (about the results of the 2014 field work), the question was answered:

In one trench along the newly identified fault, Sherrod discovered a distinctive ash layer called the Mazama ash, blasted out by the volcanic eruption that created Oregon’s Crater Lake more than 7,000 years ago. The ash layer is now offset from itself about 6.5 feet on either side of the fault, Sherrod said.

In the second trench, the Spencer Canyon fault pushes 75-million-old gneiss (a metamorphic rock) on top of soil that has bits of charcoal just 285 years old.  [From a forest fire – and the charcoal can be accurately dated using carbon dating.  So the earthquake happened less than 285 years ago, or after 1730.]

The young charcoal helped link the fault to the 1872 earthquake by providing a maximum age for its recent movement.  Sherrod also showed the fault scarp is older than two small landslides that buried it. The oldest trees growing on top of the landslides are 130 years old, he said. [So the earthquake happened before 1885.]  Ponds created by the landslides also drowned trees, and those trees were killed sometime in the past 300 years.

“The evidence pins down the action to a window of time,” Sherrod said.  [And that window is between 1730 and 1885.]

A period of time consistent with the 1872 earthquake.

One could argue he hasn’t proven anything, but then again, there’s no evidence for any major earthquake during that time period besides the one in 1872 . . .

Back to Nick’s talk . . .

So, this is a shallow earthquake.  What’s going on?  Generally, western WA is moving to the NE, and Central Washington isn’t moving.  Something has to give, and what gives are fault blocks that are pushed up and out of the way as these tectonic plates inexorably keep moving, resulting in an extremely slow-motion collision.

Interesting side note.  While Nick is waxing poetic about some bedrock outcrops, he mentions that one is on the road to Pateros.  As mentioned early in this post, I featured Pateros just three landings ago, but without a word about Lake Chelan or the local geology.

OK.  Enough geology already.  It’s time to close out this post with a GE Panoramio shots, this one looking across the Columbia Valley near Spencer Canyon, by Jeffrey King:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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Schaghticoke, New York

Posted by graywacke on November 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 2377; A Landing A Day blog post number 811.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (42o 54.471’N, 73o 37.135’W) puts me in East Central New York:

My local landing map doubles as my watershed map:

I landed in the watershed of the Hoosic River (2nd hit); on to the Hudson (16th hit).  So.  A drop of water that falls on my landing eventually ends up in New York Harbor.  And if that drop is very lucky (it’s daytime and the drop is at the surface), and if it has eyes and a brain, it will get to see this (GE Panoramio shot by Thomas Splietker):

The Google Earth (GE) Street View coverage of my landing is excellent:

And here’s the view:

The Hoosic River runs close to my landing, and a Street View look-see is just upstream in Schaghticoke:

Looking upstream:

The dam you see was built in 1907, forming “Electric Lake” behind it.  The water was diverted to a channel that goes under the far end of the bridge and on to a hydro-electric plant – yes, way back in 1907. 

So it’s time to take a look at Schaghticoke.  From Wiki:

The Town of Schaghticoke (named after the Indian tribe of the same name) is in an area that was historically occupied by the Mohican tribe, and later by a mixed group of Mohicans and remnants of numerous New England tribes who had migrated north and west seeking to escape European encroachment.  Their societies had been disrupted due to a high rate of fatalities from new infectious diseases, to which they had no immunity.

[Note:  the State of New York has “towns” are similar to “townships” in other states.  What I would normally call the town of Schaghticoke (and is shown on my landing map) is actually a “village.”]

The Schaghticoke Indians (SKAT-i-kohk) are a Native American tribe of the Eastern Woodlands who historically consisted of Mohican, Potatuck, Weantinock, Tunxis and Podunk, peoples indigenous to what is now New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. The remnant tribes amalgamated in the area near the Connecticut-New York border after many losses.

[More about Podunk in a bit.]

In 1675, Governor Andros, governor of the colony of New York, planted a tree of Welfare near the junction of the Hoosic River and Tomhannock Creek, an area already known as Schaghticoke, “the place where the waters mingle.” This tree symbolized the friendship between the English, the Dutch, and the Schaghticoke Indians.

The junction of the Tomhannock and the Hoosic is very close to my landing:

Here’s a Street View look down the Tomhannock, right at the literal Schaghticoke – the place where waters mingle:

Here’s what Wiki has to say about the etymology of Schaghticoke:

Schaghticoke has various spellings: Pachgatgoch, Patchgatgoch, Pisgachtigok, Pishgachtigok, Scachtacook, Scaghkooke, Scanticook, Scatacook, Scaticook, Schaacticook, Scotticook, Seachcook, derived from an Algonquian word meaning “the confluence of two waterways or “gathered waters.”

I can understand that when the various decimated Indian tribes came together to form a single tribe, they needed a name.  And I think “gathered waters” is an apt choice, with both local geographic significance as well as symbolic meaning.

And it just so happens that the name they selected is complex for us English speakers, and was predictably butchered as the word was Anglicized.  But please.  Schaghticoke? 

As promised, I’ll get back to Podunk.  Obviously, it caught my eye, and I assumed that was a connection between the name of the Indian tribe and the popular use of the word “Podunk.”  And there is.

From Wiki:

The word podunk is of Algonquian origin. It denoted both the Podunk people and marshy locations, particularly the people’s winter village site in what is today central Connecticut.

The earliest known written use is from Samuel Griswold Goodrich’s 1840 book, The Politician of Podunk:

“Solomon Waxtend was a shoemaker of Podunk, a small village of New York some forty years ago.”

So there is a teeny Finger Lakes hamlet known as Podunk.  But Wiki continues:

In American discourse, the term podunk came into general colloquial use through the wide national readership of the “Letters from Podunk” of 1846, in the Daily National Pilot of Buffalo, New York. These represented “Podunk” as a real place but one insignificant and out of the way.

The term gained currency as standing for a fictional out of the way and backwards place. For examle, in 1869, Mark Twain wrote an article, “Mr. Beecher and the Clergy,” defending his friend, Thomas K. Beecher, whose preaching had come under criticism. In it he said:

“They even know it in Podunk, wherever that may be.”

JFTHOI*, I typed “podunk” into the A Landing A Day search box.  I found a couple of references to ePodunk.com, which is a community database from which I garnered some info.  But I actually used the word “podunk” twice.

                 *Just for the heck of it.

In my Camp Wood TX post (February 2016), I said this just after my Google Earth spaceflight:

Did you see what looks like a runway?  Here’s a static look:

I’ll say!  And this is no podunk grass airstrip!  It’s paved, and over a mile long.  I’m out in the middle of no where, so a paved runway makes no sense.  But as you’ll learn soon enough, I figured out the story.

And then, in my April 2015 Everglades Florida post (right after my Google Earth spaceflight in):

Zooming back a little, here’s the lay of the land nearby:

I was shocked to see an airport!  And not some podunk little thing, but a two-mile runway!  More about that later . . .

Oh my!  It’s remarkable (almost scary) how similar those two passages are.  Obviously, my brain works in predictable ways . . .

For the record, the Texas airstrip is for one of those Texas mega-ranches. 

About the Everglades airport (from my post):

This isolated airport was originally planned to be the largest airport in the world. Begun in 1968, the Everglades Jetport was to be an eight-runway airport for supersonic aircraft.  Because of environmental concerns, construction was halted after the completion of just one runway. The facility remains in use today as an aviation training facility.

Note that I fairly recently wrote about an isolated-yet-substantial airstrip in my October 2017 Trementina NM post – where the mysterious airstrip is operated by the Church of Scientology.  Somehow I wrote about it without the use of the word podunk. 

But I can’t help myself.  Here’s my just-revised piece from that post (with my revision highlighted):

So I cruised on over to GE, figuring I could find the airstrip near Trementina, and indeed I could:

Here’s a closer look at the base:

This isn’t some podunk little airport!  And looky there!  A giant symbol carved in the ground that would make Dan Brown proud (or at least curious).  We must take a closer look. . .

Enough already. It’s time to close things down with two GE Panoramio shots by Dan Campbell, taken near Schaghticoke:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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