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Archive for April, 2020

Mobile Bay, Alabama

Posted by graywacke on April 29, 2020

 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 2480 ; A Landing A Day blog post number 920

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N30o 17.503’, W87o 50.321’) puts me in far southwestern Alabama:

Here’s my local landing map:

I need to stop right here.  This landing represents one of my gray areas.  I had a choice:  1)  I could toss out this landing, call it a water landing, and try again; or 2) I could deem this intrinsically part of a given state, and get on with it.

Obviously, I have selected option 2.  I always toss aside Great Lakes landings, Chesapeake and Delaware Bay landings, and Long Island Sound landings.  But I’ve kept single-state landings that aren’t out in the open ocean, like Puget Sound and Barnegat Bay NJ.  I think I’m being consistent, here . . . 

Anyway, I’ll zoom back to put my landing in a slightly more regional context:

Obviously, there’s no need for a watershed analysis . . .

I went over to Google Earth (GE) and had a little trouble finding a clear view of the Bay, but I (with the Orange Dude’s help, I managed):

And here’s what the OD sees:

I love water and beaches and boats and seaside landscapes, so I figured I’d be good just poking around the southern end of Mobile Bay. 

I’ll start with two old forts perched on either side of the entrance to Mobile Bay:

And GE close-ups, first Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island to the west:

And then Fort Morgan, to the east:

These would be cool spots to visit.  Both forts were built in the pre-Civil war 1830s era, with the intent of protecting Mobile Bay (and the city of Mobile) from invasion from foreign forces.  There wasn’t any big news at the forts until the Civil War, when the Yanks under Admiral Farragut thought they’d run through the narrow 3-mile opening into Mobile Bay.  From Wiki:

The Battle of Mobile Bay of August 5, 1864, was an engagement of the American Civil War in which a Union fleet commanded by Rear Admiral David G. Farragut, assisted by a contingent of soldiers, attacked a smaller Confederate fleet led by Admiral Franklin Buchanan and three forts that guarded the entrance to Mobile Bay.

Here’s a historic sketch of the run-up to the battle (from Wiki).  We’re looking out to sea, with the Confederate Navy in the foreground, and the approaching Union vessels in the rear:

And here’s a painting after the engagement (once again looking out to sea, with Fort Morgan on the left):

Farragut decided that he need to simply rush the defense. His order, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” became famous.

[More about the famous quote in a bit.]

The battle was marked by Farragut’s seemingly rash but successful run through a minefield that had just claimed one of his ironclad monitors, enabling his fleet to get beyond the range of the shore-based guns.

Here’s a Wiki picture of the ironclad monitor that was sunk, the USS Tecumseh:

This was followed by a reduction of the Confederate fleet to a single vessel, ironclad CSS Tennessee.

CSS Tennessee did not then retire, but engaged the entire Northern fleet.

Here’s a shot of the Tennessee taking on the entire northern fleet (dark boat, black smoke):

Tennessee’s armor enabled her to inflict more injury than she received, but she could not overcome the imbalance in numbers. She was eventually reduced to a motionless hulk and surrendered, ending the battle.

A photograph of the Tennessee, dead in the water:

With no Navy to support them, the three forts also surrendered within days. Complete control of lower Mobile Bay thus passed to the Union forces.

About the famous quote:  “Damn the torpedoes!  Full speed ahead!”  I asked my wife Jody about her thoughts on the origin of the phrase (which she had heard of).  She said that she assumed it was from WW II, in the Pacific theater.  I probably would’ve said the same thing.  I mean, when were torpedoes invented, anyway?  (Answer:  self-propelled torpedoes were invented in the early 1900s, and used extensively in WW I.)

Well, it turns out that back in the day, there were naval mines that floated on or just below the surface of the water that would explode upon contact.  The entrance to Mobile Bay was so mined back in 1864.  And yes, these were called torpedoes.

Before leaving history class, here’s a World War I recruitment poster featuring David Farragut at Mobile Bay:

Here’s a shot from the Fort Morgan website:

And this shot posted on GE by Bonny Folkestad, of Fort Gaines:

Moving right along . . . I idly Googled “Mobile Bay,” but perked up when I found this in Wiki:

Annually, and often several times during the summer months, the fish and crustaceans will swarm the shallow coastline and shore of the bay. This event, appropriately named a jubilee, draws a large crowd because of the abundance of fresh, easily caught seafood. Mobile Bay is the only place on earth where jubilees are a common occurrence.

What the heck?  “Jubilee” was Wiki-clickable:

During a jubilee many species of crab and shrimp, as well as flounder, eels, and other demersal fish will leave deeper waters and swarm—in large numbers and very high density—in a specific, shallower coastal area of the bay.  A jubilee is a celebrated event in Mobile Bay, and it attracts large crowds, many drawn by the promise of abundant and easy-to-catch seafood.

Although similar events have been reported in other bodies of water, Mobile Bay is the only place where the regular appearance of this phenomenon has been documented

The Mobile Bay jubilee typically takes place at least annually, and sometimes several times per year; years without a jubilee have been recorded, but they are exceedingly rare. Many accounts of the jubilee exist, the oldest dating back to the 1860s.

The size, scope, and duration of the jubilee can vary greatly. Sometimes a 15-mile  stretch of coast representing most of the eastern shore can be affected, and at other times the extent can be limited to as little as 500 feet (150 m) of coastline. Most jubilees happen in the pre-dawn hours.

Author Archie Carr comments, “At a good jubilee you can quickly fill a washtub with shrimp. You can gig a hundred flounders and fill the back of your pickup truck a foot deep in crabs.”

In addition, harvesting them is made considerably easier by the effect that the oxygen deprivation has on the animals. Their behavior has been described as “depressed and moribund”, or “unnatural”; crabs are observed “climbing tree stumps to escape the water” and flounder “slither up the banks.”

While the occurrence of jubilees in Mobile Bay predates European settlement in the region, it is unknown exactly when or how these events came to be known by this name. The first recorded printed use of the term “jubilee” in this context was in the Mobile Daily Register (now the Mobile Press-Register) on July 29, 1912:

… Hundreds of live sea crabs and fish … completely covered the beach at Point Clear and Zundels Sunday morning. A fisherman of experience in explaining the unusual occurrence stated that it was a “jubilee”… People who saw the wild scramble of fish and crabs on the sandy beach say they won’t soon forget the sight.

This was not, however, the first time the newspaper had covered the phenomenon; in his research, oceanographer Edwin B. May found several dozen mentions of similar events, the earliest dated back to July 17, 1867 and alludes to the fact that the phenomenon was known to have happened earlier:

EXCITEMENT AMONG THE FISH—Yesterday all the fish in the bay seemed to be making for the Eastern shore. Large numbers of crabs, flounders and other fish were found at the water’s edge, and taken in out of the wet. They were counted by the bushel. Annually this phenomenon occurs with the fish along the Eastern shore. They all appear to forsake the deep water, and swim and cluster in immense numbers to the shore.

— Mobile Daily Register, July 17, 1867

It was not until 1960 that the phenomenon was explored in-depth by marine biologist Harold Loesch for the journal Ecology.

After researching the oral histories and journalistic records of past jubilees, measuring physical and meteorologic conditions, and taking biological and chemical measurements, Loesch concluded that accumulated organic material on the bay floor could, under a certain set of conditions, result in a rapid depletion of oxygen in parts of the bay, driving fish to the surface seeking oxygenated water.

Additional research confirmed Loesch’s conclusions.  Here are some random pictures I lifted from Google images:

Heading back down towards my landing, I wondered how long it would take to drive from Dauphin Island to Fort Morgan.  Google Maps has the answer:

It’s closer to 2½ hours if you hug the coastline.  But how about taking the ferry?  It’s only about 3.5 miles:

And winter fares aren’t bad:

Here’s a beach shot taken on the south shore of the barrier island just south of my landing:

I’ll close with this Mobile Bay shot posted on GE by Thomas Myers:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2020 A Landing A Day


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Americus and Emporia, Kansas

Posted by graywacke on April 24, 2020

 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 2480 ; A Landing A Day blog post number 920

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N38o 26.095’, W96o 12.050’) puts me in east central Kansas:

Here’s my local landing map:

My streams-only map shows that I don’t have much choice: 

I landed in the Neosho River! Neosho River! Neosho River! Neosho River! watershed (8th 8th 8th 8th hit)! 

Zooming back:

The Neosho discharges to the Arkansas (146th hit); on to the MM (959th hit).

Heading on over to Google Earth, I have a nice clear look at my landing:

And here’s what my old friend the Orange Dude sees:

I sent him a couple of hundred yards north to get a look at the Neosho, and here’s his view:


Whoa, very nice!  I have to zoom in for a better look at the dam:

OK, it’s time to check out Americus.  Wiki (and the internet in general) has essentially nothing to say about Americus except that it was named after Amerigo Vespucci.

What do I know about Sig. Vespucci?  Hmmmm, not much.  Without cheating (much), here’s what I knew before a little research:  he was an early Italian explorer who made it over here to the Americas and somehow got his name affixed to a map.

What a legacy!  How about having two continents and a country named after you?  Not bad.  But I soon learned (from Wiki) that there’s more to the story . . .

Between 1497 and 1504, Vespucci participated in at least two voyages exploring the coast of the New World, first on behalf of Spain (1499-1500) and then for Portugal (1501-1502). In 1503 and 1505, two booklets were published under his name, containing colorful descriptions of these explorations and other alleged voyages. Both publications were extremely popular and widely read across much of Europe. Although historians still dispute the authorship and veracity of these accounts, at the time they were instrumental in raising awareness of the New World and enhancing the reputation of Vespucci as an explorer and navigator.

So, anyway, he took a “first voyage,” supposedly in 1497-98.  The voyage was documented in a 1504 letter by some Italian dude.  It is generally agreed that this voyage never happened (and that maybe Amerigo promoted it so he could claim to have beaten Columbus to what would be named mainland South America).

But he really did take his “second voyage.”  Back to Wiki:

In 1499 Vespucci joined an expedition licensed by Spain and led by Alonso de Ojeda as fleet commander and Juan de la Cosa as chief navigator. Their intention was to explore the coast of a new landmass found by Columbus on his third voyage and in particular investigate a rich source of pearls that Columbus had reported.

South Alonso?  North Juan?  The United States of Ojeda?  It all makes more sense than what we ended up with.  Back to Wiki:

Vespucci’s role on the voyage is not clear. Writing later about his experience, Vespucci gave the impression that he had a leadership role but that is unlikely because of his inexperience. Instead, he may have served as a commercial representative on behalf of the fleet’s investors. Years later, Ojeda recalled that “Morigo Vespuche” was one of his pilots on the expedition.

Geez.  Even the Captain could hardly remember him (let alone how to spell hi name).  It’s becoming clear.  Amerigo knows how to write, how to capture the public’s attention; how to promote himself.  So how about the Third Voyage?  From Wiki:

In 1501 Manuel I of Portugal commissioned an expedition to investigate a landmass encountered unexpectedly by Pedro Álvares Cabral on his voyage to India. That land would eventually become present-day Brazil. Manuel saw an opportunity to claim vast lands for Portugal.  Vespucci’s reputation as an explorer and presumed navigator had already reached Portugal, and he was hired by the king to serve as pilot under the command of Gonçalo Coelho.

South Coelho?  North Pedro?  The United States of Alvares?

And the Fourth Voyage:

In 1503, Vespucci may have participated in a second expedition for the Portuguese crown, again exploring the east coast of Brazil. There is evidence that a voyage was led by Coelho at about this time but no independent confirmation that Vespucci took part. The only source for this last voyage is the Soderini Letter; but several modern scholars dispute Vespucci’s authorship of that letter and it is uncertain whether Vespucci undertook this trip.

So, in 1505 he wrote a letter to Piero di Tommaso Soderini, the leader of the Florentine Republic.  From Wiki:

This letter is more sensational in tone than the other letters and the only one to assert that Vespucci made four voyages of exploration. The authorship and the veracity of the letter have been widely questioned by modern historians. Nevertheless, this document was the original inspiration for naming the American continent in honor of Amerigo Vespucci.

OMG.  AYKM?  We’re named after a phony!  No changing it now . . . the name runs pretty deep in our pyche  . . .

From Wiki about “The Naming of America:”

Vespucci’s voyages became widely known in Europe after two accounts attributed to him were published between 1503 and 1505. In 1506 a group of French scholars (including mapmakers) obtained a French translation of the Soderini Letter as well as a Portuguese maritime map that detailed the coast of lands recently discovered in the western Atlantic.

They surmised that this was the “new world” hypothesized by classical writers. The Soderini Letter gave Vespucci credit for discovery of this new continent and implied that the Portuguese map was based on his explorations.

In April 1507, Ringmann and Waldseemüller [don’t sound French to me] published their Introduction to Cosmography with an accompanying world map. The Introduction was written in Latin and included a Latin translation of the Soderini Letter. In a preface to the Letter, Ringmann wrote

“I see no reason why anyone could properly disapprove of a name derived from that of Amerigo, the discoverer, a man of sagacious genius. A suitable form would be Amerige, meaning Land of Amerigo, or America, since Europe and Asia have received women’s names.”

No sissy girl stuff for America!  Back to Wiki:

A thousand copies of the world map were printed with the title Universal Geography According to the Tradition of Ptolemy and the Contributions of Amerigo Vespucci and Others. It was decorated with prominent portraits of Ptolemy and Vespucci and, for the first time, the name America was applied to a map of the New World.

Here’s the map:

And a close-up of the world’s first use of “America” on a map:

Let’s head on south (not all the way to South Coelho) but just to Emporia (pop 25,000).  First, about the name, Wiki says:

Located on upland prairie, Emporia was founded in 1857, drawing its name from ancient Carthage, a place known in history as a prosperous center of commerce.

The word “emporium” is Greek for a “trading place or market,” and it turns out that ancient Carthage (along the southern coast of the Mediterranean in what is today Tunusia) was the classic example of an emporium. 

This would be a perfect opportunity for me to feature Carthage, but wait a sec – in my recent (Feb 2020) post “Rea, New Hampton, Bethany, Conception (etc.), Missouri,” I in fact featured ancient Carthage . . .

So what else to say about Emporia?  I couldn’t really find much of interest, until I got to the “List of People from Emporia Kansas,” where I found this:

  • Kelley Hunt, blues pianist, singer-songwriter

Kelley is wiki-clickable:

Kelley Hunt is an American blues pianist, singer, and songwriter. Her 2004 album, New Shade of Blue, peaked at number 9 in the Billboard Top Blues Albums chart.

In 2006, Hunt was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame.  Her most recent album and sixth to date, The Beautiful Bones, was released on 88 Records in May 2014.  She is based in Lawrence, Kansas [although she graduated from Emporia High School and considers Emporia her home town.]

So off to YouTube I went, and found this.  The sound isn’t very good, but you can tell that she puts on a great show:


She has recently changed her look:

As far as I can tell, this is, in fact, the same person!

Anyway, I managed to find some decent local shots posted on GE.  I’ll start with this rolling hill landscape by Caleb Henderson:

And this shot of wide-open spaces by Timothy Weaver:

I’ll close with this proud old tree, by Bartlomiej Hanus:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2020 A Landing A Day


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Roebling, New Jersey

Posted by graywacke on April 18, 2020

 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 2479; A Landing A Day blog post number 919

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N40o 5.918’, W74o 49.231’) puts me in west central New Jersey:

Here’s my local landing map:

Two big stories here:  First, this is my first NJ landing since I changed how I do my random lat/longs (263 landings ago).  But secondly, and this blew my socks off:  I landed a mere 7 miles south of my office!

You can see the “Hill Environmental Group” yellow pushpin.  This is my wife Jody’s company:  Yes, I work for my wife (24/7).

This is my first landing ever where I’m going to visit the landing site, my watershed stream and my titular town!  Pictures and stories to follow!

Speaking of my watershed stream, here’s my streams-only map:

And “Stream” it is!  This unnamed stream discharges to the Delaware River (10th hit, and my favorite river in the world.)

Moving over to Google Maps (which actually labeled the stream!), you can see that the stream is in fact Bustleton Creek:

Moving on to ol’ friend Google Earth (GE), let’s get a better GE look at my landing:

Yuck.  Leave it to New Jersey.  I landed in the middle of a warehouse complex.  But yes, the Orange Dude can get a decent look at my landing spot, looking down along the warehouse loading dock:

Here’s what he sees:

As I’m typing this, I have yet to physically visit my landing location.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to come up with some better landing shots.

For the record, I landed on the loading dock of a Trane warehouse.  You know Trane, right?  They’re best known for air conditioners.  After all, “Nothing Stops a Trane.”

I’ll dive right in to some Roebling history, with some excerpts from TheHistoryGirl.com – “The Roebling Legacy in New Jersey:”

There are few true company towns left in the State of New Jersey, but the best and most complete that exists today is Roebling.

John A. Roebling emigrated to the United States 1831 from Prussia [with a university degree in architecture and engineering]. He settled outside of Pittsburgh, and began to experiment fabricating rope out of wire in 1841, after seeing hemp rope fail as a means of pulling canal boats over the Allegheny Mountains.

Because of Roebling’s success with the wire rope, he won bids to build suspension aqueducts and bridges. In 1848, Roebling moved his operations to Trenton, which was closer to his customers and had the available resources and transportation he needed to succeed.

[In Trenton, he built “the Roebling Wire Works,” a sprawling complex with dozens of buildings, employing thousands of workers.]

Roebling designed and constructed numerous bridges, the most notable being the Brooklyn Bridge, which he started designing in 1867. In 1869, he was standing at the edge of a dock, working on fixing the location of where the bridge would be built, when his foot was crushed by an arriving ferry. His injured toes were amputated. He succumbed from tetanus twenty-four days after the accident and is buried in Trenton. His son, Washington Roebling, also of an engineering background, finished the bridge in 1883.

[The building of the Brooklyn Bridge is a huge story in of itself.  Maybe later . . .]

Around the turn of the century, Roebling’s sons Washington. Charles, and Ferdinand decided to build a steel mill to make their own steel to be used in making their wire ropes.  Available properties around Trenton were deemed too expensive, so the brothers went south, finding farmland along the Delaware River suitable to construct their enterprise.

They purchasing a 115 acre peach and potato farm  for $17,000 in 1904, and in 1905 ground was broken for the construction of the first mill buildings. Being ten miles south of Trenton in a rural area, the Roebling brothers were troubled by the issue of housing the workers.

To solve the housing dilemma, Charles Roebling conceived and designed the village of Roebling, a “model town” to house all of the workers. He laid out 100-foot-wide streets, and 750 homes were built.

Row homes were constructed for the general workers with rent offered as low as $8.00 per month. Cottage duplexes were available for skilled laborers at a higher rent, and the largest single family homes for managers and superintendents were constructed with seven bedrooms and offered at a price of $24.00 per month. All of the homes featured indoor plumbing, gas, and electric, which in the early 1900s had not been available to many areas of New Jersey.

Here’s a GE Street View shot of row homes:

And the “cottage duplexes”

And here’s a Zillow shot of a six-bedroom home for sale (listing at $310,000):

Back to the article:

Charles Roebling placed a water tower at one end of Main Street and the factory’s No. 1 Gate at the other, the passageway through which every employee entered the “Lower Roebling Works.” Constructed as part of the town were stores, a water system, streets, and gas and electric systems. A police force, volunteer fire department, a jail and school were also built.

The Roebling Inn was the first permanent structure built by the Roebling family. Men working in the construction of the plant and village paid $2.00 a week for room and board. Today, the inn’s exterior has been restored and is used for senior citizen housing.

Here’s a GE Street View shot of the Roebling Inn:

A general store opened in 1906 to serve the residents of Roebling.  Here’s what it looks like today:

An auditorium was built in 1915 with removable seats depending on the event. It was the site of vaudeville shows, minstrels, boxing matches, silent movies, and then “talkies.” It was also one of the first air-conditioned buildings in America. Large blocks of ice were placed on cement slabs in front of fans. As a shower of water dripped down, cool vapor formed and was forced through the building.

The first workers came to Roebling in 1906 – mostly Swedish. Over the next ten years over 2,000 others would follow – Hungarians, Germans, Poles, Czechs, Russians and Romanians. By 1918, it was reported that three-fourths of Roebling’s 2,000 employees were foreign-born. Most kept to ethnic enclaves within the town and its seven churches. When the last homes were built in 1921, it is estimated that Ferdinand and Charles spent $4,000,000 to build the steel mill, wire rope plant, and the model town.

The 1930s and 1940s are considered the high point for both Roebling the company and the town. The plant made the wire rope used to hold up the Golden Gate and George Washington bridges. Wire rope for oil drilling, elevators, logging, slings, fishing, construction equipment and mining were made in Roebling.

World War II and military contracts brought employment up to 5,000. But after the war, the company began to slowly contract.

After disputes with labor unions, Roebling eventually sold its housing to its workers. In 1953, Roebling sold the company to Colorado Fuel and Iron Inc, ending an era of forty-seven years. Finally, in 1974, Colorado Fuel and Iron closed down the plants in both Roebling and Trenton, leaving behind 70 empty buildings in Roebling.

Between 1983 and 2011, ninety-nine percent of the mill buildings were torn down, with the exception of the No. 1 gate, which was fully restored and today houses the Roebling Museum.

Here’s one of the last mill buildings before it was torn down:

Here’s the refurbished No. 1 gate:

So, my wife Jody and I paid a visit to my landing spot, my watershed stream, and, of course, to Roebling.  Let’s start with my landing.

Here’s the GE Street View shot that I presented earlier:

We were able to go into the parking lot that’s off to the left in the above shot.  And here’s the picture Jody took:

And yes, that’s me (albeit a little blurred), pointing right at my landing spot!  I texted the picture to my son Jordan.   He texted back, “That’s quintessential Greg.”  What can I say?

We then went to a road that crosses Bustleton Creek.  And, for the first time, I actually met the Orange Dude!  Here he is at the creek:

When we met, we glowingly stated our admiration for each other.  Keeping 6′ away (social distancing, you know), he timidly admitted that he had a lousy view of the creek.  I assured him it wasn’t his fault, but rather some landscaper who blocked the view of the creek using all of these evergreen trees:

Here’s a shot of Jody in the car – illegally parked – waiting for me to get a picture of the creek (yes, that’s a “No Parking” sign right in front of the car):

I climbed down an embankment, and got this picture of Bustleton Creek:

Time to head on over to Roebling.  Our first stop was along the bluff that overlooks the river:

The large grassy area between the car and the river used to be part of the steel mill.  I got out of the car and walked down towards the river.  Here’s a shot from the top of the hill looking upstream:


I then walked down to the river and looked downstream:


On the way out of town, we got a look at this display associated with the Roebling Museum:

Here’s a much-cooler picture of part of the same display (from the museum Facebook page):

That’ll do it . . .




© 2020 A Landing A Day


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Chippewa Flowage, New Post and Hayward, Wisconsin

Posted by graywacke on April 10, 2020

 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 2478; A Landing A Day blog post number 918

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N40o 58.606’, W120o 33.791’) puts me in northwest Wisconsin:

Here’s my local – very local – landing map (what I saw when I entered my lat/long in StreetAtlas):

Hmmm.  Obviously, I landed on an island.  Zooming back:

I’m in the middle of a large lake, that (peculiarly it seems to me) has a number of named “lakes” as part of the larger lake.  I’ve also circled titular “New Post.”

I need to zoom out a little further to include my also-titular Hayward:

My streams-only map shows a very straight forward watershed analysis:

I landed in a lake (which we will soon learn is a dammed-up reservoir) which empties into the Chippewa River (11th hit), on to the MM (958th hit).

I went to Google Earth (GE) to take a look at my island and learn its name.  Here’s what I saw:

Say what?  Is it Big or is it Little?  When I Googled Big Banana Island, this is what I saw:

Confusion reigns!  So,I looked at another map, and more of the same came up:

What gives?? 

Finally, I found this TopoZone map:

Finally, I can relax.  Anyway, it appears that in this digital age, someone made a mistake (Google Earth?), and other digital map files used the same erroneous source data (or something like that).  Anyway, I definitely landed on Big Banana Island.

The Orange Dude was happy to be in such a picturesque area.  He situated himself (with a little help from me) on a narrow neck of land with a view out to the lake:

And here’s his view (which may or may not actually show Big Banana):

Here’s a close-up GE shot of the Island:

I have more on Big Banana Island, but first, let’s visit the town of New Post.  OK, here we go again.  I featured New Post in an Old Post of mine (January 2017, “Coudery and Radisson, Wisconsin,” when I landed about 10 miles south of today’s landing).  Here’s some material from that post:

So, what about New Post?  Well, since you’re currently reading a new post, I figured I had to at least give New Post passing mention.  I could find absolutely nothing on the internet about the town (at least initially), even though it has some substance:

And here’s what the OD sees (looking east):

After digging deeper into the internet, I found this about the town’s name (gleaned from the Chippewa Flowage Lake Association website).  Evidently, an old trading post was located nearby, around which a small town built up.  The town became known as simply “Post.”  Post was substantial enough to have its own baseball team in 1913:

The Post Indians!  Great uniforms!  But wait.  Only ten guys?  I guess they probably had two pitchers.

The “Chippewa Flowage” is a single large lake created by damming up the East & West Forks of the Chippewa River.  The dam (built in 1924) created numerous embayments, called lakes (like Pokegama Lake) which are all part of the “Flowage.”

Anyway, the town of Post was flooded by the flowage, and New Post was built to replace it.  I really doubt New Post has a baseball team . . .

Back to now:  I am definitely bumping into old posts more and more often (which, of course, is inevitable).  Let’s do a little math.  The area of the lower 48 is 3,061,636 square miles.  My first blog post (11/25/08) was for landing 1583.  Today’s landing is 2478, for 895 posted landings.  (Today’s post is #918 because of “revisited” landings, and other miscellaneous non-landing posts.)

So, dividing 3,061,636 by 895, I get 3,420 square miles per landing.  Putting a 3,420 square mile square around each landing, it would be 58.5 miles on a side.  So, evenly spaced landings would be about 60 miles apart.  Just sayin’ . . .

Thanks to good ol’ Excel, here’s a map of the 895 landings I’ve written about:

I Googled “Big Banana Island” hoping to find some interesting tidbit to share with the ALAD Nation.  The only thing I found were references associated with a book that features a sailboat with the name of Jagular.

Some background, from VolumeOne.org, about author Tom Pamperin and Jagular:

In 2008, Tom Pamperin and his brother decided to build a pair of 14ish-foot boats. He credits Jagular’s name to a snippet from Winnie the Pooh: “What do Jagulars do?’ asked Piglet, hoping that they wouldn’t.” During a phone interview, Pamperin explained the connection.

“I’m definitely more of a sailor than a builder,” he said with a chuckles. “Any boat I built I wasn’t quite sure what it would do. And wasn’t quite sure I wanted to know.”

Jagular offers up a balance of action and reflection, as Pamperin takes to the water with the boat as his only companion. “Out there, your whole world becomes simple,” he mused. He searches for a contentedness in that simplicity as he captains the reader through lakes and oceans across the country.

The book (with a great cover, by the way) is laced with a dialogue between Tom and his boat (which talks).

You can get it Tom’s book on Amazon!

Anyway, I’m going to present a few brief passages from a chapter in the book entitled “Jagular in the North Woods – Part One.”  Tom & his brother put their little sailboats into the Chippewa Flowage pretty much at the same spot the Orange Dude put himself to get a look at the landing.  Here’s a GE shot from the book, showing their route across the lake:

Hey!  His Google Earth map just says “Big Banana!”

Tom lives in Chippewa Falls, about 65 miles south of my landing.  In this first excerpt, he describes the Flowage:

“Now listen,” I tell the boat, “and stop your foolish badgering. For there is a place not far from here,” I say, “a watery web of lakes and islands, a hidden wilderness at the very headwaters of the Chippewa River. It is a place unlike any other, replete with virgin timber and clear fast-running streams, a place where we shall see bears and wolves, and mooses, and minks, and otters; we shall discover muskellunges and snapping turtles of the largest size. Deers and coyotes and perhaps even ocelots roam the forests; red-eyed loons make the lakes echo with their eerie calls; eagles swoop low over the rushing waters; and wood ducks gather in flocks so large that they blacken the very skies with their passing.”

Another selected excerpt:

Several hours later we arrive at the headwaters, a quiet collection of lakes and streams surrounded by a second-growth forest of pine, birch, oak, and maple. It’s late afternoon, and the unpaved parking lot is empty. The real north woods—endless tracts of white pines two hundred feet tall, trees so big that two men together couldn’t reach around them—that forest is gone forever, I know, the trees clear-cut and stacked up and hauled out and rafted down to riverside sawmills in Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls and a hundred other lumber towns that have faded into obscurity. But at least there’s something. Better than the bleak fields of amputated stumps we would have found a hundred years ago.

And another, describing them on the lake, soon after they put in:

My brother finally catches up, and we drift around side by side for a while. The map on the free DNR brochure isn’t exactly matching what we see around us, which disturbs my brother immensely. He keeps looking down at the map, then looking up at the islands. There’s a large island just south of us. But the map shows a medium-sized island, a stretch of open water, and two tiny islands. He knows perfectly well where we are—if I know, he surely knows—but he insists on things being right.

Here’ a picture from the book, with the explanation below:

The map mystery explained: Although we didn’t know it at the time, the areas circled in red in the photo above are not islands—they’re floating bogs, huge masses of vegetation that migrate slowly across the lakes, at the mercy of the wind. Here today, there tomorrow. Some of them, like the biggest “island” in the photo, have held together for so long that they’re covered with forty-foot trees. But sail up to the “shore” of one of these islands and look down, and you can see that, thick as they are, they are actually floating on the surface of the water. You could swim beneath them—except for the record-size muskies and huge snapping turtles that are sure to be down there just waiting for someone that stupid.

Note that the date of the photo above is 9/30/12.  Here’s the current GE shot (dated 9/28/15), showing the “islands” in a different position:

And then, finally, here’s where the Banana Islands are mentioned.  The brothers are still confused about exactly where they are, when this exchange occurs:

“Look, Big Banana Island is right there,” I point out. “And that’s Little Banana, with the channel between them. We can’t be anywhere else.”

According to the now-suspect map, there’s a campsite about a mile ahead on Pine Island, just where the channel between Big Banana Island and Little Banana Island opens up again. When my brother finally gives up on figuring things out, we decide to camp there for the night. We drift around some more, working our way into the narrow passage between the two islands. Sometimes we’re closer to one. Sometimes we’re closer to the other.

And then this picture, (caption below):

Jagular ghosting along past Big Banana Island—or trying to, at least. We’re just beginning to get a little wind here as we escape Little Banana Island’s wind shadow. We might just make it yet.

The wind dies, and both sailors have to resort to oars.  That works fine for Tom’s brother, but Tom’s oarlocks are broken, and he has to jerry-rig the oars using bungee chords:

Rowing again, but the bungees are stretching. After a while the starboard oar pops off the cleat entirely. I re-tie it. Two strokes later the port oar pops off. I re-tie it. The cushions suddenly slide in opposite directions and spill me onto the cockpit floor.

“Oarlocks,” the boat muses quietly.

“Shut up,” I say.

Meanwhile my brother has returned from his exploration of Pine Island and starts to unload camping gear from his boat.

I adjust the cushions and take another stroke. Both oars pop off their bungees simultaneously, and Jagular drifts to a halt in the shallows just off Big Banana Island.

“The hell with this,” I tell the boat. “We’re sailing in from here.”

“Want to bet?” Jagular says, but I pretend not to hear.

I unwrap the bungees and the oars, tie the leeboards back onto the boat, and unfurl the sail. I untie the tiller and lower the rudder, adjust the cushions, then sit back down ready to sail. The tiller is lifeless in my hand. The sail waves back and forth without ambition. The water is still and calm and flat as polished glass. If I try hard enough, though, I can almost imagine some faint motion toward Pine Island where my brother is sitting alone on the beach now, leaning comfortably against a huge log, his boat and gear safely stowed for the night.

Off to the west behind the islands, the sun drops below the treetops. The sky grows slowly darker. Stars are appearing in the twilight, first one, then another. And another. Then whole constellations. The Big Dipper. Cassiopeia. And, faint at first but growing steadily brighter, the Little Dipper. The North Star.

I mumbled something audibly about seeing the North Star.

“At least we’re not going to get lost,” Jagular says.

Ahead on Pine Island my brother calmly gathers firewood, lights a fire. The cheery flicker of the flames is mirrored in the dark water, a shining path lighting our way to camp. Somewhere off across the water a loon calls. The sail hangs overhead without doing anything at all. We keep not moving slowly toward the shore. . . .

We’ll do a very quick visit to Hayward, the largest town (pop 2500) near the Flowage.  It’s quite the recreational mecca, with hunting, fishing, snowmobile-ing and cross-country skiing headlining local activities.  Hayward is the home of the Lumberjack World Championships; the American Birkebeiner cross-country skiing race, the largest cross country ski marathon in North America (13,000 competitors); and the annual Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival – the largest mass start mountain bike race in the United States – 2500 riders.

Hayward is also home to the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.  Here’s a GE shot of the facility:

Is that a huge fish on the grounds (just above the words)?  Yup.  (Photo posted on GE by Ysmael Maseta):

Musky Landmark, National Freshwater Fishing, 10360 Hall of Fame Drive, Hayward, Wisconsin, United State

Heading back down to the Flowage:  Near where the brothers launched their boats (and near where the OD looked out at my landing) is a restaurant/resort called “The Landing.”  Catchy name, eh?

I’ll close with this shot from The Landing’s dock, posted on GE by Toben Mac (Big Banana Island is out there somewhere):

That’ll do it . . .




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Adin, Likely, Madeline and Termo, California

Posted by graywacke on April 4, 2020

 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 2477; A Landing A Day blog post number 917

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N40o 58.606’, W120o 33.791’) puts me in northeast California:

My local landing map shows four widely-spaced teeny towns:

I said “teeny,” and I mean it.  Here are the population figures:

Likely:  63
Termo:  less than 5  (occupants of one house)
Madeline:  less than 50 (occupants of 7-9 houses)
Adin:  272!

I won’t even bother with a StreetAtlas streams-only map, because nothing relevant is on the map.  But then I somehow figured out that the flat areas around my landing are known as the “Madeline Plains.” I then found this in a California Department of Water Resources a State of California reference:

Note that it says that the Plains are a “closed basin bounded by mountainous terrain.”  So, we’ll jump over to Google Earth:

In conclusion: rain that falls on my landing doesn’t really go anywhere.  OK, enough about my “watershed.”

Being as we’re way out in the boonies, I couldn’t get the Orange Dude very close to my landing (but there should be wide open spaces so he should be able to get a decent look):

I noticed a drainage ditch that practically leads right to my landing.  Here’s an oblique look:

Well, here’s what the OD sees:

See “Moon Lake” on my local landing map?  It’s a reservoir, and here’s a pic (from Realtor.com):


Before I get into the meat of the post, true confessions:  I had just completed the write-ups for Adin, Likely and Madeline, and was beginning to work on Termo.  I went to Google images for Termo, and found this:

OMG!  That’s me!  I generally manage to maintain at least a glimmer of memory about each of my posts, so that with a new landing, I can remember that I’ve been here before.  But not this time.  It’s the double whammy of more-and-more posts along with the fact that I’m not getting any younger.  Anyway, it turns out, I had an April 2015 post titled thusly: 

Likely, Madeline, Termo and Ravendale, California (but I landed in Nevada). 

Here’s my landing map from that post:


I’ve decided that I’m going to supplement my current post musings with the best of that post.

This will be a low-key post, as there’s not a lot to say about these four teeny towns.  Let’s hit ‘em alphabetically, beginning with Adin (not part of the previous post).  From Wiki:

Adin was founded in 1869 by Adin McDowell as the supply point for the mining town of Hayden in northern Lassen County, and was named for him in 1870.

Each summer, the town hosts the annual Golden State Star Party (GSSP), a gathering of 400 amateur and professional astronomers.  Most are from California, Nevada and Oregon, but some come from all across the U.S.

They gather in Adin because they have a facility that can handle everyone, but (much more importantly), there are dark skies in Adin.

Of course, there are telescopes galore, but you don’t have to have one to attend.

The GSSP website has a light pollution map, showing the dark skies near Adin.


Here’s a promo about the GSSP, put out by the San Jose Astronomical Association:

And their picture of last year’s attendees:

A bunch of happy astronomers!

Alphabetically speaking, it’s likely that the next town on the list will be Likely.  I really liked my previous Likely write-up, so here ‘tis:

As you could likely guess, this is likely to be a light weight post.  Moving from north to south, it’s likely that I will first feature Likely.  In fact, it’s definite that I will first feature Likely.  First, this, from Wiki:

Likely was initially known as South Fork, named after the South Fork of the Pit River, and was renamed when the US Post Office insisted at that time that towns could only have one-word names.

Residents were unable to agree what to name their town until a local rancher observed that they would most likely never agree upon a name, at which point someone nominated the name, “Likely”, and the name was voted in. The Likely post office opened in 1886.

Likely story.

Here are a couple of Likely photos from California-Blog.com:

It seems likely that the same sign painter got both jobs.

Right after “L” comes “M” for Madeline.  From the Exploring Lassen County’s Past website:

According to Gudde’s California Place Names, Gudde attributed the name to an emigrant girl named Madeline, who was murdered by the Indians in the 1850s.

However, there’s another (more likely) story:

In 1854, Lt. E.G. Beckwith traversed the plains while exploring for a transcontinental railroad route. Beckwith entered the Madeline Plains via a pass on the eastern side of the plains. He named this the Madeline Pass. In all probability, Beckwith named the place for his daughter, Madeline.

From Ghosttowns.com, a little more info (article by David A. Wright from Great Basin Research):

In 1902, the N-C-O Railroad reached Madeline town site. It quickly grew into an important livestock shipping center. Madeline Meadows Land and Irrigation Company was one of the largest of the companies to base themselves here, and spent considerable resources trying to colonize the valley. Postcards were circulated showing orange trees growing alongside an irrigation ditch, while a box of “locally grown” oranges were always on display at the Madeline Hotel (this author seriously doubts that oranges could be commercially or successfully grown in this high plateau region with extreme cold temperatures in winter well below zero).

Here’s a picture from my earlier post (photo by Bradford Smith):

Last (and likely least), Termo.

Here are excerpts from a Ghosttowns.com write-up by the same David Wright:

In 1899, the Nevada-California-Oregon Railroad began pushing their line north of Susansville, California. Fifty miles from the middle of nowhere, railroad construction crews began to assemble an enormous (178’ x 48’) freight house, along with other outbuildings and cottages for railroad workers at a site they chose to call Termo [so named because this was the terminus of the line, I suspect].

There was some friction within the railroad over the choosing of this site, as Madeline further north looked to be more promising. Soon, the huge freight house was known as the “$50,000 folly.” The N-C-O Railroad between Susansville and Termo was put into operation June 1, 1900. In July, 1901, Termo lost its title as the northern terminus of the N-C-O when the line was pushed on an additional 14 miles north to Madeline.

Today, Termo is still in the middle of nowhere. Only an occupied home with railroad oil and water tanks mark the spot, as well as the marked junction of the Termo-Grasshopper Road.

Here’s the pic from the earlier post:

And here’s a shot posted on GE by Brad Smith:

Termo, Lassen County, California – June 2013

It looks likely that the General Store is no more . . .

I found a bunch of nice pictures of the Madeline Plains posted on GE.  I’ll start with this, by David Goulart (also in the previous post):

madeline plains marr rd east of ravendale ca


And this, by Deadly Blue Fire:

This old shed by Scott Thompson:

And a lovely springtime shot of daffodils in the foothills at the edge of the basin by William Johnson:

And this classic Madeline Plains shot, also by Mr. Johnson:

That’ll do it . . .




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