A Landing a Day

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Archive for November, 2009

Iuka, Kansas

Posted by graywacke on November 29, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) 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,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  After a brief burst of USers (2 in a row), I’ve settled back into OS-land, with three in a row —  the latest being . . . KS; 52/49; 2/10 (2/13); 21; 155.4.  Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Rattlesnake Creek, as well as a bunch of really small towns:


I picked Iuka for the post title solely because I liked the name (more about the name later).  Anyway, Rattlesnake Creek flows into the Arkansas R (98th hit); to the MM (716th hit).

Here’s a somewhat closer landing view:


Note the regular pattern of roads (on the one mile township-and-range grid).  Also note that the pattern breaks down east and southeast of my landing (the Pratt Sandhills Wildlife Area – more about that later).   Here’s my broader view:

Here’s my GE shot, showing that I landed on the western edge of a large farm field (maybe a pasture, considering the lack of obvious crop rows):


Here’s a broader GE shot, showing clearly the Pratt Sandhills Wildlife Area:


This reminds me of my recent Swanton OH post, where I landed adjacent to a sandy area that is heralded as a wildlife refuge.  It makes one think:  if you visit the park in Ohio, or the wildlife area here in Kansas, you come away with the feeling that this is a very special habitat.

OK, it is a very special habitat, but what’s missing is this:  the entire country was a very special habitat!  The only reason these remain as special habitats is that they weren’t suitable for agriculture!  It’s easy not to think about the fact that before the farmers arrived, the farm country was itself a special habitat.  Because of richer more fertile soils, the miles of farm country surrounding these sandy areas was itself likely a habitat richer than the sandy areas.

Moving right along.  I’m disappointed with the Pratt Wildlife Area, in that the only picture I can find of the whole place is just the welcoming sign!!  Oh, well, here ‘tis:


The write-up from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks also disappoints me.  The entire write-up is aimed towards hunters.  Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not one of those anti-hunters types.  I’m not a hunter myself, but I totally respect and support the idea of hunting and then eating your prey.  It’s way further up on the eating-consciousness scale than going to the supermarket . . .

That said, I feel as though a write-up on a wildlife area should feature the wildlife for its own sake, and I guess I’m a little surprised that the state makes this area essentially a hunters’ game preserve.  Maybe that’s why there are no pictures:  wildlife photographers don’t bother . . .

Anyway, here’s the write-up:

Most of the Pratt Sandhills Wildlife area is sandhill prairie with moderate to steep dune topography. There are also several miles of multi-row shelterbelts throughout the area, as well as windmills, solar wells, and hydrants that provide water for wildlife.

Enough about nature, now about hunting . . .

Upland game birds are the most commonly hunted species here. In addition to quail and pheasant, the area is a popular destination for dove, deer, and turkey hunters. Rabbits and coyotes can also be found in huntable numbers. Hunting pressure on the opening weekend of quail and pheasant and during firearms deer season may be heavy, but after the first several weekends, the crowds decrease. In January, it is possible for a hunter to spend all day walking the sandhills and never encounter another person.

Township roads in the area are loose sand, so good judgment must be used to avoid getting stuck. Vehicle traffic is prohibited within the wildlife area, so a walk of up to two miles may be necessary to reach some of the more remote spots.

How about the little towns, you may be wondering.  Well, I’ve Googled every one of them, looking for interesting tidbits and/or photos.  You know what I found?  Nada!!  So, I’ll have to go a little further a field, so here’s a slightly expanded landing map:


You’ll see that I landed northeast of the town of Greensburg (about 20 miles away).  Sound familiar?  That’s the town that was totally wiped out by a monster tornado in 2007.  From Wiki:

At 9:45 p.m. CDT on May 4, 2007, Greensburg was hit by an EF5 tornado. The tornado was estimated to be 1.7 miles in width and traveled for nearly 22 miles. Ninety-five percent of the city was confirmed to be destroyed, with the other five percent being severely damaged. The National Weather Service estimated winds of the tornado to reach 205 mph.

This was the first tornado to be rated EF5 since the update of the Fujita scale.  Tornado sirens sounded in the city twenty minutes before the tornado struck, and a tornado emergency was issued, which undoubtedly saved many lives (although 11 were killed).

Here are a couple of pictures:


I found some more pictures, and was in the process of copying a few of them, when I saw this notice at the bottom of the website:

All Tornado Damage stock photos are copyrighted and protected under United States and International copyright laws. These video stills may not be reproduced in any form, downloaded, stored, or manipulated   without prior permission from © Ultimate Chase, Inc.

I don’t get it.  You put your photos on the internet, where anyone can download them, and then you get all weird and put in nasty language like this.  What damage would be done if I downloaded a few to share (especially considering that I’d reference the website, and, of course, I get zero financial gains from doing this).  Just for cheap spite, I don’t recommend that you go to Ultimate Chase website . . .

Moving right along – perhaps you’ve heard that Greensburg is “going green.”  Ironic, isn’t it that a town named Greensburg has the chance to start from scratch as a “green” burg?   From Wiki:

After the tornado, the city council passed a resolution stating that all city building would be built to LEED – platinum standards, making it the first city in the nation to do so. Greensburg is rebuilding as a “green” town, with the help of Greensburg GreenTown, a non-profit organization created to help the residents learn about and implement the green living initiative. As part of going green, the city’s power will be supplied by ten 1.25 MW wind-turbines.

What is LEED, you may ask.  From Wiki:

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), provides a suite of standards for environmentally sustainable construction. Since its inception in 1998, LEED has grown to encompass more than 14,000 projects in the United States and 30 countries.

For those of you who are just dying to know how Iuka got it’s name:  all I could find out is that there’s an Iuka MS named after a Chickasaw Indian chief.  So, my best guess is that someone from Iuka MS wandered west and founded Iuka KS.  Anyway, I’ll close with this shot of a grain elevator in Iuka:


That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Lynndyl, Utah

Posted by graywacke on November 27, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) 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,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  Give me a break.  For the third time in the last 7 landings, it’s . . . UT; 65/50; 2/10 (2/12); 20; 155.0.  Nothing against UT per se, but enough is enough!  Anyway, here’s my landing map showing my proximity to Lynndyl and Tanner Ck:

As you may have suspected, I landed in the Tanner Ck watershed (for the 2nd time).  The poor Tanner just kind of peters out in the desert . . .

Here’s a somewhat closer landing view (that shows more map detail), showing proximity to the Sand Hills and Sand Mountain (more about that later):


Here’s my GE shot, which shows what appear to be sand dunes in the vicinity of my landing:

Staying with Google Earth for a moment, check out this GE shot showing Lynndyl (east of the highway).  Amazing “crop circle,” eh?  Shows what a little water’ll do.  For reference, it’s about 2/3 of a mile across:


Here’s some info on Lynndyl from OnLineUtah:

Lynndyl is a small agricultural community that was an early railroad junction. Folklore relates one story for the name origin. Apparently, while the railroad was under construction and before the area was named, someone from Salt Lake City asked a telegrapher where she was. While trying to think of an answer, she noticed “Lynn Mass” printed on her shoe, so she decided to answer that she was in Lynn  — so the junction now had a name.  However, when an application was filed at the post office, a Lynn already existed in Box Elder County so “-dyl” was added.

The “Lynn Mass” in the above paragraph refers of course to Lynn Massachusetts, which was known as the “shoe capital of the world” back in the latter half of the 19th century.  I found this very interesting piece about one Jan E. Matzeliger from Lynn:

Jan E. Matzeliger
1852-1889

Inventor of the Shoe-lasting Machine, Jan Matzeliger not only revolutionized the shoe industry but made Lynn, Massachusetts, the “shoe capital of the world.”

Matzeliger was born on September 15, 1852 in Dutch Guiana (now called Suriname).  His father was a white Dutchman and his mother was a black Surinamer. As a child, Jan worked in his father’s machine shop and developed an early interest in mechanics.

When he was 19, Jan set off to explore the world as a sailor. After two years, he arrived in the United States and began doing odd jobs in New England.  By 1876, Matzeliger had settled in Lynn, Massachusetts and taken a job in a shoe factory.  He worked ten-hour days there and spent his free time learning English (he was a native Dutch speaker).

Before Jan Matzeliger came along, no one thought it was possible to make shoes entirely by machine. An expert shoemaker could make about fifty pairs of shoes a day. When Matzeliger was thirty years old, he created a machine that could make 150 to 700 pairs a day!

Matzeliger’s shoe-lasting machine was so efficient that it cut the price of shoes in half after it went into production in 1885. Thanks to him, new shoes became much more affordable for average Americans.

The success of his invention came at a price to Jan Matzeliger.  Weakened by long working hours, he contracted tuberculosis and died when he was only 37 years old.

And now, to the Sand Hills and Sand Mountain noted on my second landing map (from Utah.com):

A plentiful sand source and strong prevailing winds have combined to create Little Sahara, one of the largest dune fields found in Utah. Most of the sand at Little Sahara is the result of deposits left by the Sevier River, which once flowed into ancient Lake Bonneville some 15,000 years ago. After the lake receded, the southwesterly winds that flow across the Sevier Desert picked up the exposed sand.

Sand Mountain, in the middle of the dune field, deflected the wind upward, causing it to slow and drop its load of sand. Sand particles, composed mostly of quartz, fell downwind among the sagebrush and juniper around Sand Mountain ultimately creating a 124-square-mile system of giant, free-moving, sand dunes.

Here’s a picture of Sand Mountain in the middle distance.  My landing spot is to the right out of this picture:

Here’s a closer view, showing some vehicles making their way up:

Here’s the view from the top:

And another view of the dunes:

I could find only two pictures of Lynndyl.  The first, of a gas station (which appears to be the main component of downtown Lynndyl):

And this, of a miserable bicycler who’s on a cross-country trip and would just as soon forget Lynndyl:


Here’s a great train shot.  OK, OK, so the train isn’t near my landing, but, as discussed in the caption below the picture, the train is on it’s way to Lynndyl.  Close enough . . .


With a mid-train helper cut in, a load of Colorado coal ascends the Price River Canyon grade just west of Kyune, Utah. This train originated along UP’s North Fork Subdivision at Somerset and it’s journey will end at the Intermountain Power generating station near Lynndyl, Utah.

I’ll close with this Lynndyl sunset:


That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Finger, Tennessee

Posted by graywacke on November 25, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) 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,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  I was looking for three USers in a row, but ‘twas not to be, as I landed in a PSer (now an OSer) . . .TN; 26/25; 2/10; 19; 154.5.  Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Finger, Enville, Milledgeville and Henderson.


You can see Tar Creek on the map, in whose watershed I landed.  Tar Creek flows to the S Fk of the Forked Deer R (2nd hit); to the Forked Deer (3rd hit); to the Obion (3rd hit); to the MM (714th hit).

Here’s a broader view:


And here’s my GE shot, showing I landed in a pleasant-looking rural area with mixed farm fields, pastureland and woods:


Here’s what I could find out about Finger from a Plunk family website:

In the northern section of McNairy County lies a small town, Finger, Tennessee.  The Plunk Family settled in this area about 1823.  Finger was named in 1895.  It lies near the tracks of The Mobile and Ohio Railroad built in 1857.

Several stories have been told about how Finger got its name. My father, Frank Plunk, told this story:   “A boxcar train called The “Little Doodlebug” or “Dinkie” carried passengers and the US Mail between Jackson,Tennessee and Corinth, Mississippi.  It delivered mail to what is now Finger, but the problem was nobody had settled on a name.  The town was referred to by several different names, including Possom Trot, Anderson’s Store, McIntyre’s Crossing, Brown Crossing, Mt. Carmel and Huggins Creek.  The Train Conductor told William P. Massey, the person receiving the mail, “The Community had to give this town a single name, because the mail was getting mixed up with all the different names”.

William P. Massey was thumping his finger on the boxcar trying to come up with a name. The Conductor said, “Why don’t we call it Finger?”

Finger and southern Chester County are well known for its open pit cooked whole hog bar-b-que. In the late 1800’s George Dickey with the help of his friends and relatives hosted the first Finger Bar-B-Que and Picnic. It was an annual event, held the first Saturday in August, and has been going on for over a 100 years. Friends and relatives from hundreds of miles away come together to reunite and recollect on past memories. On August 2, 2003 six of Frank and Luda Plunk’s boys return to Finger,Tennessee to enjoy the annual Finger Bar-B-Que and Picnic.

I couldn’t find out anything about Enville, but I love how this town could have been featured on Sesame Street (get the joke??).   I found a 110-acre property for sale in Enville (asking price $367,000).  It looks really great, and the price ain’t bad.  Here are some pictures:


OK, OK, enough on the real-estate ad.  Anyway, Milledgeville is truly GD.  Henderson is a little more substantial.  Here’s some history (from the town’s website):

Henderson, Tennessee, was formed in the 1850’s as a railroad stop on the Mobile Railroad. During the Civil War, there was a major Confederate States of America recruitment center located along what is now Front Street, and the 51st and 52nd Tennessee Infantry were raised here. After their departure, the Railroad Depot and area around it was occupied by Union forces.

Some locals (Raiders) loyal to the Southern Cause set fire to the Depot, and it was reduced to embers. The Union Troops were captured and given to Confederate troops in the area, and they were, in turn, sent to one of the South’s prisons.

Henderson has had several interesting natives who made an impression upon our nation. Sue Shelton White was raised on Church Street in Henderson, and she became one of the great leaders of the Woman’s Right to Vote Movement of the early 1900’s. She was considered a militant, and spent five days in a Washington, D.C. jail.  She later helped design the US Social Security System under Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Here’s a picture of Sue.  I figured she’d be a stern, grumpy-looking old lady.  I was wrong!


Back to the write-up . . .

Henderson is a progressive modern, small Southern town, but it also has its heritage and history deeply embedded within its borders and embraced by its citizens. In 1973, the legacy of McNairy County Sheriff Buford Pusser was preserved in film when “Walking Tall” was filmed in Henderson and Chester County. Many Henderson residents served as extras or played bit parts in the film that launched several sequels.

Henderson’s most famous son is country music singer and songwriter Eddy Arnold, who was born in Henderson in 1918. In the 1930s, Arnold could be seen every Saturday sitting atop downtown’s overhead bridge, strumming his guitar and telling skeptical onlookers that someday he’d be famous. He kept that promise, rising to the top of the country charts with songs such as “Make the World Go Away” and “What’s He Doing in My World.” Arnold was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966.

From Wiki:

Richard Edward Arnold (May 15, 1918 – May 8, 2008), known professionally as Eddy Arnold, was an American country music singer who performed for six decades. He created the Nashville sound in the late 1950s, and had 147 songs on the Billboard Magazine music charts.  One authoritative study ranks Arnold as the all-time leader for hits and their time on the charts. Arnold sold more than 85 million records from 1943 to his death in 2008.

On May 31, 2008, RCA Records released as a single To Life, a song from the album After All These Years. It debuted at #49 on the Hot County Songs charts, Arnold’s his first entry in 25 years and a recording by the oldest person to chart in Billboard. It set the record for the longest span between a first chart single and a last: 62 years and 11 months (“Each Minute Seems Like a Million Years” debuted on June 30, 1945), and extended Arnold’s career chart history to seven decades.

To hear Eddy singing “Make the World Go Away,” click here:

I’ll close with this Henderson sunset:


That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Folsom, New Mexico

Posted by graywacke on November 22, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) 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,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  There’s a pretty big block of US real-estate in the southwest quadrant of the lower 48, and I’ve landed there two days in a row.  Yesterday, TX; today . . . NM; 63/73; 2/10; 18; 154.1.  Indicative of my on-going run of bad luck is the fact that I’ve landed in two USers in a row, and I’m at 2/10!

For only the second time, I landed in the Dry Cimarron R watershed, on to the Cimarron (11th hit); to the Arkansas (97th hit); to the MM (714th hit).

Here’s today’s landing map, showing my proximity to the town of Folsom and, more significantly for a geologist like me, the Capulin Volcano!!


Here’s a broader view:


Here’s a close-up GE shot:


It looks to me that I’ve landed on the eastern edge of a small volcanic cinder cone (see the small circular “crater” west of my landing?), but I can’t be sure (actually, maybe it’s just a farm pond . . .)

Here’s a broader GE view, showing some interesting (assuredly volcanic) features:


Here’s an even broader GE view, showing my proximity to the large cinder cone that is the Capulin volcano:

Here’s a cool oblique shot:


Let me move on to the town of Folsom.  From GhostTowns.com:

It could be considered a bit unusual to name a town using the maiden name of the wife of the president of the United States. But that is how the town of Folsom came to be named. Frances Folsom was the maiden name of the wife of Grover Cleveland, president of the United States at the time.   There was no Folsom until the arrival of the railroad, at which time the town was founded in the late 1800s.  By 1895, the town had the largest stockyards north of Fort Worth. In 1908, a flash flood nearly demolished the town drowning 17 persons.

Here’s a shot of an old garage from GhostTowns:


Here are some great pictures from Ghost-Town-Photography.com:


Now, to the volcano.  From the National Park Service:

Between 58,000 to 62,000 years ago, just yesterday on the clock of geologic time, the scene near Capulin would have been one of fire, ash, glowing lava, and ear-shattering explosions.

The volcanic cone rises more than 1,000 feet above the plains to 8,182 feet above sea level and consists chiefly of loose cinders, ash, and other rock debris. These materials were ejected during successive eruptions and fell back upon the vent, piling up to form the conical mountain. The symmetry of Capulin Volcano was preserved because lava did not flow from the main crater but from secondary vents located at the western base of the cone.

Here’s an aerial shot of the cone:

And this shot, looking down into the crater:


Here’s the view of the volcano from the north.  I suspect that my landing is in the middle distance, just in front of the hill you can see (which I think is the feature shown in the second GE shot above).


That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Roby, Texas

Posted by graywacke on November 20, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) 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,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  Phew.  After a nasty 0/8 run, which state better to end the drought than the far-and-away leading USer . . . TX; 125/159 (I could land in TX the next 34+ days and it would still be a USer.  Amazing!!!); 2/10; 17; 154.8.

Here’s my landing map, showing that I practically landed in Cottonwood Creek (and also shows my proximity to Roby):


FYI, this was my 17th different Cottonwood Creek.  I’ve also landed in the watershed of one Cottonwood Wash and one Cottonwood River.

The Cottonwood continues to the Clear Fork of the Brazos R (2nd hit); on to the Brazos (22nd hit); on to the G of M.  Interestingly, my first landing in the Clear Fork watershed was landing number 17 (April 29, 1999).

Here’s a broader view:


Here’s my GE shot, with the Cottonwood Creek loud and clear.  FYI, all of the contour planting you see on the farm fields is cotton.


Here’s a GE shot focused on Roby.  Looks like a nice little town from the air . . .


It seems that the big news in Roby happened back in 1996 when 43 residents of Roby each chipped in $10 to buy a bunch of Texas State Lottery tickets.  Well, son of a gun if they didn’t win $46 million (too bad it translates to a somewhat-measley $39,000/yr for 20 years).  Anyway, here’s an article from LubbockOnLine written a year after the momentus event.  I’ve done some editing, but it’s still a little long by ALAD standards (but, as always, worth the read):

A year later, Roby lotto winners still ducking spotlight

By GRETCHEN PARKER
Avalanche-Journal

ROBY – These days, there aren’t many farmers hanging out at Terry’s cotton gin.

The gin’s break room used to draw cotton farmers like a magnet. They would slog through the swirling, snowy gin dust before starting a hard day’s work and pour a hot cup – or two – of Mike Terry’s coffee.

But a year after the “Roby 43” hit the $46 million Thanksgiving lottery jackpot, local farmers – winners and nonwinners – are fed up with reporters, cameras, questions and curious stares. If they see an unfamiliar car in Terry’s lot, they’ll turn right back around and head home, Terry says.

For a year now, hundreds of reporters and talk show hosts from about a dozen countries have gravitated toward Terry’s gin, where Terry and several other lottery winners work. Terry has given up on ducking the reporters, who poured in daily for two months after the Thanksgiving drawing last year.

He is trapped at the gin, he jokes, where he works 16-18 hours a day during harvest time. Another deluge of reporters began last week, when the winners picked up their second check – they’ll get a payment of $39,000 in late November for the next 19 years.

Terry himself has given more than a hundred interviews, and he’s collected a coat box full of newspaper and magazine clippings of stories about the miracle of Roby.

“The thing that’s so hard for me to fathom is that it’s so fascinating to everyone,” Terry said. “I just can’t believe people keep coming back to do stories on us. What every reporter is dying to know – that someone has quit their job and moved to Tahiti – they’re not going to find that.”

Everyone, it seemed, wanted a piece of the story about Roby – a withering farming town of 616 on the verge of, as one winner put it last year, “drying up and blowing away.” The town had been plagued for years by drought and falling cattle prices. Now farmers about to go under could begin to wade through the red ink, and their children would have the chance to take over the land instead of relocating to nearby Abilene or Sweetwater.

There are a few new pickups, one new house and a new cotton seed mill, which was already a done deal before the lottery. But $39,000 only goes so far, the winners say.

“Everyone expected us to be buying new houses and going on big trips,” said Kathy Terry. “They seem disappointed that we’re not doing those things. But there’s nothing glamorous about being in debt. You’ve got to pay yourself out.”

The first few payments weren’t even enough to put every struggling farmer in the clear. One payment wouldn’t even pay the interest on what some of the farmers owed, Mike Terry said.

“There are winners who are still not out of the woods as far as being able to grow another season,” he said. However, a few older farmers now will be able to retire instead of trying to scratch out another year, he said.

Kathy Terry and her husband owed more than $200,000 when they decided to ante up $10 for the lottery pot last year.”When you owe that much, it’s hard to see the end of it, but we’re getting there,” Kathy Terry said.

She still works about 60 hours a week, she said. “Life hasn’t changed much when you’re still working seven days a week.”

A few haven’t even picked up last week’s checks from the bank. Most, like Terry, are working 18-hour days trying to harvest their crop.

“We’re so busy right now,” Terry said. “The crop’s more important than the lottery. When you’ve got a farmer trying to get a $300,000 crop up before El Nino hits, you’re not thinking about a $39,000 check at the bank.”

Roby farmers have been hit with a larger windfall this year than any lottery – a booming cotton crop. After three years of hauling in a drought-ridden harvest, Terry says he’s already ginned more cotton this year than in 1995 and 1996 combined.

“The cotton crop’s better than the lottery any day,” he said, smiling.

Manuel Valdez and his wife, Susie, used their winnings to pay off their restaurant, Susie’s Fish and Grill, and new equipment they’d invested in. Valdez sleeps better at night, he said, without worrying about a pile of debt.

After working at the gin for 16 years, Valdez was considering moving out of Roby until he decided to open his restaurant last August. The business was struggling until last November, he said. He’s made a nice chunk of change just feeding the reporters who come through town, he said.

His menu features a Lotto Burger special.

Valdez, who said he expected to see articles only in the local and regional newspapers, said he was stunned by the coverage at first.

“You get used to it,” he said. “If a TV crew came in here right now, I’d just tell them to wait a minute.”

Long after the people of Roby have stopped talking about the jackpot, the rest of the world is still interested. Most only mention the lottery every once in a while – when they go to buy more tickets.

“Somebody somewhere has got to win this thing twice,” Mike Terry said. “If it happens again, I’ll move. And I’ll leave an unlisted phone number.”

I can’t really find much more on Roby, except for this cool picture (from William Flood) of a couple of abandoned trucks:


That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Westwater, Utah

Posted by graywacke on November 18, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) 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,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  I hate it when I sound like a broken record, but here we go again . . . UT; 64/50; 1/10; 16; 155.5.   “Loser Son” asked that I show graphically what has been going on with my Score.  Here ‘tis:


That’s one ugly trend I’m on right now. . . .

On to more important things.  Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Westwater Ck (the watershed in which I landed), the Colorado R (147th hit) and the “towns” of Harley Dome & Westwater.  I’ve decided to feature Westwater, even though it’s a little further away than Harley Dome.


Here’s a broader view:


Here’s my GE shot, showing fairly rugged terrain.  The stream to the north of my landing is in fact Westwater Ck.


Here’s a broader GE view.

You’ll note that I’m right on the edge of a significant geographic / physiographic / geologic feature.  To the west, there’s more vegetation and what looks like more rugged topography; to the east, it’s more barren, more desert-like.  While I suspect that I could do some research and figure out what’s going on, doing so just isn’t high enough on my to-do list right now.

It turns out that the town of Westwater is a ghost town and that the term “Westwater Canyon” designates a portion of the Colorado River – beginning upstream a little north of where Westwater Creek joins the Colorado, and ending some miles downstream.  The Westwater Canyon is a well-known stretch of white water known to legions of rafters and kayakers.

I’ll start with the “town.”  Here’s a picture of a girl near the tracks in Westwater.  I wonder how her life turned out . . .

Here’s a shot of the railroad bridge over the Westwater Ck, near downtown Westwater (likely not at all far from the above picture location):


And this, a truck abandoned a long time ago, used for target practice:


I’ll close with some scenery shots of “Westwater Canyon:”


That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Lime Springs, Iowa

Posted by graywacke on November 16, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) 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,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  For the first time since March 2008, I’ve gone to 1/10 (not to mention 0/7 and 3/19) with my latest OSer . . . IA; 40/33; 1/10; 15; 155.1.  And after knocking on the 150 door not long ago (19 landings ago, part of the aforementioned 3/19), I’ve climbed halfway up through the 150s, and only LG knows how long it’ll take to wend my way back down to 150 again . . .

Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to McIntire, Chester and Lime Springs (in IA), and Le Roy (across the border in MN):


I landed in the watershed of a new river, the Upper Iowa (which flows by Lime Springs), on to the Iowa (10th hit); on to the MM (713th hit).

Here’s a broader view:


Here’s my GE shot, showing that I landed in what I assume is quintessential IA farmland:


I backed up a little, showing the whole region is a patchwork of farms:


I’ll start with Lime Springs:


Dam?  What dam?  Oh, this dam (across the Upper Iowa River):


This is the Lidtke Mill Dam, and here’s another shot of Lidtke Mill:


About Lidtke Mill:

LIDTKE MILL – Lime Springs, Iowa

This mill, on the Upper Iowa River, is one of the few remaining examples in Iowa of an old flour mill. The mill has working turbines. On the mill grounds is a 1900 Victorian style home which has been furnished in the Late Victorian décor. Across the river is a beautiful park where primitive camping is permitted. The footprints of a worker nearly electrocuted there can still be seen in the floor of the control room.

I searched for photos of the phantom footprints, but could find none.

Moving right along, I found a strange website (“Calvin’s Scrapbook,” a University of Iowa website) containing pictures of geologists in Iowa back in the 1920s.  Here’s a picture of three geologists by their car near Lime Springs:


Here are the same three dudes looking at a small outcrop near the railroad tracks just outside of Lime Springs:


Here they are again, same day, same town:


OK, OK, so I’m a geologist, and I guess if I weren’t, I wouldn’t have bothered with these photos.  Well, excuuuuuuuse me!

Anyway, not much about Le Roy MN, but here’s a 1908 Main St. shot:


Not much about Chester IA, but check out this building for sale right in downtown Chester:


Property: 207 Main Street, Chester, Iowa

Price: $ 85,000
Description: This business is located on Highway 63 approximately 45 mile south of Rochester, MN. The building has a rubber membrane roof and a dock in back of the building. The building is currently being used as a combination pizza restaurant and mini-grocery store. The owner is leaving all of the kitchen equipment, tables & chairs and all of the shelving. (See attached equipment list) The upstairs has a spacious 4 bedroom apartment and has a stove, refrigerator & washer. The adjoining building is also offered for sale.

Wow!  Quite the building for a measley $85,000!!!!

Not much about McIntire, but check out this picture of “Automobile Day” in McIntire, some time in the 1920s . . .

I’ll close with this pleasant shot (same era) of a bridge in McIntire (I suspect that the car on the bridge is one of those parading down Main Street):


That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Vernal, Utah

Posted by graywacke on November 14, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) 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,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  My 6th OSer in a row, thanks to this old-time WBer . . . UT; 63/50; 2/10; 14; 154.7.  Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Vernal:

landing

Here’s an expanded view:

landing4

And my GE shot, showing what I would call dessert scrub:

GE1

I landed in the watershed of a quite substantial unnamed tributary, which flows to the Green (25th hit); to the Colorado (146th hit).  Here’s a map showing the boundary of the watershed of the unnamed tributary.  For reference, it’s about 7 miles across, with an area of about 35 square miles, or 22,400 acres.  That’s a pretty big hunk of watershed real-estate to go nameless . . .

watershed

So, on to Vernal, from Wiki:

The population of Vernal was 7,714 at the 2000 census.  Vernal is one of the largest cities in the United States without a railway. One was proposed in the past, with a railway station being built.  The closest railway is approximately 60 miles away.

From OnlineUtah.com:

Vernal lies in Ashley Valley, named in honor of William H. Ashley, an early fur trader who entered this area in 1825 by floating down the Green River in a bull boat made of animal hides.

Vernal, unlike the majority of Utah towns, was not settled initially by Mormon pioneersBrigham Young sent a scouting party to Uinta Basin in 1861 and received word back the area was good for nothing but nomad purposes, hunting grounds for Indians and “to hold the world together.”  That same year, President Abraham Lincoln set the area aside as the Uintah Indian Reservation.

I like Brigham’s quote . . .

White settlers arrived in 1873 and settled on Ashley Creek, about four miles northwest of present day Vernal. Many single men–trappers, prospectors, home seekers, and drifters–arrived in Ashley Valley, and some stayed. However, there wasn’t a woman in the area until 1876.

Three years without a woman!  Shades of Brokeback Mountain . . .

The area where Vernal is now located was called the Bench, and it was described as a large barren cactus flat.  David Johnston & family moved onto the Bench on 6 June 1878. It was reported that when they stopped their wagon, David took his shovel from the wagon and cleared off the cactus so the children could stand without getting cactus needles in their feet. He put the wagon on logs to keep it off the ground as there were many lizards, horned toads, scorpions, mice, and snakes in the area.

On 29 September 1879 the Meeker Massacre occurred in Colorado, with the White River Utes killing their agent, Nathan Meeker, among others. Renegade Utes then rode to Ashley Valley to convince the Uintah Utes to join them in killing all the white people in the area. Instead, the Uintah chiefs advised the settlers to “fort-up.” A fort was built on the Bench due to its open expanse. Many settlers of Ashley Valley took their cabins apart, moving them to the fort site.  People remained in the fort that winter. The winter was severe, killing most of the animals. The humans also suffered. Much of their grain had to be gathered from the ground, since grasshoppers had knocked it from the plant stocks and it became moldy. Diphtheria took its toll. It was March before they could get out of the valley for supplies.

A town grew out of the fort and became known as Ashley Center.  The name Ashley Center was too similar to the existing town of Ashley; the name Vernal was assigned to the community by the U.S. Postal Department.

No word on why the name “Vernal” was chosen.  “Vernal” means having to do with spring, like “vernal equinox.”  But it also means “fresh & young,” so maybe that’s the idea . . .

In 1948 Vernal had its first oil boom. From that time on it has been a boom and bust town. A thriving tourist business by Dinosaur National Monument, as well as livestock and agriculture production, help keep Vernal going during “bust” times.

Gilsonite was mined in the Vernal area for many years.  From Wiki:

Gilsonite is the registered trademark for a form of natural asphalt found in large amounts in the Uintah Basin of Utah; the mineral name is uintaite or uintahite. It is mined in underground shafts and resembles shiny black obsidian. Discovered in the 1860s, it was first marketed as a lacquer, electrical insulator, and waterproofing compound about twenty-five years later by Samuel H. Gilson.

By 1888 Gilson had started a company to mine the substance, but soon discovered the vein was located on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. Under great political pressure Congress removed some 7,000 acres (28 km2) from the reservation on May 24, 1888 to allow the mining to proceed legally.

Sounds like a raw deal to me . . .

Gilsonite mining became the first large commercial enterprise in the Uintah Basin, causing most of its early population growth.

Gilsonite’s earliest applications included paints for buggies and emulsions for beer-vat lining. It was used by Ford Motor Company as a principal component of the black lacquer used on most of the Ford Model T cars.

This unique mineral is used in more than 160 products, primarily in dark-colored printing inks and paints, oil well drilling muds and cements, asphalt modifiers, foundry sand additives, and a wide variety of chemical products.

Here’s a picture of a vein of Gilsonite being mined:

Uintah__gilsonite

And here’s a close-up of the stuff:

Gilsonite_Mineral_Pitch_

Moving right along – you no doubt noted the reference to Dinosaur National Monument.  Here’s a landing map showing my proximity to the Monument, located over near the CO state line:

landing3

Here are a couple of cool fossil dino shots from the Visitor Center:

Card1DSCN0075r1m112500_prefRes

dinofossil

I’ll close with some scenery shots from around the park.  I’ll start with a couple of shots showing the Green River:

600px-DinosaurNM1Panorama

Dinosaur-National-Momument

And finish up with some general scenery shots:

20090205-dinosaur-national-monumenta

dino-lg

patriot_rock

That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Leonardsville, New York

Posted by graywacke on November 12, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) 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,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  This slump only worsens; yet another OSer . . . NY; 36/30; 2/10; 13; 154.2.  My 13 in a row of 4/10 or less is the most I’ve had since I began the blog last November.  Here’s my GE shot, showing that I landed on the edge of a field in what appears to be a prosperous farm:

GE

Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Leonardsville and the Unadilla R:

landing

As you can see, I landed in the Button Ck watershed, on to the Unadilla (2nd hit); on to the Susquehanna (20th hit); on to the Chesapeake Bay.

Leonardsville’s pretty teeny, but has a relatively robust Wiki entry:

Leonardsville is a hamlet on the Unadilla River in New York.

The community started as a number of small factories deriving power from a dam on the Unadilla River during the first decade of the 1800s. These were known locally as the shops and included a scythe and hoe factory, a blacksmith shop, a grist mill, a saw mill, a horse rake factory and wagon shop, and a foundry and machine shop.

Hmmm.  I more or less can figure out the various “shops,” but not a horse rake factory.  You’ll note in the above paragraph that various words are blue and underlined.  That, of course, means that there’s a link to another Wiki entry.  For “horse rake,” there are separate links to “horse” and “rake”, which of course doesn’t tell you a darn thing about what a horse rake is.  From the “CampSilos” website:

Hay is a mixture of many grasses and other plants. To the farmer, hay is a very important plant. For the most part hay is used for livestock feed. Horses, cattle, hogs and sheep use hay for food. It was, therefore, an important crop on the early farms of Iowa. For many years hay had been cut by a scythe, or sharp knife, and then raked up by hand.

13_sicleman

Around the time of the Civil War, workable sickle mowers were invented. The earliest mower was the horse-rake. It was a toothed sickle, which moved rapidly back and forth on a frame and was pulled by a horse. The revolving horse-rake replaced about six people with hand scythes and rakes.

28_ridingharvester

During the late 1860’s a seat for a driver was added to the horse rake. This “sulky” had a lever from the rake to the drive, enabling the operator to trip the load when the rake was full.

Here’s a better picture of a horse rake:

horse rake

Back to Wiki about Leonardsville:

As with many small communities, Leonardsville was given its name by the Post Office Department, which in this case named it after Reuben Leonard who, in the early years, ran a local grocery and dry goods business that became a convenient location to drop off mail for local residents.

The shops were generally successful, employing over 100 workers at their peak in the 1930s.  Until the 1950s, when the manufacturing shops closed, Leonardsville was a stop on the Unadilla Valley Railroad, had a milk station (now a recycling center) and a feed store.  None of the manufacturing buildings remain, but the former Crandall Department Store still stands and is now the regionally-known Horned Dorset Restaurant.

What’s a horned dorset, you may ask.  Well, here’s a shot of one:

horned dorset

Here’s a shot of the erstwhile Crandall Department Store (little did it know it was eventually to become an upscale restaurant):

crandall dept store

And here’s a shot of the Horned Dorset restaurant:

horned dorset rest

It turns out there’s a resort called the Horned Dorset Primavera in Rincon, Puerto Rico.  I’ve been to Rincon many times (my brother-in-law the surfer used to live there).  Anyway, the Horned Dorset (which I’ve never seen) is quite the fancy place:

HornedDorsetSunset

I went to the Horned Dorset Primavera website and found something very, very strange.  As you’d expect, the site describes all of the amenities down in Rincon.  But there’s a link (that blends in with all their other links) that says “Horned Dorset Inn.”  I nonchalantly clicked on the link and Bingo!  – up comes a series of lovely photos of the restaurant in Leonardsville!   I poked around, but could find no connection other than the name between the two!  This seems crazy.  I mean, if I want to go to an upscale resort in Puerto Rico, why would I care about an out-of-the-way restaurant in upstate NY?   I assume they’re owned by the same person, but one would think that they’d explain the relationship . . .

If you look on my landing map, you’ll see that I landed just east of Button Falls.  I landed in the Button Ck watershed, so rain falling on my landing spot ends up going over the falls.  I’ll close with this lovely photo of the falls:

button falls 4

That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Chassall, Michigan

Posted by graywacke on November 10, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) 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,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  Ouch.  I’ve slipped all the way down to 2/10 with my landing in one of the evil MM&Ms . . . MI; 43/45; 2/10; 12; 153.8.  I landed way up in the UP.  Here’s my landing map:

landing

And an expanded view, showing my location.  I landed at the base of the Keweenaw Peninsula, the copper country of the UP:

landing2

Here’s my GE shot, showing I landed deep in the woods:

GE

And an expanded GE shot:

GE2

So anyway, I landed in a new watershed – the Pike R; on to the Portage R (2nd hit); on to Lake Superior (14th hit); on to the St. Lawrence (85th hit).  The Portage R , which you can see on the above GE shot, is peculiar; it’s not a typical river, because it cuts across a peninsula, connecting two portions of Lake Superior.  Actually, it turns out that the Portage R is part of an engineered channel called the Keweenaw Waterway.  From Wiki:

The Keweenaw Waterway is a partly natural, partly manmade waterway which cuts across the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan. Parts of the waterway are variously known as the Portage Canal, Portage River and Portage Lake.

Originally a small river used by natives for transportation and fishing, the waterway was dredged and extended in the 1860s in a joint venture between the United States Government and several mining corporations. The expanded canal allowed freighters to more easily haul copper from the rich copper mines of the Keweenaw Peninsula out through Lake Superior to larger cities. It also enabled supply boats and freighters to reach the cities of Houghton and Hancock, which supplied goods to most of Michigan’s copper region.

As the waterway connects Lake Superior to itself, there are no locks needed.

The portion of the Keweenaw Peninsula north of the waterway is known locally as Copper Island, because the waterway separates the northern part of the Keweenaw Peninsula from the mainland.

As you can see on my landing map, I landed near the town of Chassall.  About Chassall, from ExploringTheNorth.com:

This pleasant community on Chassell Bay in Portage Lake (part of Lake Superior) was named for John Chassell. He was a French farmer who bought the land in 1867.  This was a lumbering, farming and fishing community with potatoes and strawberries the main crops. The Strawberry Festival is still held in July on the first weekend after the fourth.

Here’s a shot of Lake Superior, south of Chassall:

just south of chassall

And this, of a cross country ski trail near Chassall:

x country ski in chassall

Here’s an old school house just outside of Chassall:

Meyers school near chassall

I’ll close with this tourist trap in Chassall, which happens to be a giant bear trap.  Look close, and you see that it looks like an unwary snow mobile got a little too close . . .

MICHAbeartrap2_sauvola

That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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