First timer? In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above. To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”
Landing number 2291; A Landing A Day blog post number 721.
Dan: Wow. Seventy-five landings since starting my new way of getting random lat/longs, and now 10 landings in Texas! 10/75 = 13.3% The area of Texas divided by the area of the lower 48 = 268,600/3,061,600 = 8.8% The more mathematically inclined of my readers can readily see that I should have landed in Texas about 8.8% x 75 = 6.6 times. So Texas is seriously oversubscribed (i.e., is an OSer), and my Score went up – from 693 to 699.
It’s time for my regional landing map:
And my local landing map:
Not surprisingly, I’m in a fairly arid region, with not much in the way of flowing streams. Here’s all I could get from my local streams-only map:
I’m not sure, but I’ll say that I’m in the watershed of the Twentymile Waterhole; on to the Middle Valley Prong. Are these stream names? I do know that my drainage heads to the northeast, so maybe . . .
Zooming back a little:
I know that I’m in the San Saba River watershed; I’ll assume that the Middle Valley Prong discharges to San Saba River (5th hit, making the San Saba the 164th river on my list of rivers with five or more hits); on to the Colorado River (28th hit). The Colorado (not THE Colorado), flows southeast across Texas and discharges into the Gulf of Mexico.
It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) space flight. Last landing, I started with upside-down Australia. I thought I’d try upside-down Africa this time around. Click HERE, enjoy the trip, and then hit your back button.
I didn’t end up with decent Street View coverage for my landing spot, but I could get a look at my drainage pathway (Twentymile Waterhole?). Here’s the Street View map:
And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:
Hmmm. Not a lot of water . . .
I had to go to Ft. McKavett (about 20 miles NE of my landing) to get a look at the San Saba River. Here’s what the Orange Dude can see:
Do you see what I see? No guard rails! No barrier to keep you from driving into the river! Here’s another view:
Wow. Amazing. Vive le Texas! If you drive into the river it’s your own damn fault!
Notice how the road stays low to the river. This is new construction – I suspect that it’s designed so that the water goes over the road during a flood. That would be a reason for no guard rails. I wonder if there’s going to be a warning system for when the river flows over the road?
Time to take a close look at my five towns. First, Sonora. Well, Dan Blocker (“Hoss” on the TV show Bonanza) taught high school in Sonora before he made his way to Hollywood. It turns out that I featured Dan when I landed in DeKalb, Texas (where he was born), so if you want to read about Hoss, type DeKalb in the search box and check it out. Just for the heck of it, here’s a Wiki picture:
More about Sonora from the Handbook of Texas (from the Texas State Historical Society):
About 1885, Charlie Adams, a rancher and merchant from Fort McKavett, settled on four sections of land two miles north of Winkler’s Well. He named the site Sonora, after a family servant from Sonora, Mexico.
[He named the town after the home town of his family’s servant! How about that!]
Adams offered free lots in his town, which in 1890 was selected as the county seat. The community comprised eighteen houses, three stores, two livery stables, two hotels, a combined schoolhouse and Masonic lodge, and fourteen tents.
Wow. Free lots! It was a different time. I’m glad they mentioned the fourteen tents (apparently for the poorer folks who couldn’t afford to build a house on their free lots).
So how about Fort McKavett (where Charlie was from)? From the Texas Historical Commission:
Standing atop a windswept remote hill, the remains of a 150-year-old West Texas fort beckon curious visitors to the site that is now considered one of the best preserved and most intact examples of a Texas Indian Wars (1850–1875) military post.
We need some pics. From the Texas Historical Commission is this 1890 shot, with the caption below:
Fort McKavett, circa 1890, after civilians had moved into the buildings of the abandoned post and established a town named after the fort. The photograph appears to have been taken from atop the two-story commanding officer’s quarters. The building in the center of the photo is on the end of “lieutenants’ row,” the main parade ground is beyond, and the post headquarters building is in the upper right corner. Photo courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife.
From the same website, here’s what’s there now:
And this GE Panramio shot by Joe Fu:
How about Elderado? TexasEscapes.com (History in a Pecan Shell) tells us that Eldorado was named after “the mythical city.” Hmmm. What mythical city would that be? Well, here are excerpts from a Nat Geo article by Willie Drye. (This is a little long, but well worth the read):
The lust for gold spans all eras, races, and nationalities. To possess any amount of gold seems to ignite an insatiable desire to obtain more.
Through the centuries, this passion gave rise to the enduring tale of a city of gold. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Europeans believed that somewhere in the New World there was a place of immense wealth known as El Dorado. Their searches for this treasure wasted countless lives, drove at least one man to suicide, and put another man under the executioner’s ax.
The origins of El Dorado lie deep in South America. And like all enduring legends, the tale of El Dorado contains some scraps of truth. When Spanish explorers reached South America in the early 16th century, they heard stories about a tribe of natives high in the Andes mountains in what is now Colombia.
When a new chieftain rose to power, his rule began with a ceremony at Lake Guatavita. Accounts of the ceremony vary, but they consistently say the new ruler was covered with gold dust, and that gold and precious jewels were thrown into the lake to appease a god that lived underwater.
The Spaniards started calling this golden chief El Dorado, “the gilded one.” The Spaniards and other Europeans had found so much gold among the natives along the continent’s northern coast that they believed there had to be a place of great wealth somewhere in the interior.
The Spaniards didn’t find El Dorado, but they did find Lake Guatavita and tried to drain it in 1545. They lowered its level enough to find hundreds of pieces of gold along the lake’s edge. But the presumed fabulous treasure in the deeper water was beyond their reach.
English courtier Sir Walter Raleigh made two trips to search for El Dorado. During his second trip in 1617, he sent his son, Watt Raleigh, with an expedition up the Orinoco River. But Walter Raleigh, then an old man, stayed behind at a base camp on the island of Trinidad. The expedition was a disaster, and Watt Raleigh was killed in a battle with Spaniards. Walter Raleigh was furious at the survivor who informed him of Watt’s death and accused the survivor of letting his son be killed. After the confrontation with Raleigh, the man committed suicide.
Raleigh returned to England, where King James ordered him beheaded for, among other things, disobeying orders to avoid conflict with the Spanish.
Here’s a map to put some geography in perspective:
By the way, it’s about 1,000 miles from Trinidad to Guatavita Lake . . .
Here’s a little about Sir Walter Raleigh (from Wiki):
Sir Walter Raleigh (circa 1554 – 29 October 1618) was an English landed gentleman, writer, poet, soldier, politician, courtier, spy, and explorer. He is also well known for popularizing tobacco in England.
Raleigh was instrumental in the English colonization of North America and was granted a royal patent to explore Virginia, which paved the way for future English settlements.
He funded and organized two expeditions to North America (although he himself never went). The second resulted in the ill-fated “lost colony” on Roanoke Island, NC. His hoped-for New World income never materialized, and he instead turned to a search for El Dorado.
Here’s a picture of SWR on a tobacco tin:
Oh yea. Regular readers may recall my Colorado City, Arizona landing that featured the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (the Mormon group who still practices plural marriage.) Their temple happens to be in Eldorado (pic from Wiki):
And now, Roosevelt. From the Texas State Historical Society (TexasEscapes.com):
Roosevelt, located just off I-10 in Kimble County, was established with a post office in 1898 and was named by its founder, W. B. Wagoner, for Theodore Roosevelt, who reportedly visited the area with the famous Rough Riders.
In the 1920s the community hosted polo matches, as local ranchers bred polo ponies for national markets as well as horses for the United States Cavalry.
[Polo? In Texas??]
The population of Roosevelt, estimated at twenty-five in 1925, averaged 100 from 1941 through the middle 1980s. The population dropped to fourteen in 2000
The center of town’s main (only?) attraction is the Simon Brothers Mercantile. From Zeekboots post on Reddit:
Here’s a very brief You Tube video tour of the store by RichMoto1:
Now it’s Bing Futch’s turn. You gotta check out this You Tube video, with lyrics below:
Simon Brothers Mercantile by Bing Futch.
Way down in Kimble County on U.S. 2-9-0
Clay Simon’s got a mercantile, he’ll greet you at the door
’bout everything and anything is there under one roof
we stopped in and got some pictures in case you needed proof
well Roosevelt is hot as hell but them Texas townsfolk sure are swell
they serve up country charm with a smile
there’s ice cold beers and souvenirs and camouflage for hunting deers
feel free to sit a spell and stay a while
at ye old Simon Brothers Mercantile
in 1898 it was a post office, no more
they started sellin’ groceries in 1924
now look, there is a feed store and a hardware store today
you can even get a fresh-cooked meal at the Back Door Cafe
on aisle one there’s dogfood, coffee, dungarees and pans
on aisle two there’s crab boil, corned beef, Chili Quick in cans
on aisle three there’s soap and candles, saws and Ginsu Knives
on aisle four there’s tackle, buck urine and bullseyes
you’ll find motor oil and shower heads on aisle five for sale
and here’s a fact, way in the back, they’re even raisin’ quail
when you’re ridin’ 10 through Texas and you need to stop for gas
this here is an establishment that you should never pass
without stepping out your vehicle and checking out this store
down in Roosevelt, the zipcode 76874
It’s time (finally!) for some GE Pano shots from near my landing. Near Sonora are the Sonora Caverns. Here’s a shot by Dallas 1959:
I’ll close with this shot of a semi on I-10 just south of my landing (by dssup):
That’ll do it . . .
© 2016 A Landing A Day