Posted by graywacke on December 20, 2008
Never been here before? Welcome, and check out “About Landing” (or, just check out what I have to say about Madera . . .)
Dan – Phew. After a 1/6, I needed a break. And, thanks to the LG, I got one. I stayed out west, which of course, as you know, means that I landed in either TX, NM, ID or CA (note to less knowledgeable readers: these are the only four undersubscribed western states. To learn more, read “About Landing.”) And the landing was in . . . CA; 74/86; 5/10; 12; 165.1.
I landed in the Central Valley, where I’m often quite confused about watersheds. Due to the intensive farming and irrigation in the Valley, the erstwhile natural drainage patterns are often so changed, that I have a tough time figuring out where the runoff would end up. But, I figured that I landed in the watershed of Cottonwood Ck.
Just like yesterday, when I landed in the Crooked Ck watershed, I have landed in a watershed with a common name. This landing was my 16th landing in a watershed with the name of Cottonwood. I’ve had one Cottonwood River, and 15 Cottonwood Creeks. FYI, Cottonwood River is in MN.
Anyway, the Cottonwood Ck flows to a new river here at A Landing A Day (ALAD), the Fresno. The Fresno flows to the San Joaquin (6th hit), on to the Sacramento (23rd hit). The Sacramento is in 20th place, behind the Gila and in front of the Green.
So, I landed about 10 miles SW of the city of Madera, which is about 20 miles NW of Fresno on CA Rt 99. Oh my LG, the population of Madera is about 50,000!!!! As you regulars know, I think 3,000 is a big city.
I must admit that I have a negative bias about such large cities. Not that I have anything against any city, but somehow, the je-ne-sais-quoi of larger towns just doesn’t make it.
From the Madera Website:
Located in California’s Central Valley, Madera’s population in 2000 was 43,207. Estimated population in July 2006 is 54,959. (Oh, come on, if it’s an estimate, just say 55,000!!!) Madera offers affordable small-town living on the periphery of a large metropolitan area (Fresno is 18 miles south). It’s a place where families can afford spacious houses and their kids can join 4-H or play sports a few blocks from home.
Check out the logo above (paying particular attention to the two trees). Now, read on . . .
California Trivia: What’s the story behind the Palm Tree and the Redwood?
The word “Madera” means, “wood” in Spanish. The City was originally named for its timber-based economy. But, drive six miles north of the San Joaquin River on Highway 99 and you’ll notice an odd couple in the center divider: a palm tree paired up with an evergreen.
Legend has it that this marks the divide between Southern California (the palm tree) and Northern California (the evergreen). While no one has been able to verify the origin of the trees, a public outcry went up in the late 1980s, when the trees were nearly bulldozed to make room for Highway 99. Cal-Trans relented, and the trees remain a symbolic reminder of Madera’s place in the exact center of the state.
Here’s a map (showing that, in fact, Madera is pretty much in the middle of the State):
Of course, I had to find a picture of the actual pine tree and palm tree. Well, here ’tis:
Here’s the write-up accompanying the above photo:
These two trees, called the “Palm and the Pine” (or is it the “Pine and the Palm”?) are in the center median of Highway 99, five miles south of downtown Madera. They are the symbolic dividing line between Northern and Southern California. The pine is actually a deodar cedar.
I read in the news that the pine fell over in a storm last winter. I also saw a photo of what it looked like before then and the pine was twice as tall than the one in this photo. If you look closely at this photo you will see guy wires holding the pine. Notice, too, a new section of guardrail. Looks like the other pine may have damaged the guardrail when it fell.
Here’s a view when the pine was bigger:
Here’s a great picture of new arrivals to Madera in 1945 (recently released from one of the WWII Japanese detention centers):
I partilcularly like the kids in front!
At first, I just thought the following picture was good to include here, just to show you what the mountainous country side west of Madera looks like:
Then I find out that this is where Steve Fossett’s plane crashed . . .
The caption for this picture:
This 10/31/08 photo was received courtesy of the Madera County Sheriff’s Department showing the Steve Fossett crash site in Madera, California. US investigators in California looking into the disappearance of millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett have found bones and other personal items near to where his mangled plane was discovered. Bones, a pair of sports shoes, credit cards and Steve Fossett’s Illinois state driver’s license were found.
Here’s a picture of the Fresno River near Madera. You could’ve fooled me!! If I had to guess if this were in the Northeast or CA, I’d go with with Northeast, no doubt!
That’ll have to do . . .
© 2008 A Landing A Day