A Landing a Day

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Archive for November, 2011

Sylvester, Texas

Posted by graywacke on November 12, 2011

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week 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 in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Note to casual readers:  You probably want to skip the first part of this post and start with the landing map . . .

Dan –  Are you sitting down?  You better be (and hanging on to something for extra support as well).  For the first time since landing 765 (that would be one thousand, two hundred and six landings ago, which occurred one week before Christmas, 2005), I have landed on a USer 9 times out of my last 10 landings.  And why not a landing in . . . TX; 143/173; 9/10; 7; 154.0.

And, just for the heck of it, get this:   the December 18, 2005 landing mentioned above was the first 9/10 since landing 27 (May 13, 1999).    Of course, my earliest landings were a bunch of 10/10s and 9/10s when I had a wide open map full of nothing but USers.  But anyway, only twice in 1,944 landings have I seen a 9/10.

And while I’m at it, here’s what my early landing spreadsheet looked like:

As a review, the numbers in column B are the Score.  Red means the score is the lowest ever.  States highlighted in red were hit for the first time.  Column C has a “1” for USers and a “0” for OSers.  Column D records USers/10 landings – there you’ll see the 9 for landing 27.  It’s interesting that landing 27 marked the beginning of an 0/5 run, and I said goodbye to 9/10 until landing 765 . . .

OK, OK, enough of the esoteric minutiae of landing statistics.  Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Sylvester:

FYI, Roby is the next little town just to the west of Sylvester; I had a 2009 landing in Roby where my post was all about the “Roby 43” lottery winners.

Here’s a broader view:

I landed in the Clear Fork of the Brazos River watershed (3rd hit); on to the Brazos (25th hit); on to the G of M.

Here’s my GE shot that shows an agricultural area, interspersed with some scrub and maybe some oil wells:

Here’s a little Sylvester history, from Wiki (most of which is borrowed from the Handbook of Texas website):

The Compere brothers of Abilene are credited with the founding of the community in 1903. They bought part of the AJ Ranch in anticipation of the arrival of the Kansas, Mexico and Orient Railroad.   They named the new town in honor of W.W. Sylvester, the railroad’s promotion manager.  [Pretty blatant tactics to make sure the railroad went through the town, eh?]  The rails reached Sylvester in 1905 [no surprise] and businesses followed.

By 1909, the community had an estimated population of 600.  Sylvester incorporated in 1927 although in 1930 the population had fallen to 382 residents.  It had reverted to unincorporated status by 1950 and by the 1980s, fewer than 100 people remained in the community.

Although Sylvester is unincorporated, it continues to have a post office in operation with the zip code of 79560.

Moving right along.  I stumbled on a cool blog by Steven Maier (stevenmaier.com), and he had a post entitled “Ghost Town – Sylvester, TX.  Here’s a screen shot of his post title:


Here’s another screen shot (a little scrolled down from the above), showing a couple of pictures of an abandoned school along with Steven’s commentary:

Check out the entire post (and the rest of his blog) here.

I’ll close with this Panaramio wheat field shot by Kevin McCollum:

That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2011 A Landing A Day

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

Emporia, Virginia

Posted by graywacke on November 6, 2011

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week 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 in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  I’m running out of superlatives, so I’ll just say “Holy Cow! –  Another USer!,” as I landed in your sort-of-erstwhile-home state of . . . VA; 16/28; 8/10; 6; 154.5. 

Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Emporia:

Here’s a broader view:

My GE shot shows that (for the second landing in a row), it appears that I landed in a tree farm:

For only the second time, I landed in the Meherrin R watershed; on to the Chowan (4th hit); on to Albemarle Sound (8th hit).

So, here’s a little blurb from the Emporia city website:

The City of Emporia (pop. 5,700) is the southern gateway to Virginia. Just 8 miles from the North Carolina line, it is the first municipality on I-95 heading into Virginia. Emporia is an hour’s drive (65 miles) from the Capital City of Richmond, three hours’ drive (180 miles) from the Nation’s Capital, Washington, D.C., and strategically “mid-way between the Big Apple and Disney World.”  

Being both a geography guy and a numbers guy, I must check out the claim that Emporia is mid-way between New York & Disney World.  On to Google Maps . . .

OK.  From NY to Emporia is 404 miles, taking 7 hours and 26 minutes. 

From Emporia to Disney World is 693 mi, taking 11 hours and 15 minutes. 

BUSTED!!

Perusing the Google map, my first guess for a half-way point is Fayetteville NC (like Emporia, right on I-95).  Bingo!  From NY to Fayetteville is 548 miles and from Fayetteville to Disney World is 553. 

From the FayettevilleHotelInfo.com website:

For travelers out on the super highways, the Howard Johnson Express Inn in Fayetteville stands halfway between New York and Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

Now that’s more like it. 

Obviously, any hotel in Fayetteville could make the claim, but my research indicates that only the HoJo figured this out (or cared to use the info).

Moving right along . . .

The Emporia website identifies Emporia as “perched on the fall line of the Coastal Plain . . .” 

As a geologist, I’m very familiar with the fall line.  On an eastern regional geologic map, the coastal plain runs along the coast (from NY south to GA), and is composed of a great thickness (many thousands of feet) of relatively young unconsolidated sediments – stratified layers of sand, silt and clay.  There’s a distinct boundary at the western edge of the coastal plain, where solid (and very ancient) bedrock underlies the Piedmont Province.

Take a river, any river, that starts up on the Piedmont and runs towards the ocean (which, of course, they all do.)  When the river crosses the fall line, inevitably, there is a water fall (or more typically) some rapids.  Then, the river makes its way lazily across the relatively flat coastal plain.

Here’s a map showing the fall line:

Of course, Dan – our home town of Pennington NJ is a mere few miles from the fall line, and a fall line city – Trenton.

From familysearch.org, this about fall line towns:

At the southeastern edge of the Piedmont is the (water) fall line, where rivers drop to the coastal plain. Towns grew at the fall line because cargo on boats had to be portaged around the waterfalls which also served as an important early source of water power. Mills built to harness this resource encouraged the growth of towns. The larger rivers were navigable from the ocean up to the fall line, providing a trade route for those mill towns.

And this, from the same website, about the Fall Line Road:

The Fall Line Road (or Southern Road) was the road built to connect most of those growing mill towns (Emporia is between Petersburg and Warrenton).

By 1735 the Fall Line Road forked off of the King’s Highway at Fredericksburg, Virginia and continued south along the fall line. The rivers above each waterfall or rapid were relatively easy to ford because they were not subject to ocean tides, or marshes. Connecting the river fords and nearby mill towns with overland roads helped migration and trade.

I’ll close with this shot of Little Texas (just SW of my landing), from Panaramio and taken by Taber Andrew Bain:

That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2011 A Landing A Day

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