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Archive for September, 2018

Max, ND (with bonus north shore of Lake Superior coverage)

Posted by graywacke on September 21, 2018

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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 relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2415; A Landing A Day blog post number 848.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (47o 44.714’N, 101o 39.269’W) puts me in Cen-NW North Dakota:

My local landing shows a VP* of small towns:

*Veritable Plethora

I checked’em all out, and they’re all pretty much hookless.  Anyway, here’s my streams-only map:

You can see that I landed in the watershed of good ol’ Stream Perennial; on to the Middle Branch Douglas Creek, on to Douglas Creek Bay (which I assume used to contain Douglas Creek, before the reservoir was built); on to Lake Sakagawea, which is the dammed-up Missouri River (431st hit. 

Of course, Mighty Mo’ heads to the Mighty Mississip (937th hit).

I’ve got decent Google Earth (GE) Street View coverage:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

I moved him down the road a wee bit so I could look across a lake at my landing:

And I was able to get a look at the Middle Branch Douglas Creek:

Here’s the upstream view:

And the downstream:

Like I said above, the VP of towns are nothing much for me to talk about.  Even my titular Max.  From Wiki, about the name:

The Soo Line came from the south and would have east and west branches at a junction to be named “Junction” or “Junction City”. However, people started calling it Max’s Post Office, after Max Freitag, eldest son of Paul Freitag. Paul Freitag was a local farmer and the first postmaster. Max asked people he met at the junction if they were coming to “his” post office to pick up their mail. The name, truncated to simply Max, stuck (in habit, if not officially). When the town was later moved two miles west to the present townsite, the name was changed officially to Max.

The town has a cool website, with a series of pictures that change.  Here are my two favorites:

And then, here’s their hook:  “Live Life to the Max:”

That’s all folks! So what else do I have? Well, as at least some of you know, the way I pick my random lat/long location is using a website where I must first designate a large rectangle that encompasses the entire Lower 48.  So, the rectangle also encompasses portions of the Atlantic & Pacific Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, Mexico and Canada.  Of course, I throw out these “landings.” 

I had quite the string of these bogus landings (for today’s landing), including two Atlantic Oceans, one Mexico, one Canada, and one Lake Superior.  The Lake Superior landing caught my eye, so I saved it.  Here ‘tis:

And a closer look:

I “landed” just off the coast of the Black Bay Peninsula, although not labeled here.  Here’s a much closer look:

Looking at GE, here’s a shot of most of the Black Bay Peninsula, which appears to be totally, completely undeveloped.  No roads, no buildings, no nothing:

Here’s the little island I landed near:

I forget exactly how I figured out the name of the peninsula, but anyway, here’s some of what Wiki has to say about it:

Black Bay Peninsula is a volcanic peninsula in Northwestern Ontario, Canada, located on the North Shore of Lake Superior.  It is located on the southeast side of Black Bay and consists of over 300 flood basalt lava flows.

I then found this 1970 document:

Of course, it’s all about geology, but I found this description of “natural resources” of the peninsula to be interesting:

The animals most commonly seen in the area were birds, of which sea gulls and other water fowl were the most evident. In the early part of the field season numerous sea gulls were observed on small rocky islands, but by the middle of the summer the eggs were all hatched and the nests were abandoned.

A great variety of ducks are common. Other birds observed include great blue heron, sparrow hawk, partridge, crow, cedar waxwing, and rubythroated hummingbird.

Moose were seen in great numbers throughout the summer. Other animals observed include otter, porcupine, ferret, beaver, rabbit, chipmunk, and a variety of squirrels.

Although bears were not observed, signs of their presence in the area were common.

Much of the area has been logged over, and most of this appears to have been done just after World War II. The only areas which do not seem to have been logged are the islands, except Edward Island, and the areas of a more rugged topography underlain by intrusive rocks.

Although there’s no discussion of cultural resources, the authors did say that their access to the entire peninsula was by boat only.

So, I did a quick GE tour of the peninsula, and found nothing man-made with the exception of a very long dirt road (actually better than 30 miles long):

Here’s a close-up of the road’s terminus:

And an even closer view:

Here’s a very cool oblique view was we can really see what we’re looking at:

Also – see the light dot at the very end of the road?  Let’s take a closer look:

Vehhhhhry interesting.  It appears to be a small building, about 30’ x 15.’  So, someone spent a considerable amount of money to construct a road that leads to a little building located near an outcrop of rock. 

Well, as mentioned earlier, I found a report on the geology, so let’s see what I can find out about the outcrop.  Here’s a geologic map.  I’ve labeled an “interesting feature” (the purple geologic unit) that’s located near the end of the road:

And a close-up near the end of the road and the outcrop:

The black line (a fault) that cuts across the purple bedrock feature appears to be the end of the cliff structure shown above.  The green unit are the basalt flows that make up much of the peninsula:

The purple unit is an igneous intrusive, a type of rock known as diabase:

I know diabase.  In the winter (when the leaves are gone), I can see a diabase ridge about a mile behind my house. It’s a tough rock, which is why it’s a ridge former, both behind my house and up there in Canada.  We have diabase quarries nearby; the rock is sold as quarry stone of different sizes; for example, 2” used in construction as a coarse fill material.

Bottom line.  It makes no sense to build a 30-mile road to a diabase outcrop.  But then I noticed something else:

See the cut-outs along the road?  Let’s take a closer look at one of them:

There are many of these low gray structures (or whatever they are) along the road, like maybe 50 or so. They all appear very similar – typically two gray rectangles.   In some places, there are many of these cut-outs along the road:

I went out to where the dirt road joins up with civilization, and yes, there was GE Street View coverage.  Here’s the end of the road:

The sign at the end of the road says (and I quote):  “This area was tree planted in 1990 as part of Buchanan Forest Products commitment to growing the future forest.  Our entire future is these planted trees.”

Their entire future didn’t last long.  In 2009, the company went bankrupt, letting go of over 1,000 workers . . .

While the dirt road could have been a logging road (at least in part) I don’t think the logging company has anything to do with the fundamental mysteries surrounding this road:  the building at the end of it, or the strange gray structures.

Enough!  I’m done!  You’re probably done, as well!  I have nothing more to offer, no clever theory as to what’s going on . . .

This is an example of what happens when I can’t find a hook.

Let’s head back to ND and put a wrap on this post.  I’ll close with this GE shot of Lake Sakajawea by Pegi Sheets:

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2018 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

 

 

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Mayo (and Branford), Florida

Posted by graywacke on September 14, 2018

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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 relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2414; A Landing A Day blog post number 847.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (30o 9.731’N, 83o 2.458’W) puts me either 1) in the E-Cen FL panhandle or 2) in N-Cen FL:

My local landing map, highlights both my titular Mayo and my watershed river:

(You don’t see Branford; it’s to the southeast just off the map.  At the end of the post, I’ll explain its mysterious parenthetical position in the post title.)

No need for a streams-only map.  I landed in the Suwannee River watershed (6th hit).  The Suwanee heads south from here, discharging to the Gulf of Mexico.

Here’s where I put the Google Earth (GE) Orange Dude to get a look at my landing:

And here’s what he sees:

There’s one reasonably local bridge over the Suwanee:

And here’s the view:

I’ll follow up with this GE photo of the bridge by Jeffrey Barth:

Before spreading Mayo on this post, I’ll stay with the Suwanee for a bit.  From Wiki:

This river is the subject of the Stephen Foster song “Old Folks at Home” (aka “Way Down Upon the Swanee River).

[When I was a kid, this was one of those generally-familiar songs that “everyone” knew.  I’d call it an iconic American Folk song.]

Foster had composed most of the lyrics but was struggling to name the river of the opening line, and asked his brother to suggest one.

The first suggestion was “Yazoo” (a river in Mississippi), which despite fitting the melody perfectly, was rejected by Foster. The second suggestion was “Pee Dee” (in South Carolina), to which Foster reportedly said, “Oh pshaw! I won’t have that.”

His brother then consulted an atlas and called out “Suwannee!” Foster said, “That’s it, exactly!” Adding it to the lyrics, he purposely misspelled it as “Swanee” to fit the melody.

Foster himself never saw the Suwannee—or even visited Florida—but the popularity of the song stimulated tourism to Florida, to see the river.

Written in the first person from the perspective of an African slave (at a time when slavery was legal in the south), the song’s theme is the despair of a slave sold to another plantation, thus being diverted from his family, a practice which was seen as a special hardship and one of the major points against slavery at the time.   Foster himself supported the North during the American Civil War and supported abolition of slavery.

The word, “darkies,” used in Foster’s lyrics, has often been amended, for example, “brothers” was sung in place of “darkies” at the dedication of the new Florida state capitol building in 1978.

“Old Folks at Home” has been the official state song of Florida since 1935.

Here’s the song, as sung by Paul Robeson (full lyrics are below, of which he sings only part):

 

Way down upon the Swanee River
Far, far away
That’s where my heart is turning ever
That’s where the old folks stay
All up and down the whole creation
Sadly I roam
Still longing for the old plantation
And for the old folks at home

All the world is sad and dreary everywhere I roam
Oh Lordy, how my heart grows weary
Far from the old folks at home

All ’round the little farm I wandered
When I was young
Then many happy days I squandered
Many the songs I sung
When I was playing with my brother
Happy was I
Oh, take me to my kind old mother
There let me live and die

All the world is sad and dreary everywhere I roam
Oh Lordy, how my heart grows weary
Far from the old folks at home

One little hut among the bushes
One that I love
Still sadly to my mem’ry rushes
No matter where I rove
When shall I see the bees a humming
All ’round the comb
When shall I hear the banjo strumming
Down by my good old home

All the world is sad and dreary everywhere I roam
Oh Lordy, how my heart grows weary
Far from the old folks at home

A few items to discuss:  First, while I have long been generally familiar with the song (especially, the first line), I wasn’t aware that it was the lament of a slave separated from his family.

Secondly:  This is the Florida state song?  Since 1935?  It seems peculiar that a song of slave lament should be a state song . . .

Thirdly:  Paul Robeson.  Quite the interesting fellow.  From Wiki:

Paul Leroy Robeson (1898 – 1976) was an American bass baritone concert artist, stage and film actor and All-American college football player who became famous both for his cultural accomplishments and for his political activism. Educated at Rutgers College and Columbia University, he became active in the Civil Rights Movement and other social justice campaigns. His sympathies for the Soviet Union and for communism, and his criticism of the United States government and its foreign policies, caused him to be blacklisted during the McCarthy era.

In 1915, Robeson won an academic scholarship to Rutgers College, where he was twice named a consensus All-American and was the class valedictorian. Almost 80 years later, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He received a law degree from Columbia Law School, while playing in the National Football League (NFL).

Between 1925 and 1961, Robeson recorded and released some 276 songs, spanning many styles, including Americana, popular standards, classical music, European folk songs, political songs, poetry and spoken excerpts from plays.

During World War II Robeson supported the American and Allied war efforts. However, his history of supporting civil rights causes and pro-Soviet policies brought scrutiny from the FBI. After the war ended, Robeson was investigated during the age of McCarthyism. Due to his decision not to recant his public advocacy, he was denied a passport by the U.S. State Department, and his income, consequently, plummeted.

He moved to Harlem and published a periodical critical of United States policies. His right to travel was eventually restored as a result of a 1958 Supreme Court decision. In the early 1960s he retired and lived the remaining years of his life privately in Philadelphia.

So, I can’t resist. I live 20 minutes outside of Princeton, and have long been aware that there’s a street called Paul Robeson Place.  But check out this map:

OK, so I’m heading east on Hodge Road.  Hodge Road turns into Paul Robeson Place, which then turns into Wiggins Street, which then turns into Hamilton Avenue.

But wait.  There’s more:

Hamilton Avenue turns into Rollingmead Street which turns into Littlebrook Road which turns into Tyson Lane.

Unbelievable.  GPS directions from the west side of Princeton over to the east side will sound very complicated when actually they’d be very simple if this street had but one name (or take Nassau Street (Rt 27) . . . .

Geez.  I guess it’s time for some Mayo.  Well, the town was named after Confederate Colonel James Mayo.  Straightforward enough, I guess.  But hot off the presses!

The NY Times/Associated Press:

USA Today:

Inc.:

Evidently, for $25,000, Kraft convinced Mayo to temporarily change its name to Miracle Whip, telling residents this is a legal, permanent change.  Of course, it isn’t.  The idea is that Kraft would do interviews with the locals who thought the name change was real, using the clips for commercials or whatever.

Even Google Maps got into the game:

Some pics:

Moving right along.  The whole area around my landing is “karst,” a geologic term meaning that the landscape is dominated by limestone features such as caves, sinkholes and underground streams.  Here are scuba divers at a water-filled sinkhole (GE shot by Peter Lapin):

As promised much earlier, it’s time to explain Branford’s parenthetical appearance in the post title.  Just last night, I was talking on the phone with my youngest son Jordan (who’s 30).  He and his S.O. Laura just returned from a road trip and he was telling me about it. 

They went to Charleston SC, then Savannah GA, then Branford FL.  I interrupted, excitedly telling Jordan that I just landed there!  After exchanging expressions like “no way,” “you’ve got to be kidding me,” and “what are the odds?” Jordan explained that the trip to Branford had one purpose:  visiting Bob’s River Place.  (For this landing, of course I checked out Branford, but somehow missed Bob’s.)

Jordan explained that Bob’s is an old-fashioned swimming hole right on the banks of the Suwanee, that’s amazingly fun.  Platforms for high diving/jumping, water slides and rope swings, with an anything-goes atmosphere.  Here’s a video:

 

I’ll close with this GE shot of another water-filled sinkhole, by Matt Fish)

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2018 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

 

 

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Grygla, Minnesota

Posted by graywacke on September 1, 2018

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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 relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2413; A Landing A Day blog post number 847.

Dan:  So, today’s lat/long (48o 19.121’N, 95o 10.128’W) puts me in NW Minnesota:

(I initially called it North Central, but then realized the locals consider themselves to live in NW MN.)

Here’s my local landing map, showing a VP* of small towns:

*Veritable Plethora

Here’s my very local streams-only map

This map doesn’t really tell me anything about where a drop of water that falls on my landing ends up, but it does show peculiar, obviously-manmade drainage channels.  More about these in a bit.

Using the Google Earth elevation tool, I figured out that my drainage in fact heads south towards Upper Red Lake.  So here’s the larger picture of my watersheds:

As you can see, that drop of water I was talking about makes its way from Upper Red Lake to Lower Red Lake to the Red Lake River (10th hit); on to the Red River (49th hit).  Although not shown, the Red makes its way to the Nelson (67th hit), and eventually to Hudson Bay.

So I landed way out in the boonies, far from any road that could conceivably have GE Street View coverage.  But I could get a look at Upper Red Lake:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

I then had the OD head west to see where the Red Lake River exits Lower Red Lake.  Looking upstream towards the lake:

And looking downstream (west):

So, what about Grygla (pop 200, pronounced GRIGG-leh)?  Well, here’s what the town website had to say about the name:

The Postal Department sent out an inspector from Washington, D.C., to check out the community.  The inspector’s name was Count Gryglavitch. Because no one could agree on a name for the town, the inspector signed his own name to the request, and “Grygla” became the name of the town.

Now, wait a second.  The town fathers let some phony Count get away with that?  Oh, well . . .

Here’s a 1904 shot of Main Street:

And a shot of Main Street 8 years later:

But hey.  The “city” has a robust website:

Moving right along . . .

Returning to GE, let’s take a look at the ill-defined landscape near my landing:

You can clearly see the manmade rectilinear drainageways, and what appears to be vague blotchy vegetation.

Zooming back to see the bigger picture around the lakes:

What a peculiar looking landscape.  I turned on the photo layer, and found this picture not far east of my landing:

So, Sam Smith posted a picture of the Red Lake Peatland Scientific and Natural Area.  It looks like I landed in a peat wetland (or bog).  Of course, I Googled “Minnesota Peat,”  which sounds like the name of a legendary lumberjack.

So, what is peat?  Well, it is the accumulation of dead plant matter in a low-lying, relatively flat wet area where the water chemistry is such that plant-eating bacteria don’t thrive, and the dead plant matter doesn’t decay.  In Minnesota, the peat deposits are typically some 10s of feet thick, and began forming after the glaciers left the area, about 8,000 years ago.

As part of the “mining” process, the bog has to be partially dewatered, so a network of drainage channels are dug so that the water flows away and the water level lowers.  That’s what all of those drainageways are all about.

I found a 2004 Minnesota Public Radio article entitled “Peat Could Be Minnesota’s Newest Cash Crop.”

Here’s the caption of the photo:

Huge machines are used to vacuum peat from a drained wetland in northern Minnesota. Only thin layers of peat are harvested each year, so companies often spend decades removing peat from the same small plot. Horticultural peat mining is a $10 million dollar industry in Minnesota. But some say it could be a lot more. Researchers are developing high value uses for the resource. (Photo courtesy Berger Peat Moss, Inc.)

And then, from the article:

Northern Minnesota has nearly seven million acres of peatlands. That’s more than any other state except Alaska. Peat is the decayed remains of plants that accumulate over centuries in wetlands. Most people think of peat as the black, mossy stuff home gardeners use to help their plants grow. But researchers in Minnesota say peat is much more than that. They’ve discovered other uses for peat that could be worth millions.

The article goes on to explore other potential uses of peat (including plant food chemicals and wax), but concludes that the economic drivers and environmental concerns have yet to be fully addressed.

Look back at the GE shot of the lakes.  See that dark triangular feature just south of my landing?  What the heck is that?  Here’s a closer view:

So, I found an article about Minnesota Peat that included this:

Hey!  That dark triangle is actually numbered.  Let’s see . . .

It’s the “Western Water Track,” which is a “watertrack fen.”   A fen is just another word for a swamp or bog, so maybe the water flows a little more quickly through a watertrack fen.  Whatever . . .

I’ll close with a couple of GE photos.  First this, by Skylar Wolf, taken in the peat bog just west of my landing:

We might be looking along one of those drainageways.  Anyway, I’ll close with this sunset shot, taken on the east shore of Upper Red Lake (by Torry Miller):

 

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2018 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

 

 

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