A Landing a Day

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Pampa, Texas

Posted by graywacke on July 24, 2015

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days 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.

Landing number 2199; A Landing A Day blog post number 627.

Dan:  This was one of those landings that took a long time, thanks to six water landings (five Atlantic Ocean and one Pacific Ocean), prior to really landing in . . . TX; 161/193; 5/10; 1; 150.8. 

Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

And my local landing map:

 landing 2

Heaton and Hoover hardly exist, and I couldn’t find a hook for Lefors, so Pampa it is.

I’ll hold off on my watershed analysis until after we take a Google Earth spaceflight look-see.  (Click below and hit “back” after viewing):



Here’s a static GE shot of my landing:

 GE 1

Notice the change in landscape to the south?  Not surprisingly, drainage from my landing heads south towards the obvious stream channels.  Zooming back on my streams-only StreetAtlas map, I saw readily that there was a river to the south (identified shortly), and that a north-south creek would carry my runoff to the river.  But I was disappointed (but not surprised) that I couldn’t find a creek name on my StreetAtlas map.

But I did see that I had GE Street View coverage of a bridge over the unnamed creek:

 GE SV Map 1

Here’s what the orange dude sees:

 GE SV creek

A very long bridge over a very wide (but ill-defined) creek bed.  But there’s a sign that names the creek!  Try as I might, I couldn’t read it.  It kind of looked like it started with “Cant” and ended with “ent,” but that’s all I could get. 

I Googled everything I could imagine, but couldn’t get the name of the creek, until I took one more look at my StreetAtlas map . . .

 landing 3a

As you can see, the creek’s name is Cantonment Creek, and the map shows a short stub just before it discharges to the North Fork of the Red River (4th hit).  FYI, “cantonment” is “a military garrison or camp.”  Why it’s the name of this creek, I have no clue.  Anyway, here’s a broader view:

 landing 3b

The North Fork of the Red River discharges to (what else?) the Red River (59th hit).  With no map, you’re going to have to take my word for it that the Red discharges to the Atchafalaya (my favorite-sounding river; 66th hit).

Before moving on, I positioned the orange dude on a bridge over the North Fork:

 GE SV Map 2

First, here’s a shot showing an incredibly long bridge for a not-very-wide river:

 GE 6

Obviously, there must be some pretty ferocious storms that make the river fill its entire flood plain, necessitating a half-mile long bridge.  Anyway, here’s what the orange dude sees (strange lighting, eh?):

GE SV river

 Take a look back at the GE landing shot, presented much earlier in this post. Besides the circular irrigated farm fields, you can see three areas with some sort of development.  Here’s a closer view of the one to the northeast:

 GE 2

Still not sure what I was looking at, I zoomed in a little closer:

 GE 3

So now I know.  It’s a feed lot and all of those dots are cattle.  I also noticed this, at the southern end of the western-most feed lot:

 GE 4

Not sure what I was looking at, I zoomed in:

 GE 5

Now I really don’t know what I’m looking at!

Moving along to Pampa.  From Wiki:

In 1888, the Santa Fe Railroad was constructed through the area where Pampa would be established. A rail station and telegraph office was built, and the townsite was laid out by George Tyng, manager of the White Deer Lands ranch. The town was first called Glasgow, then Sutton, and then the name was changed to Pampa after the pampas grasslands of South America at Mr. Tyng’s suggestion.

Wow.  A town in Texas named after a grassland region in South America!  I’ll pay South America a quick visit.  I’ll start with a Wiki map by Jjw, followed by some Wiki words:


The Pampas (from Quechua pampa, meaning “plain”) are fertile South American lowlands, covering about 290,000 sq mi that include portions of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.  The climate is mild, with precipitation ranging from 25 to 40 inches/year, more or less evenly distributed through the year, making the entire region appropriate for agriculture and cattle ranching.

Historically (beginning in the early 1800s), cattle herding was performed by Gauchos (South American cowboys).  The term is still prevalent today.

From Wiki, here’s a 1868 shot of a gaucho:


Moving right along:  two diametrically-opposed people caught my eye in the Pampa “Notable People” section of Wiki:  Woody Guthrie and T. Boone Pickens.

From Wiki, well into the “Early Life” portion of the entry on Woody:

In 1929 (at age 17), Woody Guthrie’s father sent for his son to come to Texas, but little changed for the aspiring musician. Guthrie was reluctant to attend high school classes in Pampa and spent much time learning songs by busking on the streets and reading in the library at Pampa’s city hall.

He was growing as a musician, gaining practice by regularly playing at dances with his father’s half-brother Jeff Guthrie, a fiddle player. At the library, he wrote a manuscript summarizing everything he had read on the basics of psychology. A librarian in Pampa shelved this manuscript under Guthrie’s name, but it was later lost in a library reorganization.

Other, more basic info:

Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Guthrie (1912 – 1967) was an American singer, songwriter and musician whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children’s songs, ballads and improvised works.

His best-known song is “This Land Is Your Land.”   Songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Hunter, Harry Chapin, John Mellencamp, Pete Seeger, Andy Irvine, Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg, Jerry Garcia, Jay Farrar, Bob Weir, Jeff Tweedy, Bob Childers and Tom Paxton (and countless others) have acknowledged Guthrie as a major influence.

Many of his songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression when Guthrie traveled with displaced farmers from Oklahoma to California and learned their traditional folk and blues songs, earning him the nickname the “Dust Bowl Troubadour.”  Throughout his life Guthrie was associated with United States Communist groups, though he was seemingly not a member of any.

And then, this very cool quote (also from Wiki):

On the typescript submitted for copyright of “This Land Is Your Land”, Guthrie wrote:

“This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.”

I found a NY Times article, (Aug 12, 2012 by Lawrence Downes) entitled “As Woody Turns 100, We Protest Too Little.”  Here’s the opening few paragraphs (after the iconic picture from the article):


In October the Kennedy Center will throw a centennial party for Woody Guthrie, a star-studded concert with tickets topping out at $175. It will be America’s ultimate tribute to a beloved troubadour. “Through his unique music, words and style,” the Kennedy Center says, “Guthrie was able to bring attention and understanding to the critical issues of his day.”

Poor Woody. The life and music of America’s great hobo prophet, its Dust Bowl balladeer, boiled down to this: He brought attention to the critical issues of his day.

Maybe that’s what happens to dissidents who are dead long enough. They are reborn for folk tales and children’s books and PBS pledge drives. They become safe enough for the Postal Service. “For a man who fought all his life against being respectable, this comes as a stunning defeat,” Arlo Guthrie said in 1998, when his father was put on a 32-cent stamp.

Will Kaufman’s book “Woody Guthrie, American Radical” tried to set the record straight last year. The sentimental softening and warping of Woody’s reputation began early, even as he was dying, in the 1960s. But under the saintly folk hero has always been an angry vigilante — a fascist-hating, Communist-sympathizing rabble-rouser who liked to eviscerate his targets, sometimes with violent imagery. He was a man of many contradictions, but he was always against the rich and on the side of the oppressed.

Just for the heck of it, here’s Woody doing “Hobo’s Lullaby,” later covered by his son Arlo (who I saw in concert back in the day):


Now, on to T. Boone Pickens.  So Woody was against the rich and on the side of the oppressed.  If he were alive today, Woody would have nothing but disdain for T. Boone Pickens and his ilk.   Well, it turns out that T. Boone’s 68,000-acre country estate is north of Pampa, along the Canadian River.  Here’s just a little about T. Boone, from Wiki:

Thomas Boone Pickens, Jr. (born May 22, 1928), known as T. Boone Pickens, is an American business magnate and financier. Pickens chairs the hedge fund BP Capital Management. He was a well-known takeover operator and corporate raider during the 1980s. As of September 2014, Pickens has a net worth of $1 billion.

That’s all I need to know.  So, here’s a GE shot showing the location of the main house on his ranch:

 GE 7 t boone

Here’s a closer view, showing the location of the main house and some other house:

 GE8 t boone 2

The main house:

 GE8 t boone 3

The other house:

 GE8 t boone 4

From Forbes, here’s a closer view of the main house:


OK, OK.  I guess you can tell that I’d rather talk about Woody Guthrie than T. Boone Pickens.  Cat’s out of the bag . . .

 I found a video of the implosion of a Celanese plant in Pampa.  I’m always a fan of destruction videos, so here goes:


As per usual, I’ll post some GE Panoramio photos.  First this scary shot by Bruce Da Moose of a 1982 tornado near Pampa:

 pano Bruce da Moose 1982 tornado

Here’s a shot by CatDaddy taken just down the road from the feed lot:

 pano CatDaddy harvesting wheat

And this old grain elevator, located just east of my landing (by pbft):

 pano pbft grain elevator

I’ll close with this shot by Jim Fay looking south near my landing, down the landscape formed by the eroding streams:

 pano Jim Fay dissected landscape

That’ll do it . . .




© 2015 A Landing A Day




2 Responses to “Pampa, Texas”

  1. Mike said

    The mystery image. Its a white plastic tarp covering the cattle feed. Its’s being held down by lots of old tires.

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