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Archive for June, 2016

Owenyo and the Saline Valley, California

Posted by graywacke on June 30, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2278; A Landing A Day blog post number 708.

Dan:  Geez.  California again?!?  California was oversubscribed (OS) for my most recent landing.  Twice in a row?  Now it’s more OS than ever  . . .

This is my 7th California double, and my 59th double overall. 

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map.

landing 2

You see two non-titular towns (Independence and Lone Pine), that I’m not featuring because I featured them in previous posts:

Independence, featured in a August 12, 2009 post.  Type “Independence” in the search box.  There are lots of pretty pictures; it also features a Japanese internment camp, “Manzanar.”

Lone Pine, featured in a February 15, 2009 post.  Type (you guessed it) “Lone Pine” in the search box.  Lots more pretty pictures, and a discussion of a huge 1872 earthquake.

Recently, I featured the Owens Valley (and the 1872 earthquake once again) in my May 2016 Bishop post.  You’re on your own to find it.

So, I decided to feature the town of Owenyo and the adjacent Saline Valley. 

But first, I need to do my watershed analysis, which requires a look at Google Earth.  Click HERE for my GE spaceflight on in to SE California.

It’s obvious that I landed in the mountains, but where does a drop of water end up that falls on my landing? 

Here’s an oblique GE shot, looking west:

ge 1

It’s obvious now that I’m on the eastern slope of the mountain range and in the Saline Valley watershed. 

Here’s another, more local shot (looking northeast, with the Saline Valley in the background):

ge 2

And yet another, looking southeast towards the valley:

ge 3

Here’s the overview:

ge 4

See the whitest area in the Saline Valley?  That’s the low spot where my drainage ends up.  And yes, this was my first landing in the Saline Valley.

More about the Valley later, but I’ll jump over to my titular town, Owenyo.  From Wiki:

Owenyo was an unincorporated community in Inyo County, California.

[Note key word, “was.”]

The town (formerly known as “New Owenyo”) was abandoned in the 1960s, and all that remain now are a few traces of building foundations. There are no standing structures and no inhabitants in or anywhere near Owenyo, which remains on 21st century maps only as a reference point along the bleak, unkempt and itself abandoned Owenyo-Lone Pine Road which runs about two miles east of, and parallel, Highway 395.

[I like the phrase “the bleak, unkempt and itself abandoned . . .”    What a strange word “unkempt” is.  Whoever heard of “kempt??”]

Owenyo’s original townsite was a few miles from its current location.  The town, whose name is a portmanteau of Owens (from Owens Valley) and Inyo (an Indian name for the mountain range just east of town), was originally started by Quaker colonists in 1900.

The Quakers sold out in 1905, when the Carson and Colorado Railroad arrived, establishing the town as a transfer point for freight to be carried by the narrow-gauge railway which began there, serving points southward.

[More about the Quakers later.]

A post office operated at Owenyo from 1902 to 1905 and from 1916 to 1941.  The town moved to its present location in 1910, and for a while was known as New Owenyo on that account.

Here’s a GE shot of all that remains of Owenyo:

ge owenyo

A gentleman name of Bill Cook has photo documented these remains on GE Panoramio.  Here’s the foundation of an erstwhile water tank:

pano bill cook 1

And some railroad ties showing the former railroad-based history of the town:

pano bill cook 2

Bill claims that one can see “traces of the standard gauge Y track” in this photo.  I don’t see anything, but like the shot anyway:

pano bill cook 3

So what about the origins of Owenyo as a Quaker settlement?  What motivated them and why would they pick here?  Evidently, they thought there was plenty of water and that fruit would grow in fertile soils.  Here’s a 1902 advertisement:

old william penn ad

Here’s what the National Park Service says (in an historic write-up about nearby Manzanar internment camp):

The Quakers dug some 42 miles of irrigation canals ranging in width from 18 to 50 feet, but it soon became apparent that the settlers, most of whom were from the East, were unprepared to work the arid lands of Owens Valley.

1901/02 was probably an extraordinarily wet year, and it fooled everyone.  Oh, well.  It seemed like a good idea at the time . . .

Moving over to the Saline Valley.  What I found of most interest was the Saline Valley Salt tram.  Here’s the story (in my own words, but thanks to Death Valley Jim’s write-up on deathvalleyjim.com).

Borax mining began in the Valley in the late 1800s (20-mule team and all that).  The borax was hauled out by wagon, and it was noted by the haulers that a large deposit of salt was in the Valley (at the low spot previously mentioned).  Some of this salt was dug out and hauled out by wagon along with the borax. 

There was a better market for salt than for borax, so for several years, only salt was hauled out.  But hauling expenses remained high, and the project was abandoned. 

In 1902, a Mr. White Smith figured that a tram could be built to move salt more efficiently from the Saline Valley, up and over the Inyo Mountains to Owens Valley, where rail transportation was available.  (Remember Owenyo?).

So a tram was built (although it didn’t go into operation until 1913).  It ran continuously for two years, and then intermittently afterward.  Here’s a picture of some remaining tram towers from Death Valley Jim’s webite:

death valley jim aerial tram

He tells a heck of a story about the tram (with lots of great pictures), and I recommend that you go to his website.   Click HERE to check it out.

I’ll close with this shot of the low point of Saline Valley, with some rare water actually in the playa (GE Panoramio shot by SierraBasin):

pano sierrabasin low point, saline valley

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2016 A Landing A Day

 

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Daggett and Newberry Springs, California

Posted by graywacke on June 26, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2277; A Landing A Day blog post number 707.

Dan:  This is my 5th landing in California (out of 61 since I changed my random lat/long process).  5/61 =  8.2%  The percentage of California’s area of the area of the lower 48?  5.3%.  Guess what?  CA is oversubscribed (OS), so my score went up from 750 to 754.  This is my 5th OSer in a row!  Enough already!

Confused about the above paragraph?  Care?  Check out “About Landing (Revisited), above.  Don’t care?  Just keep reading . . .

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

 

And my local landing map:

landing 2

This is another one of those desert landings where StreetAtlas shows no stream information, so I’ll move right along to my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to S-Cen California.  Click HERE, enjoy the flight, then hit your back button.

So how about my watershed?  Well, using the GE topography tool, it was apparent that drainage headed north from my landing.  So, I started looking for a culvert or bridge under I-40.  Bingo:

ge sv crest wash

I love it when the DOT cares enough to name waterways!  So, I landed in the watershed of Crest Wash.

Looking upstream towards my landing:

ge sv crest wash up stream

Looking downstream:

ge sv crest wash down stream

 

To see where the Crest Wash goes, I’ll repeat my local landing map:

landing 2

See the stippled blue swath?  That’s the Mojave River.  Here’s a watershed map (Wiki, by K Musser):

Mojaverivermap

I traced the river’s path on GE.  I made it red because there’s practically never any water in it:

ge mojave river map

Check out this SV from a bridge over the river just north of my landing:

ge sv mojave r

From Wiki, about the Mojave:

Near its terminus, the Mojave River flows out onto a large inland delta called the Mojave River Wash. During heavy flows, the river reaches Soda Lake near Baker at the north end of the Wash, and has reached Silver Lake, even further north, in historic times. For example, during the unusually wet winter of 2004–2005, the Mojave River flowed on the surface all the way to Silver Lake and filled both Soda and Silver Lakes to a depth of several feet.

So, I had to find a picture with the Mojave actually flowing.  Here’s a shot of the railroad bridge at Daggett (BridgeHunter.com by Nicholas Webster).  I’ll say it’s flowing!:

bridgehunter.com by Nicholas Webster

Time to take a look at Daggett.  From Wiki:

The town was originally founded in the 1880s just after the discovery of silver in the mines near Calico to the north.  And later on in 1891, Francis Marion Smith the ‘Borax King’ moved down to Daggett from Death Valley’s Harmony Borax Works to install mining operations at a borax camp called Borate, which was located about three miles east of Calico and the former silver mines.  The borax was hauled by the soon-to-be-famous 20 Mule Team.

Daggett became quite a big city in the 1890s, boasting three stores, two restaurants, three saloons, three hotels, a lumberyard, and even a Chinese eating place. In the mid 1890s, the silver price crashed, and Daggett began to decline.  After 1911, when richer borax deposits were discovered north of Daggett in Death Valley, all the mining operations were moved up there which accelerated Daggett’s decline, which continues even to this day.

Here’s a shot of the 20 mule team:

20_Mule_Team_in_Death_Valley

20 Mule Team Borax was (and still is, I think) a laundry product:

Borax-20MuleTeam-7860c

Borax is an evaporite mineral, formed by mineral-rich water that evaporates.  I collected a sample during a geology field trip to Death Valley (back in ’72) that I still have somewhere.  Here’s what borax looks like:

800px-Borax_crystals

I remember the TV show Death Valley Days, with Ronald Reagan as host and 20 Mule Team Borax as the sponsor.  Here’s a TV commercial from the show:

So, the old mining town Calico is mentioned above.  From Calico Ghost Town website:

Calico is an old West mining town that was founded in 1881 due to the largest silver strike in California.  With its 500 mines, Calico produced over $20 million in silver ore over a 12-year span.  When silver lost its value in the mid-1890’s, Calico lost its population.  The miners packed up, loaded their mules and moved away abandoning the town that once gave them a good living.  It became a “ghost town.”

Walter Knott [of Knott’s Berry Farm fame] purchased Calico in the 1950s, architecturally restoring many original buildings to look as they did in the 1880s.  Calico received State Historical Landmark status and in 2005 was proclaimed by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to be California’s official Silver Rush Ghost Town.

It’s quite the tourist attraction now, with well over 100 Panoramio shots.  But here’s a shot from BackpackerVerse.com:

Calico-Ghost-Town-Title

Here’s another from Rick & Lynn Edwards Photography:

rick and lynn edwards photography

Time to move on to Newberry Springs.  Wiki:

The original name of Newberry Springs was “Water”.

[I love it!  And wish they never changed the name to Newberry Springs . . . ]

Since its earliest days the area in and around Newberry Springs has been a source of water for the surrounding arid region.

And then Wiki also had this to say:

The motion picture Bagdad Café was filmed in the area and the truck stop featured in the film still exists as a working motel and restaurant.

Bagdad Café is one of my all-time favorite movies (right up there with The Graduate).  Here’s a GE shot showing the location of the café:

ge sv bagdad cafe map

Wiki:

Bagdad Café is a 1987 comedy set in a remote truck-stop café and motel in the Mojave Desert.

German tourist Jasmin and her husband fight whilst they are driving across the desert. She storms out of the car and makes her way to the isolated truck stop, which is run by the tough-as-nails and short-tempered Brenda (C. C. H. Pounder), whose own husband, after an argument out front, is soon to leave as well.  Jasmin takes a room at the adjacent motel. Initially suspicious of the foreigner, Brenda eventually befriends Jasmin and allows her to work at the café.

The café is visited by an assortment of colorful characters, including a strange ex-Hollywood set-painter (Jack Palance) and a glamorous tattoo artist. Brenda’s son plays J. S. Bach preludes on the piano. With an ability to quietly empathize with everyone she meets at the café, helped by a passion for cleaning and performing magic tricks, Jasmin gradually transforms the café and all the people in it.

The character development and cinematography are excellent.  I LOVE THIS MOVIE!  Here’s the trailer:

 

Here’s what the café looks like today (Wiki):

800px-Bagdad_Cafe._(4054050230)

And the neighboring hotel (also part of the movie – Pano shot by Schmit Serge):

pano bc schmit serge

And the trailer and water tower behind the café (Pano by Jean Louis Capdeville):

pano jean louis capdeville

Here’s a Route 66 shot looking west past the motel sign (by Dom199).  My landing is off to the left:

pano Dom199

Time for some pretty scenery.  First this by Jimbo4110, 7 miles E of my landing:

pano jimbo4110 7 mi E

And this, by PorkPhoto of Kane Springs (near Newberry Springs):

pano Porkphoto Kane Springs 3.5 mi NE

And I’ll close with this shot by SocalSoul, 5 miles E:

pano socalsoul 5 mi E

 

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2016 A Landing A Day

 

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Lochiel, Arizona

Posted by graywacke on June 22, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2276; A Landing A Day blog post number 706.

Dan:  Geez.  My fourth OSer in a row, thanks to my fourth landing in Arizona since I changed my lat/long methodology.  My Score (which should be marching steadily downwards) went up from 747 to 750.  Clueless & curious?  Check out About Landing (Revisited) above.

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map.

landing 2

In an unusual twist for ALAD, I’m not going to bother with a streams-only map (because it shows essentially northing).  Instead, we’ll head straight to my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight from who-knows-where to the Arizona-Mexico border.  Clilck HERE and enjoy the trip (then hit your back button).

Before talking about my watershed analysis, here’s an oblique GE shot (looking SW) of my landing location:

ge 1

I followed my drainage pathway for miles and miles including quite the jaunt in Mexico.  I figured out that I landed in the Santa Cruz River watershed (first landing ever!).  Here’sa Santa Cruz River watershed map (Wiki) that shows my approximate landing location:

Santa_Cruz_River_Arizona_Map

As you can see, the Santa Cruz discharges into the Gila (or, as discussed below, used to discharge into the Gila).  This is my 38th hit for the Gila, on to the Colorado (178th hit).

Note that the above map points out the Nogales International Sewage Treatment Plant.  More about that later.

Here’s a GE shot that shows the southern portion of the river course, dipping well south into Mexico:

ge santa cruz

By the way, this is only the second time my watershed analysis had something to do with Mexico (my Yuma AZ landing was even closer to the border, and my drainage headed south to an internally-drained playa in Mexico).

To learn a little more about the river, here’s a June 2012 piece from the Environmental Defense Fund, “Celebrating Arizona’s Rivers”:

The 210-mile Santa Cruz originates in the San Rafael Valley of southeastern Arizona, where it flows south through one of the last remaining expanses of a unique grassland ecosystem interspersed with oak woodlands. By the time it crosses into Mexico, 15 miles south of its headwaters, the river supports abundant streamside vegetation surrounded by mesquite bosques (forests). In Mexico, the Santa Cruz makes a 25 mile U-turn through Sonora and returns to the U.S. just east of the cities of Nogales, Sonora, and Nogales, Arizona.

As the river approaches the border it is transformed into an ever-diminishing creek until it disappears altogether, the result of groundwater pumping that has dropped the water table and thus dried the river’s surface flow. Just north of the border, the river’s year-round flow and cottonwood-willow forest return due to an inflow of treated wastewater (effluent) from the Nogales International Wastewater Treatment Plant.

So groundwater pumping is the culprit, eh?  Since I’m a hydrogeologist (a scientist who specializes in groundwater flow and contamination), I’ll have to do a little ‘splainin’.  Here’s a cross section showing both a “gaining” stream and a “losing” stream:

gaining losing

For the gaining stream, the watertable is above the level of the stream, and groundwater flows into the stream, sustaining (and increasing) the streamflow.  This is the way it used to be the Santa Cruz.  Then, if and when the watertable drops, water flows out of the stream.  This, of course, diminishes the streamflow, which is exactly what happened to the poor Santa Cruz.

Of course, I looked for my first opportunity for a GE Street View (SV) shot of the Santa Cruz.  I found a spot near Nogales about 10 miles west of my landing:

ge sv sc map

Here’s what the Orange Dude sees (first a close-up, confirming that, in fact, I did find the Santa Cruz):

ge sv sc1

Here’s the downstream view:

ge sv sc2

I then wanted to look at the area downstream from the Nogales International Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) where the river flows, thanks to the treated wastewater:

ge nogales

Here’s what the Orange Dude sees, looking downstream:

ge nogales sv

And looking upstream:

ge nogales sv2

There you have it.  Time to move on Lochiel.  From Wiki:

Lochiel is a ghost town and former border crossing. The townsite is located in the San Rafael Valley about 1.5 miles west of the Santa Cruz River.  It was first settled in the late-1870s and mostly abandoned by 1986.

The town served the ranches of the San Rafael Valley and the Washington Camp and Duquesne mining towns of the Patagonia Mountains about five miles to the northwest [in the mountains near my landing].

By 1881,the town was home to some 400 people, most of whom worked in the smelter or in the mines, as well as five stores, three saloons, a brewery, a butcher shop, a bakery, livery stables, and a boarding house.

What about the name?  Continuing with Wiki:

The present-day Lochiel was originally known by local Mexican settlers as La Noria, which is Spanish for a wheel-drawn well, and later as Luttrell (after an early settler), before being renamed “Lochiel” by the rancher Colin Cameron in 1884.

Colin Cameron is of Scottish ancestry, and is of the Clan Cameron.  Lochiel is the main branch of Clan Cameron, and the basis for the town’s name.

Who’d a thunk?  A Mexico border town named after a Scottish Highlander Clan.  Here’s another interesting twist:

In the late 1880s, the international boundary between Sonora and Arizona was surveyed and it was found that half of the settlement was in Mexican territory. The town was then split in two. La Noria became the name of the Mexican part of town while the American side continued to be known as Lochiel.

And finishing up:

A few people still live in Lochiel to this day [almost all with the surname of . In addition to a collection of old houses, Lochiel is the site of a one-room schoolhouse, a teacherage, an old adobe church, and an abandoned U.S. Customs station.

Lochiel is also the site where Fray Marcos de Niza first entered what is now Arizona.  A large memorial just to the west of town was erected in his honor in 1939 by the National Youth Administration.

I found an article from NagolesInternational.com, entitled “Ghost Border Town Isn’t Dead Yet.”  Here’s a quote (after the article introduces Ramon De La Ossa, one of the local residents):

Lochiel’s history can’t be told without the De la Ossas. They were among its first settlers and now, nearly 140 years after it was founded and first named Luttrell, they are nearly every single one of its inhabitants.

Ramon’s paternal grandparents, Antonio and Carolina De la Ossa, first came to Lochiel in 1880 from California, with the original plan being to push on to Guaymas, Sonora with their freight business and several children in tow. Carolina got to Lochiel and insisted that not another step be taken, Ramon said.

“My grandmother got tired of travelling,” he said. “They were in a covered wagon. And she said, ‘That’s it, right here.’”

To check out the entire article (which is well worth the read), click HERE.

More about Fray (Friar) deNiza (and his monument in Lochiel) in a minute.  First, here’s a GE Panoramio shot of the school and teacher’s house by Outwest63:

pano outwest 63

Here’s a Pano shot of the old border crossing building by WBaron (the border is right behind the photographer):

pano wbaron border crossing building

Speaking of the border crossing, here’s a GE shot of the border:

ge border 1

For the record, I’m not sure why the US is green and Mexico is brown.  I assume there are different photos on each side of the border.  

Here’s a Pano shot of the fence, by AZOffRoad:

pano az off road border fence

And this shot demonstrating the security of the fence, by JR Holeman:

pano jr holeman

Appropriate name for the photographer, eh?  Apparently, he just turned around after shooting the hole in the fence and took this great shot:

pano jr holeman 2

I’ll finish up by looking a little deeper into Fray Marcos de Niza.  First, here’s a Pano shot by Outwest63 of the monument mentioned above:

pano outwest 63 2

And the plaque at the monument (also by Outwest63):

pano outwest 63 3

I found an article from the Planetary Science Institute, entitled “The Mysterious Journey of Friar Marcos de Niza.”

Marcos de Niza was a priest who was sent north from Mexico City by Viceroy Mendoza in 1538-39 to search for wealthy cities that were rumored to be somewhere north of the frontier of New Spain.

In early 1539 he journeyed north into the unknown for several months. In the summer of 1539 he returned and wrote a report saying he had discovered the cities – in a province he called Cibola (the present-day native American pueblo of Zuni, New Mexico). He said he reached the first city and saw it from a distance, but because his companion had been killed there, he returned without entering it.

Most popular writers claim Marcos reported gold in Cibola, but his original report says nothing about gold. Nonetheless, conquistadors in Mexico City were excited by his news and assumed Cibola would be as wealthy as the conquered Aztec empire. Marcos led Coronado’s army back to Cibola the next year, but he became the scapegoat when Cibola turned out to have no gold, and the soldiers said he was a liar.

The big mystery about Marcos is whether he told the truth. Historians have argued for centuries about whether Marcos – a priest with a good reputation – simply interviewed some natives near the present border, and turned back without seeing Cibola. Also at issue: did he promote the rumors that Cibola was full of gold? Several prominent 20th century historians concluded Marcos did not have time to reach Cibola in 1539. They said he made up a fraudulent report as part of a conspiracy with Viceroy Mendoza to encourage the conquest of the north. Other historians have defended him.

A little-known monument near the small town of Lochiel, Arizona, commemorates the place where Marcos de Niza crossed from Mexico into the present United States in 1539. The exact location of this crossing is unknown, but it is likely that he was following the Santa Cruz River valley on his trip north, and that he passed within a few miles of the spot.

Before wrapping up with some Pano shots local to my landing, here’s a YouTube by 2at018 of a motorcycle trip headed south down the lonely dirt road to Lochiel:

Here’s a shot of the same dirt road looking south across the Mexican Border, by AZOffRoad, taken less than a mile from my landing:

pano az off road 2

Here’s a great shot down in the valley about 4 miles SE of my landing by Arizona Bob:

pano arizona bob

I’ll close with this sunset shot about 3 miles SE, by Kneup76:

pano kneup76

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2016 A Landing A Day

 

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Tipton, Iowa

Posted by graywacke on June 17, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2275; A Landing A Day blog post number 705.

Dan:  Yet another OSer (third in a row) as I landed in Iowa.  My Score went up from 743 to 747.

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map:

landing 2a

Just to put Tipton into context, here’s a broader landing map, showing proximity to Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Davenport:

landing 2b

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of Bennett Creek:

landing 3a

Bennett Creek flows to Sugar Creek, and on to the Cedar River (4th hit).  OK, so the above map doesn’t show the Sugar flowing to the Cedar.  You’ll have to trust me.

Zooming back:

landing 3b

The Cedar flows to the Iowa (11th hit), and on to the MM (889th hit).

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) descent from the heavens to E-Cen Iowa.  Click HERE, enjoy the trip, then hit your back button.

Not bad GE Street View (SV) coverage:

ge sv landing map

Here’s what the orange dude sees:

ge sv landing

Moving just a little west on the same road, the orange guy has this view of an unnamed tributary to Bennett Creek (where runoff from my landing would go):

ge sv ut

Going well south (and downstream), here’s a view of Sugar Creek just before it discharges into the Cedar River:

ge sv sugar

And very close to the Sugar Creek confluence, here’s a SV shot of the quite substantial Cedar River:

ge sv cedar

So what about Tipton?  It’s pretty much hookless, although the town’s website has a cool home page:

website banner

At the bottom of the Wiki entry, there was one name listed under Notable Residents:  Gus Monckmeier, who was identified as a race car driver and inventor.  His name was in blue, which means that he has a Wiki entry:

Gustav “Gus” Monckmeier (1888 – 1962) was a German-American racing car driver and inventor. Today he is best known for his participation in the 1911 and 1912 1,000-plus-mile Around-Lake-Michigan Reliability races.  In 1961, he recreated one of the Reliability races, driving with a reporter for the Chicago Daily Tribune.

The article mentions that he drove exclusively for Staver Carriage Company.  I found this from WestCoastAutoEnthusiasts.com:

From 1910 to 1913, life was good at the Staver Carriage Co. Staver was building on three chassis, four different body styles.  The large Greyhound 65 had a powerful 71hp inline 6 and could seat four people.  Staver were becoming famous in the racing scene thanks in large to their premier company driver, Gus Monckmeier.

staver-651

The Greyhound 65

In 1913, Staver had reached his pinnacle in the automobile business.  The following 12 months showed a steady decline in models offered.  Key innovators began to seek employment outside of the Staver business, which was devastating to the company.  One bright spot was the record-breaking performance of the Staver 65s at the Newport Indiana Hill Climb with Monckmeier  at the wheel.

Here’s a picture of the site of the Newport Hill Climb (1909):

newport indiana hill climb

And a Detroit public library picture of Gus & crew (with the caption below):

detroit public library

View of G. Monckmeier and passengers in Staver car on rural road near Kalamazoo, Michigan during the 1912 reliability contest sponsored by the Chicago Motor Club. Contestants circled Lake Michigan, passing through Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana.

Here’s a pic of Gus flyin’ around a corner at the 1910 Elgin Nationals:

Fox_River

And this shot, from Wiki (with Gus on the left):

Monckmeier_and_Latham_at_Elgin_1911

Here’s the October 12, 1912 edition of Motor Age.  Gus and his crew are in the middle picture:

Motor_Age_cover_1912

Staver Carriage Company, eh?  Of course, I never heard of it.  I found a list of defunct American automobile manufacturers, and there were hundreds and hundreds of them.  Here’s a tiny sampling:

staver

If you wanted to buy a new car back in around 1900 – 1920, it must have been head-spinning to sort out all of the choices (although I suspect most were very local).

Wiki said that Gus was an inventor.  I’ll say.  Here’s a partial list of his patented inventions:

US 1481382 “Piston-ring extractor”
US 1627401 “Wear-compensating bolt”
US 1646416 “Automatic thrust bearing”
US 1829940 “Screw clamping device with automatic clamping means”
US 1823461 “Thrust bearing scraping tool”
US 1971078 “Bearing cap finishing device”
US 2798741 “Coupler with a pair of pivoted jaws and automatic latching means”
US 1977734 “Luggage and trunk carrier”
US 2632629 “Pawl actuated cable lift”
US 2259390 “Clothes drier”
US 2148242 “Automobile bumper post”
US 2195280 “Variable drive sprocket wheel for bicycles”
US 1825410 “Automatic take up bearing”

They’re all automotive inventions, except for “Clothes Drier.”  I wonder if he made any money with that one?

I’ll close with this GE Panoramio shot by Grant Groberg, taken less than a mile NW of my landing (entitled “Space Silo”):

pano grant groberg

I doubt that the farmer intended this to look like the Space Shuttle rocket and booster engines . . .

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2016 A Landing A Day

 

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Canton, South Dakota

Posted by graywacke on June 13, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2274; A Landing A Day blog post number 704.

Dan:  South Dakota is oversubscribed (this was my 5th landing there since I changed my lat/long approach 58 landings ago); therefore my Score went up (from 740 to 743).  What’s “oversubscribed” you may ask.  Check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map:

landing 2

My streams-only map shows that I landed very close to (and presumably in the watershed of) Snake Creek.  (Subsequent Google Earth analysis confirmed this presumption):

landing 3a

 

 

Zooming back, it appears that the Snake makes its way to the Vermillion River (4th hit).  (Subsequent Google Earth analysis confirmed this appearation).  Say what?  “Appearation?”  ALAD definition:  It is the general state associated with an uncertain (but probable) appearance of truth.  Similar to the relationship between “presume” and “presumption.”

landing 3b

Zooming back even more, there is no doubt that the Vermillion makes its way to the Missouri (412th hit):

landing 3c

And as if you didn’t know – the Missouri makes its way to the MM (889th hit).

Now it’s time to SEND the Google Earth (GE) spacecraft on in to SE ND.  Click HERE, enjoy the trip, then hit your back button.

GE Street View (SV) coverage is pretty good:

ge sv landing map

And here’s what the orange dude sees:

ge sv landing

 

I also found SV coverage of Snake Creek:

ge sv snake map

And here’s the creek:

ge sv snake

The above shot is near where the Snake discharges to the Vermillion, which has nearby SV coverage.  So, here ’tis:

ge sv vermillion

Moving right along . . . I quickly found Lennox and Worthing to be hookless.  But turning my attention to Canton, I found some substance.  From Wiki:

The residents named the community Canton, believing the location to be the exact opposite of Canton, China.

Now wait a second.  I landed in Canton, Mississippi where the founding fathers claimed the same thing.  Both can’t be right!

But they both can be wrong.  Entirely wrong.  Just think about it for a minute.  If you start in the northern hemisphere and dig a hole through the center of the earth, where are you going to come out?  Duh!  The Southern Hemisphere!

So anyway, my wife Jody found a website, Antipodesmap.com that digs the virtual hole for you.  Here’s a shot of a guy sticking his head down a hole in Canton China:

from canton

And here’s where he comes out:

south america

The triple point between Chile, Bolivia and Argentina is a long way from Canton Mississippi and Canton South Dakota!

Just for the heck of it, here’s a shot of the same dude with his head down a hole in Canton, SD:

from canton sd

And, just for the record, here’s where he would pop out:

ocean

It’s never too late for the town to change its name to South Indian Ocean.

But to give the founding fathers a little more credit, they were probably conceptualizing something like this:  draw a straight line from the north pole to the south pole, passing through the center point of the earth.  Let’s call this the polar line.  Starting in Canton, China, draw a straight line that intersects the polar line at a right angle, then continues to the other side of the Earth.  And there’s Canton, South Dakota (or maybe Canton, Mississippi).  

Thinking about this, the line would emerge at the same latitude as Canton (now Guangzhou), which is about 23.1 degrees N, at the same latitude as northern Cuba.  Oops, there goes both Cantons, but particularly the more northerly one.  But wait – the longitude would be exactly 180 degrees from the longitude in Guangzhou, which is about 113 E.  That would be 113W.  Well, here’s the point calculated by the above method:

Untitled

At least it’s way closer to the Cantons than the triple point between Bolivia, Chile and Argentina!

Back to Wiki:

The first and only institution for insane Indians in the United States was Hiawatha Asylum for Insane Indians.  The bill establishing the Hiawatha Asylum for Insane Indians passed in 1899, and the Indian Appropriation Act for 1900 set aside $3,000 for land purchase and $42,000 for building construction. One hundred acres were purchased a mile east of Canton on the hills overlooking the Sioux River. The asylum was closed in 1934.

No comment, but I certainly hope that it helped.

Staying with Wiki, under “Notable People:”

Ernest Lawrence – Nobel Laureate who invented the Cyclotron.
John Lawrence – The Father of Nuclear Medicine.
Merle Tuve – Geophysicist

Oh my!  This small town in South Dakota has quite the illustrious alumni!

Wondering if Ernest had something to do with the naming of the Lawrence-Livermore National Laboratory (the existence of which I have been aware for a long time), I googled him.

From Biography.com:

Ernest Orlando Lawrence was born on August 8, 1901, in Canton, South Dakota. His parents, Carl and Gunda Lawrence, were the children of Norwegian immigrants. Carl Lawrence worked as the superintendent of schools in Canton.

Lawrence received his education locally, attending Canton High School, St. Olaf College and the University of South Dakota. He studied chemistry and physics in graduate programs at the University of Minnesota, the University of Chicago and Yale University.

Lawrence pursued an academic path after completing his doctorate. In 1930, he became the youngest full professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He would remain at Berkeley for the remainder of his career, during which he founded two major research centers: the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Nuclear Research

The majority of Lawrence’s research focused on nuclear physics. In 1929, he invented the cyclotron, a device for accelerating nuclear particles to high velocities in order to disintegrate atoms and form new elements. He conducted his research in collaboration with his brother, Dr. John Lawrence, who served as director of Berkeley’s Medical Physics Laboratory.

[more about the brother later]

Lawrence made significant contributions to nuclear research during World War II. His work on uranium-isotope separation advanced the Manhattan Project. After the war, he served as a member of the United States delegation to the Geneva Conference, seeking an international agreement on the suspension of nuclear weapons testing. But then he personally promoted research on the hydrogen bomb and lobbied for increased weapons-research funding within the United States.

Impressive dude.  Just for the heck of it, I Googled “cyclotron,” and (once again, just for the heck of it), I copied some equations that govern the internal doings of the machine:

wiki cyclotron

Piece o’ cake for Ernest . . .

His brother, John Lawrence (from Wiki):

He attended college at the University of South Dakota before getting his M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in physics in 1957.

He had a long-term association with the University of California, Berkeley and worked at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. There he discovered treatments for leukemia and polycythemia by injecting infected mice with radioactive phosphorus derived from the cyclotron invented by his brother, the Nobel Laureate Ernest O. Lawrence.

High achievers, both.

From the Science Beat (Berkeley lab):

His [Ernest’s] best friend growing up was Merle Tuve, who would also go on to become a highly accomplished nuclear physicist. Together the boys constructed a very early short-wave radio transmitting station. Lawrence would later apply his short-wave radio experiences to the acceleration of protons.

A little more about Merle from Wiki:

Merle Anthony Tuve (1901 – 1982) was an American geophysicist who was the founding director of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He was a pioneer in the use of pulsed radio waves whose discoveries opened the way to the development of radar and nuclear energy.

For his service to the nation during World War II, Tuve received the Presidential Medal for Merit from President Harry S. Truman and was named an Honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1948.

Mount Tuve in Ellsworth Land in Antarctica was named in his honor.  The Library of Congress holds his papers in more than 400 archival boxes.

Merle Tuve had two brothers: George, who was a professor of mechanical engineering and Richard, who was an inventor and chemist. Their sister Rosemond was an author and professor of Renaissance Literature at Connecticut College.

Wow.  Amazing societal contributions from folks born in the early 1900s in Canton, South Dakota.

I’m feeling rather ordinary after all of this.  But hey – none of the above people wrote a geography blog . . .

Anyway, time for some GE Panoramio shots.  I’ll start about 7 miles south of my landing with this by Guitian Miranda:

pano guitianmiranda 7 mi S

The remainder will be winter shots by Jay Reeve, all taken about 3 miles south or southeast of my landing.  First, these of hoar frost (very likely taken on the same day):

pano jay reeve and 3 mi SE

 

pano jay reeve and 3 mi SE 2

I’ll close with this one, with Jay’s commentary below:

pano jay reeve and 3 mi SE 3

The Thanksgiving-weekend blizzard in 2005 left much of the ground scoured clean, but where there was any bit of shelter, the wind sculpted the snow into fanciful shapes.

 

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2016 A Landing A Day

 

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Boone, Pueblo and the Pueblo Chemical Depot, Colorado

Posted by graywacke on June 9, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2273; A Landing A Day blog post number 703.

Dan:  Colorado is oversubscribed; therefore my Score went up (from 736 to 740).  What’s “oversubscribed” you may ask.  Check out “About Landing (Revisited).

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map:

landing 2

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of Haynes Creek, which flows to the Arkansas River (121st hit, in 6th place on my list of most-common watersheds):  

landing 3

Of course, the Arkansas discharges to the MM (888th hit).

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflgiht in to central CO.  Click HERE, enjoy the trip, then hit your back button.

I have decent GE Street View (SV) coverage:

ge sv landing map

And here’s what the orange dude sees:

ge sv landing

As mentioned above, Haynes Creek discharges to the Arkansas R.  I was able to get a SV look at the “creek” just before the river:

ge sv creek

Hmmmm. Not much more than a dry depression in the landscape.  But see the three pipes?  I suspect that a summer thunderstorm (or springtime snow melt) would get things moving . . .

Not far at all from the above SV shot, is this one, of the Mighty Arkansas:

ge sv river

How about Boone?  From Wiki:

Boone was founded as Booneville during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush by Albert Gallatin Boone, grandson of Daniel Boone.

We’re quite a distance from the gold fields, but I suspect that there was a trail along the Arkansas River and good ol’ A.G. Boone figured he could supply the wanna-be miners for the last leg of their trek to Cripple Creek. 

Moving right along – I’ll reproduce my local landing map:

landing 2

See the swirly railroads going nowhere just west of my landing?  I figured there had to be something significant.  So I took a closer look on GE:

ge 1

I didn’t know what it was, but noticed that an exit on the highway headed right into the facility.  I hopped on SV, and here’s what I saw:

ge pueblo chemical depot

OK.  It’s the Pueblo Chemical Depot. I needed a closer look on GE:

ge 2

From Wiki:

The depot houses 2,611 tons of mustard agent in approximately 780,000 artillery projectiles and mortars, equivalent to about eight percent of the original chemical material stockpile of the United States.

Wow.  That’s a lot of mustard gas.  It says that this facility stored 8% of the original stockpile of the stuff, but no word about what is the percentage of our current stockpiles.  Anyway, (like traditional munitions), the artillery shells and mortars are stored in small “igloos,” so that if there’s a problem, it’s confined to only one igloo.  For instance, mustard gas was detected inside of one igloo back in 2012.

Under international treaty terms, the U.S. is going to destroy all of the chemical agents at the Pueblo Chemical Depot.  A plant has been constructed, and it’s scheduled to begin chemical destruction in 2016. 

The above GE shot shows the igloos, the chemical destruction plant, and the area designated for initial destruction (to make sure it works properly).

I bet it ain’t cheap.  I checked Google to find the cost of it, and came across the DefenseIndustryDaily.com website.  They presented a primer on mustard gas:

Mustard gas gained infamy in World War 1, when it was fired by German artillery during the battle of Ypres. This heavier-than-air “gas” is actually a finely-dispersed liquid that settles on people caught within it or falls to the ground, where it can remain active for days to months depending on conditions.

[The article goes on to describe the symptoms and suffering for the victims.  Sufficeth to say, it’s very nasty stuff, with no antidotes.]

Mustard agent stockpiles were high on all sides as World War II broke out, and it is believed that it would have been used if Hitler’s Germany had invaded Britain external link. During that war, US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s June 8, 1943 speech informed Hitler that any use of chemical weapons on the battlefield would be followed by the chemical bombing of German cities. America had a stockpile of over 77,000 tons on hand and was prepared to use it if necessary.

They go on to discuss the cost of destroying the mustard gas at the Pueblo facility:

It is estimated that it will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.5 billion over its projected 20-year life span. The plant’s engineering design package contains more than 5,000 individual documents in notebooks occupying 20 feet of shelf space, alongside a stack of drawings 4 feet high.

The city of Pueblo isn’t far west (as shown on my landing map).  But it’s pretty much hookless, although I noted that Dan Rowan (from Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In TV show was from there.)

laugh-in_rowan_martin

Dan (on the left) was the straight man, and Dick Martin was the goofy one.  Anyway, the show started when I was a Senior in high school (1968).  I’m sure I missed none of the first season, and then saw the show here and there in college.  In dorms, we had a TV lounge, as we did in my fraternity; so what was watched was generally based on a consensus (which may not have generally included Laugh-In).  

I checked out You Tube, looking for a good (but short) Laugh-In video to include.  Doesn’t seem as funny as I remembered.  Well, it was cutting-edge back in the day . . .

Anyway, time for some GE Panoramio shots.  I’ll start with one taken of Pike’s Peak by Eric Ross quite a few miles north of my landing (but still on Boone Road, the N-S road just east of my landing):

pano Eric Ross

Here’s a closer-in-to-my landing shot, also looking west, also on Boone Road (also by Eric Ross):

pano Eric Ross 2

I’ll close with this panoramic Pano shot of a lonely road a couple of miles west of my landing by Cevastiko:

pano Cevastiko

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2016 A Landing A Day

 

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Piñon, New Mexico

Posted by graywacke on June 5, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2272; A Landing A Day blog post number 702.

Dan:  This is my first New Mexico landing since I changed my random lat/long approach 56 landings ago.  So of course, it’s a USer and of course, my Score went down (from 768 to a new low, 736). 

You may ask yourself “what the heck is this guy talking about.”  If so (and you’re curious), check out “About Landing” and “About Landing (Revisited)” above.  You may ask yourself  “Should I bother continue reading?”  The answer is an emphatic yes!  And you may ask yourself “What is this beautiful house?”*

*Talking Heads “Once in a Lifetime” reference, which is, by the way, remarkable for an old boomer like me.

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map, which shows that landings don’t get much more boonie-esque than this:

landing 2

This is a bone-dry part of NM, so there are no named streams on my StreetAtlas map.  Looks like I’ll need to go to Google Earth (GE) to figure out my watershed.  But first, you can enjoy a spaceflight in to south-central NM.  To do so, click HERE, and then his your back button.

Here’s my GE watershed map, with the blue line showing my drainage pathway:

ge drainage

It took me a little while to figure out that the playa that straddles the NM-TX border is Crow Flats, but I’m pretty sure that’s correct.  I really doubt that my actual drainage pathway has a name . . .

Anyway, consistent with the boonie-esque (I like that word) nature of this landing, take a look at Street View coverage:

ge sv dirth

We’re lucky that some Googlemobile dude drove south down a dirt road to within about 5 miles of my landing.  Here’s a closer view:

ge landing sv map

Here’s what the Orange Dude (and the Googlemobile driver) could see:

ge landing sv

The grate across the road is designed to keep cattle from passing through, in spite of the absence of a gate.  Although it’s hard to see, there’s a barbed wire fence that likely marks private property.  I can see why the Googlemobile driver turned around — although I wonder why he came down this lonely road at all!

Here’s another GE shot (about 30 miles across) showing how lonely my landing and Piñon are:

ge pinon 1

Let’s take a closer look at Piñon:

ge pinon 2

In my Oh-Piñon, Piñon ain’t much.  But what the heck, click HERE for a Street View tour of the town.

Time for Wiki:

The post office in Piñon opened in 1907, and the town was named by the local school teacher John W. Nations after the piñon pine trees in the area.

The area was originally settled by the agricultural and hunter gatherer Jornada Mogollon people about 200 CE whose suzerainty ended with the influx of the Apache and other plains raiders around 1450.

The Jornada Mogollon people are similar to the Anasazi in that they flourished then disappeared.  Here’s a map (note that the Native Puebloans are aka Anasazi):

Oasisamerican_cultures_circa_1350_CE

 

Here’s what Wiki says about the Mogollons (of which the Jornada are a regional sub-group):

The Mogollon culture is one of the three major prehistoric Southwestern cultural divisions of the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico.

Anyway, Wiki says that Hopi and Zuni are descendants of the Mogollons.  Here’s a cool Wiki shot looking out of a Mogollon cliff dwelling in AZ:

1024px-GilaCliffDwellings_Interior

One more thing.  Did you note the use of the word suzerainty in the above Wiki entry?  Here it is, speaking of the Mogollons:   “. . . whose suzerainty ended with the influx of the Apache . . .”

Suzerainty?  Say what?  Wiki:

Suzerainty is a situation in which a powerful region or people controls a tributary vassal state while allowing the subservient nation internal autonomy.  The dominant entity in the suzerainty relationship, or the more powerful entity itself, is called a suzerain. The term suzerainty was originally used to refer to the relationship between the Ottoman Empire and its surrounding regions. It differs from sovereignty in that the tributary enjoys some (often limited) self-rule.

Hmmmm.  I think the author of the Wiki piece tried a little too hard to use fancy vocab.  Oh well, moving right along . . .

Back to Wiki about Piñon:

In 2014, Piñon was ranked as the most politically conservative town in New Mexico.

I checked out the reference, and found a US map showing the most liberal and most conservative towns in each state.  Here’s a close-up where you can see Piñon:

lib - cons 1

If you want to peruse the entire map (and find out how the towns were selected), click HERE.

In case you’re curious (and didn’t bother with the above link), the towns were chosen based on reactions to the following statements:

  • I identify with the Democrats more so than the Republicans.
  • Abortion should be legal and accessible to all women.
  • Climate change is an immediate concern that must be addressed.
  • There should be more restrictions on purchasing and carrying guns.
  • The government should reduce the deficit primarily by raising taxes rather than cutting services.

I guess we know how folks in Piñon responded. . .

Time for some GE Panoramio shots.  I’ll start with this rather distant shot (about 25 miles west of my landing), by Steve Tidwell:

pano steve tidwell

I’ll close with the Pano shot closest to my landing (about 7 miles west) by Keff (not Jeff) Edwards (entitled “Old Farm Windmill”):

pano keff edwards

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2016 A Landing A Day

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

American Falls, Idaho

Posted by graywacke on June 1, 2016

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2271; A Landing A Day blog post number 701.

Dan:  This is only my second landing in Idaho since I changed my random lat/long procedure (55 landings ago).  Since Idaho’s big, it’s sure to be a USer (and it is); my Score dutifully went down (from 783 to a new record low, 768).  Haven’t a clue what I’m talking about?  Check out “About Landing (Revisited)” above.  DC?DB!*.

*Don’t Care? Don’t Bother!

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map:

landing 2

My streams-only map is a little peculiar:

landing 3

While I thought that maybe I landed in the watershed of Sunbeam Creek, I knew I landed in the watershed of the Snake R (79th hit).  I’ll need to take a look on Google Earth (GE) to figure things out, so it’s time for my GE spaceflight in to SE Idaho.

Click HERE, enjoy the trip and then hit your back button.

So, my first job was to trace my drainage, which I did.  As far as I can tell, drainage from my landing takes a fairly straightforward route (the green line) to the American Falls Reservoir (and does not include Sunbeam Creek):

ge sv creek map

And you can see where I could take a Street View look at the “stream.”  Here’s what the orange dude sees (looking west, upstream):

ge sv creek (up)

And here’s what he sees looking in the opposite direction:

ge sv creek (down)

Peculiar that upstream is green and downstream is brown. . .

Since this isn’t the Sunbeam, my official watershed analysis is “unnamed tributary to the Snake River.”  Oh yea.  Before I forget – the Snake, of course, discharges to the Columbia (160th hit).    

So what about American Falls?  From Wiki:

American Falls was a landmark waterfall on the Snake River, named after a party of American trappers whose boat went over the falls. Power plants first sprang up at the falls in 1901 (and are the reason the surrounding county is called Power County).

American Falls was the first town in the U.S. to be entirely relocated; it was moved in 1925 to facilitate construction of the nearby American Falls Dam.

All righty now.  I don’t buy that American Falls was named after a party of trappers whose boat went over the falls.  That would be more like Holy S— Falls.  After a quick search, I can find no other info on the name origin, so I’ll make one up:

A party of French trappers was in the area and they set up a camp next to the falls.  They decided to call it les Cascades Française (the French Falls).    Just as they were breaking camp, a party of American trappers showed up.  One of the Frenchmen said “Bienvenu a les Cascades Française” (Welcome to the French Falls).  The non-French-speaking leader of the Americans snarled “What the hell did he just say?”  When he heard the translation from one of his party who could speak a little French, the leader wasn’t happy. 

It just so happens that he not only didn’t like the French, he despised the French.  His response?  “Over my dead body are a bunch of Frenchies naming these falls after their foul country.  We’re naming these the American Falls.” 

Fortunately, no violence ensued, as the French (sensing likely trouble if they stayed and defended the name) left in a hurry.  It was settled.  “American Falls” it became and American Falls it remains to this day. 

Much better. 

[ALAD disclaimer:  ALAD is a non-controversial, diversity-oriented blog.  The views and opinions held by the American trapper in the above piece of fiction are not the views and opinions of ALAD, its agents, employees or advertisers.  Oops.  ALAD has no agents, employees or advertisers.  Oh well, it sounds good.]

Moving right along to the town’s website:

In 1925, the Bureau of Reclamation began the job of moving American Falls to make way for the American Falls Dam. The most difficult part of building the 94-foot-high and 5,277-foot-long composite concrete and earthen dam was not its construction and financing, but resolving the problems that the 23 mile long reservoir would have on the town of American Falls.

In all, 344 residents, 46 businesses, three hotels, one school, five churches, one hospital, six grain elevators, and one flour mill were moved from the original town site, making this the largest government relocation project of its time! Depending on the quality of the building, dwellings would be relocated to one of three neighborhoods on the east, south and west side of the new town square.

The alignment of the streets was not without controversy. The streets were laid out diagonally; parallel to the reservoir shore. Residents complained. “How will we teach our children north or south?” The city planners responded that the city was laid out so that the sun could shine in every window.

[The sun shines in every window?  Maybe in the summer – when the NE and NW facing windows get some sun.  But the winter?  ALAD doesn’t think so.  By the way, the town really likes the slogan “Where the sun shines in every window,” as evidenced by their home page:]

american falls homepage

Back to the website:

The Oneida Milling and Elevator Company’s grain elevator was the only structure that was not moved. Its 40-foot-deep foundation and 106-foot reinforced concrete walls still stand with its top rising above the water. It stands as a silent reminder of the remarkable history of American Falls.

Here’s a shot of the old grain elevator surrounded by water (GE Panoramio shot by Ralph Mitchell):

pano ralph mitchell

This is the current GE shot of the elevator (you can see it mainly based on its shadow).

ge 1

 It looks like the water level in the reservoir must be way down.  You can also see traces of the old town.  I zoomed back a bit so you can see that the old town is very close to the new town:

ge 2

Here’s what the Falls looked like back in the 1902.  The building is an already-defunct power house (from Wiki):

P17-100-3941 American Falls Dam and Powerhouse. Minidoka Project, ID. USBR photo.

P17-100-3941 American Falls Dam and Powerhouse. Minidoka Project, ID. USBR photo.

Anyway, here’s what it looks like today – a GE Pano shot by long-time-yet-likely-unknowing ALAD contributing photographer, Ralph Maughan:

pano ralph maughan

By the way, I’ve used Ralph’s photographs in 9 posts:  3 Nevada posts, 3 Wyoming posts, 1 Utah post and now 2 Idaho posts.

I’ll close with another of Ralph’s shots, this of a Christmas Day sunset in the Deep Creek Mountains, about 10 miles east of my landing:

pano ralph maughan2

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2016 A Landing A Day

 

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