A Landing a Day

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Fossil, Oregon

Posted by graywacke on October 6, 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 2300; A Landing A Day blog post number 730.

Dan:  Hmmm.  Landing 2300 – a nice round number.  Well, here goes:

With seven hits in my last 84 landings (since I changed how I get my random lat/longs), Oregon officially becomes the number 1 OSer; i.e., the most oversubscribed state.  My Score (of course) rose, from 644 to 650.

Curious about the above? Check out “About Landing (Revisited),” above.  Not curious?  Keep reading . . .

Here’s my regional landing map:


And my local landing map:


Zooming out, here’s a broader view:


I’ll explain why I’ve circled (ovaled?) four towns in a little bit.

Anyway, here’s a very local streams-only map, showing that I landed in the watershed of Cottonwood Creek:


For some reason, the name “Cottonwood Creek” showed up on the map, but not the stream course (so I added an approximation).  Anyway, Cottonwood Creek makes its way to Butte Ck.  Zooming back, you can see that Butte Ck makes its way to the John Day River (11th hit):


Zooming back even further:


The John Day heads north and discharges into the Columbia (162nd hit).

It’s time for my GE spaceflight, this beginning 14,000 miles above South America, and ending up in N-Cen Oregon.  Click HERE, enjoy the ride, and hit your back button.

Here’s what Street View coverage looks like for my landing:


And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:


I found a view of Butte Creek west of Fossil:


And here ‘tis:


So, back to the ovaled towns on my somewhat expanded local landing map.  By way of explanation, here’s a GE shot showing today’s landing, along with three additional (fairly recent) landings:


And here’s my local landing map, for easier review:


My posts for the three earlier landings featured all of the ovaled towns.  So what’s left?  Mayville?  No hook.  Kinzua?  Cool name, but no hook.  Spray?  Another cool name, but no hook.  Antelope?  Hookless, except for this cool GE Panoramio shot entitled “Road to Antelope” by Oordtme:


So, I’m left with Fossil.  Great name (especially considering that I’m a geologist).  I found a couple of hooks for fossil.  The first is (of all things) a fossil bed open to the public that’s just behind the high school.  From OregonPaleoLandsCenter.com:

These thinly-bedded rocks behind Wheeler High School in Fossil, Oregon represent the bed of a shallow lake that existed here about 33 million years ago, during a time period known as the Oligocene. The climate 33 million years ago was temperate, but somewhat milder and wetter than today.

Fossils that you’ll find at the school site are mostly leaves and branches of the deciduous trees that grew along adjacent stream banks and in nearby wetlands.

The plant fossils found here include the ancestors of modern sycamore, maples, oaks, rose, and alder. In addition, a conifer (scientific name metasequoia), dropped its needles into the lake every fall and is among the most abundant and best preserved fossils here.

Animals that likely browsed along the lake’s edges and sipped its placid waters include sheep-like oredonts, large, hog-like entelodonts, and saber-toothed cat-like predators called nimravids. There are no fossils of these animals in the Wheeler High School Fossil Beds—but some aquatic vertebrates, including a salamander and small fish have been found.

Here’s a GE Panoramio shot of the fossil bed, by Alma Haus:


Here are some fossils from the bed, starting with a metasequoia:


And then, on Yelp by Michael S, who split a rock and found this:


What’s especially intriguing for me about fossils in general is the snapshot-in-time reality that they represent.  For these particular fossils:  yes, there was a shallow lake here about 33 million years ago.  And yes, there were trees on the shore.  And yes, the leaves and needles from these trees dropped into the lake and settled on the bottom.  And yes, the leaves and needles were gently covered by silt & clay.  And yes, the silt and clay hardened and turned into rock, preserving the leaf and needle imprints.  And yes, the old sea bed was uplifted to its current elevation.  And yes, modern erosion has uncovered the fossil bed for our enjoyment and edification.

All of the above statements are as factual and real as “a half-empty 1.5 liter bottle of Woodbridge Lightly Oaked Chardonnay is on the right side of the top shelf in my refrigerator.”

As I read the above two paragraphs, I erupted into a good ol’ (and very real) belly laugh . . .

Moving right along to hook #2.  Wiki, under “Notable People:”

Bill Bowerman, track and field coach and founder of Nike, Inc.

Of course, Mr. Bowerman’s name was clickable, so I did.  Now, I usually avoid corporate posts, but this had some interest, so here goes (from Wiki):

William “Bill” Bowerman (February 19, 1911 – December 24, 1999) was an American track and field coach and co-founder of Nike, Inc. Over his career, he trained 31 Olympic athletes, 51 All-Americans, 12 American record-holders, 22 NCAA champions and 16 sub-4 minute milers. During his 24 years as coach at the University of Oregon, the Ducks track and field team had a winning season every season but one, attained 4 NCAA titles, and finished in the top 10 in the nation 16 times.

Wow.  Impressive resume, to say the least!  Continuing:

In 1964, Bowerman entered into a handshake agreement with Phil Knight, who had been a miler under him in the 1950s, to start an athletic footwear distribution company called Blue Ribbon Sports, later known as Nike.. Knight managed the business end of the partnership, while Bowerman experimented with improvements in athletic footwear design.

Bowerman’s design ideas led to the creation of a running shoe in 1966 that would ultimately be named “Nike Cortez” in 1968, which quickly became a top-seller and remains one of Nike’s most iconic footwear designs. Bowerman designed several Nike shoes, but is best known for ruining his wife’s waffle iron in 1970 or 1971, experimenting with the idea of using waffle-ironed rubber to create a new sole for footwear that would grip but be lightweight.

While Bowerman was experimenting with shoe design, he worked in a small, unventilated space, using glue and solvents with toxic components that caused him severe nerve damage. The nerve damage to his lower legs left him with significant mobility problems; Bowerman had rendered himself unable to run in the shoes that he had given the world.

Bowerman was obsessed with shaving weight off his athletes’ running shoes. He believed that custom-made shoes would weigh less on the feet of his runners and cut down on blisters, as well as reduce the overall drag on their energy for every ounce he could remove from the shoe.

By his estimation, removing one ounce from a shoe, based on a six-foot gait for a runner, would translate in a reduction of 55 pounds of lift over a one-mile span.

After retirement, Bowerman settle in Fossil, Oregon, the hometown of his mother, and the town where his family moved when he was two years old.  He died on Christmas Eve of 1999.

I bet that in his final months, he was wondering if he’d live to see the new millennium.  Not quite . . .

From the Nike website, here are some pics.  First this, of Bill as the track coach at the U of Oregon:


And here he is, working on the better running shoe (1980):


And here’s that 1967 Nike running shoe, the Nike Cortez:

nike-cortezI’ll close with this GE Pano shot, taken just north of Fossil by MahaloFreddy:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2016 A Landing A Day

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