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Archive for August, 2016

Columbus, Ohio

Posted by graywacke on August 28, 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 2292; A Landing A Day blog post number 722.

Dan:  Well, Ohio was PS (perfectly subscribed) with one landing.  This was my second landing there, pushing OH into OSer-land.  My Score (of course), went up, from 699 to 705.

If you don’t understand the above paragraph (and for some reason want to), check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map:

landing 2b

Hmmmm.  Very urban.  Maybe I need to zoom out a little:

landing 2c

So I’m just inside the beltway, in suburban NE Columbus. I wonder if they call it “the beltway” (like us easterners) or “the 270” (like westerners)?

Anyway, I need to zoom way in:

landing 2

Take a close look at the street names!  What an international community!

I like the little area west of my landing where Canberra (Australia) and Vienna (Austria) are surrounded by Saigon (Vietnam), Cairo (Egypt), Paris (France) and Rangoon (Myanmar, aka Burma).  You’d think that the cities would at least be grouped by continent.  Oh, well . . .

A couple of street names aren’t familiar.  Makassar?  Indonesia.  Karikal?  India.  Varadero?  Cuba.  Bolamo?  Well, it only comes up as a street in NE suburban Columbus . . .

How about my watershed?  Rather than my usual streams-only map, I’ll start with a local street map, showing where I think the storm sewers go (based on topography):

landing 3

I’m sure the water ends up in Alum Creek.  Zooming back with a more traditional streams-only map:

landing 3a

You can see that the Alum Creek discharges to the Big Walnut Creek, on to the Scioto River (6th hit).

Zooming back once more:

landing 3b

The Scioto (of course) goes to the Ohio (140th hit); on to the MM (897th hit).

It’s time for my spaceflight from an upside-down continent (this time South America), right on in to central Ohio.  Click HERE, enjoy the trip, and hit your back button.

Now I’ll use GE to get a closer look at my landing:

ge 1

I really don’t need a Street View shot, but it’s available, so what the heck:

ge sv landing

For those who need to know, I landed in the backyard of 3743 Paris Boulevard East, Westerville.

So, I headed downstream a few miles to get a look at the Alum.  I found this, which looks like the GoogleCamMobile drove up towards a footbridge (the blue line):

ge sv alum map

But see where the Orange Dude is?  That’s because he drove out halfway across the footbridge!  Here’s the mid-span view:

ge sv alum

You can tell that the side rails are pedestrian-worthy, not vehicle-worthy!

And looking back towards the parking lot:

ge sv alum 2

AYKM?  He drove halfway across a pedestrian bridge?  Oh, well.

So, Columbus.  Columbus and I go way back.  My family moved to Zanesville (50 miles east of Columbus, right on I-70) in 1960.  In the early 60s, I was a rabid Ohio State basketball fan (Jerry Lucas!  John Havlicek!  Bobby Knight!).  I was heart broken when my beloved Buckeyes lost twice in a row in the NCAA championships to Cincinnati (’61 & ’62)!  Imagine that.  Two national championships in a row that were all Ohio.

I remember curling up on the couch in my living room, all by myself, in the dark, listening to radio broadcasts of OSU basketball.  The radio was part of this huge console record player.  I can still hear radio announcer Jimmy Crum saying “How about that!” when the Buckeyes made a particularly impressive shot.

And football.  I went to my first college football game in Columbus.  It was 1965 and Hang On Sloopy (which I loved and quickly learned how to play on the piano) had been a huge hit in 1964.  I was blown away when the Ohio State marching band actually played it!  Little did I know then that Hang On Sloopy would become an absolute regular for the band.  It’s still played today!

And when I’m in the mood for raucus rock ‘n roll,  I still play it on the piano . . .

Here’s a must-watch 2012 video. 

This brought tears to my eyes.  And (as anyone who knows me can attest), I mean that literally.

While I’m at it, here’s the Band’s famous Script Ohio.  Well worth the 3 minutes and 49 seconds investment:

I remember the summer of 1967.  I was just 17.  Amazingly, my parents trusted me to ride as a passenger with my best friend Robby Higgins (driving his parent’s red 1958 Ford Station Wagon) and go all the way to Columbus.  I have no clue why we went to Columbus.  I remember hearing “Penny Lane” by the Beatles numerous times on the trip . . .

OK, OK. Gratuitous opportunity to post this:

So Columbus is huge (pop 850,160), not even considering the entire metro area (pop 2,000,000).  I’m overwhelmed.  As is my wont in these cases, I’m going to focus on interesting/famous people with people with a connection with Columbus.  I decided that only going to OSU wasn’t enough.  I’ll start with Simone Biles.  World #1 gymnast and Rio Olympics superstar.

Here’s some background info from Wiki:

Simone Arianne Biles was born on March 14, 1997, in Columbus, Ohio.  Her mother, Shanon Biles, was unable to care for Simone or her other children – a girl (seven years older than Simone), a boy (five years older), and Adria (two years younger) – due to her drug and alcohol addiction.

Shanon’s father and stepmother, Ron and Nellie Biles, who had two nearly-adult sons began temporarily caring for Shanon’s children in 2000, in the north Houston suburb of Spring, Texas.

In 2003 the couple officially adopted the two youngest children, Simone and Adria, and Jean’s sister adopted the two eldest.  Simone’s father Ron, originally from Haiti, is a retired air traffic controller and Nellie Cayetano, who emigrated from Belize, is the former co-owner of a chain of nursing homes.

There’s quite the story here, eh?  And it’s so cool that her father is from Haiti (where they speak Haitian Creole and French) and her step mother is from Belize (Spanish-speaking).  What a cultural blend.

Here’s a shot of Simone (People Mag):


And, as a child (NBC):


Moving on to Jack Nicklaus (the Golden Bear).  Generally considered the greatest golfer ever, Jack won more major golf tournaments (the US Open, the PGA, the British Open and the Masters) than anyone.  He has 18 championships, Tiger Woods has 14. 

I think Tiger was poised and in line to become the greatest ever, but Tiger imploded and likely will stay in second place.

Anyway, Jack was born & raised in Columbus/environs and went to Ohio State.  Here’s a little from Wiki:

Nicklaus was born on the East side of Columbus, grew up in the suburb of Upper Arlington, Ohio and is of German descent, the son of pharmacist Charlie Nicklaus (who ran a small chain of Nicklaus Drug Stores) and his wife Helen. Charlie was a skilled all-round athlete, who had played college football for the Ohio State University Buckeyes, and had gone on to play semi-professional football for the Portsmouth Spartans (who later became the NFL’s Detroit Lions). Charlie had also been a scratch golfer and local tennis champion in his youth.

[OK.  So it was in Jack’s genes.]

Jack went to Upper Arlington High School, whose nickname and mascot are called the Golden Bears.

[I never knew why he was called the Golden bear.]

Nicklaus was an honorable mention All-Ohio selection in basketball as a shooting guard in his senior year, and received some recruiting interest from college basketball programs, including Ohio State. He also competed successfully during his youth in football, baseball, tennis, and track and field.

[I’ll say it was in his genes.]

Nicklaus took up golf at the age of 10, scoring a 51 at Scioto Country Club for his first nine holes ever played. Charlie Nicklaus had joined Scioto that same year, returning to golf to help heal a volleyball injury.

Nicklaus won the first of five straight Ohio State Junior titles at the age of 12. At 13, he broke 70 at Scioto Country Club for the first time.  Nicklaus won the Tri-State High School Championship (Ohio/Kentucky/Indiana) at the age of 14 with a round of 68, and also recorded his first hole-in-one in tournament play the same year.

At 15, Nicklaus shot a 66 at Scioto Country Club, which was the amateur course record. He won the Ohio Open in 1956 at age 16, highlighted by a phenomenal third round of 64, competing against professionals.

There’s more, but you get the picture . . .

Speaking of picture, here’s a nice one of Jack from the Daily Mail:

daily mail

Moving along to somewhat famous boxer, Buster Douglas.  From Wiki:

James “Buster” Douglas (born April 7, 1960; grew up in Columbus, Ohio) is a former American professional boxer who competed from 1981 to 1999. He is best known for his stunning upset of Mike Tyson on February 11, 1990 in Tokyo to win the undisputed heavyweight title. At the time Tyson was undefeated and considered to be the best boxer in the world, as well as one of the most feared heavyweight champions in history due to his utter domination of the division over the previous three years.

The only casino to make odds for the fight (all others declining to do so as they considered the fight such a foregone conclusion) had Douglas as a 42-to-1 underdog for the fight, making his victory, in commentator Jim Lampley’s words, “The biggest upset in the history of heavyweight championship fights.”

Douglas held the title for eight months and two weeks, losing on October 25, 1990 to Evander Holyfield via third-round knockout, in his only title defense.

Douglas came out rather sluggish, and was thoroughly dominated by Holyfield during the first two rounds. In the third round Douglas attempted to hit Holyfield with a hard uppercut that he telegraphed. Holyfield avoided the uppercut and knocked an off-balance Douglas to the canvas with a straight right to the chin. Douglas did not get up, ending his brief reign. He retired after the fight.

Douglas vs Holyfield was a reported $24.6 million payday for Douglas. Doing little for the next several years, Douglas gained weight, reaching nearly 400 pounds. It was only after he nearly died during a diabetic coma that he decided to attempt a return to the sport.

The coma made Douglas realize he had to pull himself together, and he decided to go back into training.  He won six consecutive bouts, but his career did not get back on track.  He finished with an overall professional record of 38-6-1.

Here’s a pic of Buster (from Wiki by Lasan Rajapaksa, columbusmonthly.com,):


From what I can gather, ol’ Buster’s doing just fine now (at age 56). . .

Next on my list is Eddie Rickenbacker, World War I flying ace.  He led an incredibly full life.  I’ll just pick out some highlights:


  • Born in Columbus in 1890; grew up with a fascination for machines
  • As a boy, nearly killed twice. First, when run into by a horse-drawn carriage; and then when on a thrill ride in a cart down into a mine and the cart flipped over, just missed crushing him.
  • As a young adult, became well known as a race car driver.
  • After the US declared war on Germany in 1917, he enlisted in the Army, and immediately had his eye on being selected for pilot training.
  • Instead, he was trained as an aircraft mechanic; but he managed to talk his way into some flight training.
  • He proved his flying skills and was selected for an air combat unit.
  • He ended up being the #1 American Ace, credited with 26 “kills” of enemy aircraft. But get this, four of them (including #ers 25 & 26) were balloons.  Should they really count?
  • After the war, he founded the Rickenbacker Automobile company, and was the first manufacturer to use a 4-wheel braking system.
  • In 1927, he bought the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which he operated for 15 years.
  • In 1938, he became the founder and owner of Eastern Airlines.
  • In 1941, he was in an Eastern DC-3 that crashed just outside Atlanta. He was left for dead by rescuers.  His injuries included a fractured skull, a shattered left elbow with a crushed nerve, a paralyzed left hand, several broken ribs, a crushed hip socket, a pelvis broken in two places, a severed nerve in his left hip, and a broken left knee. Rickenbacker’s left eyeball was also blown out of its socket.


  • He recovered fully!
  • In 1942, the Secretary of War Henry Stimson sent him on a tour of airbases in the Pacific theater.
  • He was provided an older B-17D Flying Fortress as transportation to the South Pacific. The bomber strayed hundreds of miles off course while on its way to a refueling stop on Canton Island and was forced to ditch in a remote and little-traveled part of the Central Pacific Ocean.


  • For 24 days, Rickenbacker and his crew drifted in life rafts at sea. The food supply ran out after three days. Then, on the eighth day, a seagull landed on Rickenbacker’s head. He warily and cautiously captured it, and then the survivors meticulously divided it into equal parts and used part of it for fishing bait. They lived on sporadic rain water that fell and similar food “miracles”.
  • One crewman died and was buried at sea. After two weeks, the search for the lost B-17 was to be abandoned, but Rickenbacker’s wife persuaded them to extend it another week. At the end of the third week . . .


  • He resigned as CEO of Eastern Airlines in 1960 (due to declining revenues); he retired, traveled extensively with his wife, then died of a stroke in 1973. He is buried in Columbus.

Phew.  Quite the life, eh?

James Thurber’s next.  From Wiki:


Born in Columbus, Ohio, James Grover Thurber (1894 – 1961) was an American cartoonist, author, journalist, playwright, and celebrated wit. Thurber was best known for his cartoons and short stories, published mainly in The New Yorker magazine and collected in his numerous books.

One of the most popular humorists of his time, Thurber celebrated the comic frustrations and eccentricities of ordinary people.

He described his mother as a born comedian and “one of the finest comic talents I think I have ever known.” She was a practical joker, and on one occasion pretended to be crippled and attended a faith healer revival, only to jump up and proclaim herself healed.

Once, while playing a game of William Tell, one of his brothers shot James in the eye with an arrow, and he lost the eye. This injury would later cause him to become almost entirely blind. Unable in his childhood to partake in sports and other activities because of his injury, he elaborated a creative mind which he then used to express himself in writings.

Here are some Thurber cartoons:





And some Thurber quotes:

I used to wake up at 4 A.M. and start sneezing, sometimes for five hours. I tried to find out what sort of allergy I had but finally came to the conclusion that it must be an allergy to consciousness.

Humor is a serious thing. I like to think of it as one of our greatest earliest natural resources, which must be preserved at all cost.

Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.

It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.

There are two kinds of light – the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.

One martini is all right. Two are too many, and three are not enough.

If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.

I am not a cat man, but a dog man, and all felines can tell this at a glance – a sharp, vindictive glance.

There is no safety in numbers, or in anything else.

I’m 65 and I guess that puts me in with the geriatrics. But if there were fifteen months in every year, I’d only be 48. That’s the trouble with us. We number everything. Take women, for example. I think they deserve to have more than twelve years between the ages of 28 and 40.

I think that maybe if women and children were in charge we would get somewhere.

Women are wiser than men because they know less and understand more.

Moving along to music – I love rock and roll, and I love the music of Joe Walsh. Maybe this is a slight stretch, but according to Wiki, “Walsh and his family lived in Columbus, Ohio, for a number of years during his youth.”  But more importantly to me, Walsh went to Kent State University (in Kent, Ohio), which is where I received my Master’s degree in geology.  I was there in ’73-’74, and knew people who heard Joe’s group “The Measles” playing in Water Street bars in Kent back in ‘66/’67 in Kent.

I really don’t have much to say about Joe.  He was a hugely talented and original guitar player who had great success with the James Gang (Funk#49 and Rocky Mountain High), the Eagles (Hotel California, Life in the Fast Lane) and as a solo artist (Life’s Been Good).  Plus others.

Like so many of his ilk, he hit rock bottom with drugs and alcohol.  But he had a choice:  die or sober up.  Twenty years ago he jumped on the wagon and hasn’t jumped off (and is still touring).

Anyway, here’s a picture of Joe in the Fast Lane:


And here’s a shot of Joe going the speed limit, after getting a good night’s sleep:


If (and only if) you’re a Joe Walsh fan, here’s a cool video with some great music.  He plays his hits (Funk#49, Rocky Mountain High, Life’s Been Good) with Daryl Hall (of Hall & Oates).  OK.  It’s really long . . .


I’ll close with this GE Panramio shot of Inniswood Metro Gardens in Westerville by John Weinhardt (about a mile NE of my landing)

pano jhn weinhardt

That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day

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Sonora, Eldorado, Ft. McKavett and Roosevelt, Texas

Posted by graywacke on August 24, 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 2291; A Landing A Day blog post number 721.

Dan:  Wow.  Seventy-five landings since starting my new way of getting random lat/longs, and now 10 landings in Texas!  10/75 = 13.3%   The area of Texas divided by the area of the lower 48 = 268,600/3,061,600 = 8.8%   The more mathematically inclined of my readers can readily see that I should have landed in Texas about 8.8% x 75 = 6.6 times.  So Texas is seriously oversubscribed (i.e., is an OSer), and my Score went up – from 693 to 699.

It’s time for my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map:

landing 2

Not surprisingly, I’m in a fairly arid region, with not much in the way of flowing streams.  Here’s all I could get from my local streams-only map:

landing 3a

I’m not sure, but I’ll say that I’m in the watershed of the Twentymile Waterhole; on to the Middle Valley Prong.  Are these stream names?  I do know that my drainage heads to the northeast, so maybe . . .

Zooming back a little:

landing 3b

I know that I’m in the San Saba River watershed; I’ll assume that the Middle Valley Prong discharges to San Saba River (5th hit, making the San Saba the 164th river on my list of rivers with five or more hits); on to the Colorado River (28th hit).  The Colorado (not THE Colorado), flows southeast across Texas and discharges into the Gulf of Mexico.

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) space flight.  Last landing, I started with upside-down Australia.  I thought I’d try upside-down Africa this time around.  Click HERE, enjoy the trip, and then hit your back button.

I didn’t end up with decent Street View coverage for my landing spot, but I could get a look at my drainage pathway (Twentymile Waterhole?).  Here’s the Street View map:

ge sv ut map

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

ge sv ut

Hmmm.  Not a lot of water . . .

I had to go to Ft. McKavett (about 20 miles NE of my landing) to get a look at the San Saba River.  Here’s what the Orange Dude can see:

ge sv saba

Do you see what I see?  No guard rails!  No barrier to keep you from driving into the river!  Here’s another view:

ge sv saba no guard rails

Wow.  Amazing.  Vive le Texas!  If you drive into the river it’s your own damn fault!

Notice how the road stays low to the river.  This is new construction – I suspect that it’s designed so that the water goes over the road during a flood.  That would be a reason for no guard rails.  I wonder if there’s going to be a warning system for when the river flows over the road?

Time to take a close look at my five towns.  First, Sonora.  Well, Dan Blocker (“Hoss” on the TV show Bonanza) taught high school in Sonora before he made his way to Hollywood.  It turns out that I featured Dan when I landed in DeKalb, Texas (where he was born), so if you want to read about Hoss, type DeKalb in the search box and check it out.  Just for the heck of it, here’s a Wiki picture:


More about Sonora from the Handbook of Texas (from the Texas State Historical Society):

About 1885, Charlie Adams, a rancher and merchant from Fort McKavett, settled on four sections of land two miles north of Winkler’s Well. He named the site Sonora, after a family servant from Sonora, Mexico.

[He named the town after the home town of his family’s servant!  How about that!]

Adams offered free lots in his town, which in 1890 was selected as the county seat. The community comprised eighteen houses, three stores, two livery stables, two hotels, a combined schoolhouse and Masonic lodge, and fourteen tents.

Wow.  Free lots!  It was a different time.  I’m glad they mentioned the fourteen tents (apparently for the poorer folks who couldn’t afford to build a house on their free lots).

So how about Fort McKavett (where Charlie was from)?  From the Texas Historical Commission:

Standing atop a windswept remote hill, the remains of a 150-year-old West Texas fort beckon curious visitors to the site that is now considered one of the best preserved and most intact examples of a Texas Indian Wars (1850–1875) military post.

We need some pics.  From the Texas Historical Commission is this 1890 shot, with the caption below:


Fort McKavett, circa 1890, after civilians had moved into the buildings of the abandoned post and established a town named after the fort. The photograph appears to have been taken from atop the two-story commanding officer’s quarters. The building in the center of the photo is on the end of “lieutenants’ row,” the main parade ground is beyond, and the post headquarters building is in the upper right corner. Photo courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife.

From the same website, here’s what’s there now:


And this GE Panramio shot by Joe Fu:

pano joe fu

How about Elderado?  TexasEscapes.com (History in a Pecan Shell) tells us that Eldorado was named after “the mythical city.”  Hmmm.  What mythical city would that be?  Well, here are excerpts from a Nat Geo article by Willie Drye.  (This is a little long, but well worth the read):

The lust for gold spans all eras, races, and nationalities. To possess any amount of gold seems to ignite an insatiable desire to obtain more.

Through the centuries, this passion gave rise to the enduring tale of a city of gold. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Europeans believed that somewhere in the New World there was a place of immense wealth known as El Dorado. Their searches for this treasure wasted countless lives, drove at least one man to suicide, and put another man under the executioner’s ax.

The origins of El Dorado lie deep in South America. And like all enduring legends, the tale of El Dorado contains some scraps of truth. When Spanish explorers reached South America in the early 16th century, they heard stories about a tribe of natives high in the Andes mountains in what is now Colombia.

When a new chieftain rose to power, his rule began with a ceremony at Lake Guatavita. Accounts of the ceremony vary, but they consistently say the new ruler was covered with gold dust, and that gold and precious jewels were thrown into the lake to appease a god that lived underwater.

The Spaniards started calling this golden chief El Dorado, “the gilded one.” The Spaniards and other Europeans had found so much gold among the natives along the continent’s northern coast that they believed there had to be a place of great wealth somewhere in the interior.

The Spaniards didn’t find El Dorado, but they did find Lake Guatavita and tried to drain it in 1545. They lowered its level enough to find hundreds of pieces of gold along the lake’s edge. But the presumed fabulous treasure in the deeper water was beyond their reach.

English courtier Sir Walter Raleigh made two trips to search for El Dorado. During his second trip in 1617, he sent his son, Watt Raleigh, with an expedition up the Orinoco River. But Walter Raleigh, then an old man, stayed behind at a base camp on the island of Trinidad. The expedition was a disaster, and Watt Raleigh was killed in a battle with Spaniards. Walter Raleigh was furious at the survivor who informed him of Watt’s death and accused the survivor of letting his son be killed.  After the confrontation with Raleigh, the man committed suicide.

Raleigh returned to England, where King James ordered him beheaded for, among other things, disobeying orders to avoid conflict with the Spanish.

Here’s a map to put some geography in perspective:

south america map

By the way, it’s about 1,000 miles from Trinidad to Guatavita Lake . . .

Here’s a little about Sir Walter Raleigh (from Wiki):

Sir Walter Raleigh (circa 1554 – 29 October 1618) was an English landed gentleman, writer, poet, soldier, politician, courtier, spy, and explorer. He is also well known for popularizing tobacco in England.

Raleigh was instrumental in the English colonization of North America and was granted a royal patent to explore Virginia, which paved the way for future English settlements.

He funded and organized two expeditions to North America (although he himself never went).  The second resulted in the ill-fated “lost colony” on Roanoke Island, NC.  His hoped-for New World income never materialized, and he instead turned to a search for El Dorado.

Here’s a picture of SWR on a tobacco tin:


Oh yea.  Regular readers may recall my Colorado City, Arizona landing that featured the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (the Mormon group who still practices plural marriage.)  Their temple happens to be in Eldorado (pic from Wiki):


And now, Roosevelt.  From the Texas State Historical Society (TexasEscapes.com):

Roosevelt, located just off I-10 in Kimble County, was established with a post office in 1898 and was named by its founder, W. B. Wagoner, for Theodore Roosevelt, who reportedly visited the area with the famous Rough Riders.

In the 1920s the community hosted polo matches, as local ranchers bred polo ponies for national markets as well as horses for the United States Cavalry.

[Polo?  In Texas??]

The population of Roosevelt, estimated at twenty-five in 1925, averaged 100 from 1941 through the middle 1980s. The population dropped to fourteen in 2000

The center of town’s main (only?) attraction is the Simon Brothers Mercantile.  From Zeekboots post on Reddit:


Here’s a very brief You Tube video tour of the store by RichMoto1:


Now it’s Bing Futch’s turn.  You gotta check out this You Tube video, with lyrics below:


Simon Brothers Mercantile by Bing Futch.

Way down in Kimble County on U.S. 2-9-0
Clay Simon’s got a mercantile, he’ll greet you at the door
’bout everything and anything is there under one roof
we stopped in and got some pictures in case you needed proof


well Roosevelt is hot as hell but them Texas townsfolk sure are swell
they serve up country charm with a smile
there’s ice cold beers and souvenirs and camouflage for hunting deers
feel free to sit a spell and stay a while
at ye old Simon Brothers Mercantile

in 1898 it was a post office, no more
they started sellin’ groceries in 1924
now look, there is a feed store and a hardware store today
you can even get a fresh-cooked meal at the Back Door Cafe


on aisle one there’s dogfood, coffee, dungarees and pans
on aisle two there’s crab boil, corned beef, Chili Quick in cans
on aisle three there’s soap and candles, saws and Ginsu Knives
on aisle four there’s tackle, buck urine and bullseyes

you’ll find motor oil and shower heads on aisle five for sale
and here’s a fact, way in the back, they’re even raisin’ quail

when you’re ridin’ 10 through Texas and you need to stop for gas
this here is an establishment that you should never pass
without stepping out your vehicle and checking out this store
down in Roosevelt, the zipcode 76874


It’s time (finally!) for some GE Pano shots from near my landing.  Near Sonora are the Sonora Caverns.  Here’s a shot by Dallas 1959:

pano dallas 1959

I’ll close with this shot of a semi on I-10 just south of my landing (by dssup):

pano dssup

That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day

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Iron Belt, Montreal, Gile and Hurley, Wisconsin

Posted by graywacke on August 20, 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 2290; A Landing A Day blog post number 720.

Dan:  After 74 landings (since I changed how I come up with my random lat/longs), I finally landed in Wisconsin.  Obviously, WI is undersubscribed, so my Score went down from 714 to new record low, 693

Clueless but curious?  Check out “About Landing (Revisited)” above.  Clueless but could care less?  Continue reading . . .

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map:

landing 2

My streams-only map:

landing 3a

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of Sullivan Creek, on to Potato Creek.  Zooming back a little:

landing 3b

You can see that the Potato goes on to the Potato (first hit ever!); on to the Bad (2nd hit).

Zooming back, you can see that the Bad discharges to Lake Superior (18th hit):

landing 3c

Of course, we’re in the St. Lawrence River watershed (103rd hit).

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight emanating from an upside-down Australia all the way to a right-side-up Wisconsin.  Click HERE, enjoy the trip (and don’t get dizzy), then hit your back button.

There’s lousy GE Street View coverage for my landing, but I can take a look at the Potato River:

ge sv map potato


Here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

ge sv potato

The Potato looks a little mashed between the trees on either side . . .

And the closest Street View of the Bad River:

ge sv bad map

And his view:

ge sv bad

While I’m looking at the Bad, check out this GE shot of the mouth of the river:

ge dirty bad

See the plume of bad Bad water that is dirtying the lake?  Maybe it just rained, and the river was particularly muddy. . . 

Being the geologist that I am, I wondered a little about the way that the river water instantly scoots right up (or I mean left up) the coast.  Unusual or ordinary?  Well, after looking at this GE shot, the answer is ordinary!

ge long island

How could I tell?  Well, look at “Long Island.”  It was formed by a consistent along-the-shore current heading northwest that transports (and then deposits) sediment – much (or all) of which came from the Bad, I suspect.

So why is the Bad River bad?  From BadRiverBanjo.com:

The Ojibwe Indians, also known as the Lake Superior Chippewa or Bad River Band, migrated to the area during the seventeenth century. They were the first to give the river its name – Mashkiziibi, or Swampy River – which French explorers translated simply as “Bad” River.

Two things. First, the Ojibwe were not the first to name the river.  Native Americans have been here in “Wisconsin” for more-or-less 12,000 years, and I’m sure at least one (if not more than one) group named the river thousands of years ago.

Secondly – the above is the only explanation of the river’s name that I could find, but I doubt that the French thought that swamps are inherently bad – and certainly the Ojibwe would not be judgmental about a particular river.  I suspect that something was lost in the translation as people who hardly spoke Ojibwe were communicating with people who hardly spoke French . . .

Let’s take another look at my local landing map:

landing 2

It’s time to move on to the various towns:  Iron Belt, Montreal, Gile and Hurley.  Ironwood doesn’t count – it’s in Michigan.

Well, these towns are pretty much:


But they certainly have a common denominator – they were all founded in the late 1800s due to the discovery of an iron ore body and subsequent iron mining.  It was easy to figure out that the iron ore body is knwn as the Gogebic Range.  Here’s a regional map (from Wiki) showing iron ranges that surround the western half of Lake Superior.  Note the Gogebic:


Also from Wiki, here’s a close-up map – the red and orange zone labeled “Area of natural ores” is the Gogebic.  If you look closely, you can see Hurley and Ironwood, right on the state line, and right in the middle of the Gogebic:


What the heck.  I’m a geologist, so I’ll put in Wiki’s geologic cross-section across the range (the “Ironwood”):


Not surprisingly, I’ll stick with Wiki for some discussion:

The initial boom in the Gogebic Range came between 1884 and 1886. The discovery of high-grade Bessemer ore on the Gogebic Range and the consequent unfolding of vast possibilities led to a speculative craze the like of which has had no parallel in Michigan or Wisconsin.

While it lasted, fortunes were made and lost within a month or even overnight.  On September 16, 1886, the Chicago Tribune reported: “Hundreds of people are arriving daily from all parts of the country and millionaires are being made by the dozens … The forests have given way to mining camps and towns, and a most bewildering transformation has taken place. In the palmy days of gold mining on the Pacific slope there is no record of anything so wonderful as the Gogebic.”

[“Palmy?”  Here’s a definition:  Glorious, prosperous, flourishing or successful (especially of a previous period of time).  “The palmy days of the 1950s”]

For decades in the late 19th century and into the 1920s, the Gogebic was one of the nation’s chief sources of iron.  Iron from the Gogebic helped to fuel the industrial boom in the Upper Midwest during these years. By 1930 mining was winding down in the area. The mines began closing amid a national economy suffering from the Great Depression. The result was widespread economic devastation in the Gogebic Range.

Here’s an interesting sidebar.  Look at this unadorned Google Earth shot:

ge 3

See the darker strip of land just south of my landing? Hmmm . . . maybe it coincides with the Gogebic Range!  I added some arrows to help show what I’m talking about:

ge 1

I then included some of the mining towns in this shot:

ge 2

And the darker green zone goes right through Hurley & Ironwood, just like the Gogebic.  I think there’s no doubt that the iron ore formation can be seen (and mapped) based on aerial photos! 

So why is it darker green?  Let’s look a little closer:

ge 4

Note that the area around my landing looks a little barren.  Barren, in northern Wisconsin?  No way!  The GE photo must be late fall, or early spring, when there are no leaves on the trees.

So why is the Gogebic darker green?  How about evergreens?  Let me check.  Here’s a Street View shot of a road that goes through the Gogebic:

ge 5

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

ge 6

Sure enough!  Evergreens.

Here’s a Street View shot of a road that is outside the Gogebic:

ge 7

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees: deciduous trees!

ge 8

So!  This is soooo cool!  There’s something about the geology/soils of the  Gogebic that encourages evergreen trees (over deciduous trees), and there’s something about the areas outside the Gogebic that encourages deciduous trees (over the evergreens). 

Lucky for you readers, I’m not going to do the research necessary to figure everything out (and then blog about it).  But it is time for some local Panoramio shots. 

There are some beautiful waterfalls in the area.  The Potato River falls aren’t far from my landing:

ge potato falls map

And here’s a lovely GE Pano shot of the lower Potato falls by Aaron Neffer:

pano aaron nuffer

And the upper Potato falls by Tom Ellis:

pano tom ellis

I’ll close with this shot by Douglas Feltman, taken just 3.5 miles south of my landing:

pano douglas feltman upson

That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day

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Elko and Lamoille, Nevada

Posted by graywacke on August 16, 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 2289; A Landing A Day blog post number 719.

Dan:  Similar to Montana, Nevada is one of those long-term OSers that is now (since I changed how I get my random lat/longs) a USer.  So, thanks to today’s landing, my Score went down (from 736 to a new record low, 714).

Check out “About Landing (Revisited)” if you’re curious about my first paragraph.  Otherwise, simply keep reading . . .

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 the Tenmile Creek (getting there more-or-less along the path of the blue line that I added):

landing 3

As you can see, Tenmile Creek makes its way to the South Fk of the Humboldt River (3rd hit); on to the Humboldt (28th hit).  Zooming back, you can see that the Humboldt dead ends into Humboldt Lake, after draining a good portion of Nevada.

landing 3a

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight.  Strangely, it seems that the pilot turned on the video camera some time after taking off from Australia, just as he set his sights on Nevada.  Click HERE, enjoy the trip, and then hit your back button.

Here’s a GE shot looking east past my landing towards the Ruby Mountains:

ge 1

It just so happens that Nevada State Highway 228 (with Street View coverage) runs right by my landing:

ge sv landing map

Here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

ge sv landing

About five miles north of my landing, the same highway 228 crosses Tenmile Creek.  Here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

ge sv tenmile

Looking back up at my local landing map, you can see only three towns, one of which – Spring Creek – did not achieve titular status (in spite of its rather substantial population of over 12,000).  That’s because it’s a johnny-come-lately residential/tourist town, of no particular interest to me (and, I presume, to my readers).  OK, OK.  In 2013, it was voted the best place to raise a family in Nevada . . .

But I’ll move along to Lamoille (pop 105).  Actually, there’s very little to say about Lamoille, except that it was named after the Lamoille River and Lamoille County, Vermont.  I found this on the origin of the Vermont county name, from TheFreeDictionary.com:

Lamoille County was named after the Lamoille River, which runs through it.  “Lamoille” is a corruption of French la mouette, meaning ‘the seagull.’  This name was given to the river by Champlain.

The 1744 Charlevois map of discoveries in America showed the river as La Mouelle owing to an engraver’s neglecting to cross the tts.  Since then, after several spelling variations, the name Lamoille became entrenched.

What a strange name origin.  In Lamoille, you don’t drive a Corvette, you drive a Corvelle.  Moving over to Elko (pop 18,000).  From Wiki:

Elko is said to have been named by Charles Crocker, a superintendent of the Central Pacific Railroad. He was especially fond of animal names and added the letter “o” to Elk. There is no definitive evidence of this naming history, but it has become the widely accepted version.

Excuse me?  So Charles was “especially fond of animal names??”  What a strange attribute.  Is that what it said under his picture in his high school yearbook?  And adding an “o” to Elk?  Maybe his friends called him Chucko.

What else does Elko have to offer?  Well, here’s the dialogue of the very, very first scene in that all-time great movie, Groundhog Day.  To set the scene – Phil (Bill Murray) is a local TV weatherman, and he’s doing the weather:

“Somebody asked me today, ‘Phil, if you could be anywhere in the world, where would you like to be?’ And I said to him, ‘Prob’ly right here – Elko, Nevada, our nation’s high at 79 today.’ Out in California, they’re gonna have some warm weather tomorrow, gang wars, and some very overpriced real estate. Up in the Pacific Northwest, as you can see, they’re gonna have some very, very tall trees.

Here are the opening credits of the movie.  This is short – just hang in there to the end, and listen closely . . .

OK, so the clip didn’t quite make it all the way to “Elko.”

Is there more about Elko?  How about the short story Fear and Loathing in Elko by Hunter S. Thompson?

First this, about Hunter S. in Wiki:

Hunter Stockton Thompson (July 18, 1937 – February 20, 2005) was an American journalist and author.

Thompson became internationally known with the publication of Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (1967). For his research on the book he had spent a year living and riding with the Angels, experiencing their lives and hearing their stories first-hand.

Previously a relatively conventional journalist, he became a counter cultural figure, with his own brand of New Journalism which he termed “Gonzo”, an experimental style of journalism where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures of their stories.

The work he remains best known for, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream (1971), constitutes a rumination on the failure of the 1960s counterculture movement. It was first serialized in Rolling Stone, a magazine with which Thompson would be long associated.

Politically minded, Thompson ran unsuccessfully for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado, in 1970, on the Freak Power ticket.

He was also known for his lifelong use of alcohol and illegal drugs, his love of firearms, and his iconoclastic contempt for authoritarianism. He remarked: “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”

After a bout of health problems, Thompson committed suicide at the age of 67. In accordance with his wishes, his ashes were fired out of a cannon in a ceremony funded by his friend Johnny Depp and attended by friends including then-Senator John Kerry and Jack Nicholson.

So, Fear and Loathing in Elko is a crazy tale about (of all people) Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas.  No surprise, Hunter wasn’t a big fan.  Here are two non-political, Elko-and-Nevada-centric excerpts:

It was a Different Time. People were Friendly. We trusted each other. Hell, you could afford to get mixed up with wild strangers in those days — without fearing for your life, or your eyes, or your organs, or all of your money or even getting locked up in prison forever. There was a sense of possibility. People were not so afraid, as they are now. You could run around naked without getting shot. You could check into a roadside motel on the outskirts of Ely or Winnemucca or Elko when you were lost in a midnight rainstorm — and nobody called the police on you, nobody  checked out your credit and your employment history and your medical records and how many parking tickets you owed in California.

And another:

It was just after midnight when I first saw the sheep. I was running about eighty-eight or ninety miles an hour in a drenching, blinding rain on U.S. 40 between Winnemucca and Elko with one light out. I was soaking wet from the water that was pouring in through a hole in the front roof of the car, and my fingers were like rotten icicles on the steering wheel.

It was a moonless night and I knew I was hydroplaning, which is dangerous…. My front tires were no longer in touch with the asphalt or anything else. My center of gravity was too high. There was no visibility on the road, none at all. I could have tossed a flat rock a lot farther than I could see in front of me that night through the rain and the ground fog.

So what? I thought. I know this road — a straight lonely run across nowhere, with not many dots on the map except ghost towns and truck stops with names like Beowawe and Lovelock and Deeth and Winnemucca….

So who made this map? Only a lunatic could have come up with a list of places like this: Imlay, Valmy, Golconda, Nixon, Midas, Metropolis, Jiggs, Judasville — all of them empty, with no gas stations, withering away in the desert like a string of old Pony Express stations.

Real quick:  he (presumably Hunter) crashes into a flock of sheep, and comes across a limo that also crashed into the flock.  Clarence Thomas is in the limo . . .

Mentioning all of those little towns catches my ALAD interest.  With a minor effort in the WordPress Search box, I found:

Beowawe –  featured in two posts, mentioned in three others

Lovelock – featured in two posts, mentioned in one other

Winnemucca – featured in one post, mentioned in two others

Golconda – featured in one post

Nixon – mentioned in two posts

Midas – featured in one post

So nothing (yet) on Metropolis, Deeth, Imlay, Valmy, Jiggs or Judasville. Just give me another ten years of landing, and you never know . . .

It’s time to look at a lovely shot of the Ruby Mountains, by nomdeploom:

pano nomdeploom

And this, by Chris Hansenn of the South Fork Reservoir (the lake just 3 miles west of my landing:

pano chris hansenn

That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day

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Estacada, Oregon

Posted by graywacke on August 12, 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 2288; A Landing A Day blog post number 718.

Dan:  Doh!  (said in your best Homer Simpson voice).  Today marks my 6th Oregon hit since I changed my random lat/long methodology.  You know what that means – OR is a solid OSer, and my Score went up (from 731 to 736).

In fact, OR is number 1 on my current OSer list.  Here’s my list of OSers (don’t worry about the numbers, but they do reflect the relative magnitude of the OSer-ness of each state):


Check out “About Landing (Revisited)” to answer any questions you might have about the above.

Time for 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 Clear Creek; on to the Clackamas River (3rd hit), and on to the Willamette (13th hit):

landing 3a

Before I go on, remember how to pronounce Willamette:  will-AH-met.

Zooming back a little, you can see that the Willamette makes its way to the mighty Columbia:

landing 3b

  FYI, Portland is on the Willamette, just upstream from the confluence with the Columbia.

Well, boys and girls, moms and dads, and friends of all ages, gather around the ol’ computer screen, because it’s time for that family favorite, the Google Earth (GE) rocket ride from outer space to northwest Oregon.  Just click HERE, enjoy and trip, and then hit your back button.

I think I’ll zoom in for a closer look:

ge 1

Well, looky there.  I landed just behind the house at 23260 S Hillsview Lane.  I hope that the good folks who live there don’t mind a huge yellow push-pin in their backyard . . .

Unfortunately, there’s no Street View coverage on South Hillsview Lane.  But I did find a view of Clear Creek, about three miles north of my landing:

ge sv clear creek map

Here’s what the orange dude sees:

ge sv clear creek

About 8 miles due north of my landing, a bridge crosses the Clackamas.  Here’s a lovely downstream view:

ge sv clackamas

Even though Estacada made it all the way to titular status, it is pretty much hookless. 

As is my custom, I investigated the name origin.  This, from PDXHistory (as reported in Wiki), about the name:

Estacado is a Spanish word and it means staked out or marked with stakes. It was suggested by George Kelly at a 1903 meeting associated with laying out the town.  Kelly selected the name at random from a U.S. map showing Llano Estacado in Texas. Kelly’s suggested name (along with others) were written down on pieces of paper and placed in a hat.

If Kelly’s suggestion had not been drawn from the hat, the town could have been named Rochester, Lowell or Lynn.

The above quote was from PDXHistory.com.  PDX?  It turns out that that’s the airport code for the Portland airport.  So why the X?  Well, here’s the X story (from an article by Dave English in Air Line Pilot, the journal of the Air Line Pilots Association):

The National Weather Service tabulated data from cities around the country using a two-letter identification system. Early airlines simply copied this system, but as airline service exploded in the 1930’s, towns without weather station codes needed identification. Some bureaucrat had a brainstorm and the three-letter system was born, giving a seemingly endless 17,576 different combinations.

To ease the transition, existing airports placed an X after the weather station code. The Los Angeles tag became LAX, Portland became PDX, Phoenix became PHX, Jacksonville JAX and so on.

Incidentally at the historic sand dune in Kitty Hawk where the first flight occurred the U.S. National Parks Service maintains a tiny airstrip called FFA—First Flight Airport.

By the way, I found a comprehensive list of airport codes, did a search for “X”, and discovered that there are about 30 airport codes worldwide that end in “X.”

 One in particular caught my eye:  The Sembach, Germany airport code is SEX.  (Apparently, the same X thing happened for some cities outside the U.S.)

And many people don’t like the airport in Sioux City – it SUX.

Enough about airport codes. Back to Estacada.  Just west of town is the Milo McIver State Park.

I took a look at the park brochure, and saw this map:

milo mciver bat trail and barn

The loop trail is known as the “Bat Trail,” and also note there is a “Bat Barn.”  What’s going on here?

From OregonStateParks.com:

Did you know that Milo McIver is home to one of the few nursery colonies in the state for a special type of bat? It’s the rare Townsend’s Big-Eared Bat, which looks as amusing as it sounds. Its Latin name is Corynorhinus townsendii (try saying that five times fast), and it’s listed as a sensitive species in Oregon.

Park staff discovered the bats living at Milo McIver about 15 years ago. Each summer, female big-eared bats gather to roost in a weathered horse barn that was once part of an old homestead—you can still see fruit and nut trees that were planted by the former owners in the surrounding meadow.

Here’s a picture of a Townsend’s Big-Eared Bat, from eNature.com:

eNature bat

And here’s a GE Panaramio shot of the bat barn, by Pamela Elbert Poland:


I’ve been generally aware about echolocation:  how bats miraculously “see” in the dark and how they are able to track down and catch insects.  What the heck!  Here’s a bat video from the BBC (with a segment featuring long-eared bats):


Truly amazing.  We can’t imagine what’s going on in teeny bat brains, as they pull maneuvers our technology can’t replicate.

Moving right along . . . to the Clackamas River.  If you look up at my local landing map, you can see a reservoir at the south edge of the map – this is the North Fork Resevoir, formed by the North Fork Dam.  Here’s a GE Panoramio shot of the dam by Michel Mercier (Monsieur Mercier, j’assume).

pano Michel Mercier

Well, it turns out that the Clackamas has historically contained significant salmon spawning grounds for several species of salmon, including Coho (in the spring) and Chinook (in the fall).  Interesting how the two species “learned” to share the river by spawning in different seasons. 

Anyway, as we all know, dams like the North Fork block the upstream salmon migration to spawning grounds.  But when the dam built in 1958, there was enough ecological awareness that a salmon fish ladder was built at the same time.  From the OregonEncyclopedia.com:

At two miles in length, the North Fork Fish Ladder on the Clackamas River is among the longest such features in the world. Built as part of Portland General Electric’s North Fork Dam project, the fish ladder was completed in 1958.

In the early years of hydroelectric generation, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there was little attempt to mitigate damage to fish passage; and dams of all sorts—including those built for hydroelectric power, irrigation, and flood control—were viewed as necessary improvements, even where they eliminated fish migration.

As dams grew in scale, however, so did their impacts on fish populations, and sports and commercial fishing interests began to press utilities and irrigators for improved fish protection measures. Many early dams were retrofitted with fish ladders, and other efforts, from operating hatcheries to transporting fish around river obstacles, became a standard part of dam construction and operation.

Here’s a GE Pano shot of the North Fork salmon ladder, by FarCorners:

pano FarCorners

Along with how bats catch insects, most of us are generally aware that salmon return to the same fresh water spawning grounds where they were born in order to lay their eggs.  And this is after migrating out to the ocean. 

From Wiki:

Salmon spend their early life in rivers, and then swim out to sea where they live their adult lives and gain most of their body mass. When they have matured, they return to the rivers to spawn. Usually they return with uncanny precision to the natal river where they were born, and even to the very spawning ground of their birth.  After spawning, all Pacific salmon die.

The Clackamas River salmon are anadromous, a term which comes from the Greek anadromos, meaning “running upward”.  Anadromous fish mature in ocean saltwater. When they have matured they migrate or “run up” freshwater rivers to spawn in what is called the salmon run.

The life cycle of an anadromous salmon begins and, if it survives the full course of its natural life, usually ends in a gravel bed in the upper reaches of a stream or river. These are the salmon spawning grounds where salmon eggs are deposited, for safety, in the gravel.

The eggs of a female salmon are called her roe. To lay her roe, the female salmon builds a spawning nest, called a redd, in a riffle with gravel as its streambed. A riffle is a relatively shallow length of stream where the water is turbulent and flows faster.

She builds the redd by using her tail (caudal fin) to create a low-pressure zone, lifting gravel to be swept downstream, and excavating a shallow depression. The redd may contain up to 5,000 eggs, each about the size of a pea, covering 30 square feet.

One or more males will approach the female in her redd, depositing his sperm, or milt, over her eggs.  The female then covers the eggs by disturbing the gravel at the upstream edge of the depression so that the gravel covers the fertilized eggs.  She then moves on to make another redd. The female will make as many as seven redds before her supply of eggs is exhausted.

Very interesting, but how do salmon find their natal spawning grounds after spending years out in the open ocean?

Once again, from Wiki:

In the ocean, it is theorized that the salmon are sensitive to the earth’s magnetic field, and create an internal map of magnetic variations as they swim in the ocean.  They are then able to find their way back to the general vicinity of estuary where their natal freshwater stream discharges to the ocean.

They then rely on their sense of smell.  Salmon (and all fish) “smell” by sensing water that flows across sensory organs located in their heads.

Once in vicinity of the estuary or entrance to its birth river, salmon use chemical cues (which they can smell), and which are unique to their natal stream.  They use this mechanism to find the entrance of their natal stream.

Salmon are able to locate their home rivers with such precision because they can recognize its characteristic smell. The smell of their river becomes imprinted in salmon when they first migrate out to sea.

Homecoming salmon can also recognize characteristic smells in tributary streams as they move up the main river.

Remember what I said about bats?  Well, here’s the same statement about salmon:

Truly amazing.  We can’t imagine what’s going on in teeny salmon brains, as they pull maneuvers our technology can’t replicate.

I’ll close with this shot of the Clackamas just upstream from Estacada (at Milo McIver Park) from OregonStateParks.com:

index (1)

That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day

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Roy, Winnett and Flatwillow, Montana

Posted by graywacke on August 8, 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 2287; A Landing A Day blog post number 717.

Dan:  Montana was oversubscribed as long as I can remember – that is, before I switched my random lat/long approach.  Since then, Montana has quietly become a solid USer.  Today is my second MT landing since the switch and because MT is so big, it’s still undersubscribed.  My Score went down from 755 all the way to a record low, 731.

Curious but clueless about that last paragraph?  Check out “About Landing (Revisited).”  Clueless but could care less (or cluefull)?  Keep reading  . . .

Here’s my regional landing map:

landing 1

And my local landing map (with bonus coverage of my fairly recent landing 2233):

landing 2

Here’s my streams-only map:

landing 3

Now, I don’t normally keep track of creek watershed landings, but I just happen to know that this was my third landing in the Box Elder Creek watershed as well as my third landing in the Flatwillow Creek watershed. 

As shown above, the Flatwillow makes its way to the Musselshell (15th hit); on to the Missouri (414th hit).  Oh yea.  And on to the MM (896th hit).

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight.  Take a look at where we start – if you didn’t know better, you might think Earth is strictly a water world.  Anyway, click HERE, enjoy the trip, and hit your back button.

Getting back to my watershed discussion.  I just mentioned that I’ve landed in the Box Elder Creek watershed three times.  You can guess that landing 2233 (shown on my local landing map) is one of them.  It turns out that the other was landing 1677 (March 2009, a fairly early ALAD post). 

Landing 2233 featured Winnett & Flatwillow, and landing 1677 featured Roy.  That doesn’t leave me much room for original posting.  

Here’s a quote from landing 2233:

So, I have two very small towns to feature – Winnett and Flatwillow.  As one might expect, they are pretty much:


And here’s a quote from my Roy post:

So, Roy.  From the Russell Country Montana website:

Welcome to Roy, Montana

In 1915, Roy’s population was about four hundred, back when there was a homesteader on every 160 acres. Saturday night dances were the big thing.  People came by horseback or in a buggy.  Roy did not last long as a hub for community events, however.  The population dwindled during World War I, the 160-acre holdings were bought up, and today the area is predominately unpopulated cattle ranching land.

I don’t know the population of Roy, but the population of Roy’s zip code (which covers a large area, about 35 miles x 20 miles) is only 400.

Well, guess what?  I just checked, and the Russell County website dropped its coverage of Roy.  Oh well.

The only thing I’ll borrow from my Winnett & Flatwillow post is a video, which explains why Flatwillow is still on Montana maps.  From the post:

But wait!  Jeremy Lurgio from the University of Montana Journalism Department made an awesome Vimeo video all about why Flatwillow is still on the map.  You must check this out!  Simply click “Watch on Vimeo.”  It’ll open a new window . . . 

As for Roy, here’s a little cut and paste from that post:

I found two pictures of very early farm tractors in use around Roy:




Moving right along . . . I stumbled on some pictures very close to my landing – from a piece of property for sale north of Teigen – the Teigen ranch (from LandsofAmerica):

lands of america 2

lands of america 1


Here’s a great GE Panoramio shot of the Roy Bar, by the Montana Geographical Society (MGS):

pano montana geographical society 2

And another (also by the MGS, taken south of Roy, looking out at Black Butte through an enormous ranch gate):

pano montana geographical society

And yet another Pano shot by MGS, of a photogenic row of old buildings in Roy:

pano montana geographical society 3

I assume that the school referred to on the sign is the brick building in the distance.  But who knows?

Here’s a great back-in-the-day (1916 to be more precise) shot of Roy, from the Bureau of Land Management:

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 6.57.30 AM

And now, in closing, I’m going back to my 2009 Roy post:

And here’s the pièce de résistance, with the caption below the photo:


Which way to Roy? Roads in central Montana apparently have to be well-signed to keep folks from getting lost!  Photo by Helen Eden.

This just might be my all time favorite ALAD photo!!!  It is what ALAD is all about!!  This is recent stuff:  the photo was taken in 2007, and look how clear the signs are!   This is an absolute must on my upcoming ALAD tour . . .

I have seven more years of posting under my belt (since that first Roy post), but this remains one of my favorite photos.  My upcoming ALAD tour?  Well, it’s still upcoming. . . 

That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day

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Burkburnett, Wichita Falls and Electra, Texas

Posted by graywacke on August 4, 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 2286; A Landing A Day blog post number 716.

Dan:  After years and years of having Texas be crazily undersubscribed (one of the factors that led my son Jordan to figure out that my “random” lat/long methodology wasn’t so random), it has turned the corner into being significantly oversubscribed! 

I mean, really, since I changed my lat/long ways (70 landings ago), today’s landing is my 9th Texas landing.  My handy dandy spreadsheet tells me that, based on Texas’ area, it should have 6 landings, not 9.  Ergo, its oversubscribed status.

Curious about the preceding paragraphs, but don’t have a clue?  Check out “About Landing (Revisited),” above.  Could care less?  Just keep reading!

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 Gilbert Creek, on to the Red River (of the south) (62nd hit).  I don’t show it, but of course you know that the Red discharges to the Atchafalaya (69th hit):

landing 3

As is my routine, it’s time for my Google Earth (GE) trip from the northern fringes of outer space to the northern fringes of Texas.  Click HERE, enjoy the trip, then hit your back button.

Did you notice the east-west road just north of my landing?  Well, those busy GoogleCam drivers are hitting more and more obscure little roads:

ge sv landing map

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

ge sv landing

Here’s a look at the Gilbert Creek, just outside of Burkburnett.  You can’t see much of the creek, but it was the best I could do:

ge sv gilbert

And (also from just outside Burkburnett), a look at the Red River, looking upstream (so Oklahoma’s to the right):

ge sv red up

So, I began my usual search for hooks.  Burkburnett?  Interesting name.  Evidently, there was an early rancher named Samuel Burk Burnett who sold thousands of acres to investors.  Some of the investors got together to lay out a town.  And then, Theodore Roosevelt visited the ranch, and deemed Burkburnett the name of the town

Here’s a great back-in-the-day shot of Burkburnett during the oil boom years (from Texas Escapes):


I was sure that I’d find something (or several things) of interest in Wichita Falls.  I’ve actually heard of the city and it’s quite substantial (pop a little over 100,000).

But it turned out to be pretty-much hookless.  I did find one thing that caught my eye.  Remember my July 8th Woolstock, Iowa post?  It featured the first TV Superman, George Reeves.  Well, it turns out that Wichita Falls is the hometown of the first TV Lois Lane who starred along with George!  Her name was Phyllis Coates.  She was Lois Lane for only the first 26 episodes, and she’s not the Lois Lane that I remember – that was Noel Neill.

Oh well.

So how about Electra?  Interesting name here as well.  It was named after Electra Waggoner, an heiress to the Waggoner Ranch   Well, of course I had to check out the Waggoner Ranch.  From Wiki:

The Waggoner Ranch is an historic ranch in northwest Texas that was (and is) used primarily to raise crops, beef cattle and horses as well as for oil production. It was (and is) notable for being the largest ranch under one fence in the United States.

Wiki incorrectly put everything in the past tense.  To correct their error, I added the “(and is)s”.  Anyway, it was founded in 1852 by Daniel Waggoner.  There’s a long, complex family history associated with the ranch, but it remained in the extended Waggoner family until very recently, when it went up for sale (in 2014). Evidently there has been a long-running intra-family dispute that forced the sale.

I found a Bloomberg piece by Bryan Gruley on the ranch being for sale, which included the following map (be sure to check out the size comparisons at the bottom of the map):


It also included this tongue-in-cheek real estate ad:

waggoner ranch for sale

The article includes a video, which I strongly recommend you see.  I wasn’t able to embed the video here, so you’ll have to go to the Bloomberg website.  Click HERE, check out the video (and peruse the article if you’re so inclined).

Well, it turns out they finally found a buyer.  Here are the first several paragraphs from another, later Bloomberg piece (also by Bryan Gruley):

Stan Kroenke, the billionaire owner of the NFL’s Rams, has agreed to purchase the historic W.T. Waggoner Estate Ranch in Texas, representatives of the ranch said on Tuesday. Terms for the purchase of the more than 520,000-acre estate were not disclosed. The ranch had been listed with an asking price of $725 million.

District Judge Dan Mike Bird in Vernon, Texas, allowed the family owners of the Waggoner Ranch to proceed in a private transaction with Kroenke, one of the wealthiest owners in professional sports and the owner of 11 ranches in Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, and British Columbia. The Waggoner went on the market in 2014 after Judge Bird ordered a sale to end more than 20 years of family litigation.

“This is an incredible opportunity and an even greater responsibility,” Kroenke said in a statement released by the Waggoner family and its representatives. “We are honored to assume ownership of the Waggoner—a true Texas and American landmark.”

Kroenke’s fortune is worth about $6.2 billion, according to Bloomberg estimates.

What the heck is he going to do with 12 ranches spread all over the west?  Oh, well, not my problem . . .

The Bloomberg article didn’t mention the following that I found in Wiki, which explains how he got so rich:

On a ski trip to Aspen, Colorado, Kroenke met his future wife, Ann Walton, a Wal-Mart heiress. They married in 1974.  Already wealthy from real estate, he accrued significant additional wealth when he and Ann inherited a stake in Wal-Mart Stores Inc. upon the 1995 death of her father, James Walton. As of September 2015, that stake was worth $4.8 billion.

Before I finish, it’s time for a true confessions.  I was saving a draft of this post, and Word Press wanted me to type in “tags” that help direct internet searches to my posts.  Well, I started typing “Electra,” and I was prompted towards “Electra Texas.”  This of course means that I had tagged a previous post with Electra.  Son of a gun if I didn’t feature Electra in a March 2010 post.  

I generally pride myself in remembering an area I’ve already written about, but not this time.  With some trepidation, I opened my post, hoping it wasn’t too similar to this one.  Well, it’s not!  Of course, it mentions Electra Waggoner, but it features the ranch very little!  It’s an excellent post (as always), featuring the oil business (specifically pump jacks) and an annual goat BBQ festival in Electra.  Well worth the read!  Just type “Electra” in the search box . . .

OK, OK.  It’s time to close out this post with a lovely sunset picture (taken a few miles from my landing by Texmark2012:

pano nice sunset texmark2012

That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day

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