A Landing a Day

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Archive for February, 2009

Ajo, Arizona

Posted by graywacke on February 28, 2009

First timer? In this once-a-day 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 and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” above.

Dan –  After three eastern states in a row (IN, NY, FL), it’s about time to head out west.  Any chance for a western USer?  Well, sure, there’s a chance, but not this time . . . AZ; 71/62; 4/10; 4; 166.4. 

For the second time, I landed in the San Simon Wash watershed, on to the Rio Sonoyta (2nd hit); on to the PO.  The San Simon Wash doesn’t flow into the Rio Sonoyta until it’s south of the border.  It turns out that the Rio Sonoyta is the only Mexican watershed in which I’ve landed.

It wasn’t so long ago that I landed in AZ (remember Cibola?)  This time, I landed near Ajo.  Now, before I go on, I must stop those of you who just mispronounced Ajo.  It’s not “aye-ho.”  It’s “ah-ho.”  Repeat after me:  “ah-ho.”

Here’s my landing map:


Stepping back a little, here’s a broader view.  Today’s landing is in S-Cen AZ (N32/W112).  AZ looks OS, doesn’t it (especially SW AZ)?


Before moving on to the Ajo, let me return to the landing map.  Notice the little town of “Why” south of Ajo?  From Wiki:

The unusual name of the town comes from the fact that the two major highways, State Routes 85 and 86, intersect in a Y-intersection. The town’s founders wanted to name it simply “Y.”  However, Arizona law required all city names to have at least three letters, so the decision was made to name the town “Why”.



Here’s a little information about how Ajo got it’s name (from jeff.scott.tripod.com):

A similarity between the sound of the Papago Indian word for this locality and the Spanish word ajo (“garlic”) for many years led to misunderstanding concerning the origin of the name of present day Ajo.

The Papago Indians used au’auho (“paint”) in connection with mines at Ajo because the ores were a source of red paint which the Papagos used to decorate themselves. This was so noted by one of the earliest American travelers in the region.

Nevertheless, the fact that the Mexican miners pronounced the word without the double pronunciation of the au of the Papago resulted in a word that sounded much like ajo. This, added to the fact that the Ajo lily (the root of which looks and tastes much like a spring onion) grows abundantly in this area, led to the belief that the locality was named Ajo because of the wild lilies.

So, you noticed that mining is mentioned.  Well, just like Ruth NV (remember “her”?), Ajo is a mining town built around a huge open-pit copper mine.  It has been closed for quite some time.  Here’s a picture:


And here’s a Google Earth view of the mine:


Google Earth, again, a little further back, showing the town of Ajo just north of the mine:


The name of the mine is the “New Cornelia.”  From Wiki:

Around 1800, there was a Spanish mine here nicknamed “The Old Bat Hole.” It was later abandoned due to Indian raids. The first Anglo in Ajo, Tom Childs, arrived in 1847 and found the deserted mine complete with a 60-foot shaft, mesquite ladders, and rawhide buckets. High-grade native copper (so rich it was shipped to Wales for smelting) made Ajo the first copper mine in Arizona.

John Greenway bought the New Cornelia Copper Mine for the Calumet and Arizona Co. about 1911 and expanded it on a grand scale. In 1921, Phelps Dodge, the nation’s largest copper company, bought New Cornelia. For several decades, more than 1,000 men worked for Phelps Dodge in the open pit mine. The mine closed in 1983, following a bitter strike and a depressed copper market.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is near Ajo.  Here are some pictures of (what else?) cacti:





From Zullophoto.com (courtesy of Frank Zullo):  wonderful pictures taken in the vicinity of Ajo (including captions):


On one piece of film, the sun was exposed at 8:30 AM on 37 different
days for one year. The figure 8 analemma is due to the sun’s north-
south seasonal shift, and its running ahead of and behind the clock.
I then superimposed that into the dawn scene from Ajo, Arizona.


A late dusk view can give the impression
of Earth’s atmosphere serving as a buffer
between us and the blackness of space,
as seen here with the Big Dipper over
Locomotive Rock near Ajo, Arizona


The setting moon appears much like a sunset
due to the thick desert air over Organ Pipe
Cactus National Monument, Arizona. This late
springtime scene is framed by a saguaro
cactus in bloom and includes Jupiter at center



© 2009 A Landing A Day

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Okeelanta, Florida

Posted by graywacke on February 27, 2009

First timer? In this once-a-day 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 and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” above.

Dan –  Today I landed in the state that’s #2 on the USer list, behind TX.  I suspect you can guess that the state is . . . FL; 24/36; 4/10; 3; 165.8. 

I’ll jump right to my landing map, because that’ll give you some insight about the difficulty of watershed tracking:


Although it’s just off the above map, there’s a north-south waterway to the west of my landing – the Miami Canal (4th hit), which drains Lake Okeechobee.  The Miami Canal flows to the Miami R (also 4th hit).  No readily-defined watersheds divides here!

Stepping back a little, you can see the relationship between my landing, the lake, and the Gold Coast:


You see that I landed closest to the apparently-nothing town of Okeelanta.  It turns out I don’t need to use the “apparently.”  From ghosttowns.com:

Okeelanta was a planned community, started in 1913 by Thomas Will and ostensibly owned and operated under the business name Okeelanta Corporation. The name itself was derived from a combination of Okeechobee and Atlantic. It was meant to become a model example of how the Everglades could be made into successful farming land.

Despite many problems such as floods, freezes, wild animals and mosquitoes, by 1920 Okeelanta had 200 residents, a school and town hall.  Irish potatoes, corn, beans, tomatoes, and eggplant were grown and shipped out.  After surviving more problems thru the 1920s, Okeelanta was flooded and destroyed by the Hurricane of 1928.  Thomas Will attempted to rebuild and re-start the community, however due to lack of financial backing The Okeelanta Corporation soon declared bankruptcy and the town was finished.

By the way, the intricate pattern of canals shown in my landing map were all dug to drain the original Everglades swamp for agriculture.  My, have the times changed.  Today (at least in NJ), the government won’t let anybody mess with a 10′ x 10′ wet area designated as a wetlands!!

Let me look into the Hurricane of 1928.  Ouch.  It was nasty. I’ll start with the hurricane’s track:


Here’s a picture of a monument at a mass grave for black victims in West Palm Beach.  The caption is below:

 Hurricane Mass Grave Marker

On September 16, 1928, a hurricane came ashore near the Jupiter Lighthouse and traveled west across Palm Beach County to Lake Okeechobee. This deadly hurricane destroyed hundreds of buildings and left millions of dollars in property damage.  Many of the 1,800 to 3,000 fatalities occurred when the Lake Okeechobee dike collapsed, flooding the populated south side of the lake.  Approximately 1,600 victims were buried in a mass grave in Port Mayaca in Martin County.

In West Palm Beach, 69 white victims were placed in a mass grave in Woodlawn cemetery and approximately 674 black victims were buried in the mass grave (monument pictured above) in the City’s pauper’s burial field at Tamarind Avenue and 25th Street.  Many others were never found.

On September 30, 1928, the City proclaimed an hour of mourning for the victims with memorial rites conducted simultaneously at each of the burial sites.  Two thousand persons attended the ceremonies at the pauper’s cemetery, where noted black educator and activist Mary McLeod Bethune (1876-1955) read the Mayor’s proclamation.  The mass grave at Woodlawn Cemetery was subsequently identified by a marker.

Here are a series of pictures from the 1928 hurricane featuring Belle Glade, located just north of Okeelanta.  First, this from the hurricane’s aftermath:


And this Belle Glade street scene:


And this picture of coffins just delivered to Belle Glade:


Here’s a monument in Belle Glade:


 And now, for a change of pace, some nice pictures from the nearby Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.  First a Loxahatchee sunrise:

Loxahatchee Sunrise

Then, this cool perspective shot:


Followed by the got-to-have-it alligator shot:


And then, to finish things off, this sunset . . .


Later  . . .



© 2009 A Landing A Day

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Kentland, Indiana

Posted by graywacke on February 26, 2009

First timer? In this once-a-day 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 and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” above.

Dan –  After 4 OSers in a row, the LG smiled upon me, as I landed in an eastern USer . . . IN; 14/20; 4/10; 2; 166.5. 

For those of you who are paying close attention, today’s landing is the first time my new rule (about 4/10+ vs. 4/10-) made a difference.   Don’t know what I’m talking about?  Start with “About Landing,” and then check out my February 11th, Cibola, Arizona post.

Moving right along . . . I landed in a first-time-ever string of three named ditches.  Oh, so I’ve had many named ditches before, but never three of them.  Only once before did I have as many as two named ditches . . . 

So, the three ditches?  I landed in the Talley Ditch watershed; on to the Morrison Ditch; on to the Montgomery Ditch.  Then, for the second time, I landed in the Iroquois R watershed (2nd hit); on to the Kankakee (3rd hit); on to the Illinois (14th hit); on to the MM.

I landed inside the triangle formed by three small IN towns:  Kentland (closest to my landing); Goodland and Earl Park.  Here’s my landing map:


Stepping back, there’s quite the cluster of landings south of Lake Michigan right on the IL/IN line (today’s is the one on top):


So, I hopped on the Kentland IN website (as well as Wiki, of course), and two things caught my eye.  First, the Kentland website had links to the “Pythian Sisters.”  Hmm. . . sounds like an unusual name for some sort of civic group.  So, a little research indicates that they are the female arm of the “Knights of Pythias.”  The Knights are a secret Fraternal Order with a membership of over 50,000 good Pythians.  From their website, an overview:

The Fraternal Order of Knights of Pythias and its members are dedicated to the cause of universal peace. Pythians are pledged to the promotion of understanding among men of good will as the surest means of attaining Universal Peace.

Sounds good to me.  I also found a list of prominent members, from Wiki:

Hugo Black, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

William Jennings Bryan – U.S. Senator from Nebraska

Benjamin Cardozo U.S. Supreme Court Justice

Warren G. Harding – U.S. President

Hubert Horatio Humphrey – U.S. Vice President

William McKinley – U.S. President

Nelson A. Rockefeller – U.S. Vice President

Franklin D. Roosevelt – U.S. President

Charles Schumer– U.S. Senator

Robert Byrd– U.S. Senator

Anthony Weiner– U.S. Congressman

Peter T. King– U.S. Congressman

President Abraham Lincoln had applied to be a member but was not able to be initiated because of his assassination.

Of much greater interest to me is the fact that there is an ancient meteor crater known as the Kentland crater.  Wow.  It doesn’t get much cooler for a geologist.  Evidently, the area was quarried back in the 1880s, and eventually some geologists were poking around and noticed a bunch of very strange things that one wouldn’t expect in and amongst the flat sedimentary strata of Indiana, like steeply-dipping (tilted) bedrock.

At first, evidently, the best theory had something to do with a volcano.  But in the 1960s, geologists finally figured out that it must be an impact crater.  Specifically, “shatter cones” were found, which are small geologic features that only form under impact craters.  (They are conical in in shape, and range in size up to a couple of meters.)

Geologists know that the impact occurred no earlier than 97 million years ago, but they’ve been having trouble coming up with a more accurate age, much less a reasonable youngest age (besides sometimes before the relatively recent glacial epoch). 

Here’s a geologic map that shows the deformed rock caused by the impact.  Wow, it stretches all the way from Kentland to Goodland:


How about that!!  My landing was in the crater, almost right in the middle!!

To show how common (or rare, depending on your perspective) impact craters are, here’s a map showing a bunch of them in the U.S.    Kentland is #29.

impact craters


Here’s a picture of “Mr. Meteor”, Steve Koppes, holding a shatter cone from the Kentland Crater.  The Kentland quarry is in the background.  The picture’s caption is below:


Steve with a shatter cone on a visit to the Kentland impact structure in Indiana. Shatter cones are caused by the shock of a meteorite impact and are usually found near the center of large impact structures. The Kentland crater is no more than 97 million years old. Now heavily eroded and being worked as a quarry, the crater originally measured approximately eight miles in diameter.

Steve is the author of the book “Killer Rocks from Outer Space.”  Click here to go to his website.

Moving right along . . . I couldn’t find out much about Goodland, but Earl Park has a robust local website.  Here’s a blurb:

Earl Park is a town located in Richland township, Benton County Indiana. Founded in 1872, the community was named for Adams Earl, landowner and developer. Current population approximately 500. Elevation 798 ft.

I, for one, am happy to know the town’s elevation. 

Here’s a circa 1900 picture of the Earl Park jail (aka “calaboose.”)  Nasty looking place, eh? It turns out “calaboose” is a Lousiana Cajun version of the Spanish word calabozo, or dungeon.


And here’s a street scene with a handsome couple in a handsome hansom.  Oh, all right, so it’s not a hansom (a hansom has only two wheels).  I just couldn’t resist.

 Earl Park

It turns out that an early aviatrix was born in Earl Park.  Here’s a picture and a write-up:

matilde moisant story


Wow.  She was one shapely woman!  A couple of more interesting tidbits: 

  • Her plane crash in Texas occurred on the same day the Titanic sank.
  • Her brother John was a pilot who was killed in a crash in 1910; Matilde’s parents made her promise to give up flying.  She vowed that her flight in Wichita Falls (the one that crashed) would be her last (and it was).
  • She defied a ban on Sunday flying, and was chased across the Long Island countryside by the police, who arrested her.  She was released with no charges by a sympathetic judge who declared that flying a plane on Sunday was no worse than driving a car on Sunday.



© 2009 A Landing A Day

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Boonville, New York

Posted by graywacke on February 25, 2009

First timer? In this once-a-day 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 and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” above.

Dan –  Oh oh.  Four in a row.  And this finally took me down to 3/10.  The OSer?  One of those eastern ones . . . NY; 32/27; 3/10; 1; 167.2.

A new river, the East Branch of the Mohawk, which not surprisingly flows to the Mohawk (4th hit), on to the Hudson (15th hit), on past Manhattan Island into New York Harbor, under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, and out to the AO.

I landed near the town of Boonville.  From Wiki:

Boonville is a village in Oneida County, NY.  The population was 2,138 at the 2000 census.  The Village of Boonville is within the Town of Boonville in the northern part of Oneida County, north of Utica, New York.

So, let me get this straight.  If you live in the Village of Boonville, you also live in the Town of Boonville.  This is similar, yet different, from how they name local municipalities in NJ.  I live in Hopewell Township, NJ.  Hopewell Borough is a town that is surrounded by Hopewell Townshiop.  But here, if you live in the Borough of Hopewell, you would never say that you also live in Hopewell Township.  Local politics are so confusing . . .

Here’s my landing map:


And a broader view:


Get this, a local Boonville website has this to say about local watersheds:


The town of Boonville, which consists of 4400 residents, is nestled in the divide between the Mohawk River and Black River on the southeastern portion of the Tug Hill Plateau in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains.

 This is the second time recently that a local webside clued me in to a watershed divide (remember Island Pond?).  But I must quibble with the use of the word “nestled” along with “divide.”  I mean, really, a divide is always on some sort of ridge or hill, and is not generally a place that one nestles.

Anyway, here’s a map where I marked in the watershed.  To the west of the line, water ends up in the Black River, on past my birthplace of Watertown NY, on to Lake Ontario, to the St. Lawrence, to the North Atlantic.  To the east of the line, as mentioned previously, the water ends up in the Hudson River.

Kind of funny how I had to put a little extra wiggle in the line to avoid my lat/long marker . .  . Notice how subtle this divide is – I bet that the topography is unremarkable (unlike the Continental Divide).  No doubt many people have lived on this divide and never knew it!


Anyway, back to Wiki:

Boonville is named after Gerrit Boon.  In 1792, he bought 30,000 acres (120 km2) in Western NY.  Boon first settled in the town of Trenton, New York, where he founded the village now known as Barneveld.  Also the Village of Boonville and the Town of Boonville in Oneida County, New York are named after him.

Boon had a budget of $30,000 (approximately $4 million in today’s dollars) to hire carpenters, masons and other workmen to create a village for the affluent.  Boon’s efforts were unsuccessful due in part to incomplete knowledge of the region and bad luck. He built a dam and a mill that were washed away by flood waters in 1797.

That’s it?  So this Boon guy had a bunch of money to spend, and he bought 30,000 acres.  He had still more money, and decided he would build a town for rich guys.  But, he totally blew it.  And then, after all that, they named Boonville after him?  Oh, well . . .

Boonville is in the infamous “Snow Belt,” which averages about 200 inches of snow per year.  It turns out that a nasty snowstorm hit Boonville sometime way back in the day.  Here’s a picture:


And then, another storm hit in 1920 (the year both of my parents were born).  Here’s a picture:


And then, there was another nasty storm in 1943.  Here are a couple of pictures:



OK, so in the summer, there’s no snow.  Here’s a 1920’s postcard of Main Street:


Here’s another back-in-the day shot, showing a crowd gathering for a greased pole climb (with the caption below):


The crowd gathered for a greased pole climb between Erwin Library and Park Hotel in Boonville

And here’s a shot from the Boonville fair in 1910:


So, what happens in Boonville today?  They build a beautiful covered bridge right in a park in the town.  Here’s a picture of the new bridge:

 boonville covered bridge

You’ll notice that I actually landed closer to West Leyden than I did to Boonville.  Here’s a very cool back-in-the-day shot:


 That’ll do it . . .



© 2009 A Landing A Day

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Wright, Wyoming

Posted by graywacke on February 24, 2009

First timer? In this once-a-day 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 and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” above.

Dan –  Harumph.  My third OSer in a row, this time in the heart of WBer-land . . . WY; 60/53; 4/10; 22; 167.1. 

For the second time, I landed in the Black Thunder Ck watershed (great name!); on to the Cheyenne R (15th hit); on to the Missouri.

My first Black Thunder Ck landing was a mere ¾ of a miles from today’s landing, as shown on my landing map:


Here’s a broader view:


These nearby landings have prompted me to do a little mathematical calculation about the average distance between lat/long markers on my StreetAtlas map.  Here goes.  First, there are 883 lat/long markers on the map (I didn’t save the markers until landing 778, and today’s landing is 1661.  1661 – 778 = 883). 

The area of the Lower 48 (in square miles) is 3,061,636.  This equates to 3,061,636/883 = 3,467 square miles for each landing.  The square root of 3,467 is 59, which means that on the average, each lat/long marker is in the middle of a box that is 59 miles on a side!!

So, ¾ of a mile is mighty close!!

As can be seen on the landing map, both landings were near the town of Wright.  The prior landing was in March 2008.  Dan, here’s my email to you from back then:

Dan –  Oy vey (or however you spell it); WY; 49/44; 2/10; 3; 177.8.  This was my third hit in Campbell County, for crying out loud.  Anyway, I landed in the Cheyenne R watershed (14th hit), on to the Missouri.  I landed near Wright, which is a highly unusual town:

Wright, Wyoming

Welcome to Wright!  On behalf of our staff and citizens, I want to introduce you to our town.  Situated on the Thunder Basin National Grasslands in northeastern Wyoming, Wright is one of our state’s newest communities.  When the coal industry expanded in Campbell County in the late 1970’s, housing the workforce and their families brought about the creation of the Town of Wright.

Since then, our community has grown to a population of approximately 2,000 people.  The people of Wright are proud of the fact they play an important role in providing the energy that runs our nations homes, factories, shops, and businesses.

We encourage you to come visit us.  Spend a day or night enjoying a high school sports activity.  Experience the food and fun during our Wright Days celebration held each summer.  You can literally watch the buffalo roam the Durham Ranch located just north of Wright.  Or better yet, stop by and just “shoot the breeze” over a hot cup of coffee.

We love our town and are proud of who we are.  Take a look around our website and see why Wright is so special.

By the way, I landed in the Black Thunder Creek watershed, obviously home to the Black Thunder Mines.

Back to today’s post . . .

Here’s some more information about the Black Thunder Coal Mine from Wiki:

The Black Thunder Coal Mine is a surface coal mine in the U.S. state of Wyoming, located in the Powder River Basin which contains one of the largest deposits of coal in the world. Black Thunder is the most productive mine in the United States and one of the largest in the world. In 2006, the mine produced 92.7 million short tons of coal nearly 20 percent of Wyoming’s total coal production, and higher than 23 other individual coal producing states.

The mine was opened in 1977, and run by ARCO Coal until it was acquired in 1998 by Arch Coal.  For most of its existence, Black Thunder has been the largest mine in the country, but it was briefly surpassed by the adjacent North Antelope Rochelle Mine. It regained the title again in 2004 after Arch Coal purchased the North Rochelle mine and consolidated the operations.

The following photo and caption are from a January 9, 2009 AP story:

 Black thunder

In this April 30, 2007 file photo, a shovel prepares to dump a load of coal into a 320-ton truck at the Black Thunder Mine in Wright,Wyoming.  North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Nebraska and Wyoming have prospered in recent years because of an abundance of energy, agriculture, or both, and all five states have the lowest unemployment rates in the country. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File)

And some more pictures (with their captions):


Coal, dirt, and flames spout from the earth as miners blast and load coal at Arco’s Black Thunder Coal Mine near Wright, Wyoming.


A crane empties coal into a dump truck that holds fifty tons at Arco’s Black Thunder Coal Mine near Wright, Wyoming.

 Here’s a wider view of the mine:


 Here’s a big truck.  To get an idea of the scale, look at the ladder that one has to climb to get in the cab.


Here’s a more natural shot (of some elk)  outside of Wright:


That’ll do it . . .



© 2009 A Landing A Day

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Cecil, Wisconsin

Posted by graywacke on February 23, 2009

First timer? In this once-a-day 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 and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” above.

Dan –  For the fourth time in the last 21 landings (which is at a crazily-OS rate), I landed in . . . WI; 33/30; 5/10; 21; 166.1.  I broke out of my every-other-landing pattern of OSers and USers, with two OSers in a row. 

For the second time, I landed in the Oconto R watershed, which flows to Lake Michigan (right at the town of Oconto, WI); on to the St. Lawrence (76th hit).

I landed near the town of Cecil (pop about 500), perched at the eastern end of Shawano Lake (and also not far from Gillett, pop 1,300).  Here’s the landing map:


Just a few landings ago (7, to be more precise), you’ll recall that I landed in Denmark, the home of Steve’s Cheese, the mammoth cheese maker.  You’ll also recall that I wasn’t far from Green Bay and all of those Packers fans (I landed about 15 miles SE of Green Bay).  Well, I’m still deep in Packers country, as I landed about 25 miles NW of Green Bay.  Here’s a map that shows today’s landing and the Denmark landing:


This is going to be one of those “a little of this, a little of that” posts.  Starting with Cecil:


Here’s Main Street in Cecil:


Here’s a picture of a distinguished elderly gent from Cecil, Eugene Piotrowski:


The caption mentions that he is a member of the “World Concertina Congress Hall of Fame (2007), and that he is playing a Chemnitzer concertina. 

From Wiki:

A Chemnitzer concertina is an accordian-like instrument of the type sometimes called a squeezebox.


It is roughly square in cross-section, with cylindrical push buttons on each end arranged in rows.  The instrument is bisonoric, meaning that each button corresponds to two notes: one when the bellows is compressed, and another when it is expanded. On most instruments, two or more (and as many as five) reeds sound for each note. The tones produced are either in octaves, unison, or in some combination thereof.

Strictly speaking, the Chemnitzer layout is one of 38, 39, 51 or 52 buttons, or one of the American expanded versions of the 52-button system. Especially in English-speaking countries, the term Chemnitzer is frequently applied to any of the square German concertinas that are not Bandonions.

Make sure you don’t confuse your Bandonions with your Chemnitzers!  As with so many things, there’s a whole world surrounding subjects that most of us don’t even think about.

Moving on to Gillett.  As opposed to Cecil, where I could find nothing on the origin of its name, here’s some info about Gillett:

Rodney Gillett, for whom the community was named, was born in Albany, New York in 1833. His parents moved to Pennsylvania, then to Illinois, and later to Minnesota. Rodney did not go to Minnesota with them, but chose to go to northern Wisconsin where he worked in Shawano and Oconto. He liked the area halfway between Shawano and Oconto; and after his marriage in 1858 to Mary Roblee of Clayton, Wisconsin, he came here with his wife to make a new home. He owned a yoke of oxen, a cow, and a few pieces of furniture. Mrs. Gillett was the first white woman to settle in Gillett Center, as it was then called.

Here’s a wonderful picture of a Gillett butcher shop circa 1900:


Here’s the caption:

Tittel: Olaf Petersons slaktebutikk
Beskrivelse: Interiør av Olaf Petersons slakterbutikk i Gillett, Wisconsin, ca. 1900.
Emneord: Interiør
Relaterte steder: Gillett, Wisconsin
Datering: 1900


Just a little bit of on-line research has revealed that the Norwegian word for butcher is “slakte” and the Norwegian word for shop is “butikk.” 

There used to be a “bottle works” in Gillett, and here is one of their products:


And now, to Shawano Lake.  First a great shot from a cabin rental website, heavenonshawano.com:


There’s apparently incredible muskie fishing.  From Curt’s Guide Service (with the caption below):


Andy with his biggest Shawano Lake fish to date, a beautiful Fatty 48″!

And I’ll finish with this shot of a sunset over Shawano Lake from the Cecil Fireside Inn:




© 2009 A Landing A Day

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Island Pond, Vermont

Posted by graywacke on February 22, 2009

First timer? In this once-a-day 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 and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” above.

Dan –  Well, the pattern continues.  With zer0s for OSers and ones for USers (like in my landing spreadsheet), the pattern is 1-0-1-0-1-0-1-0.  Today’s OSer?  One of those little eastern states that just happen to be OS . . . VT; 7/5; 6; 20; 165.5.  As you know, its little neighbor NH is even more OS (10/5).

For the second time, I landed in the Nulhegan R watershed; on to the Connecticut (10th hit); on to the AO.  You’ll see the other Nulhegan landing in my landing map:


As you can see, I landed just southeast of Island Pond.  Looks absolutely delightful.  I’ll be checking it out . . .

But first, stepping back a bit, you’ll see the little cluster of three hits way up in far NE VT.  Today’s the northwestern-most landing in VT (N44 / W71):


From one of Island Pond’s website comes the information that the original name of Island Pond is “Random.”  Fancy that, I performed a random landing exercise, and I landed near the town of Random, Vermont. 

Moving right along, I’ll start with a back-in-the-day (1864) shot of the Village.  Back then, it was a bustling logging / railroad center (and doesn’t look very touristy):


Things have mellowed since then.  Here’s an artist’s rendition of the Village (from the Village website):


Here’s a shot of the island in Island Pond:


And a winter shot of the village:


The Village website touts Island Pond as the “Gateway to the Northeast Kingdom.”  Evidently, the Northeast Kingdom refers to the northeast corner of VT.  From Wiki:

The Northeast Kingdom is a term used to describe the northeast corner of the U.S. state of Vermont, comprising Essex, Orleans and Caledonia Counties. In Vermont, the written term “NEK” is often used. The term is attributed to the late George D. Aiken, former Governor of Vermont (1937-1941) and a U.S. Senator at the time of a 1949 speech, the first recorded use of the term. The area is often referred to by Vermonters simply as “The Kingdom.”

Here’s a map showing the location of the Kingdom (in dark green):


Here are a series of photos of Lake Willoughby, in the heart of the Kingdom, about 10 miles west of my landing:






And this one, where the lake is below the fog:


Back to Island Pond.  From IPVT.com:

Island Pond is situated on the shore of beautiful “Island Lake” surrounded by the Green Mountains of Vermont. It is about sixteen miles from the Canadian border and lies directly athwart the divide between the St. Lawrence and Connecticut River basins.

Wow!  Who would ever imagine that such made-for-A-Landing-A-Day information would be so prominently displayed on a local website.  Of course, I immediately made up a StreetAtlas map with only streams showing, and then figured out where the watershed divide goes.  Here’s the map where I drew in the watershed divide.  To the west of the line, water flows to the St. Lawrence River, on to the North Atlantic.  To the east of the line, water flows to the Connecticut River, on to the Long Island Sound.


The one really tricky part involves Island Pond itself.  Notice that I show the divide actually going through the Pond.  How could that be?  Here’s a close-up of the Pond:


Bear with me here for a minute:

  • The stream to the north, Lightening Brook, is flowing into the Pond.
  • The little unnamed stream to the south is also flowing into the Pond.
  • But there appear to be two streams flowing out of the pond:
    • The stream to the west (the Clyde River, which ends up in the St. Lawrence River and the North Atlantic), and
    • The stream to the east, which ends up in Spectacle Pond and on to the Nulhegan River to the Connecticut River to the Long Island Sound).

While it’s common for multiple streams to flow into a lake, almost always, there’s only one stream flowing out.  If the Pond really has two outlets, then some of the Pond water flows to the west and on to the St. Lawrence River, while some of the pond water flows to the east and on to the Connecticut River.  Ergo, the divide goes through the lake.

My suspicion is that the Clyde River outlet to the west is the primary one, and that maybe the outlet to the east only happens when the lake is high.

I’ll never know unless I go to Island Pond and visit the two out-flowing streams (unless someone who really knows posts a comment. . .)



© 2009 A Landing A Day

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Charlottesville, Virginia

Posted by graywacke on February 21, 2009

First timer? In this once-a-day blog, I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States. I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the towns I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find out something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is, and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please check out “About Landing,” above.

Dan –  I’ve got another pattern going.  Let me see, it started with CA (US); WI (OS); AL (US); SD (OS); GA (US); MT (OS); followed by today’s USer . . . VA; 12/23 (amazingly US!); 6/10; 19; 165.0.  My Score is as low as it has been since New Year’s Eve. 

So, Dan, I landed closer to you than I ever have.  (Landing Nation – Dan’s a student at the University of Richmond).  But, (and this probably hurts you a little, Dan), I landed very close to what is undoubtedly the most famous college town in VA.  That’s right, I landed just south of Charlottesville, home of that bastion of southern gentility, U VA.  Dan, I don’t know how you feel about U VA, but just in case you feel disdain for them as a rival institution, I won’t feature them in this post (not that I necessarily would anyway).

Oh my!  I got out of my usual rhythm here, mentioning the town first rather than the watershed.  Well, getting back to business . . . I landed in a new watershed!  The Rivanna River (I like the name), on to the James (2nd hit); on to the AO.  My first landing in the James watershed was (get this!) back on September 29, 1999.  That was landing 108, when I landed near Appomattox, which is about the same distance from Richmond as Charlottesville.

Anyway, here’s my landing map:


And here’s a broader view.  Today’s landing is the one all by its lonesome right in the middle of the state.


This map gives you a feel for just how US VA is, and how it looks like the LG has been studiously avoiding VA in general, and central VA in particular. . .

So, Charlottesville.  It’s a pretty big place, with about 45,000 people in the town proper (I don’t know if that includes the student population associated with that particular institution I’m not talking about).  The greater Charlottesville area (which I suspect includes my landing) has a pop of about 90,000. 

As you know, I prefer my small town landings – and then poking around the internet like I did yesterday for Lodge Grass.  Nothing against Charlottesville, but I’m going to ignore the obvious (like U VA and Monticello).  I’ll start with a couple of pictures of Carters Mountain, which, as you see on my landing map is just north of my landing (and just south of Charlottesville), and then move on to a fascinating story about an old friend . . .

First, Carters Mountain.  Here’s a shot of the mountain:


And here’s a view of the mountain from a different perspective.


Here’s a shot looking out from the mountaintop:


The rest of this post will focus, as I said above, on an old friend who is oft-mentioned in A Landing A Day.   It turns out that Meriwether Lewis was born just outside of  Charlottesville!!  Here’s a plaque commemorating his birth place:

 Meriwether's birth place plaque

Anyway, taking this opportunity to look at some general biographical information, I found out that Meriwether met an untimely and tragic end, and that there is some mystery surrounding the circumstances of his death.

I found a very interesting piece about Lewis’ death from “Dead Men Do Tell Tales . 

Let me warn you that the following piece is way longer than the usual cut-and-paste you find in A Landing A Day.  By way of explanation, I think this is well worth the read, and I also want to know that I’ve performed some serious editing to make this shorter and more readable (a service I’m more than happy to provide to my readers!):

In September 1806, the Lewis and Clark Expedition made a triumphal return to St. Louis after their two year and four month explorations. The men had crossed more than 6,000 miles of wilderness and arrived in the city to much celebration.   After the celebration, Lewis departed for Washington, where he was welcomed into the home of President Jefferson and  appointed as Governor of the Louisiana Territory.

Lewis went back to St. Louis to take over his duties as governor.  Unfortunately for Meriwether, he soon found much to dislike about the office, such as sitting behind a desk all day long and dealing with politicians, which he despised.

In spite of this, he seemed to be the man for the job.  He was well acquainted with the Louisiana Territory, and was an experienced military officer and popular in the city.

Although he enjoyed some early successes, Lewis became involved in several local quarrels and made an enemy of his subordinate, Frederick Bates.  A heated argument at a party one night resulted in Bates humiliating Lewis in public.  Bates soon became the governor’s tormentor, spreading rumors about Lewis and reporting any mistakes that Lewis made to his contacts in Washington.

Lewis’ administration began to fail and as it did, his personal life began to deteriorate as well. Ill-conceived land speculation deals drained his finances.  He became careless about his clothing and his appearance.  He began to drink too much, complaining that he was unable to sleep unless he took laudanum.

As he sunk more deeply into debt, he raved and fumed and wrote angry letters to Washington, becoming so ill with worry that he was often confined to his bed.  He feared that his loyalty was being questioned and that he was being accused of treason.  (His fears of treason were because some rebellious quarters were demanding that the Louisiana Territory secede from the Unite States, and he feared that his detractors were linking him with this movement.)  He wrote letters, vowing that he was no traitor and had no involvement with the rebellious group.

Lewis decided to journey to Washington and defend himself against charges he believed had been leveled against him.  He set out down the Mississippi in 1809, planning to travel by boat from New Orleans to Washington.  But on reaching Memphis, he and his small party heard that British ships were patrolling the Gulf of Mexico.  Fearing that he might fall into enemy hands, Lewis decided to make his way to Washington by land instead.

He decided to travel along the Natchez Trace, the rough and often dangerous wilderness trail across Tennessee that was the main overland route of the day.  By most accounts, Lewis was in no condition to travel.  His companions warned him that his health would not hold for the number of days in the saddle that it would take to reach Washington.  Lewis could not be dissuaded.   Major John Neely, the Cherokee Indian agent in Memphis, tried to talk Lewis out of the journey.  When he failed, he decided to accompany him.  They soon set out with Lewis complaining of terrible headaches and a fever.

On October 10, 1809, a torrential rainstorm fell on the party.  The pack horses fled into the forest and Lewis’ servants went after them.  Major Neely begged Lewis to ride to the home of the nearest white settlers on the trail, promising that he would help to find the pack horses and the records they carried.  Lewis agreed and the wet and sick man rode to the home of John Grinder, located about 72 miles from Nashville.

The house served as an inn to other travelers along the Trace, so Mrs. Grinder graciously opened the door to him.   A short time later, the servants arrived with the most of the pack horses and Mrs. Grinder prepared a meal for supper.  Major Neely was absent, evidently still searching for other, still-missing animals and papers.

According to her account , Lewis ate little.  He seemed very agitated and was heard talking to himself.  He lit a pipe and then smoked it, pacing back and forth on the front lawn.  She said that he ranted about his enemies in Washington.  Then suddenly, he would calm down and speak quite kindly to her.  She wasn’t sure what to think of her famous, yet quite strange, visitor.  She prepared a bed for him, but he refused to sleep on it, preferring to make a pallet for himself on the floor with a buffalo robe.  After that, Mrs. Grinder retired to bed with her children, but not before sending Lewis’ servants to sleep in the barn.

According to later testimony, Mrs. Grinder stated that she was awakened several times that night by the sound of Lewis walking back and forth, once again talking to himself.  In the middle of the night, she heard the sound of a gunshot and then the sound of something heavy falling to the floor. 

Immediately after that, she heard the sound of another gunshot and in a few moments, Lewis’ voice at her door. He called out to her. “Oh, Madame, give me some water and heal my wounds.”  Through the chinks in the log walls, she saw him stagger and fall down.  He crawled for some distance, raised himself up and then sat for a few minutes.  He then staggered back to the kitchen and attempted to draw water, but was unable to.

Mrs. Grinder refused to leave the room where she had been sleeping and assist him, apparently fearing for her own safety.  In fact, she waited nearly two hours before even sending her children to the barn to rouse the servants.  They came inside and found Lewis on his pallet again.  He had been wounded in the side and once in the head.  The buffalo robe that he lay on was soaked with blood and Lewis was barely hanging on to life.  He died just as the sun was rising over the trees.

Major Neely arrived later that morning.  He took charge of Lewis’ papers and carried them the rest of the way to Washington.

Lewis was buried there on the property.  The land now exists as the Meriwether Lewis State Park in Tennessee. According to Major Neely and the historians that have followed him, Lewis’ death was a suicide.  The man had been deranged and drunk and took his own life in the Grinder cabin.  But was this really the case?  If Lewis did in fact kill himself, then why do so many questions remain?  Why didn’t Mrs. Grinder come to the man’s assistance?  Why didn’t Lewis’ servants hear the gunshots?  Were they somehow involved in a crime… a murder, or a robbery gone bad?

Regardless, there were really no eyewitnesses to Lewis’ death, as even Mrs. Grinder did not see the shots being fired.

In fact, the belief that Lewis committed suicide rests only on accounts of his state of mind during his journey.  For example, Gilbert Russell, commander at Fort Pickering in Memphis, testified that Lewis was ill, acting strangely and occasionally drunk soon after getting off the boat at Memphis.  In fact, Russell arrested Lewis for drunkenness, and Lewis spent one night in the Fort Pickering jail.

While most historians accept the fact that Lewis did commit suicide, there have been many who have questioned this. They believe that his death may have been part of a far-reaching conspiracy.

If indeed the famed adventurer’s death was a murder plot, the main culprit behind it is believed to be General James Wilkinson, Lewis’ predecessor as governor. In 1804, Wilkinson had conspired with Aaron Burr to create their own “empire in the west” and had tried to extract money and weapons from both Britain and Spain. Wilkinson and Burr both escaped punishment, and in fact, Wilkinson returned to the post of governor of Louisiana after Lewis’ death.

It has been pointed out that Frederick Bates, who did much to sabotage Lewis’ career in St. Louis, was close to Wilkinson, and visited with him often in New Orleans, where Wilkinson was living.  It is surmised that perhaps Lewis, who was known for his honesty and integrity, may have discovered new evidence against Wilkinson and planned to use it.  It is even believed that this may have been the real purpose behind his trip to Washington and even why he chose to take an overland route instead of journeying by river.  Lewis may not have been afraid of British ships in the Gulf, but the fact that Wilkinson was in New Orleans.

Could agents of Wilkinson have pursued Lewis?  Some historians believe so.  In fact, Captain Russell at Fort Pickering, who imprisoned Lewis and then testified that he had been drunk and deranged, had been appointed to his position by Wilkinson, as had Major Neely.  Could the two men have testified falsely against Lewis after his death?  Or more shocking, could Major Neely have actually assassinated Lewis and then disappeared, only to show up at the Grinder house the next morning?

Who knows? This mystery will undoubtedly never be solved . . .

Wow.  Quite the story, eh?  Here’s a picture of Meriwether’s grave stone, then a close-up of the inscription:

 Lewis monument

meriwether lewis

Here’s a plaque outside the site of the Grinder house, where the suicide/murder took place:

 Grinder House Marker

The next time I run into Lewis & Clark references (which seems to happen quite regularly), I’ll have a different perspective on Mr. Lewis . . .

One final note.  You may have noticed that Meriwether took to the drug laudanum.  You may remember that in my Spring Hill, Tennessee post, laudanum was also mentioned (a confederate Civil War general was taking laudanum and that may have contributed to bad judgement and a significant lost opportunity).  Anyway, laudanum is an opium-laced elixir.



© 2009 A Landing A Day

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Lodge Grass, Montana

Posted by graywacke on February 20, 2009

First timer?  In this once-a-day blog, I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States.  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the towns I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find out something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is, and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please check out “About Landing,” above.

Dan –  Drum roll please . . . today marks the 100th landing in the most OS state of all . . . MT; 100/80; 5/10; 18; 166.1.  Nice numerology, with 80 the number of hits that MT should have.  This leads me to contemplate on just how out-of-whack the three largest states (TX, CA and MT) are:

  State                  # of Landings It Should Have                                          Actual # of Landings

   TX                                                145                                                                113

   CA                                                  89                                                                  77

   MT                                                  80                                                               100

For the second time, I landed in the Little Bighorn R watershed; on to the Bighorn (16th hit); on to the Yellowstone (43rd hit); on the Missouri.  That puts the Yellowstone in 13th place, just one hit behind the Atchafalaya.

Not only was this my second landing in the Little Bighorn watershed, this was my second landing near the town of Lodge Grass.  Here’s my landing map (today’s landing is the one further away from Lodge Grass):


Here’s a broader view showing the relationship of these two landings to the Little Bighorn Battlefield (which I temporarily marked with a lat/long marker).  The battlefield is about 17 or 18 miles north of Lodge Grass.


Here’s an even broader view:


I just noticed something:  the east-west MT/WY line is exactly 45 degrees latitude! (Joining, at least in principle, the east-west NE/KS border, which is exactly 40 degrees latitude.)

It turns out that my other Lodge Grass landing was quite recent:  August 1, 2008.  Dan, here’s my landing email to you from August:

Dan –  I was so hoping to avoid a return to 170.  I’m not there yet, but it ain’t looking good:  MT; 88/71; 3/10 (1/7); 1; 169.0.   A new river (and a notable river at that):  the Little Big Horn.  The Little Big Horn flows to the Big Horn (14th hit); on to the Yellowstone (38th hit); on to the Missouri.  I landed about 20 miles south of the battlefield site, near the town of Lodge Grass, with about 500 people.  From Wikipedia, here’s a list of notable residents:

Notable residents

In particular, I like “Hairy Moccasin,” “Joe Medicine Crow” and “White Man Runs Him.”

More about Hairy:

Hairy Moccasin (also known as Esh-sup-pee-me-shish) was a Crow scout for George Armstrong Custer‘s Seventh Cavalry during the 1876 campaign against the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne. He was a survivor of the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Interesting, eh?  He was a scout for Custer, but survived.  One can only imagine that as the result of the battle became clear, suddenly Hairy thought to himself, “I look more like a Sioux than I do like a white man.”

More about White Man Runs Him:

White Man Runs Him (Mahr-Itah-Thee-Dah-Ka-Roosh) – (c. 1858 – June 2, 1929) was a Crow scout serving with George Armstrong Custer‘s 1876 expeditions against the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne that culminated in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. His accounts of the battle and the events leading up to the battle are invaluable to modern historians, but were largely ignored for nearly a hundred years.

Also known as White Buffalo That Turns Around, he was born into the Big Lodge Clan of the Crow nation, the son of Bull Chief and Offers Her Red Cloth. At the age of about 18, he volunteered to serve as a scout with the United States Army on April 10, 1876, in its campaign against the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne, traditional enemies of the Crow.

Hmmm . . I expect White Man Runs Him (aka White Buffalo That Turns Around) hooked up with Hairy Moccasin, and the two planned their escape.

Back to today’s post . . .

Sorry about the repetition, Dan, but I think the above is pretty interesting.

I think I’ll spend a little more time looking for some pictures . . .

Here’s a 1928 picture of a Crow Indian gathering.  The caption is below the picture:


Every July the Indians gather at Lodge Grass, Montana, to celebrate the fourth. Until a few years ago they all came in light wagons, but as you will notice from the picture, the camp is pretty well surrounded by automobiles. The large building in the right background is an assembly hall where the council meetings are held. The Crow Indian camp is shown in the foreground.

Here’s a picture of the Lodge Grass Railway Depot, built in 1908:


Here’s a 1924 picture of a “Parade”  at the Crow camp near Lodge Grass:


Here’s a scenic picture taken outside of Lodge Grass:


And this, of the Little Big Horn River:


I actually landed a little closer to the teeny town of Wyola (just south off of my landing map, above).  Searching Wyola, I came across a travel blog.  I think it’s worth a read, as it ties in with my August 2008 email to Dan.  With thanks to Stu Jenks, here’s one of his blog entries (to see the original and read other entries, click here).

Leopard Appaloosa, Wyola, Montana, Crow Reservation” © 2007

       I’m tired of the Interstate. I think I’ll drive by the river for a while.

       I get off at Lodge Grass and head south on a little two lane road. Railroad tracks on my right. Little Big Horn River on my left. Sun’s about set.

       It’s poor here on the Crow Rez but not bad at all. Poor is relative. If you have land along the river, some horses, a nice little house, a good truck and friends and family to love, how poor are you?

       Speaking of Horses, the Crows love their horses. Many of the Northern Plains Indians loved their steeds but nothing like the Crows. They also love their dogs. A matriarchal society, the Crows have a long history of male and female chiefs. Word has it that they even had a trans-gender chief back in the day. Two-Spirit, The Crows called people like that, having male and female spirits inside of them at the same time.

       The Crows were the enemies of many other tribes, the Lakota, and the Northern Cheyenne being a couple. Don’t know why but they were picked on a lot by the other Indians. When the U. S. Calvary arrived, many men joined as scouts. Do you blame them? [Possible conversation: Army Man: ‘Can you tell us where the Cheyenne are?’ Crow Man: ‘Why do you want to know?’ Army Man: ‘Because we want to kill them.’ Crow Man: ‘They are right over there. Wait a second and I’ll go with you.’]

       One of the most accurate accounts of what happened at the Battle of Little Bighorn came from a Crow scout named White Man Runs Him [or his other name was White Buffalo That Turns Around. Something tells me the first name was given to him by a Lakota or a Cheyenne.] He advised Custer not to attack the throng of Indians by the river.  When Custer ignored his advice, White Buffalo took off his army uniform and put on his tribe gear. When confronted by Custer, he said he wanted to die as an Indian not as a soldier. Custer got pissed and relieved him of duty, and for most of the attack, White Buffalo and three other Crow scouts saw it all from a ridge nearby.

       The Sun has now set. I’m heading south. The sky is lavender. Hope to be in Colorado by tomorrow afternoon. Maybe I’ll drop by the Denver Museum of Art and check out their Native American Art collection. I remember from 18 years ago, that it was an amazing collection, that was both historically extensive as well as being modernly progressive. Hope they still have it. You never know. Things change.

       I turn left and get on Route 457 heading east. That’ll take me back to I-90. Then I see this amazing horse and his buddies. I pull over immediately onto the grassy shoulder.

       I’ve never seen a horse like that in all of my life [Later I found out that he was a Leopard Appaloosa].  Black spots on White. Amazing.

       I take his picture:


     The buddies of this crazy-looking Appaloosa come over with the What’s-You-Doing look. I grab some fresh grass from my side of the fence and feed a couple of his friends. The Appaloosa never does come over to the fence. He keeps his distance, which is OK. But his corral-mates took the grass from my hand and they have themselves a little snack. I rubbed their noses too.

       I talk to them. They say nothing. They just eat the grass and then look to me to give them some more. I smile and oblige them.

That’ll do it . . .



© 2009 A Landing A Day

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Wrightsville, Georgia

Posted by graywacke on February 19, 2009

First timer?  In this once-a-day blog, I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States.  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the towns I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find out something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is, and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please check out “About Landing,” above.

Dan –  For the second time in my last three landings, I’m hanging out in the US Southeast.  Today’s state . . . GA; 26/32; 6/10; 17; 165.1. 

For the fourth time, I landed in the Oconee River watershed, on to the Altamaha (5th hit, making the Altamaha the 126th river on my list of rivers with five or more hits); on to the AO.

As seems to be typical when I landed in Georgia, I landed near one of those round towns, in this case Wrightsville.  Here’s my landing map (notice the more-or-less round town limits):


Here’s a broader view:


It seems as though Wrightsville’s claim to fame mostly revolves a famous native son, Hershel Walker.  I’ll get back to Hershel a little later, but first a little of this and that.  Here’s a painting made by fifth-grader Sean Ryan of Wrightsville.

 Sean Ryan's Poster

Sean was one of 44 finalists in the 2007 National Arbor Day Poster Contest.   This kid has talent.  I never went beyond stick figures for people (and trees) . . .

Here’s a picture of the Wrightsville Train Depot, with the caption below:


Built in 1878, this depot served the Wrightsville & Tennille Railroad. It was given to the community in 1990 by W&T successors Central of Georgia and Norfolk Southern and rehabilitated in the mid-90s.

Here’s a picture of then-President Jimmy Carter holding a crying baby (four month old Joseph Sumner of Wrightsville).  The picture was taken in Plains, which is over one hundred miles from Wrightsville (maybe Joseph was grumpy from the long ride):


Let me see, the above picture was taken in the late ’70s, so Joe’s probably about thirty now. 

Here’s a picture of the historic Johnson County Courthouse in Wrightsville:


Deep in the heart of Coca Cola country, here’s an old Coke ad on a building in Wrightsville.  Maybe this used to be a bottling facility.  Otherwise, why be so specific about drinking from bottles?


Here’s a cool photo of three anonymous Wrightsville kids, taken by Leon Sun.  To see the whole photo piece, click here:


Here’s a picture of an abandoned store in Wrightsville – somebody’s pride and joy that was probably thriving at one point . . .


Getting back to Hershel Walker.  Since I landed near his home town (where he went to high school), let me start with the fact that in 2003, Hershel was inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame.  Here’s a write-up:

Herschel Walker, one of the greatest running backs in football history, finished his high school football career with 6,137 yards and 86 touchdowns at Johnson County High School in Wrightsville, Georgia.

In track and field, he was state champion in the 100, 200 and shot put in both his junior and senior seasons. Walker took his talents to the University of Georgia and led the Bulldogs to a 33-3-1 record and a national championship in 1980. He won the 1982 Heisman Trophy as a junior. Walker played in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.

Here’s a Sports Illustrated cover picture of Hershel at the height of his glory days at the University of Georgia:


Beside all of his obvious athletic accomplishments, two things are of particular interest about Hershel (for me, anyway):  his push-up regimen, and his mental health struggles, which is where I’ll start:

Sadly, Hershel has long been suffering from a multiple personality disorder (now called dissociative identity disorder, or DID).  Evidently, he kept his condition more-or-less under control when he was focused on football; but after retirement, it really caused him severe problems.  He has a website, HershelWalker.com, where he tells his story and offers assistance to anyone suffering from mental illness.

Here’s a picture of Hershel from an April 2008 CNN.com story about his disorder:


Now, on a lighter note, on to push-ups. 

Hershel is renown for the fact that since high school, he did push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups as his exercises of choice for getting in shape.  Neither his family nor his high school could afford sophisticated weight-training equipment, so Hershel made do with good old-fashioned exercises.  Then, at the University of Georgia and later as a pro, he kept on with his low-tech regimen. 

From Wiki:

Walker stated in a phone interview on The Jim Rome Show on November 20, 2006 that he still performs 2,500 sit-ups and 1,500 push ups every morning.  He has been going through this same routine every morning since high school.

Hmmm.  1,500 push-ups every morning, eh?  Sounds pretty impressive!  Well, this gives me the opportunity to tell a little personal story:  For about 11 years (from 1994 to 2005), my exercise program involved only push-ups.  The program was simple in concept:  I did as many push-ups as I could in one-half hour.  That’s it. 

Dan, you know all about this, so I beg your indulgence . . .

On October 31st, 1994, I did 348 push-ups in 30 minutes.  I forget the details; I probably did 25, then rested for a while, did as many as I could, rested for a while, etc. 

After a while, I started getting more regular about my push-ups, for example, doing only sets of 10.  I would do 10 push-ups, then stand up and put a mark on a paper, get back down, take a deep breath, and do 10 more.  I would keep this up for the full thirty minutes.  Anyway, after years of doing this (typically 2 or 3 times a week), I managed to do over 1000 push-ups in 30 minutes.  For example, I might do 85 sets of 12 push-ups (1020), which comes out to an average of 21 seconds for each set.  These were honest, military push-ups:  arms at shoulder width; chest touching only, and arms fully extended at the top.

Not suprisingly, I kept a detailed spreadsheet that kept track of (and graphed) everything you could imagine.  Over the ten-year period, I did 736,018 push-ups, which only averages out to about 1,300 push-ups per week (absolutely child’s play compared to Hershel’s 1500/day!).  FYI, when I was in the swing of doing 950+ per 30 minutes (over the last 30 weeks of doing push-ups) I averaged about 2,600 per week.

I have no idea how Hershel broke up his 1500 push-ups (he almost certainly couldn’t do 1500 in a row).  Somehow I imagine that he did larger sets of push-ups interspersed with other exercises.

Anyway, in November 2005, my left shoulder started to hurt.  Not when I was doing push-ups, but when I was in the shower washing my hair, or putting a tee shirt on.  The pain began to get more intense, and suddenly it hit me – it was my push-ups.  I stopped the push-ups cold turkey, and almost immediately, my shoulder stopped hurting.

My wife Jody told me to go to the doctor, but I refused.  I knew that when I told him how many push-ups I was doing, he’d simply tell me to stop (and I’d be out the $20 co-pay).  Anyway, my shoulder has been fine . . .but I’m not in near as good shape as I used to be!




© 2009 A Landing A Day

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »