A Landing a Day

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Archive for March, 2013

West Branch, Michigan

Posted by graywacke on March 31, 2013

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

Dan –  After two Atlantic Ocean non-landings and three Canadian non-landings, I finally landed between the index finger and the middle finger, hidden behind the mitten of this OSer . . . MI; 46/38; 4/10; 1; 154.9.  To further explain my mitten comment, here’s my landing map:

 west landing1

A closer-in view shows that I landed just outside of the town of West Branch:

 west landing2

As I do my watersheds, I think you’ll figure out how West Branch got its name.  I landed in the Ogemaw Ck; which flows into the . . . West Branch . . .  of the Rifle River (first hit ever); on to the Rifle R (also first hit ever); on to Lake Huron (15th hit); on to the St. Lawrence (90th hit). 

 The West Branch is the 1110th river watershed I’ve landed in, and, of course, the Rifle itself is the 1111th  (excellent number, don’t you think?).  FYI, the St. Lawrence is a solid 7th on my river list.

 Quick trivia question.  1111 is not a prime number. Why not?  Well, because 101 x 11 = 1111.  Ever the curious soul, I checked out 11,111.  It’s also not a prime number because of a single solution:  41 x 271 = 11,111.

 OK, OK, so I checked out 111,111.  This is crazy.  Look how many solutions:

 3 x 37037 = 111,111

7 x 15873 = 111,111

11 x 10101 = 111,111

13 x 8547 = 111,111

21 x 5291 = 111,111

33 x 3367 = 111,111

37 x 3003 = 111,111

39 x 2849 = 111,111

77 x 1443 = 111,111

91 x 1221 = 111,111

111 x 1001 = 111,111

143 x 777 = 111,111

231 x 481 = 111,111

259 x 429 = 111,111

273 x 407 = 111,111

407 x 273 = 111,111

429 x 259 = 111,111

 Phew.  I’m done, and I have nothing to say about what I just did, except that I won’t do it again.

 That said, this might give you a clue that good ol’ West Branch is coming up pretty empty in the “interesting topics for a post” category . . .

 Well, here’s my Google Earth shot, which shows a mixed agricultural / woodlands landscape:

west GE1

 Unfortunately, there is no GE StreetView coverage anywhere close to my landing. 

All I could find of interest in West Branch is their smiley face water tower (the popularity of which is likely questionable).  This photo is from the town’s website:

west tower

 On the search for a topic, I looked into the Rifle River a little, like, how did it gets its name?  Nothing.  So, I’ll close with this picture of the Rifle River, from Examiner.com:


 That’ll do it.




© 2013 A Landing A Day

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

Rising Star, Texas

Posted by graywacke on March 27, 2013

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

 Dan –  I landed smack dab in the middle of the king of USers . . . TX; 144/175; 5/10; 2; 154.4.  I’d like to dwell a moment on “144/175.”  As you know, Dan (but other readers may not), that ratio tells me that I’ve landed in Texas 144 times (out of 1998 landings), but I should have landed there 175.  The 175 is based on the area of Texas relative to the area of the lower 48.  The math is simple:  The area of Texas is 268,601 square miles, and the area of the lower 48 is 3,061,636 square miles.  268,601/3,061,636 = 0.0877.  Multiply that times the number of landings (0.0877 x 1998) and you get 175.

 So, there it is.  I should have landed 175 times in Texas, but I’ve only landed there 144 times.  Incidentally, I’ve landed in Texas way more than any other state (Montana is a distant second at 117 landings), but I just don’t get it.  Imagine – I could land in Texas 30 straight times and still be undersubscribed (US)!!!

 Here’s my landing map, showing (as advertised) that I landed in the middle of Texas:

 star landing1

Here’s a closer in view, showing my proximity to a slew of small towns (but closest to the town with the lovely name of Rising Star):

 star landing2

My Google Earth (GE) shot shows a varied rural landscape:

 star GE1

The closest StreetView shot is from a road about ¾ of a mile south of my landing (the road between Rising Star and DeLeon).  When rainfall runoff flows away from my landing, it ends up flowing through the culvert that’s at the bottom of this hill:

 star GE2 - farm to market road just s of landing where the water goes

So, that little unnamed tributary flows into Sipe Springs Creek, on to Copperas Creek, on to Rush Ck; on to Leon R (4th hit); on to the Little R (5th hit, making the Little the 145th river to make my list of rivers with 5 or more hits); on to the Brazos R (26th hit).

Note that GE StreetView shows that the road is called “Farm to Market Road.”  I’ve never heard of a road named that, so I did a quick Google search of the road name in Texas.  As unbelievable as this may seem, I could find a detailed compendium of all roads named “Farm (or Ranch) to Market Road in Texas (by county).  Here’s a screen shot of just a piece of the information (that includes Comanche County, where I landed):

 star farm to market roads in TX

There are hundreds and hundreds of roads named this in Texas alone.  Amazing . . .

 Of course, the name “Rising Star” caught my attention.  Checking out three sources, I get a slightly different wrinkle on how the town got its name.  Warning:  to fully appreciate this post, don’t just skim through these histories.

First, from the Texas State Historical Society:

 When the post office opened in 1878 with Hendrick H. Osburn as postmaster, the settlement was called Copperas Creek. In 1879, Tom Anderson bought a tract of land from one of the original settlers, and in 1880, after the old post office had been closed, he opened a new post office and general store in his home. D. D. McConnell of Eastland suggested a new name for the town when he said that the area must be a “rising star country” because it produced crops when other areas were barren.

From Wiki:

The community leaders were required to suggest a name for the post office and decided upon the name ‘Star,’ which was then sent for approval to the Postal Service.  The Postal Service sent word back that a post office under the name ‘Star’ was already located in Texas (in Mills County). The citizens called a meeting to select another name and, after many long hours of deliberation, Little Andy Agnew proposed that, “Since we are a rising young community, why don’t we just call ourselves ‘Rising Star.'”

And then there’s the town’s website:

In 1874 seven families moving westward in search of their dreams found this area ideal for raising their children. With fertile land and water for livestock and crops, Rising Star became their home. The unique name of the town came much later as the population grew and a mail route was being established. The Settlers convened to find a suitable name. After deliberation throughout the night without success, they became aware of the morning star twinkling in the sky.  This revelation lead to the decision to adopt the name of “RISING STAR”.

Interesting variations – and who actually proposed the name?  Was it D.D. McConnell of Eastland, or “Little Andy Agnew?”  I know I should trust the Texas State Historical Society more than Wikipedia, but who can resist Little Andy?  And how about the cool story about the morning star twinkling in the sky after a long night of deliberations?

OK.  So here’s A Landing A Day’s version of what really happened back in 1880 . . .

 . . . The good folks who lived in and around the little town of Copperas Creek knew that the time had  come to pick a new name for the town.  After all, the old post office had been shut down, and a new one just opened up.  Sometime around the middle of June, the town fathers convened a meeting with one agenda item:  to find a suitable name for their lovely little town.  Anyone and everyone was invited.  Deliberations began, but it didn’t take long  for egos to be bruised and for tempers to flare.

 Hendrick Osburn wasn’t bashful and was determined to have his say:   “I was here first and damn it, this town should be named Osburn or Osburnville.  Anybody have a problem with that?”

 Now, Hendrick cut an imposing figure, and was used to getting his way.  But Tom Anderson (not one to be trifled with) chimed in with some edge in his voice: “No offense, Hendrick, but you are yesterday’s news, and what’s more, Osburnville is a terrible name.  I poured my heart and soul (and money) into this town, and opened up the first store and the new post office.  Andersonville rolls right off the tongue.  Folks, what do you think?”

 D.D. McConnell from nearby Eastland thought that he needed to take charge.  He chimed in:  “You two old codgers fight about everything.  We really ought to consider something else, or we’re in for a long night.  I think our current unopfficial name, “Copperas Creek” is an OK name for a creek,  but it’s a little cumbersome for a town.  But you know, Sipe Springs is just down the road here.  Old man Sipe is quite the character, but naming the town Sipe Springs has a certain ring to it.”

 Hendrick couldn’t stay quiet.  “Look.  We all love Henry Sipe, but he’s no pillar of the community.  Everybody knows that Henry tips a wee bit more than he should – come on folks, we gotta do better than that.”  (Of course, Henry wasn’t at the meeting.)

D.D. tried to keep Hendrick and Tom from going at it, but back and forth went the arguments.  Folks offered up uninspiring names like Centerville and Springfield, but they went nowhere – the names were too ordinary, and folks that traveled the state let everybody know that they were already taken.  The sometimes acrimonious discussions went long into the night. 

Andy Agnew (a local farm hand who had no hope that the town would be named after him) loved local politics and stayed for the show.  His 13-year old son Little Andy (who wasn’t so little any more) was with him, but fell asleep on a bench in a corner of the room.  In the wee hours, when the yelling reached a peak, poor Little Andy woke up.  Not caring about listening to the adults, he started getting itchy.  He asked his father if he could go outside, and just wander around a little.

 His father noticed a pre-dawn glow outside, and figured no harm done in Little Andy getting a breath of fresh air.   “OK, just don’t be gone long.”

 Little Andy went outside, and his eyes were drawn to the eastern sky, where a beautiful sunrise was in the making.  It happened to be a crystal-clear morning, and dominating the view was a vivid star, bright as a beacon in spite of the pre-dawn glow.

 Little Andy went back inside, and sat next to his father.  “Hey, father, you ought to see the big bright star outside.”  In a hushed voice, his father explained to Little Andy about the planet Venus and how sometimes it’s the Evening Star and sometimes it’s the Morning Star.  He explained that the Morning Star rises before the sun, and then fades as the sun gets brighter.  “That’s why some folks call Venus the Rising Star.”

 Andy had a good idea.  He raised his hand to speak.  Tired of listening to Hendrick, Tom and D.D., people were anxious to hear someone else.  Andy worked up his nerve and said, “I suggest that we take a little break and step outside.  My boy Little Andy said that a beautiful sunrise is on its way and the Rising Star is in its full glory.  Maybe we can receive a little heavenly inspiration if we go outside and check out the scene.”

 There was a general murmur of ascent, as everybody needed a break.

 The group went outside and stood quietly admiring the view.  Andy whispered to his son, “Little Andy, I think that we ought to name the town Rising Star.  I’ll get everyone’s attention, and then how about if you do the talking?”

 “OK, father.”

 “Listen up everybody, my boy Little Andy has an idea.  Come on Little Andy, speak up.”

 “My daddy was telling me about Venus over yonder, and how it’s called the Rising Star.  You know, there ain’t nuthin’ more beautiful than that star, and there ain’t nothin’ more beautiful than the country around this here town.  What if we call the town Rising Star?”

 The group stood in silence, looking off at the Rising Star.  Tom Anderson broke the silence. 

 “I sure as heck think that Andersonville is the best name, but Little Andy has a great idea.  I move that Rising Star be the name of our little town.  Is there a second?”

 “I second the motion,” said D.D. McConnell.

 All in favor, say “Aye.”  Most of the voice joined together, saying “Aye.”

 “All opposed, say “no.”  Hendrick Osburn almost spoke up.  In his heart, he knew that the town should be called “Osburnville.”  But he bit his tongue, and silence ensued.

 “Motion approved.   Well, how about that folks – we all live in Rising Star, Texas.  Let’s go home and try to get a few hours of shut eye. . .”

 And that’s the way it was in Rising Star, Texas, in June of 1880  . . .

 Moving right along . . . to give you a feel for the old town, here’s a great photo (undated) from the University of North Texas  “Texas History” website.  It shows the Courthouse (on the left) and the jail (on the right):

 star - from TexasHistory.unt.edu

I think it’s fair to assume that the courthouse is where the town-naming meeting was held that fateful night . . .

To show you how far the town has come, here’s a Panoramio shot of  the City Hall (by lawyermoody):

 star city hall by lawyermoody

 That’ll do it.



© 2013 A Landing A Day

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

Hardinsburg, Kentucky

Posted by graywacke on March 24, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice-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 –  It has been 172 landings since I landed in this USer . . . KY; 20/26; 5/10; 1; 155.0.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 hard landing 1

My close-in map shows that I landed on a peninsula, of what I guess to be a lake (rather than a river):

 hard landing 2

Backing up a little, you can see I landed next to Rough River Lake, and near a bunch of small towns:

 hard landing 3

A little bit of research shows that Hardinsburg (about 10 miles north of my landing) is the only real “town” any place close (although I really like “Falls of Rough” located southwest of my landing, and “Se Ree” located northeast).

 Obviously, I landed in the Rough River watershed (my first time ever); on to the Green R (7th hit); on to the Ohio R (125th hit); on of course to the MM (788th hit).

 Here’s my Google Earth (GE) shot.  It looks like I landed in what used to be a farm field, but is now just some open pasture:

 hard GE1

Rough River Lake is the result of a dam that was built across the Rough River (just east of “Falls of Rough” on my landing map).  From Wiki:

The 5,100-acre lake was formed by a dam built across the Rough River in 1959 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.  Rough River Lake Dam is a 132-foot-high earthen dam impounding 334,400 acre-feet of water.

For those curious souls out there, an acre-foot of water is (not surprisingly) the volume of water one foot deep that covers an acre.  Here’s the math:  one acre = 43,560 square feet.  Multiplying by 1 foot deep, we now have 43,560 cubic feet of water.  There are 7.48 gallons of water in a cubic foot, so each acre-foot = 43,560 x 7.48 = 325,829 gallons.  The amount of water in the lake?  334,400 acre-feet x 325,829 gallons per acre-foot =  109,000,000,000 gallons (that’s 109 billion gallons).  There you have it. 

Here’s a picture from on top of the dam looking upstream towards the lake (from the National Weather Service):


So, moving right along into Hardinsburg a little, I see Beards, Beards and more Beards . . .  specifically:  Ralph Beard, Frank Beard, Percy Beard and Butch Beard. 

 I’ll start with a book excerpt that focuses on Ralph, but introduces Ralph’s story by mentioning the whole Beard family.  The book’s title (which will give you a clue about Ralph) is: Scandals of ’51:  How Gamblers Almost Killed College Basketball, by Charles Rosen:

 hard the beards

Speaking of excerpts, here’s an excerpt from a Washington Post article by Matt Schudell after Ralph died in 2007:

 Mr. Beard led the University of Kentucky Wildcats, under Hall of Fame coach Adolph Rupp, to NCAA championships in 1948 and 1949 and was a three-time all-American guard. During his four years at Kentucky, his team had a record of 130 wins and 10 losses.

In the National Basketball Association, Mr. Beard was a first-team all-pro guard and started in the league’s first All-Star Game. He was preparing for his third season as a player and part owner of the Indianapolis Olympians when he and a teammate, former Kentucky star Alex Groza, were arrested Oct. 20, 1951. They and another ex-Kentucky player, Dale Barnstable, were charged with accepting money to lose a game, or at least not to meet the “point spread” set by gamblers, in 1949.

“If taking $700 was wrong, then I was guilty,” he said in 1995. “But I was totally innocent of influencing games. I never had two dimes to rub together. My mother cleaned six apartments so we could have one to live in. I took the money, and that was it.”

 In later years, Mr. Beard occasionally attended basketball workouts at Kentucky and often spoke to college athletes about the dangers of gambling.

“Basketball was my life,” he said in 1997. “If I can save one person from the hell I’ve gone through . . . I’ll do it. I’ll pay for it until the day the dirt from the spade hits the coffin. I blew it all for $700.”

Here’s Ralph in his college days.  No intensity here . . .

 hard ralph espn

Ralph had a younger brother Frank (a golfer).  OK, OK, so Frank isn’t actually from Hardinsburg (as mentioned in the book excerpt, he was born in Dallas, but close enough).  From Wiki:

 Beard turned professional in 1962. He topped the PGA Tour money list in 1969 with earnings of $175,223.   He has eleven wins on the tour including victories in the Tournament of Champions in 1967 and 1970 (beating Arnold Palmer by one stroke in 1967 and Billy Casper, Tony Jacklin and Gary Player by 7 strokes in 1970).  His best finishes in a major tournament were third-place finishes in the 1965 and 1975 U.S. Opens.

Beard is probably best known as the author of Pro, the story of his year on the tour in 1969. The book revealed many of the more mundane parts of life on the pro tour for the middle tier of golfers with families. Commentators called the book “humorous and insightful,” showing the human side of the PGA Tour.

Beard has also worked as a golf commentator on ESPN.

Here’s a photo I lifted from the Armchair Golf Blog (a blog by Neil Sagebiel).

 hard frank beard

As long as this post is big on excerpts, check out this excerpt from Neil’s blog which is actually an excerpt from Frank Beard’s book:

 The number-one guys have to be almost totally self-centered. They have to possess an incredible burning for success. They’ve got to be willing to do anything within morally, civically, and socially acceptable bounds to win. I don’t mean they have to cheat, and I don’t mean they have to go out of their way to stomp on people. Not at all. But they do have to stomp on people who get in their way. They have to ignore their friends and their enemies and sometimes their families, and they have to concentrate entirely upon winning, upon being number one. There’s no other way to get to the top.

I’m sure I sound harsh, but I’m not really condemning them. They’ve got what we all want. They’ve got financial independence. They’ve got prestige. They’ve got power. I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t like to have his own airplane and his own secretaries and his own companies. There are many days I wish I had their drive, their singleness of purpose, their complete devotion to victory. I’m often tempted to try it, to push everything and everybody else out of the way and pursue nothing but success. But I just can’t do it. I don’t mean I’m too nice a guy. I mean it’s not my way. If I tried it, I’d fail. I couldn’t survive the constant intensity, the constant burning.

My approach, the one that works for me, is less grueling. Basically, I’m content just to make a good living playing golf. If I make $100,000 a year, I’m very happy. If I slump to sixty or fifty or forty thousand dollars, I’ll still be happy. I’ll be able to pay my expenses, pay my taxes, and put a little bit away.

By the way, Frank Beard (no relation to Frank Beard the golfer) is the drummer for ZZ Top, and, ironically the only band member without a beard.  He’s easy to pick out in this picture (from drummersworld.com):

 hard from drummerworld

Oh yea, he’s an excellent (scratch) golfer . . .

 I know I could have skipped the whole ZZ Top thing, but anyway, let me move on to Percy Beard.  I’ll start by saying that after a fair amount of internet research, I can find no clues to indicate that Percy is related to Ralph & Frank.  A distant relative?   Maybe.  Anyway, here’s his picture (from the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame:

 hard Beard_Percy from AL sports hall of fame

 And this from Wiki about Percy:

 Percy Beard was born in Hardinsburg, Kentucky in 1908. He became a world-class hurdler at Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University).  He later competed for the New York Athletic Club, where he set a world record of 14.2 seconds in the 120-yard high hurdles in 1931. A seven-time national Amateur Athletics Union (AAU) high hurdles champion, Beard won the silver medal in the 110-meter high hurdles event at the 1932 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, finishing second behind U.S. teammate George Saling.

Following his competition running career, Beard became the head coach of the University of Florida track and field team.  Beard was a member of the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and was elected to the United States National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1981.   The University of Florida honored Beard by naming its track and field facility, Percy Beard Track in 1978.  He died in 1990; he was 82 years old.

This is amazing.  And then, there’s Butch.

Alfred “Butch” Beard Jr. (born May 5, 1947 in Hardinsburg, Kentucky) is a former National Basketball Association player and head coach. He was the head coach at Morgan State University until he stepped down in March 2006. Butch Beard played college basketball at the University of Louisville. Beard played high school basketball at Breckinridge County High School where, as a junior, he led the Bearcats to the 1964 state championship game losing to a Wes Unseld-led Louisville Seneca team. The following year, Beard led the Bearcats back to the title game winning the 1965 state championship. Additionally, Beard was named the 1965 Kentucky Mr. Basketball.

Beard was selected by the Dallas Chaparrals in the 1969 ABA Draft and by the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the 1969 NBA Draft.[1] Beard played nine seasons (1969–1970; 1971–1979) with five teams: the Atlanta Hawks, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Seattle SuperSonics, the Golden State Warriors, and the New York Knicks. He scored 5,622 career points and represented Cleveland in the 1972 NBA All-Star Game. He later served as head coach of the New Jersey Nets from 1994-1996. He was also color analyst for New York Knicks games on MSG Network during the 1980s.

Here’s a picture from Kentucky High School Hoops blogspot:

 hard butch beard

Click HERE for a very cool You Tube video with Butch reminiscing about his career. 

It’s amazing that this little town (pop 2,300) has this illustrious line-up of athletes, let alone athletes with the same last name!!

 Changing pace (entirely), it turns out that in this region of Kentucky (and right near Rough River Lake), are vestiges of early Indian civilizations known as Hominy Holes. 

ehard hominy holes ky hunting.net:

 And here’s a Hominy Hole right near the lake:

 hard hominy holes2

Evidently (for all of you mortar and pestle aficionados), these holes are the mortars, and the pestles were elongated limestone rocks (often found in the vicinity).  The Hominy Holes were likely used more for crushing acorns than “hominy” (i.e., corn).  They are all over the place, evidently.

 One other local point of interest upon which I stumbled – most dams have a spillway, which is an emergency bypass if the water gets too high.  They carved one in bedrock that goes around the dam at Rough River lake.  Here’s a Panoramio shot of the spillway:

 hard -  flood bypass channel

I’ll close with this sunset shot by Susan Cotton of the Louisville Courier Journal:

 hard courier journal susan cotton

 That’ll do it.





© 2013 A Landing A Day




Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Gladstone, Oregon

Posted by graywacke on March 21, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice-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 on a lousy 1/6 run, with this OSer landing in . . . OR; 76/64; 4/10; 2; 155.6.  Here’s my regional landing map, showing that I landed in northwest OR:

 glad landing1

Here’s my close in map, showing that I landed in an urban area, on the east side of Gladstone:

 glad landing2

My even-closer-in map shows that I landed right along 82nd Drive:

 glad landing3

Funny –  I thought all numbered streets were either “streets” or “avenues.”  And then again, where’s 81st?  83rd?  OK, so I figured it out.  Head way up north, and 82nd Drive turns into to 82nd Ave (in Portland), and all the other expected numbered avenues are there.

 Oops – I’ve tipped my hand – yes, I landed in the greater Portland area.  Here’s a regional Google Earth (GE) shot, showing that I landed in the far southeast portion of Portland suburbia:

 glad GE7

Here’s a much-closer-in GE shot, showing that I landed very close to the Clackamas River (my 2nd landing in the watershed):

 glad GE1

The Clackamas flows into the Willamette just west side of Gladstone (10th hit).  Then, as you can see by looking at the regional GE shot above, the Willamette flows north through Portland, and then discharges into the Columbia (140th hit).

 I was hopeful that GE StreetView included 82nd Drive, and it turns out it does!  I have been treated with a close-up view of my exact landing location.  So, here it is:

 glad GE2

Is that cool, or what?  I landed in a little landscaping patch next to the parking lot of Scuba RX (see the sign on the far right).  I checked, and lo and behold, they have a website:

 glad scuba rx

Scuba RX is apparently run by a couple of divers, Barry & Andrew.  These guys have obviously followed their passion (they have bios on their site).  I hope they are successfully earning a good living doing what they love!

 Dan, I noticed this DAN logo on their website:

 glad - DAN

 It turns out that DAN is Divers Alert Network.  From the DAN website:

glad - DAN 2

DAN’s website has an on-line store with a bunch of DAN gear.  Dan, you should check it out; you might find something you like (and I bet you wouldn’t be the first non-diver named Dan who perused the merchandise).

 Back to things landing . . . take a look back at my closest-in landing map.  Just to the west, you see a body of water with the name  “Chautauqua Lake (Historical).”  That caught my eye.  What the heck is a historical lake?  Of course, I looked at GE, and it shows a dark splotch in the middle of a park of some sort, which looks like the lake:

 glad GE8

Here it is, zooming in closer.  I don’t know why the word “historical” appears next to the name of the lake . . .

 glad - GE

Anyway, checking out the “history” section of the City’s website, it turns out that the founder of the City of Gladstone (one Harvey Edward Cross) was heavily involved in the nationwide fad known as the Chautauqua movement (more about that in a minute), and in 1894 he granted a 50-year lease of substantial acreage around a small lake to the Willamette Valley Chautauqua Association for its annual summer assemblies. The property became known as Chautauqua Park and the lake was named Chautauqua Lake.

 So, what is Chautauqua?  Here’s some background, which I’ve gleaned from Chautauqua.com (the website for the Colorado Chautauqua Association): 

The Chautauqua movement started at Chautauqua Lake, New York back in the 1870s.  Chautauqua is way out in western NY, not far from Erie PA.  Anyway, there was a Methodist church camp there that begin holding a wide range of adult education lectures and seminars, that came to be organized as the Chautauqua Institution.  The whole idea caught on, and began to include cultural as well as educational events.  It became non-denominational (mildly Protestant), and nation-wide.

 Here’s some material from the  Chautauqua website:

Before radio and television, the Chautauqua Movement united millions in common cultural and educational experiences. Orators, performers, and educators traveled a national Chautauqua circuit of more than 12,000 sites bringing lectures, performances, concerts, classes, and exhibitions to thousands of people in small towns and cities. Theodore Roosevelt called Chautauquas, “the most American thing in America.”

As its members and graduates spread the Chautauqua idea, many towns—especially in rural areas where opportunities for secondary education were limited—established “chautauquas.”  “Chautauqua” had a degree of cachet and became short hand for an organized gathering intended to introduce people to the great ideas, new ideas, and issues of public concern. “Independent chautauquas,” those with permanent buildings and staff could be found throughout the US by 1900, with a concentration in the mid-West.

The movement pretty much died out by the mid-1930s. Most historians cite the rise of the car culture, radio, and movies as the causes.

Here’s some more info about Chautauqua Park from the City website:

The first auditorium built on the property (in 1895), seated 3000 people; the second, erected in 1917, seated more than twice as many.  Because of Chautauqua, Gladstone became a cultural and social center.  Railroad and street cars brought people from Portland and other towns and communities for concerts, ball games and other events. Speakers and performers included band master John Phillip Sousa;  presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt and the most popular speaker of all, William Jennings Bryan.

Gladstone’s Chautauqua Park was the third largest permanent park in the United States. Its auditorium was often jammed with $2.00 season ticket holders for morning, afternoon and evening sessions. Lake Chautauqua, described by one observer as “very silent and still,” added to the beauty of an already beautiful and pleasant park.

The decline in the popularity of Chautauqua was partly due to music and vaudeville acts which came to Portland.  The Park closed in 1927.   After Judge Cross passed away in 1929, the Chautauqua Park grounds and buildings were sold to the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

There’s a Seventh Day Adventist church on the property; and the church uses the land as a campground (for retreats, I assume).

Here’s a picture of auditorium, circa 1906 from OregonEncyclopedia.org:

 Chatauqua Building at Gladstone Park, Oregon City, postcard, abo

I want you to know, that in preparing this post, I resisted the urge to go geological.  I certainly could have, because majestic Mt. Hood is only 40 miles due east (and visible on a clear day), as shown on this Panoramio shot (by Suzi with a zoom lens) taken less than a mile from my landing:

glad mt hood suzi panoramio from 0.5 mi s of landing 

That’ll do it.





© 2013 A Landing A Day

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

Turner, Maine

Posted by graywacke on March 17, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-time-I-get-around-to-it 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 venturing back into the ranks of the USers, with this, my 22nd landing in the state of . . . ME; 22/23 (barely a USer); 5/10; 1; 155.1.  Here’s my landing map, showing that I landed in the ME boonies (which comprises the 90% of the state away from the coast):

 turner landing 1

A closer-in view shows that I landed in between Turner, Turner Center, North Turner, and that outlier, Buckfield:

 turner landing 2

You can see I landed very close to a stream, called, interestingly enough, Martin Stream; on to a new river for me, the Nezinscot, on to the Androscoggin (4th hit).  FYI, I’ve landed in innumerable creek watersheds, and 1108 different river watersheds, but only eleven “stream” watersheds.  Nine of the eleven “streams” are in Maine.  The two non-Maine “streams” are in PA and WA, but in both cases, the word stream is associated with another body of water (Bear Run Stream in PA and Fish Lake Stream in WA).  My conclusion?  Calling a creek or small river a “stream” is strictly a Maine phenomenon.  

OMG!  (Don’t worry, the “G” stands for “goodness.”)  I just found a simply amazing map.  I found it in a blog by Derek Watkins.  He is a cartographer who makes very cool maps.  And of all things, he created a map that shows the distribution of generic stream and creek names (not the proper name, but whether it’s a “run” or a “stream” for example).  He mapped the thousands of creeks, rivers, runs, bayous, forks, brooks, kills, streams, sloughs, swamps, washs, arroyos, cañadas (spanish for stream) and rios (spanish for river).  Because creeks and rivers are so prevalent, the following map ignores them:

turner stream names

Here’s a close-up of New England.  Can you see the greener patch in Maine?  Those are “streams.”  The blue are “brooks.”  Although it’s hard to see, I think that the only place in the country with “streams” is Maine.

turner - derek watkins

And check out NJ (where I live).  North Jersey & South Jersey might as well be two different states.  Philly-based vs. NY-based.  Phillies vs. Mets/Yankees.  Eagles vs. Giants/Jets.  Flyers vs. Islanders/Rangers/Devils.  Sixers vs. Nets/Knicks.  Area code 609 vs. 201, 732 & 908.   And now, based on stream names, brooks (for the north) vs. runs and branches for the south.  I live in the 609 area code, so:  Go Philly/Phillies/Flyers/Sixers/609/runs/branches.

Anyway, you have to check out Derek’s website.  He has a great interactive maps.  Rather than me describe them, just go to his site.  Click here to get there.

Moving right along . . . here’s my Google Earth (GE) shot, showing that I landed behind some fields in the woods near Martin Stream. turner GE1

There is GE StreetView coverage for the nearby road; here’s a shot of the establishment that’s in front of my landing (in fact, the word “landing” shows the direction towards the yellow pin):

turner GE2

This looks to be a used car dealership.  Let me see . . . (doing Google Maps search) . . . aye yup (said with a Maine accent).  There’s no doubt that I landed behind K&S Enterprises Used Cars.  Here’s an internet blurb on the establishment:

 turner K&S Enterprises

So, if you find yourself in Turner and in need of a set of wheels, I recommend that you stop by K&S and peruse their lot . . .

 Well, Dan, I must tell you that I’m flummoxed.  After a somewhat lackluster southern New England landing (sorry about that, Colchester CT), I have found this northern New England landing to be less than stellar.  Let me be more direct.  I can find nothing about the various Turners or Buckfield that would be of general interest to you and my greater ALAD readership – all four or five of you (on a good day).

 I have noticed for quite a while that New England landings are difficult for me.  I can’t put my finger on it, but the spicy hook seems to be lacking.  So, rather than spend a lot of time and wallow in angst, I’ll just post a few pictures of the Androscoggin and the Nezinscot and call it a day.

 Here’s an interesting Androscoggin shot, from Nat Geo (1981 by Sandy Felsenthal):

 Sandy Felsenthal androscog in 1981

And this, from the Western Maine Economic Development Council, shows an idyllic rural scene:


I’ll close with this Panoramio shot (by nrmjorl) of the Nezinscot right in beautiful downtown Turner:


 turn - pano - nrmjorl nevinscot in turner

That’ll do it.



© 2013 A Landing A Day

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

Colchester, Connecticut

Posted by graywacke on March 14, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a twice-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’ve slipped to 0/4 with this little OSer . . . CT; 6/4; 4/10; 2; 155.7.  As you can see, this was only my 6th landing here; but ratios dictate that I shouldn’t have landed there more than 4 times.  Oh, well.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 col - landing1

A closer-in view shows my proximity to Colchester:

 col - landing2

Here’s my Google Earth (GE) shot, showing that I landed in someone’s backyard!

 col - GE1

And . . . drum roll please . . . when I check GE StreetView, bingo!  And StreetView put my landing pin mysteriously hovering behind the house:

 col - GE2

I backed up a little, and took this shot past my landing, looking south towards McDonald’s Pond (just past McDonald Road, the road near my landing):

 col - GE3

I landed in the watershed of two new rivers!  For the first time ever, I landed in the Deep River watershed, on to the Nantic River (also first time ever), on to the Thames (third hit), which runs below an I-95 bridge on its way to the Long Island Sound (which I and some of my readers, I’m sure have gone over).  The two new rivers are numbers 1106 and 1107. 

 No offense, Colchester, but I couldn’t really find much of particular interest, although there is a cool burger joint call Harry’s Place.  Here’s a Panoramio picture by Earl53:

col - harry's place pano earl53

It actually was reviewed in the NY Times by Christopher Brooks:

 Harry’s Place, established in 1920, may be the least ostentatious of businesses to bear a National Register of Historic Places plaque. Yet the hordes who are drawn to it daily are there for the eats, not its historic significance.

Harry Schmuckler of nearby Salem was the Harry who opened the joint, though he sold it in the 1930s and it has been run by the Garet family since 1978. While the bread-and-butter sales remain griddle-fried quarter-pound patties and crispy-skinned frankfurters, Harry’s Place offers a large selection of comfort foods.

At the high end is a lobster roll, a plentiful blend of buttery claw and arm meat served in a griddle-toasted roll. Also available are corn chowder, lobster bisque and fried clam bellies. And among an army of sides are crispy crinkle-cut fries and house-made potato chips. Perhaps most surprising of all, Harry’s offers Wi-Fi, with the daily login code posted by the front window.

Actually, it sounds like it’s a cut above most burger joints.  Here’s another review, this one by Michael Stern for Roadfood.com, starting with Stern’s picture of a burger:

 col - harry's place roadfood review by michael stern

Hamburgers are cooked on the hot, oily griddle as a round patty a little smaller than a baseball, then they are flattened out with a spatula. Despite getting squished, the hamburgers remain thick enough to be overwhelmingly juicy. Hot dogs are cooked on the same grill, and they’re plump and tasty ones, especially satisfying when bedded atop some of Harry’s chili sauce.

It’s just before dinner as I’m writing this, and I’m hungry . . .

Moving right along, and searching for a little local interest, I found a nearby town with an unusual name – Moodus (about 8 miles southwest).  Moodus actually means “the Place of Bad Noises.”  Check this out, from Wiki:

Moodus is infamous in Connecticut for the strange noises coming from the woods which have been termed “Moodus noises,” and are attributed to shallow micro-earthquakes.

In Legendary Connecticut, author David Philips asserts that the Moodus noises were the source of an indigenous religious cult important to local Native Americans.  Local Algonquin chiefs (Sachems) would gather around Mt. Tom [a nearby hill] in order to experience the living presence of the god Hobomock.  The Algonquins called the area  Matchitmoodus, meaning “the Place of Bad Noises,” since Hobomock was considered an evil deity.

The local high school’s athletic teams are dubbed the “Noises.”

We’ll add a little legitimate science to the discussion; check out this, from the US Geological Survey:

Historic Earthquake Near Moodus, Connecticut
May 16, 1791
Intensity VII

Largest Earthquake in Connecticut

 The region around Moodus, near the Connecticut River northeast of New Haven, has been the location of a series of local seismic disturbances since this country was settled. This region has been referred to in Indian tradition as Morehemoodus, or “place of noises.”  The first reported earthquake began on May 16 with two heavy shocks in quick succession. Stone walls were shaken down, tops of chimneys were knocked off, and latched doors were thrown open. A fissure several meters long formed in the ground. In a short time, 30 lighter shocks occurred, and more than 100 continued during the night. The quake was felt in Boston and New York City.

There seems to be no other theories of the origin of the bad noises, so I’ll have to go along with earthquake theory, I guess.  Anyway, I’ll close with this Panoramio shot of Chapman’s Falls (about 5 miles south of my landing) by Chris Sanfino:

 col - chris sanfino - 5 mi s chapman falls


That’ll do it.




© 2013 A Landing A Day

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

Missoula, Montana

Posted by graywacke on March 11, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-time-I-get-around-to-it 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 –  After three USers in a row; of course, I follow up with three OSers in a row, thanks to this landing in the granddady of OSers . . . MT; 117/96; 4/10; 1; 155.3.   Here’s my regional landing map, showing that I didn’t land far from that long-time USer Idaho:

 miss - landing1

My closer-in landing map shows that I landed within easy commuting distance of Missoula:

 miss - landing2

You can see that I landed along a road that runs east-west in what looks like the boonies.  
Here’s an even-closer-in landing map, which shows that I landed right along O’Brien Creek and O’Brien Creek Road:

miss - landing3

O’Brien Creek flows east towards the tangle of rivers that you can see in the greater Missoula area.  Specifically, the creek flows into the river that comes up from the south – and curls around Route 12 – the Bitterroot R (3rd hit).  The Bitterroot flows just a little over a mile after accepting the waters of the O’Brien when it flows into Clark Fork (17th hit, the river that flows right through Missoula); on to the Pend Oreille (19th hit); to the grand ol’ Columbia (139th hit).

 Here’s my Google Earth (GE) shot that shows what the O’Brien Creek valley looks like:

 miss - GE1

I decided to zoom in at a low elevation (using GE, of course), looking west up the valley past my landing:

 miss - GE2

Stepping back some (er, I should say flying back some), here’s a GE view over the Missoula Valley (with a little of the city in the foreground), still looking west past my landing:

 miss - GE3

I was surprised and happy to see that GE StreetView coverage extends up O’Brien Creek road.  It doesn’t make it all the up to my landing, but it comes close.  Here’s a shot looking up the valley.  My landing is about 1.5 miles ahead.

 miss - GE4 obrien creek road .5 mi from landing

Here’s a Panoramio shot by J. Belote, taken from the top of the mountain about 1.5 miles due south of where I landed, looking east towards Missoula:

 miss pano towards missoula from 1.5 mi s of landing by j. belote

Checking into the history of Missoula, I found out that the area was originally known as Hell Gate.  Catchy name, eh?  From Wiki:

Hell Gate (sometimes known as Hell’s Gate or Hellgate) is a ghost town at the western end of the Missoula Valley.  The town was located on the banks of the Clark Fork River roughly five miles downstream from present-day Missoula near what is today Frenchtown.

Members of the Bitterroot Salish (or Flathead) Native American tribe often traveled through the Missoula Valley on their way east to bison hunting grounds.  As the Salish passed through the valley’s narrow eastern and western mouths, members of the Blackfeet tribe would often attack and kill them.  The Salish called the valley lm-i-sul-étiku, which means “by the cold, chilling waters” but which the Salish used metaphorically to mean “the place chilled with fear.”  The entire valley was heavily wooded, and ideal for ambush.

French trappers passing through the valley in the 1820s were horrified to see so many remains of Salish in the deep canyons which formed the valley’s entrances, and called the valley “Porte de l’Enfer,” or the “Hell Gate.”

Hell Gate collapsed as a settlement in 1865. The settlement had reached a grand total of 20 residents.  But a sawmill, flour mill, and new store were built at the site of present-day Missoula, and all the residents of Hell Gate moved to the new town practically overnight.

Rather than take the town name with them, they adopted as the new name of their town the (garbled) Indian word for the valley, “Missoula.” The county seat was moved from Hell Gate to Missoula in 1866.  By 1913, little was left of the town (which was now part of a privately owned ranch) except for a few buildings.

Hell Gate has lent its name to several natural and man-made features in the area, including the valley itself, which became known in the 1800s as the Hell Gate Valley.   Hell Gate was also the original name of the Clark Fork River.

Although the river and valley would be renamed, the steep gorge cut by the Clark Fork to the east of the Missoula Valley is still known as Hellgate Canyon.  The U.S. Postal Service maintains a Hell Gate Station in downtown Missoula, and the Missoula County Public School System operates Hellgate High School, one of the oldest and largest high schools in the state of Montana.

There you have it.  By the way, Hellgate is such a cool name for a high school.  Let me guess, they are either the “Red Devils” or the “Blue Devils.”  I’ll go check in with Google . . .

Doh!  This is one of those rare occasions that my hunch was wrong.  They are the Hellgate Knights:


FYI, I went to Zanesville High School in Ohio.  We are the Blue Devils, and this is our logo (although this wasn’t our logo the many eons ago that I went there):

 miss - ZHS logo

By the way, ZHS  went 19-5 in boy’s basketball this year, suffering a tough loss in the second round of the state tournament.  Not a bad season when the two tallest kids on the team are both only 6′ 3″ . . .

Ahem.  Sorry about the diversion.  Moving right along – Missoula is the home of the University of Montana.  Perusing GE, I could easily find the big “M” on the mountainside that overlooks the campus:

miss - M over Univ of mt

As a geologist, I’ve been itching to get on to the next topic:  References to the Missoula Valley are replete with discussions of  “Glacial Lake Missoula.”  I know, I know, it wasn’t so long ago that I gave a robust geological treatment to Glacial Lake Wisconsin (my Mauston WI post).  But I couldn’t look myself in the eye (in the mirror) if I didn’t include some discussion about Glacial Lake Missoula, because it’s so cool.  I can hardly think of a geological story more compelling . . .

Here’s the nuts & bolts (from ForMontana.net, starting with this picture of relic shorelines):

miss don hyndman, u of mt

One of the most fascinating events of the last ice age was a series of cataclysmic floods associated with Glacial Lake Missoula. The shorelines of the ancient lake can be seen along mountainsides around Missoula. In the photo shown above, the light snow on Mt. Jumbo makes it easier to see these ancient shorelines.  At times the lake was 950 feet deep where Missoula sits today.

Here’s what happened . . .
As the glacial ice moved south and reached its maximum about 18,000 years ago, it extended into western Montana and Idaho and it blocked the flow of the Clark Fork River.  The water began to build up behind (south of) the ice dam. This formed a huge lake that geologists have named “Glacial Lake Missoula.”

When the Lake Missoula was at its highest, the water was about 2,000 feet deep and contained about as much water as Lake Erie.  Once the water filled in the area behind the ice dam, the lake didn’t last for long.  Since ice floats, it doesn’t make for a very durable dam. Consequently,  it was only a matter of time before the lake dislodged its ice dam. With the dam displaced, the 480 cubic miles of water impounded behind it would have been unleashed in a cataclysmic flash flood of incredible proportions.  The water would have thundered through present-day Spokane and continued across eastern Washington to the Columbia River, scouring the land as it swept through.

Geologists think that this happened many times. Once the front of the glacier was swept away by the water it had impounded, the lobe of ice grew back into the area and re-dammed the river. Geologists believe that at Lake Missoula formed and flooded at least 41 times between 15,500 and 13,200 years ago.

Below: On this map of Montana, Glacial Lake Missoula is the lake in the far west.  It wasn’t the only glacial lake – several others existed along the southern edge of the ice.


As one might expect, these cataclysmic floods left their mark.  But it took quite a bit of sleuthing and piecing together many clues to put the whole story together.  A geologist named Harlen Bretz was the first to have a clue.  This, from Wiki:

J Harlen Bretz (1882 – 1981) was an American geologist, best known for his research that led to the acceptance of the Missoula Floods.

In the summer of 1922, and for the next seven years, Bretz conducted field research of the Columbia River Plateau.  He was interested in unusual erosion features, where massive erosion had cut through basalt deposits (the Channeled Scablands).  The area was a desert, but Bretz’s theories required cataclysmic water flows to form the landscape.

Bretz published a paper in 1923, arguing that the erosion features were caused by massive flooding (that he termed the Spokane Floods) in the distant past.

Bretz encountered resistance to his theories from the geology establishment of the day.  The geology establishment was resistant to such a sweeping theory for the origin of a broad landscape for a variety of reasons, including the lack of status and reputation of Bretz in the eyes of the largely Ivy League-based geology elites.

Bretz defended his theories (along with another geologist, J.T. Pardee, who focused on evidence for Glacial Lake Missoula), kicking off an acrimonious 40 year debate over the origin of the Channeled Scablands. As he wrote in 1928, “Ideas without precedent are generally looked upon with disfavour and men are shocked if their conceptions of an orderly world are challenged.”

Pardee’s and Bretz’s theories were accepted only after decades of painstaking work and fierce scientific debate.   In 1979 Bretz received the highest medal of the Geological Society of America, the Penrose Medal, to recognize that he had developed one of the great ideas in the earth sciences.

I found a great website that is all about the huge floods.  It is called (appropriately enough) HugeFloods.com.  Click HERE to go to it.  I strongly recommend that you do.  When you’re at the site, click on the following tabs, and peruse:

The Mystery

Lake Missoula

The Scablands (includes a cool BBC video)

Lake Lewis –  Wait until you read about Lake Lewis!

If you think that this whole colossal flood thing is worth learning more about, may I recommend this book:

miss book

My friend Cheryl showed me the book.  She has a new-found passion for geology, in spite of an artsy life that included designing and producing her own line of clothing.  She spent some time out west checking out the evidence for the big flood and knows way more about this than I do . . .  

Phew.  Heading’ on back to Missoula . . . you may have noticed that the picture of the relic shorelines is on “Mount Jumbo.”  Of course, I was curious as to how it go its name.  Well, this from Wiki:

Mount Jumbo (Salish: ‘Sin Min Koos,’ which translates into ‘obstacle’ or ‘thing in the way’)  is an iconic mountain that overlooks the city of Missoula, Montana.  Early settlers thought Mount Jumbo looked like a sleeping elephant and the round grassy mountain became known as Elephant Hill.

Coincidently, miners christened a nearby copper mine ‘Jumbo Lode’ in honor of Jumbo the elephant, famously with the Barnum and Bailey circus.  Eventually, “Elephant Hill” became “Mount Jumbo.”

Here’s a lovely shot of Mount Jumbo at sunset (from Wiki):

miss mt jumbo  wiki

I thought I’d do a little research on Jumbo himself (the elephant).  From Wiki:

Jumbo was born in 1861 in the French Sudan, whence he was imported to France and kept in the old zoo Jardin des Plantes in Paris. In 1865 he was transferred to the London Zoo, where he became famous for giving rides to visitors, especially children. The London zookeeper association leader Anoshan Anathajeyasri gave Jumbo his name; it is likely a variation of one of two Swahili words: jambo, which means “hello” or jumbe, which means “chief”.

Jumbo was sold in 1881 to P. T. Barnum, owner of the Barnum & Bailey Circus,for 10,000 dollars ($241 thousand today).  In New York, Barnum exhibited the elephant at Madison Square Garden, earning enough from the enormous crowds to recoup the money he spent to buy the animal.  Jumbo became a major attraction in the traveling “Greatest Show on Earth.”

Jumbo died in 1885 at a railway yard in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, where he was hit and fatally wounded by a locomotive. Barnum afterwards told the story that Jumbo died saving a young circus elephant, Tom Thumb, from being hit by the locomotive, but other witnesses did not support this.

Here’s a picture, from Wiki, of the sad occurrence:

miss jumbo death wiki

Jumbo’s hide was stuffed, and I’ll borrow from the Tufts University webpage for the following information:

Tufts’ official mascot, Jumbo the elephant, has been ranked among the most singular in college athletics by The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated and is the only college mascot found in Webster’s Dictionary.

The elephant’s tale dates back to 1885, when P.T. Barnum, the circus showman who was an early trustee and benefactor of Tufts, donated the stuffed hide of Jumbo to the university after he was killed by a train in Ontario, Canada. The pachyderm was eventually put on display in the Barnum Museum of Natural History (now Barnum Hall) at Tufts. He was a big hit with the college’s athletes, who adopted him as their mascot, while their coaches invoked his strength and bravery in pre-game pep talks.

For 86 years, Jumbo was a veritable mecca for students, their parents and other campus visitors. Students would pop pennies in his trunk or give a tug on his tail to bring luck for an upcoming exam or athletics competition. But Jumbo mania came to a fiery end on April 14, 1975, when Barnum Hall, and the beloved elephant, were consumed in a blaze caused by faulty wiring in a refrigeration unit. All that remained were a piece of his tail (now neatly wrapped and stored in the university archives) and some ashes. Phyllis Byrne, the administrative assistant in the athletics department, dispatched a colleague to the ruins to collect some of Jumbo’s ashes in an empty peanut butter jar.

Jumbo’s spirit lives on in his hybrid container (a Peter Pan Crunchy lid on a Skippy jar), and since 1975, university athletes have rubbed the jar for good luck. And when a new athletics director is named, there is a ceremonial “passing of the ashes” to the successor.

If you started to skim, make sure that you read the last paragraph.  Anyway, back to Wiki: 

In time the elephant’s name came to be a household word, with “jumbo” meaning “very large”.

[How about that!  The word “jumbo” came from the elephant’s name!]

A life-size statue of the elephant was erected in 1985 in St. Thomas to commemorate the centennial of the elephant’s death:

miss jumbo statue

Railway City Brewing Company in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada brews “Dead Elephant Ale,” an IPA, in recognition of Jumbo’s connection to St. Thomas’s railway history.

I’ll close with a couple of great Panaoramio shots, taken along the Bitterroot River just east of my landing.  First, this one by John Krempel:

 miss mt sentinel john krempel pano landing to left

And this, by J. Edmonds:

miss pano j edmonds bitterroot just upstream

Phew.  Long post, eh?  This may well be my longest-ever . . .

That’ll do it.




© 2013 A Landing A Day

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

Gratiot & Darlington, Wisconsin

Posted by graywacke on March 5, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-time-I-get-around-to-it 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 –  Still just fiddlin’ around in the mid 150’s, with this OSer landing in . . . WI; 40/37; 5/10; 3; 154.9.  This is a rather quick return trip to Wisconsin; I’m sure you recall with great joy my description of the geology around Mauston.  Do not fret; this will be a non-geological post.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 gratiot landing 1

And this closer-in shot, showing my proximity to both Darlington & Gratiot.  I have been torn all along as to which town to feature; you can see by the title of the post that I gave up and gave each equal billing.  Neither town had a knock-out punch in terms of a particularly interesting hook. 

 gratiot landing 2

I landed in the Pecatonica R watershed – first time ever!  The Pecatonica flows to the Sugar (2nd hit); on to the Rock (5th hit, making the Rock the 144th river on my list of rivers with 5 or more hits); on to the MM (787th hit).

Here’s my Google Earth (GE) shot, which shows a lovely rural landscape:

gratiot GE1

 The Pecatonica more-or-less connects my two towns, although Darlington claims the title as “The Pearl of the Pecatonica.”  From Wiki:

The community is known as the “Pearl of the Pecatonica” because the Pecatonica River flows through the town, and people used to harvest the clams out of the river to make pearl button blanks.

Here’s a Panoramio picture by GetSirius.  Although hard to see, under “Darlington” is the town’s motto:

 grat getsirius pearl

Moving right along, as you can see by the following Milwaukee Journal headline, there’s a Darlington connection to the Ringling Brothers and their famous circus:

 ringling - darlington

Here’s what Wiki has to say about that:

Alfred T. Ringling established himself in Darlington, Wisconsin at the age of 20, working as a harness maker in his own shop. He gave little shows for the students in schools and citizens of Darlington and the surrounding towns, with an act that included having four strong farmers lift up a plow, with Alfred lying beneath it. They positioned the plow so Alfred could balance it on his chin. It was a major crowd pleaser.

 I don’t quite get exactly what was going on, but hey, I guess this is what launched his career!

From the Wisconsin Historical Society, a little more about the brothers:

Although Wisconsin was known for the tremendous number of circuses that came from or wintered here in the 19th century, none were more renowned than the Ringling Brothers Circus.  Founded in Baraboo, Wisconsin, in 1884, the family of circus owners and performers became synonymous with the American circus, building the largest and most famous circus in the world by the 1930s.

[Astute ALAD readers will remember my reference to Baraboo in my Mauston post – the Baraboo Hills were the southern terminus of Glacial Lake Wisconsin.]

The first Ringling performance involving all five brothers took place on November 27, 1882, in Mazomanie.  More a vaudeville-type show than what it would become, two brothers danced, two played instruments and one sang. The brothers used their profits to purchase evening suits and top hats.

Here’s a shot of the five brothers (from the Wisconsin Historical Society).  Are we sure they were brothers?

 wisc historical society ringling bros

It turns out that a Major League (sort of) baseball player is from Darlington.  From Wiki:

Charles Dougherty (1862 – 1925) was a major league baseball player for Altoona Mountain City in 1884. He was their second baseman, and he hit a .259 batting average.

I’ll use baseball as a way to transition over to Gratiot.  In regards to Major League baseball, Gratiot has it all over Darlington.  From Wiki:

Abner Dalrymple (1857 – 1939) was a left fielder in Major League Baseball who hit 43 home runs (including 22 in 1884, the second-highest total to that date) and batted .288 during his 12-season career spent primarily with the Chicago White Stockings.  He was the starring leadoff hitter on five National League pennant winners.

In 1881, he was given an intentional walk with the bases loaded; the first batter to accomplish that honor.  In 1884, he catapulted into sixth place on the all-time home run list.

How about that.  The first-ever intentional walk with the bases loaded!  Wiki has a write-up about this phenomenon:

In the history of Major League Baseball, six players have been issued intentional walks with the bases loaded (thus giving the batting team an automatic run).  This is only done in the rarest of cases, typically when the pitching team is leading by two to four late in the game and a particularly feared hitter is at the plate. The six players given such passes are Abner Dalrymple (1881), Nap Lajoie (1901), Del Bissonette (1928), Bill Nicholson (1944), Barry Bonds (1998), and Josh Hamilton (2008).  In all six cases, the pitching team went on to win the game.

Six for six!  Obviously a winning strategy!  I wonder how many times the Manager thought about walking in a run, decided not to, and then got burned??  I’ll wager that’s happened way more than six times . . .

Here’s a Panoramio picture of the former Gratiot train station; a rather austere, yet pleasing structure:

gratiot train station pano D200DX

Speaking of train stations, here’s a great back-in-the-day shot at the Darlington train station, courtesy of the Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society:

wisconsin-darlington; CM&StP; WI; Darlington;;

It says:  “Another hundred and four off to Camp Grant, May 27, 1913.”   (OK, so there’s a typo – note “of” rather than “off.”)  Check out all of the hats.  I see one elderly gentleman holding his hat, but all other heads are covered!

I’ll close with this lovely Panoramio shot by Douglas Feltman, of a rural scene outside of Gratiot (about 2 mi west of my landing):

 gratiot pano douglas feltman 2 mi west

That’ll do it.




© 2013 A Landing A Day

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Roswell, New Mexico

Posted by graywacke on March 1, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-time-I-get-around-to-it 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 –  Hey – my third USer in a row (and 4/5) with this landing in . . . NM; 71/80; 5/10; 154.0.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 roswell landing 1

Closer in, and you can see that I landed about 18 miles southwest of Roswell:

 roswell landing 2

The unlabeled river just north of my landing is the Rio Hondo (1st hit ever); on to the Pecos (12th hit); to the Rio Grande (37th hit).

 My Google Earth (GE) shot shows an ill-defined arid landscape:

 roswell GE1

This broader view doesn’t help much:

 roswell GE2

By the way, the fairly well defined eastward flowing stream isn’t shown at all on StreetAtlas 2013, and GE doesn’t have a stream-naming function.  It does curve north and flow into the Rio Hondo.  You know, my good ol’ StreetAtlas 8.0 that I used to use (but isn’t compatible with Windows 7) had much better stream coverage than my fancy schmancy StreetAtlas 2013.  At this point, I’m hoping that GE upgrades to include stream names.  StreetAtlas seems to be headed in the wrong direction . . .

 To give you a feel for the landscape, here’s a GE StreetView shot on Route 70, about 8 miles north of my landing:

 roswell GE3

So, I landed near the famous Roswell, New Mexico.  It was near Roswell that in 1947 some mysterious wreckage was found.  Weather balloon or UFO?

Here’s a map showing that crash site was well NW of both my landing and the City of Roswell:

roswell ufo site

 Of course, I wanted to tell the story of the Roswell UFO, but there is so much material, I’m overwhelmed:  it’s just too much for a typical ALAD post.  However, there were some recent angles on the story that came out last summer.  Here are two links to the Huffington Post, which covered the story.  The first provides good background and then covers an interview with an ex-CIA agent who says that the UFO at Roswell is for real!  This is worth the read.  Click HERE for the story.

Then, a month later, an ex-Air Force official had even more to say about the incident.  Click HERE for the story.

 The City of Roswell has long cashed in on its reputation as UFO-ville.  Here’s a shot of the UFO Museum (and Research Center) from Destination360.com:

 roswell destination360

And this from ArabianGazette.com of a space-themed McDonald’s in Roswell:

 roswell-ufo-mcdonalds arabian gazette

By the way, the above picture was one of a series of McDonald’s featured in an article entitled “Unique McDonald’s Locations Around the World.”  It’s worth a quick look – click HERE.

A few miles southeast of Roswell not far from the Pecos River is the “Bottomless Lakes” State Park.  Pretty cool area.  Here’s a GE shot of most of the lakes:

 roswell GE4 bottomless

From NewMexicoTech.edu:

The park consists of approximately 1,611 acres and includes eight lakes. Vaqueros (cowboys) who could not find the bottom of the lakes reportedly gave them their name. They would tie two or three ropes together and drop them into the lakes to try to reach the bottom. The ropes were not long enough, so the vaqueros thought the lakes were bottomless! The greenish-blue color created by algae and other aquatic plants also added to the illusion of great depth.

Geologically speaking, each of the Bottomless Lakes is known as a cenote, a feature of limestone terrains (because, as I’m sure you know, limestone is slowly dissolved by water, forming caves).  A cenote is a sinkhole (a collapsed cave) that extends to below the watertable.  Check out the depression that’s just south of the northern-most lake on the GE shot.  It’s called (correctly enough) Lake-in-the-Making which is a sinkhole that has not yet reached the water table.

Here’s a GE shot of the largest lake (Lazy Lagoon), not shown above, which contains three deep sinkholes within the same lake:

roswell lake

 Incidently, this lake was once along the path of the Pecos River, which has since relocated to the west.

Here are a couple of Panoramio pictures of the lakes.  First, this of one of the smaller round lakes from Sousa2:

 bottomless lake panoramio sousa2

And this from Nathaniel Gallop (of Lazy Lagoon, I think):

bottomless panoramio nathaniel gallop

 I’ll close with this shot (also of Lazy Lagoon), from About.com:

 bottomless-lakes about.com

That’ll do it.




© 2013 A Landing A Day

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »