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Florissant, Colorado

Posted by graywacke on January 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 2470; A Landing A Day blog post number 907.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N39o 12.927’, W105o 33.528’) puts me smack dab in the middle of Colorado:

My local landing map shows that I landed (of course) way out in the boonies:

Let’s take a Google Earth (GE) look:

I’m definitely in the mountains; and, you get a sneak peak at my watershed stream, Tarryall Creek.  It’s time for a streams-only map, showing that Tarryall Creek discharges to the South Platte River (22nd hit):

Although most (many?) of my readers already know this, the South Platte joins up with the North Platte to form the Platte (74th hit); on to the Missouri (439th hit).  Here’s the map:

OK, OK – and then on to the Mississippi (955th hit).

In spite of my boonie-esq landing, I happen to have pretty good GE Street View coverage of my landing:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

We got bonus coverage of Tarryall Creek as well!

As I was Google-perusing my local towns, a couple of things caught my eye in the Wiki entry for Florissant:

Florissant, Colorado, was named after Florissant, Missouri, the hometown of Judge James Castello, an early settler. The word florissant is the gerund of the French verb fleurir, which roughly means to flourish, to flower, or to blossom.

A French-English translation says that florissant means flourishing, which I guess is an OK name for a town.

I noticed the word “gerund” above.  Gerund is one of those figures of speech terms that I’m generally aware of, but really have no clue as to what it actually is.   But it was Wiki-clickable:

A gerund is any of various nonfinite verb forms in various languages; most often, but not exclusively, one that functions as a noun. In English, it has the properties of both verb and noun, such as being modifiable by an adverb and being able to take a direct object.

Geez.  No wonder I never understood it.  Wiki gives some examples:

  • Computing is fun. (gerund “computing” as Subject)
  • I like computing (gerund “computing” as Object)

Seems straightforward, but it’s not, and going further in gerund-nuance just isn’t worth my time and definitely not worth yours.

But something else also caught my eye in the Florissant Wiki entry.  The Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is just south of Florissant, which is also Wiki-clickable:

The Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is famous for the abundant and exceptionally preserved insect and plant fossils that are found in the mudstones and shales of the Florissant Formation (laid down as lake bed deposits approximately 34 million years ago).

The fossils have been preserved because of the interaction of the volcanic ash from the nearby Thirtynine Mile volcanic field with diatoms in the lake, causing a “diatom bloom,” created when silica associated with the volcanic ash creates a quick over-population of diatoms that can’t be maintained. As the diatoms fell to the bottom of the lake, any plants or animals that had recently died were preserved by the diatom falls. Fine layers of clays and muds interspersed with layers of ash form “paper shales” holding beautifully-preserved fossil animals and plants.

I studied diatoms way back in the day as a geology student, but I definitely need to refresh my memory.  “Diatom” was strangely not Wiki-clickable, so I actually had to type “diatom” into the Google search box.  Poor me . . .

It’s all coming back to me now.  From Wiki:

Diatoms are a major group of algae (specifically microalgae) found in the oceans and waterways of the world. Living diatoms make up a significant portion of the Earth’s biomass: they generate about 20 percent of the oxygen produced on the planet each year, take in over 6.7 billion metric tons of silicon each year from the waters in which they live, and contribute nearly half of the organic material found in the oceans.

Diatoms are surrounded by a cell wall made of silica; a microscopic “shell.”  The maximum life span of a diatom is about 6 days; the lifeless silica shells then settle slowly to the bottom of whatever body of water where the diatom resides.

They shells exist in a fabulous variety of shapes.  From the Colorado Science Council, this microscopic image:

From Wiki:

Also from Wiki is this close-up of a particular variety, taken with a scanning electron microscope:

Various varieties of diatoms can be differentiated based on age, climate conditions and water quality, among other factors.  Because of their abundance in sediment, they are commonly used to evaluate ancient climatic and environmental conditions.

Also – perhaps you’ve heard of diatomaceous earth.  Well, duh, it’s made entirely of diatoms!

Back to the fossil beds. I’ll start with these images of critters preserved in the lake bed sediments.  I love the idea that these are snapshots of moments from 34 million years ago:

But it’s not all about the preservation of delicate life forms in the lake bed sediments.  There are about 30 tourist-friendly petrified tree stumps (among the largest in the world); formed when lake levels rose around trees that were present along the shorelines of the lake.  The copious volcanic ash flowing into the lake surrounded the trees, killing them and eventually preserving the tree stumps. 

Here’s a picture of probably the best-preserved (and largest) tree stump (and ancient kin of a redwood):

I’ll close with a plethora of lovely photos posted on GE, mostly taken just south of Florissant.  First this, by Peter Maes:

And this, by Dave T

And this (of the same lake by Bond, Jane Bond):

And this, by John Keeran:

Yet another – this one by Mary Sandoval:

I’ll close with this, by Dan Aquino:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day


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Wenden and Salome, Arizona

Posted by graywacke on January 15, 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 2469; A Landing A Day blog post number 906.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N33o 57.270’, W113o 28.824’) puts me in SW Arizona:

My local landing map shows that I landed way out in the boonies, and it sure looks like Wenden is the only game in town:

However, zooming in a little, you see a cluster of small towns, of which titular Salome is one:

As often happens when I land in the desert, I need to go to Google Earth (GE) to see what’s going on with my drainage.  I’ll start with this oblique GE shot:

As you can see, I’ve identified that I’m in the Centennial Wash watershed (3rd hit).  How did I know this, one might ask.  Well, it’s all thanks to the Orange Dude and the Arizona DOT.  Here’s a map:

And here’s what the OD saw at the end of the bridge:

Heading out on the bridge and looking upstream, the OD could get a rather distant view of my landing:

Finally going back to StreetAtlas, here’s my streams-only map:

Centennial Wash heads south where it discharges into the Gila River (40th hit), just west of Phoenix.  As shown, the Gila discharges to the Colorado (rarely, I suspect, 187th hit), near Yuma.

As seems to be happening too frequently as I’m approaching 1000th blog post (this one is 906), I have previously featured my titular town.  Way back in December 2008 (I had just started blogging less than a month earlier), I landed near Wenden.  This was landing 1600, blog post 18.  Hmmm.  Eighteen posts in less than a month.  Evidently, I was truer to the “A Landing A Day” concept back then.

Reviewing that early post, I really didn’t say much worth repeating here.  But I did post this picture (caption below):

Wenden, Arizona:  A town noted for its hospitality

And then from the archives of Arizona State University, this 1916 Wenden family portrait (note that the cow is an honored family member):

I did quote a piece from the “Arizona Outback” website; here’s the first sentence:

Wenden, Arizona is considered the “Gateway to Alamo Lake” and home of the famous “Buzzard’s Roost.”

I followed up with this comment:

Try as I might, I can find no information on the famous “Buzzard’s Roost.”

So, way back in 2008 I couldn’t find anything on the famous Buzzard’s Roost.  But how about 2020?  So I Googled “Buzzard’s Roost Wenden Arizona,” and you’ll never guess what the second listing is.

Oh, you can guess?  Well, you’re right – it’s my 2008 A Landing A Day post.  The first listing is a write-up about a bicycle tour through the area that happens to quote the same thing about Alamo Lake and Buzzard’s Roost.

The third listing also uses the same quote.  So I’m learning nothing about Buzzard’s Roost.  Then I dug a little deeper and saw an ad for land for sale on Buzzard Roost Road, near Salome.  I put the address into GE:


So apparently there really is (was?) a Buzzard’s Roost. Digging deeper yet, I found a book entitled “Arizona in Literature,” by Mary G. Boyer (1970).  In the book is a chapter of writings by humorist Dick Wick Hall, as originally published in the Salome Sun.  One of the pieces is about Dick and others planning on building a golf course near Salome.  Here are some excerpts:

We talked it over and decided that that [i.e, building a golf course] would be a Good Way to get the Laugh on Buzzard’s Roost, the little Side Track a few miles up the line which has been laboring for Fifteen Years under the Delusion that it was a Rival of Salome and that a Post Office printed on a Map means a Town.

Buzzard’s Roost might be able to fool some of Uncle Sam’s clerks back in Washington but all of us out here know that the only way they have been able to keep the Cancellation of Stamps up to the $2.50 a Month (required by the government to keep the Post Office on the Map) is by all of them writing letters to themselves.  We figured if we got a Golf Course started at Salome, the Folks up at Buzzard’s Roost would all be so busy talking about it some of them might forget to write – and then they would lose the Post Office.  Well, that would mean 8 or 10 more people coming to Salome for their mail.

Dick goes on to talk about building the golf course.  He donated access to much of his ranch, and talked his neighbors into donating access to their land for the cause.  They got someone to make up a map of the course that they would use as a guide.  Trouble is, the map got carried around so long in someone’s pocket, that they couldn’t make out if the distances were yds (yards) or rds (rods).  They decided it must be rods. 

Well, one rod = 5.5 yards!  So they laid out one huge golf course.  Back to the narrative:

So we made the First Hole 614 Rods, up the other side of the Centennial Arroya [my watershed stream!].  Some of the holes we made 135 Rods and Upwards, like the Man [who made the map] said, some longer and some shorter.  The Longest Hole is the 14th, 847 Rods, not quite Three Miles, running from the Old Adobe Cabin and across the Ghietta Flats to Mesquite Wells.  All told, the whole Greasewood Golf Course is 6,429 Rods long – just a little over Twenty Miles.  [Greasewood is a common desert shrub.]

It took us over 3 months to get all the Brush cut along the Far a Ways [fairways, I presume] and the tin cans fixed in the Holes, but it was Well Worth it and now Salome has the only Natural Nineteen Hole Greasewood Golf Course in the Whole World.

Starting out to play a Round of Golf on our Course is an Event that takes Time and previous planning, and we generally hire an Extra Man to work in our place while we are gone or put a notice on the Door that we will be back Next Week sometime.  The only time I did get clear around, it took me Three Days and a Half and I used 31 balls.

I got word some time back from Red Katem, who owns Bermuda Ranch and is just learning.  He was out at the 11th Hole and asked me to send him out a Barrel of Water, a slab of Bacon, some Beans, and 3 dozen more Golf Balls.  Red never has got all the around yet, but he keeps trying.

One thing that’s been puzzling us is these so-called Golf Scores we see printed in some of the Papers, where it says that some golfers made it in 72 or 78, Etc.

The Man that made our Map for us was in such a hurry that he forgot to tell us how or what to count and we can’t figure out whether a score of 72 means that he made it in 72 Hours or 72 Days or used up 72 Balls going around.

Pretty funny stuff.  More about the author, Dick Wick Hall, in a bit.

But back to Buzzard’s Roost.  I figure it must have been somewhere near where Buzzard Roost Road hits the railroad tracks, a little less than 2 miles northeast of Salome.  I also figure that “famous Buzzard’s Roost” is “famous” because of Dick Wick Hall’s writings. 

Dick Wick Hall has his own Wiki entry.  The first paragraph:

Dick Wickenburg “Dick Wick” Hall (born DeForest Hall, 1877 – 1926) was an American humorist. As co-founder and initial resident of Salome AZ, he began publishing The Salome Sun, a newsletter containing tall tales and humorous prose. Hall created a variety of characters for his newsletter, the most famous being a seven-year-old frog that had never learned to swim. Excerpts from the Sun became a regular feature of The Saturday Evening Post, appearing in the magazine from 1920 until Hall’s death in 1926.

And this about his death and legacy:

He was at the peak of his fame at the time of his death.  Hall was buried in Salome. His grave was marked by a cross composed of nuggets donated by area prospectors while a statue of a large frog with a canteen strapped across its back stands nearby.  The Salome Lions Club hosts an annual “Dick Wick Hall Day” to commemorate the humorist.  Moreover, his frog is the inspiration for the Salome High School’s mascot.

And here’s the Salome High School Frog:

Wenden’s other claim to fame is that it is the “Gateway to Alamo Lake.”  Well, when I was putting the Orange Dude in position for a look at the Centennial Wash, he looked up the road away from the wash.  Here’s what he saw:

I don’t know about you, but if I were a traveler on the highway (Route 60), I might be thinking, “Oh good!  A place for us to stop for a picnic lunch!”  Well, here’s a map:

So, one half mile from that sign on the highway is another sign (in beautiful downtown Wenden), telling you to turn right.  What it doesn’t say is that you have a 30+ mile drive on a dirt road to get to the Lake!

On your way to the lake, you’d drive pasts that dark spot on the above GE map that I circled.  Here’s a close-in oblique shot of the feature:

This is obviously a volcanic feature of some sort, likely a cinder cone.  Also, you can see the lonely road to Alamo Lake going right by . . .

But it’s beautiful when you finally get there.  I’ll close with this picture of Alamo Lake posted on GE by Carlos Leon. 

That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day


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Spur, Texas (Revisited, sort of)

Posted by graywacke on January 8, 2020

Dan:   I’ve been meaning to revisit my Spur Texas post for quite some time now, so here goes.  In that post is the following:

But today, I’m stuck with Spur.  A quick look through the internet confirms two hooks:  the Heaven’s gate cult and tiny houses.  We’ll start on the dark side with Heaven’s Gate.  From Wiki, about Marshall Applewhite:

Marshall Applewhite Jr. (1931 – 1997) was an American cult leader who founded what became known as the Heaven’s Gate religious group and organized their mass suicide in 1997, claiming the lives of 39 people.

[I’m skipping much of my description of Apjplewhite’s life.  But here’s what I’m revisiting.]

In 1996, Heaven’s Gate learned of the approach of Comet Hale–Bopp and rumors of an accompanying spaceship. They concluded that this spaceship was the vessel that would take their spirits on board for a journey to another planet. Believing that their souls would ascend to the spaceship and be given new bodies, the group members committed mass suicide in their mansion.

I remember this, but mistakenly thought it involved the comet that hit Jupiter.  (That would be Shoemaker-Levy in 1994; just a couple of years before Hale Bopp.)

Here’s a cool shot of Hale Bopp from Sky & Telescope (photo by Dr. John Goldsmith):

And now, drum roll please!  Here comes the entire reason for this revisit.  My wife Jody’s father (aka my father-in-law, Austin Miller) was an excellent photographer who owned a very fancy (and expensive) Hasselblad camera – the kind that required a larger than normal film size.  He and his wife (Nan) owned a house at the Jersey shore, right on Barnegat Bay.  Well, he set up his camera on the deck of the house and took a long exposure shot of Hale-Bopp.  The picture was on film, and the only copy of it we have is framed, so here’s a photograph of the framed picture:  

Pretty cool, eh?  

(Quick word to Cheryl, a good friend and regular reader of this blog who, with her husband Dave, now owns the very same shore house:  Surprise!!]

That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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Alliance, Berea and Hemingford, Nebraska (Revisited)

Posted by graywacke on January 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 2468; A Landing A Day blog post number 904.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N42o 2.688’, W103o 2.209’) puts me in W-Cen Nebraska:

My local landing map looks a little different:

As is obvious, I have landed in the same general vicinity on two past occasions. 

I landed near the Sandhills region of Nebraska, which I have discovered has very vague drainage patterns.  Fortunately for me, I already did the necessary legwork, as drainage from landing 2424 passes right by today’s landing. 

So here’s my watershed analysis from that post:

I had to move over to Google Earth (GE) to track my very-poorly-defined drainage pathway, but eventually, I realized that I landed in the watershed of Blue Creek:


As you can see, Big Blue makes its way to the North Platte (32nd hit) [now 34th hit].

Although not shown, we all know (don’t we class?), that the North Platte joins up with the South Platte to form the Platte (71st hit) [now 73rd hit] ; on to the Missouri (433rd hit) [now 438th hit] and, of course, to the MM (939th hit) [now 954th hit].

Moving over to Google Earth (GE).  I had to go very far away (about 80 miles) to have the Orange Dude get a look at Blue Creek:

So, there are three [now four] other landings between 2424 and the Orange Dude!  And yes, 2189 and 2137 [and 2468, not shown] were also in the Blue Creek watershed. 

Here’s what he sees:

Back to now . . .

Staying with GE, I couldn’t get a decent Street View shot of my landing.  But as you can see below, there are flat agricultural areas (with the circular irrigation features) and more-interesting sandhill areas near my landing:

I put the OD in the more-interesting sandhills.  He’s not even attempting to look at my landing; this is just a general-interest shot of the sandhills:

Wow.  We’re not in NJ!  We’re lucky if a two-lane road has a 45-mph speed limit!

If you’re at all interested in learning about the sandhills, go to the search box and type in “Lewellen.”  In my Lewellen NE post, I have a very interesting and enlightening discussion of the geology (and hydrology) of the sandhill region . . .

So.  Since I’ve landed in the area twice before (and since I’m late as usual in getting this post out), I’m going to make this a Greatest Hits post by borrowing previously posted material for Alliance, Berea and Hemingford.

I might as well do them in alphabetical order. 

So what about Alliance?  Well, there’s not much to say except that it’s the home of Carhenge.  Here’s a GE shot, showing the location of Carhenge (the star):

Doesn’t look like much from here, so I’ll zoom in:

There it is, but you can see that I was distracted by the disturbing Pacman image.

Here’s a GE photo (by Mayor Snorkum):

And a close-up by Darel Chastain:

[Note that Berea NE was named after Berea OH.]

Being an Ohio boy, I checked out Berea Ohio.  From Wiki:

Berea was established in 1836. Henry O. Sheldon, a circuit rider clergy, selected Berea and Tabor as possible names for the community. The townspeople decided to simply flip a coin, and Berea won, thus becoming the town’s name.

So, a minister picked the name.  Even though Tabor lost the contest, here’s its biblical significance (from Wiki):

Mount Tabor is located in Lower Galilee, Israel, at the eastern end of the Jezreel Valley, 11 miles west of the Sea of Galilee.

In the Hebrew Bible (Joshua, Judges), Mount Tabor is the site of the Battle of Mount Tabor between the Israelite army under the leadership of Barak and the army of the Canaanite king, commanded by Sisera.

Barak, eh?  Yes, the name “Barack” has similar roots . . .

So, what about the winner – Berea.  Well, it turns out is a city in Greece, now known as Veria, and is the site of a visit by the apostle Paul.

So, I checked out Acts 17:  1-15.  I’m not big on quoting bible verses in this blog, so I won’t.  But it tells the story of Paul preaching in Thessalonica (today Thessaloniki), where some Jews and Greeks went along with Paul’s teachings, but others did not.  The anti-Paul crowd forced him out of town.

He traveled on to Berea, where he was met in similar fashion, but with a higher percentage ending up on his side.

The folks from Thessalonica who were not happy with Paul’s message traveled over to Berea where they “agitated” the crowd, and forced Paul to travel on to Athens.

Not a great “Paul” story, but evidently good enough for the good folks from Berea, Ohio.

[On to Hemingford.]

Since I landed right in town, I have no choice but to feature Hemingford.  From the town’s website:

Hemingford was first settled by Canadian immigrants in the summer of 1885. The cluster of frame and sod buildings was named in honor of Hemmingford, Canada, the settlers’ former home.

For some reason, it seems as though the Americans dropped one of the m’s.  Had to be a little different, eh?  Anyway, Hemmingford Quebec is south of Montreal, right on the New York border:

I looked for an interesting Panoramio shot in Hemmingford QC, and I found this, by Gueco8288 of a wonderful statue in a park:

For some Hemmingford history (remember, we’re in Quebec now), I found this from the town’s “unofficial” website:

Hemmingford Township QC was named for a pair of small villages, Hemingford Grey and Hemingford Abbotts in Huntingdonshire located in Cambridgeshire, England.

Interesting.  It looks like maybe the town fathers of Hemingford NE wanted to go back to the real roots of the name.  So why did the Canadians add an extra “m?”  I guess they had to be different . . 

Anyway, here’s a GE shot showing the two English villages:

To give you a feel for the area, here are a series of Panoramio shots from the two villages.  We’ll start with this by Traveling Crow (which certainly lets you know we’re not in America).  You gotta love the cat up on the roof:

Traveling Crow has another (a close-up of the chimney of the house on the right).  Is this cool, or what?

Here’s a shot by Azurian looking across the River Ouse:

And this, looking down (up?) the Ouse from Abbotts towards Grey, by Ade Smith:

Back to Traveling Crow, here’s another quintessential British house:

I’ll head back to Nebraska and close with this shot posted on GE by Lance Rowley (located about 20 miles NW of my landing):

That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day


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Bill and Lance Creek, Wyoming

Posted by graywacke on December 23, 2019

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 2467; A Landing A Day blog post number 903.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N43o 18.489’, W104o 35.143’) puts me in E-Cen Wyoming:

You can see I landed way out in the boonies:

(But only about 70 miles northeast from my Douglas Wyoming post just two landings ago).

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the Cheyenne River watershed (20th hit):

Before zooming back, I’ll zoom in using Google Earth (and a stream-identifier app) that shows that more locally, I landed in the watershed of Lance Creek:

Zooming back as promised, you can see that the Cheyenne discharges to the Missouri (437th hit):

Of course, the Big Mo can’t help itself but run into the Mighty Mississipp (953rd hit).

Hopping back on GE, you can see that I had to go about 20 miles east to get the Orange Dude’s closest look at my watershed stream (the Cheyenne).  You can also see why I didn’t bother with a Street View shot of my landing:

And here’s the OD’s view of the not-so-mighty Cheyenne:

Before leaving GE behind, I had the OD find a typical stretch of roadway and adjoining terrain for us to take a look at (even though it’s quite a distance from my landing).  Here ‘tis:

It’s time to get to know Bill.  From Wiki:

The settlement began shortly after World War I, when a doctor moved there. It was called “Bill” by the doctor’s wife due to a number of men in the area with that name. Before long, Bill had a post office and small store selling sandwiches to truckers and a country school for children from surrounding ranches.

The owner of the store even established the “Bill Yacht Club” which had no boats (let alone water) but sold hats and T-shirts to passing tourists who felt they were in on the joke

After World War II, the town’s population began to decrease and, by the 1980s, Bill was reduced to just the small store and adjacent residence. Then, after the turn of the 21st Century, the Union Pacific Railroad, which ran past Bill, decided to develop a stop at Bill for resting and changing crews. They built a small rail yard with shopping district, and the town thereafter redeveloped. The new development more than doubled Bill’s population from 5 (including pets) to 11 people in just two years.

By 2008, it had been developed much further to include a 112-room hotel and a 24-hour diner (both open to everyone but catering especially to railroaders). Also the post office and elementary school were restored (although the “post office” is now a bar). The hotel serves railroad employees as a crew-change station on the coal line running south through the area from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin coal mines. Railroad conductors, engineers, and other employees are required to stop and take mandatory rests in Bill.

Here’s the GE shot of Bill:

Here’s a GE Streetview shot of the Bill Store and the Post Office (aka downtown).

And the new hotel and restaurant:

Moving on to Lance Creek.  Although Wiki says nothing about the oil boom history of Lance Creek, other sources note that oil was discovered here in 1917, and soon, the Lance Creek oil field was the largest producing field in the Rocky Mountain region.  The town of Lance Creek boomed, reaching a population of nearly 2000 in the 1920s.  Oil production declined in the 1930s and 1940s, and the town pretty much disappeared in the 1950s. 

Wyoming Trails and Tales (.com) had these pictures:

Note that caption says that the oil from the well is being discharged into a “dammed-up gulch.”  Amazing.  Today, it’s a major environmental problem when even small amounts of oil leak onto the ground.  Back in the day, necessity demanded (at least I assume they had no choice) that they pumped thousands of gallons of bubblin’ crude into a ditch!

Here’s all that remains of Lance Creek today:

As you can see, amazingly, the GoogleMobile actually took a spin to visit the only side road in Lance Creek.  Although the Orange Dude was excited to experience some local color, he didn’t have much to see:

Wiki did have this to say about Lance Creek:

Lance Creek is the namesake of the Lance Creek Formation, a rock formation from the Late Cretaceous that has yielded fossils from a diverse number of species.

Oh boy!  Geology!  “Lance Creek Formation” was wiki-clickable:

The formation includes buff-colored sandstone and drab to green shale. It is Upper Cretaceous in age (deposited 66 – 69 million years ago, at the end of the Reign of the Dinosaurs).

The formation varies in thickness from about 300 ft. in North Dakota, to almost 2,000 ft. in parts of Wyoming.

The Lance Formation was laid down by streams, on a coastal plain along the edge of the Western Interior Seaway. The climate was subtropical; there was no cold season and probably ample precipitation.

The Western Interior Seaway was also wiki-clickable:

The Western Interior Seaway was a large inland sea that existed during the mid- to late Cretaceous period as well as the very early Paleogene, splitting the continent of North America into two landmasses, Laramidia to the west and Appalachia to the east.

The ancient sea stretched from the Gulf of Mexico and through the middle of the modern-day countries of the United States and Canada, meeting with the Arctic Ocean to the north. At its largest, it was 2,500 feet deep, 600 miles wide and over 2,000 miles long.

Back to the Lance Creek Formation:

Tens of thousands of Late Cretaceous vertebrate remains have been recovered from the Lance Creek Formation. Fossils are found in extensive bonebeds, including nearly complete, sometimes articulated dinosaur skeletons.

Other animals known from the formation include crocodiles, champsosaurs, lizards, snakes, turtles, frogs and salamanders.  Marine fossils are also found in the formation, suggesting that the sea was nearby. The bird fauna is mainly composed of orders still existing today.

Champsosaurs?  They’re semi-aquatic reptiles (meaning they lived both in and out of water), and they looked like this:

Here’s a smattering of the dinosaur species that have been found in the Lance Creek formation:












I’ll close with this shot of my watershed stream, Lance Creek, taken a mere three miles south of my landing (and posted on GE by Elifino 57):



That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day


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Corinth, Georgia

Posted by graywacke on December 12, 2019

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 2466; A Landing A Day blog post number 902.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N33o 18.695’, W84o 59.590’) puts me in W-Cen Georgia:



Here’s my local landing map:

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

And then on we go to Mountain Creek.  Zooming back:

Mountain Creek makes its way to the New River (first hit ever!); to the Chattahoochee River (4th hit).  Zooming back:

The Chattahoochee (doing its job as the boundary between Georgia & Alabama) discharges to the Apalachicola (11th hit).

Wow.  The Chattahoochee to the Apalachicola.  What a lyrical confluence.  I wonder how many 10-syllable, 25-letter confluences there are (only counting the river names)?

Moving over to Google Earth (GE), let’s see if the Orange Dude can get a decent look at my landing.  I guess so!

From a mere 80’ away,

Here’s what he sees:

From up by the South Forks Convenience Store & Service Station:

Here’s his view:

The OD headed southwest to find the spot where the Golden Creek flows into Blalock Lake (#2):

And here ‘tis:

As usual, I checked out the various towns near my landing (sorry Newnan and Grantville), but settled on teeny Corinth (pop 213 back in 2000). Here’s a GE shot:

Wiki has little to say:

The Georgia General Assembly incorporated the place in 1839 as the “Town of Corinth”.  The community’s name is a transfer from Ancient Corinth, in Greece.  A post office was established at Corinth in 1833, and remained in operation until 1914.  Corinth disincorporated on May 1, 2000.

Now I understand why I had to put up with 2000 population data.  So what about Ancient Corinth?  From Wiki:

Corinth was a city-state on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnese to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta:

The modern city of Corinth is located approximately 3 mi northeast of the ancient ruins. Since 1896, systematic archaeological investigations of the Corinth Excavations have revealed large parts of the ancient city.

For Christians, Corinth is well known from the two letters of Saint Paul in the New Testament, First and Second Corinthians.

Ancient Corinth was one of the largest and most important cities of Greece, with a population of 90,000 in 400 BC.  The Romans demolished Corinth in 146 BC, built a new city in its place in 44 BC, and later made it the provincial capital of Greece.

As you might guess, Wiki has a very lengthy article on Ancient Corinth, detailing various wars, invasions, high points, low points and earthquakes (including ones in 375 and 365 BC, which largely destroyed the city, and one in 856 AD, that killed an estimated 45,000 Corintheans; and then, in 1858, the Ancient city was destroyed once and for all, leading to the establishment of modern Corinth about 3 miles away).

Check out this cool silver coin from about 325 BC:

Here are some ruins pics from Wiki:

I figured that someone had dug a canal through the isthmus, and I was right:

From Wiki:

Several rulers of antiquity dreamed of excavating a canal through the isthmus. The first to propose such an undertaking was the tyrant Periander in the 7th century BC. The project was abandoned and Periander instead constructed a simpler and less costly overland portage road, named the Diolkos or stone carriageway, along which ships could be towed from one side of the isthmus to the other. Remnants of the Diolkos still exist next to the modern canal.

The philosopher Apollonius of Tyana prophesied that anyone who proposed to dig a Corinthian canal would be met with illness. Three Roman rulers considered the idea but all suffered violent deaths; the historian Suetonius writes that the Roman dictator Julius Caesar considered digging a canal through the isthmus but was assassinated before he could begin the project.  Caligula, the third Roman Emperor, commissioned a study in 40 AD from Egyptian experts who claimed incorrectly that the Corinthian Gulf was higher than the Saronic Gulf. As a result, they concluded, if a canal were dug the island of Aegina would be inundated. Caligula’s interest in the idea got no further as he too was assassinated before making any progress.

The emperor Nero was the first to attempt to construct the canal, personally breaking the ground with a pickaxe and removing the first basket-load of soil in 67 AD, but the project was abandoned when he died shortly afterwards. The Roman workforce, consisting of 6,000 Jewish prisoners of war, started digging 150 ft trenches from both sides, while a third group at the ridge drilled deep shafts for probing the quality of the rock (which were reused in 1881 for the same purpose).  The canal was dug to a distance of four stades – approximately 2,300 ft – or about a tenth of the total distance across the isthmus.

So anyway, in 1893 (after 11 years of work), the canal was finally completed.  Back to Wiki:

The canal experienced financial and operational difficulties after completion. The narrowness of the canal makes navigation difficult. Its high walls channel wind along its length, and the different times of the tides in the two gulfs cause strong tidal currents in the channel. For these reasons, many ship operators were unwilling to use the canal, and traffic was far below predictions.

Another persistent problem was the heavily faulted nature of the sedimentary rock, in an active seismic zone, through which the canal is cut.  The canal’s high limestone walls have been persistently unstable from the start. Although it was formally opened in July 1893 it was not opened to navigation until the following November, due to landslides.

It was soon found that the wake from ships passing through the canal undermined the walls, causing further landslides. This required further expense in building retaining walls along the water’s edge for more than half of the length of the canal, using 165,000 cubic metres of masonry.  Between 1893 and 1940, it was closed for a total of four years for maintenance to stabilise the walls. In 1923 alone, 41,000 cubic metres of material fell into the canal, which took two years to clear out.

Although the canal saves the 430 mile journey around the Peloponnese, it is too narrow for modern ocean freighters. Ships can pass through the canal only one convoy at a time on a one-way system. Larger ships have to be towed by tugs.  The canal is currently used mainly by tourist ships; around 11,000 ships per year travel through the waterway.

JFTHOI*  here’s a YouTube video of a dude flying an airplane “through” the canal.  He’s a total hot dog, doing all sorts of loops & dives between (and then under) bridges (not bad for an old guy):


*Just For The Heck Of It

I’ll close with this rare (I assume that snow is fairly rare here) shot just outside of Corinth (Georgia, not Greece), posted on GE by Gastavo Flores:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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Douglas, Wyoming

Posted by graywacke on December 5, 2019

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 2465; A Landing A Day blog post number 901.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N42o 38.670’, W105o 35.131’) puts me in Cen-SW Wyoming:

Here’s my local landing map, showing my proximity to titular Douglas:

My streams-only map puts me in the watershed of the wonderfully-named Wagon Hound Creek (aka Wagonhound Creek):

As is obvious, Wagon Hound Creek flows into the North Platte River (33rd hit).  Although not shown (you’ll have to trust me here), the North Platte unsurprisingly flows into the Platte (72nd hit) which unsurprisingly flows into the Missouri (436th hit) which even-more-unsurprisingly flows into the Mississippi (952nd hit).

From the Wagonhound Land & Livestock Co. website, this about the name of the creek:

Named for a hazardous creek crossing notorious to Texas cattle drives in the 1800’s known to have claimed many a drover’s wagon, the Wagonhound Creek flows just yards from today’s ranch headquarters.

From their website, here’s a picture of thirsty horses drinking their fill from the Wagonhound:

And I found out a little more about the name from author Henry Chappel’s website:

Wagonhound Creek, named for a rough crossing where pioneer wagons often broke their tongue-axel junctions, called “hounds.”

Heading over to Google Earth, I couldn’t get the Orange Dude any closer than about 3.5 miles:

And here’s what he sees:

I had to go a good distance east to find a suitable crossing of Wagonhound Creek:

Here’s a downstream shot:

And a cross-stream shot:

So what about Douglas?  I’ll start with this early 1900s Main Street shot:

The modern version of Douglas has a very classy website.  Here’s their homepage (OK, a portion of their homepage):

Look at the very stylistic critter below (and blending in) with the mountains.  Look closely.  There are obviously antlers, but what about the curved line streaming back just behind the antlers.  Just part of the mountains?  No.  All of the mountain accent lines are straight.  Hmmm.  Rabbit ears?

Let’s look at the entire page:

We get to see a couple of Canada geese, but more importantly, note that it says “Home of the Jackalope.”  I’ve heard of a jackalope, but was not quite sure what it is.  From the website:


Let the rest of the world take notice. Douglas, Wyoming is the one, true home of the rare, mysterious and elusive fearsome Jackalope, also known as the “warrior or killer rabbit.”

The jackalope is the result of an auspicious mating of the jackrabbit and a now extinct pygmy deer. Though their range once spread across much of the American West, their only remaining range is in the vast high plains surrounding Douglas. These antlered creatures are otherwise similar in appearance to a jackrabbit, yet capable of speeds up to 90 miles per hour.

[I was kind of ready to believe what I was reading, but 90 mph???  Continuing . . .]

Their rarity is ensured by the fact that they only breed during lightning flashes.

[OK, it’s grain of salt time . . .]

They are known for their other unique characteristics: their fondness for whiskey and their uncanny ability to mimic human sounds. This latter quality is often demonstrated by their mimicking the singing of cowboys around the campfire; and has often aided them in eluding potential captors by calling out “there it goes” to divert them in the wrong direction.

Their milk is known to have amazing aphrodisiac qualities as well as a wide range of medicinal powers. However, the females can only be milked when lulled into sleeping belly up, generally as a result of a whiskey induced stupor.

Fortunately, jackalope milk may be obtained at the Douglas Visitors Center along with hunting licenses. However, those seeking licenses should beware of the difficulty in bagging a jackalope. Besides their innate ability to blend in with their natural surroundings, licenses are only issued to those with a demonstrable I.Q. of less than 72 and are only valid between the hours of midnight and 2:00 A.M. on June 31st of each year.

While the traveler is unlikely to have the opportunity to have an actual sighting of the rare and ferocious jackalope, they will witness

its strong impact on the community. The jackalope is the prominent feature on the City seal and

logo, which testifies that “We know Jack”.  We embrace the wild and independent nature of the jackalope, and welcome visitors to share in the fun.

So anyway, it turns out that two taxidermist brothers from Douglas (Ralph & Doug Herrick) invented the Jackalope in1934, and sold an antlered rabbit as a joke.  Pretty soon, they couldn’t make enough Jackalopes to keep up with the demand, and the legend was born.

I noticed a cluster of GE photos not far north of my landing.  They were pictures of Ayres Natural Bridge.  Here’s a 1950s postcard of the bridge:

And a more recent shot, from Trip Advisor:

I’ll close with this shot posted on GE by Claude Bougeois, of a cattle drive along Wagon Hound Creek:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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Yakima, Washington

Posted by graywacke on November 26, 2019

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 2464; A Landing A Day blog post number 900.  900!!!

Dan:  Let me start out with an apology.  A Landing A Day?  Fuhgeddaboutit.  A Landing A Week?  Fuhgeddaboutit.  It’s been over two weeks.  Well, my life has been a little crazy . . .

Anyway, today’s lat/long (N46o 36.274’, W120o 5.627’) puts me in south-central Washington:

Here’s my local landing map, showing my proximity to titular Yakima:

My streams-only map puts me in an ill-defined area where I could be in the Yakima River watershed, or my drainage could go directly to the Columbia River:

A quick visit to Google Earth (GE) eliminated any doubt:


I’m looking west, right down my landing valley towards the Yakima River (6th hit; on to the Columbia (181st hit).  But what tributary valley did I land in?  Well, I rousted the Orange Dude, and sent him over to the I-82 bridge that crosses said valley:

And, setting himself up on the approach to the bridge, here’s what the OD sees:

Selah Creek!  Thanks much to the Washington DOT for letting me know that I landed in the Selah Creek watershed. 

The OD made is way carefully out to the middle of the bridge, and looked up-valley:

Hmmm.  I wonder why there are wind indicators on the bridge?  So that those crazy guys who jump off bridges with parachutes know which way the wind is blowing?  I don’t think so . . .

While I’m at it, here’s a Wiki shot of the bridge:

Since I already had the OD’s attention, I sent him to a smaller bridge over the Yakima, not too far away.  He looked downstream:

And upstream (with the GoogleMobileCam kind of taking a selfie):

There’s really not much to say about Yakima per se.  So, I went right to Wiki’s list of Notable People.  Now I don’t generally feature sports figures, but every once in a while, something catches my eye.  Well, three somethings caught my eye for Yakima:  the Kupps, the Mahres and the Stottlemeyers.  And yes, they’re all plurals.  I’ll start with the Kupps.

Wiki lists three Kupps:  Cooper, Craig and Jake, each of whom is listed as an NFL football player, and yes, they’re related.  I’ll start with grandpa Jake, born in 1941.  Between 1964 and 1975, he played offensive guard for the Cowboys, the Redskins, the Falcons and the Saints.  He was named to the Pro Bowl as a Saint in 1969.

Jake had a son Craig, born 1967.  He had a brief professional career (just 1991), playing quarterback for the Phoenix Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys.

Craig had a son Cooper, born 1993.  Cooper is a first-rate receiver for the Rams, who drafted him in 2017.

For the record, the Kupps are the only three-generational family to have each played in the NFL.

Next, the Mahre twins, Phil & Steve.  From Steve’s Wiki entry:

Steve Mahre (born May 10, 1957 in Yakima, Washington) is a former World Cup alpine ski racer and younger twin brother (by four minutes) of ski racer Phil Mahre.

Mahre won the silver medal in slalom at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, 0.21 seconds behind his more celebrated brother. He won the gold medal in giant slalom at the 1982 World Championships in Schladming, Austria.  His best finish in the overall standings was third in 1982 and fourth in 1981 (brother Phil was the overall World Cup champion in 1981, 1982, and 1983).

After nine seasons, the Mahre twins retired from the World Cup circuit following the 1984 season.

Here’s a 1984 Paraguary stamp featuring the Mahres:

After a little research, I found out that Paraguay has a long tradition of featuring Olympic athletes on stamps.  How about that . . .

So what about the Stottlemeyers?  Mel (the senior) was born in 1941 (the same year as Jake Kupp).  A brief summary from Wiki:

Melvin Stottlemyre Sr. (1941 – January 13, 2019) was an American professional baseball pitcher and pitching coach. He played for 11 seasons in Major League Baseball, all for the New York Yankees, and coached for 23 seasons, for the Yankees, New York Mets, Houston Astros, and Seattle Mariners. He was a five-time MLB All-Star as a player and a five-time World Series champion as a coach.

Mel Jr. had a less-than-notable major league career.  After several years with the Minors, he got his chance in 1990 with the Royals.  He played for them in 1990 only, pitched 31 innings and had an 0-1 record with 14 strikeouts.  In the 2000s, he has managed to put together a consistent career as a Major League pitching coach.

Without Mel Jr. I wouldn’t have featured Mel Sr.  It goes without saying that without Mel Sr., Mel Jr. had no chance . . .

Leaving sports behind, let’s move on to Mary Jo Estep.  From Wiki:

Mary Jo Estep (1909  —  1992) was a Bannock Indian child survivor of the Battle of Kelley Creek, “the last massacre” of Native Americans in the United States, in 1911.

The Battle of Kelley Creek was Wiki-clickable:

The Battle of Kelley Creek, also known as the Last Massacre, is often considered as the last known massacre carried out between Native Americans and forces of the United States, and was a closing event to occur near the end of the American Indian warfare era.

Mike Daggett, or Shoshone Mike, was the chief of a small Shoshone band.  In the spring of 1910, he led his group of eleven off the Fort Hall Reservation at Rock Creek, Idaho. In January 1911 the Daggett party was running low on food, so they abducted and butchered some cattle belonging to a local rancher. A sheepherder named Bert Indiano witnessed the event and alerted the people of Surprise Valley, California, who sent a posse of four men to investigate the incident and protect the ranch.

The Daggetts had apparently realized the posse would be coming to find them, so when the posse entered a canyon, the natives opened fire with rifles and pistols, killing all four of them. The bodies were allegedly picked clean and found with numerous gunwounds on a creekbed, weeks later.

The Nevada and California State Police organized a posse to find the suspects.  A large cash bounty was promised to anyone who managed to arrest or kill the fugitives.

Donnelly’s posse included at least five policemen, a few armed civilians, and the “county coroner and physician.  On February 25 (two weeks into their search) the posse found Daggett and his family hiding in an area known as Kelley Creek, northeast of Winnemucca NV. It is unclear which side shot first, but a battle erupted that lasted for around three hours.

The women reportedly fought equally alongside the men. Father and chief Mike Daggett was one of the first casualties during the battle, but his death only made the members of his family desperately fight back harder even as they were inevitably forced back.

At some point during the conflict the remaining Daggetts had run out of ammunition for their guns and were forced to resort to bows, spears and tomahawks. By the end of the battle only four of the original twelve Dagget family members were still alive: a sixteen-year-old girl and three young children.   One member of the posse was mortally wounded during the fight.

By 1913, The sixteen year old and two of the younger children had died of natural causes, and only one of the survivors, Mary Jo Estep was still alive.  The reward offered to anyone who could catch or kill the Daggett party was initially denied to the posse, but the case was later settled in favor of the posse by the Supreme Court.

Wow.  What a story . . .

Next comes Floyd Paxton.  Wiki doesn’t have much to say:

Floyd Paxton (1918 – 1975) was a manufacturer of ball bearings during World War II and later inventor of the bread clip, a notched plastic tag used for sealing bags of bread worldwide.

Paxton conceived the notion of the bread clip when he was flying in 1952; this resulted later in him founding the company Kwik Lok, in Yakima, Washington.

And yes, Yours Truly looked at a loaf of bread in his kitchen (on top of the microwave, where he keeps his bread) and found this:

It’s time for Gary Puckett.  All of you Boomers out there in the ALAD nation (probably the majority of my readers), should know Gary Puckett.  He of the “Gary Puckett and the Union Gap” fame.  OK, Boomers . . .

I didn’t like them back then, and I don’t like them now.  But I found a video of their two biggest hits, “Young Girl” and “Lady Will Power.”  Hang in there for at least few seconds to get the sense of late 60s pop music outside the stuff that I really liked:  the Beatles, the Stones, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Crosby Stills and Nash, Simon & Garfunkle, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, etc., etc:


Oh, and yea.  “Union Gap” is a community just south of Yakima:

My last Yakima native is one Arvo ojala.  From Wiki:

Arvo Ojala (1920 – 2005) was a Hollywood technical advisor on the subject of quick-draw with a revolver.  He also worked as an actor; his most famous role was that of the unnamed man shot by Marshal Matt Dillon in the opening sequences of the long-running television series Gunsmoke. Here’s the video:


Now wait a second on two counts.  First, how our ideas of politically correct have changed!  It’s OK for our hero to shoot some dude on the street!  And secondly:  it appears that he’s unarmed!

As a joke on the producers, James Arness and Arvo actually did the opener thusly:


I broke out laughing while sitting alone in my kitchen . . .

Time for some Yakima-area photos posted on GE.  I’ll start with this shot of a valley just north of my landing where the water heads towards the Columbia (by Kenny Collins):

I’ll close with this, of theYakima River shot by Aaron Bender:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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A Plethora of Towns in West-Central Michigan

Posted by graywacke on November 9, 2019

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 2463; A Landing A Day blog post number 899.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N43o 40.577’, W85o 47.964’) puts me in west-central Michigan:

Here’s my local landing map:

Egads!  Thatsallotta little towns!

Here’s my streams-only map, showing that I landed in the watershed of the S Br of the White River (2nd hit); on to the White River (2nd hit); on to Lake Michigan (40th hit).  Of course, Lake Michigan’s water makes its way to Lake Huron, to Lake Erie, to Lake Ontario, and then, finally, to the St. Lawrence River (113th hit).

Although I landed in the woods (so a clear view of my landing on StreetView won’t be possible), I was able to put the Orange Dude pretty close:

And here’s what he sees:

I had the OD head south (to just south of White Cloud) to get a look at the South Branch of the White River.  Trouble is, here’s what he sees:

Hmmm.  You can see the problem – according to my StreetAtlas streams-only map, this should be the South Branch of the White River.  Oh, well . . .

So let me tell you.  At this juncture, I would usually say something like “I spent an inordinate amount of time checking out each of the small towns you can see on my local landing map.”  This statement is certainly true, but I feel like I have never spent as much fruitless time pouring over Wikipedia entries, looking for something.  Anything.  But, sorry west-central Michigan.  You are veritably:


However.  As you’ll see below, as I started actually writing this post, some of these apparently hookless towns somehow developed some at-least-quasi-hooks.  So, here goes:

White Cloud

From Wiki:

White Cloud (pop 1400) is designated a trail town by the North Country Trail Association.

The North Country Trail was wiki-clickable:

The North Country National Scenic Trail, generally known as the North Country Trail or simply the N.C.T., is a footpath stretching approximately 4,600 miles from Crown Point in eastern New York to Lake Sakakawea State Park in central North Dakota.   As of early 2019, 3,129 miles (5,036 km) of the trail is in place.

Here’s a map:

How about that.  I’ve never heard of this trail, but here it is.  Too bad it’s missing 1,500 miles . . .


From Wiki:

During the first half of the 20th century, it was one of the few resorts in the country where African-Americans were allowed to vacation and purchase property, before discrimination was outlawed through the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Called the “Black Eden of Michigan”,from 1912 through the mid-1960s, Idlewild was an active year-round community and was visited by well-known entertainers and professionals from throughout the country.  The list included Della Reese, Al Hibbler, Bill Doggett, Jackie Wilson, T-Bone Walker, George Kirby, The Four Tops, Roy Hamilton, Brook Benton, Choker Campbell, Lottie “the Body” Graves, the Rhythm Kings, Sarah Vaughan, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Fats Waller, and Billy Eckstein.

At its peak, it was one of the most popular resorts in the Midwest and as many as 25,000 would come to Idlewild in the height of the summer season to enjoy camping, swimming, boating, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, roller skating, and night-time entertainment. When the 1964 Civil Rights Act opened up other resorts in many states to African-Americans, Idlewild’s boomtown period subsided.


Wiki notes that Morley is the hometown of one Maude Farris-Luse, “supercentarian.”  It turns out that Ms. Farris-Luse was born in 1887 and died in 2002, at the age of 115.  This puts her at #19 on the U.S. all-time list.  Interesting factoids:

  • Of the top 99, three (all currently 114) are still alive, and could threaten to move our Maude down the list a notch or two (or three).
  • Of the top 99, an amazing 93 are women!

Big Rapids

For some reason, Big Rapids doesn’t show up on my local landing map.  It’s located due east of my landing, under the “131B” highway label on my local landing map. 

Anyway, Big Rapids was featured in an April 2009 ALAD post.  From that post:

The significant town in the vicinity is Big Rapids. We’ve all heard of Grand Rapids, but Big Rapids? Well, it’s a decent-sized town (pop 11,000). It turns out that Grand Rapids is named because of rapids on the Grand River. Big Rapids is named because of big rapids on the Muskegon River.

I then quoted the town’s website:

The early history of Big Rapids [and in fact this whole area] was associated with the logging industry. The Muskegon River was used as a transportation artery moving logs downstream to the mills located in Muskegon. Swift currents near the City’s present location were referred to by early lumbermen as “the big rapids” and was adopted as the name of the City.

I closed that post with this:

I hate to admit it, but I can’t find much else . . .Oh well.


From the town’s website:

At the town’s organizational meeting in 1870, they wanted to name the township for the earliest settler and a Civil War veteran, John Smith.  But Smith was such a common name that the honor passed to Frank Everts as the next settler (and also a veteran) in the township.

Everts’ name was misspelled and that misspelling was allowed to stand.

Oh, come on!  The misspelling was allowed to stand!?!  Doesn’t say much for the English-language skills of the founders . . .

Evart has a classy website:

Great drone shot!  I wonder why all those people are on Main Street?  My guess is that the 4th of July (or Memorial Day) parade is getting ready to start . . .

Oceana County

I landed in Newaygo County (presumably named after an Ojibwe Chief, Nuwagon who signed the Treaty of Saginaw in 1819, which ceded more than six million acres of Indian land to the US government, “reserving several smaller tracts for Indian use in the ceded territory.”  I wonder how that worked out for the Indians?).

But anyway, west of Newago County is Oceana County, which includes the lake shore region.  From ReferenceDesk.com:

Oceana County is thought to be named for Lake Michigan, a freshwater “ocean.” However, some apparently have speculated that the name may be related to the title of a controversial 1656 book by James Harrington, The Commonwealth of Oceana.

I’m not buying that the county was named “Oceana” because of Lake Michigan.  Every settler in this area knew that Lake Michigan was not an ocean.  So that leaves the 1656 book.  Let’s check it out.

I found an article entitled “Commonwealthmen” by Clement Fatovic.  In it, he defines Commonwealthmen as “British political writers of the late-17th and 18th centuries who championed the cause of limited government, individual freedom, and religious toleration.”

From the article:

The 17th-century English republican James Harrington’s fictionalized Commonwealth of Oceana (1656) was a touchstone for many Commonwealthmen. Harrington argued that the independence of citizens ultimately depends on their ownership of sufficient land and use of their own arms. In order to prevent tyranny arising from abuses of power or concentrations of wealth, Harrington recommended a balanced or mixed, government of law, not of men.

[This sounds like the credo of the traditional conservative, except the part about concentration of wealth . . . ]

Inspired by these and other ideas found in Harrington’s work, Commonwealthmen generally opposed the establishment of a standing army; favoured the use of the secret ballot; supported the exclusion of privileged officeholders dependent on ministerial appointment; and advocated rotation in office, preferably through annual elections.

So there’s your choice.  Oceana County was named by a geographically-challenged uncreative nincompoop; or by an erudite, well-read, principled Commonwealthman.

Stony Lake

From a history of Stony Lake from StonyLakePropertyOwners.com:

Much of the early 20th century history of Stony Lake was documented by Shelby photographer Harlo Elliott, who sold his distinctive work as postcards, easily identified by an “e” with a circle around it, and his handwritten captions.

The card pictured here is a good example of Elliot’s eye for composition and subject, and for the beauty of Stony Lake:

OK, I must break in here, editorially speaking.  Sure, it’s a nice picture of a boat on Stony Lake, but where’s the sail?  Or the oars?  Or any visible means of propulsion?  And, it appears that the boat is just sitting there, not moving at all.  My guess is that the picture is posed – the photographer’s on the dock, and the boat was gently pushed off . . .

Back to the article:

Perhaps the most colorful character in Stony Lake history was Charlie Jameson, a Toledo grifter, rumrunner, bootlegger and racketeer who had ties to the notorious Detroit Purple Gang. He married a Shelby woman and built a cottage on the northeast end of the lake in 1922. He brought liquor across Michigan to Stony Lake and shipped it out from the channel on Lake Michigan to customers throughout the Midwest. Many stories are told about Charlie’s business sense, his fishing obsession, and his generosity to area residents.

So, ol’ Charlie was one of that rare breed of criminal:  a really great guy . . .

So what about the Detroit Purple Gang that Charlie apparently cozied up to?

Detroit Purple Gang

From Wiki:

The Purple Gang, also known as the Sugar House Gang, was a criminal mob of bootleggers and hijackers, with predominantly Jewish members. They operated in Detroit, Michigan during the 1920s and came to be Detroit’s dominant criminal gang, but ultimately excessive violence, arrogance and in-fighting caused the gang to destroy itself in the 1930s.

[Oh my.  I wasn’t aware of Jewish mobsters . . .]

Liquor became illegal in Michigan in 1917, three years before national Prohibition.  Henry Ford desired a sober workforce, so he backed the state law that prohibited virtually all possession, manufacture, or sale of alcohol starting in 1918.  Detroit is close to Ohio, so bootleggers and others would import liquor from Toledo where it was still legal.  Judges took a lenient view of offenders, and the Michigan prohibition act was declared unconstitutional in 1919.

In 1920, the Eighteenth Amendment was adopted, and prohibition took effect throughout the United States.  Canada became a major point for running alcohol products, particularly the city of Windsor, Ontario directly across the Detroit River from Detroit. This was partly because the Canadian government had also banned the use of alcoholic beverages but still approved and licensed distilleries and breweries to manufacture and export alcohol.

[Those pesky Canadians!]

Detroit’s immigrant neighborhoods were stricken with poverty like most major cities at the beginning of the 20th century, and some became breeding grounds for crime and violence.  For the most part, gang members were the children of Jewish immigrants, primarily from Russia and Poland, who had come to the United States in the great immigration wave from 1881 to 1914.  The gang was led by brothers Abe, Joe, Raymond, and Izzy Bernstein, who had moved to Detroit from New York City.

The Purple Gang started off as petty thieves and extortionists, but they quickly progressed to more violent crimes such as armed robbery.  They received notoriety for their operations and savagery, and they imported gangsters from other cities to work as “muscle” for the gang.

There are numerous theories as to the origin of the name “Purple Gang”. One explanation is that a member of the gang was a boxer who wore purple shorts during his bouts.  Another explanation is that the name came from a conversation between two shop keepers:

“These boys are not like other children of their age, they’re tainted, off color.”

“Yes,” replied the other shopkeeper. “They’re rotten, purple like the color of bad meat, they’re a Purple Gang.”

Their reputation for terror increased, and people began to fear them. Al Capone was against expanding his rackets in Detroit, so he began a business accommodation with the Purple Gang in order to prevent a bloody war.

For several years, the gang managed the prosperous business of supplying Canadian whisky to the Capone organization in Chicago.  The Purple Gang was involved in various criminal enterprises, such as kidnapping other gangsters for ransom, which had become very popular during this era, and the FBI suspected that they were involved with the Lindbergh baby kidnapping.

[Say what?  The Lindbergh baby kidnapping!  It just so happens that I live within a few miles of the scene of that crime, and featured the kidnapping in a marvelous ALAD post.  Just type Little Falls (that would be Little Falls, Minnesota, Charles’ hometown) into the search box.]

By the late 1920s, the Purple Gang reigned supreme over the Detroit underworld, controlling the city’s vice, gambling, liquor, and drug trade.

Wiki goes on and on, discussing the various nefarious goings-on with the infamous Purple Gang.  As mentioned above: “But ultimately excessive violence arrogance and in-fighting caused the gang to destroy itself in the 1930s.”  Back to Wiki:

The Mafia [perhaps you’ve heard of them] stepped in to fill the vacuum left behind.

Time to close this down, with a lovely shot posted on GE by Stephanie Craft of Indian Lake, just one mile SW of my landing:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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Lockwood, California

Posted by graywacke on November 1, 2019

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 2462; A Landing A Day blog post number 898.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N35o 58.449’, W121o 7.395’) puts me in central coastal California:

Here’s my local landing map:

One might think that “central coastal California” would be a relatively populated area.  But my local landing map belies one’s surmise.  After all, the four towns on my map have the following populations:  Lockwood (379); San Lucas (269); San Ardo (517). Jolon (teeny, not reported).

Before moving on, I must highlight my turn of phrase:  “belies one’s surmise.”  According to the generic Google dictionary, a synonymous phrase might be something like “calls into question one’s supposition that initially appears to be true.”

Of course, the fact that it’s a rhyme is sublime.

My watershed analysis:

Although not apparent, I landed in the watershed of the San Antonio River (which is manifested by the San Antonio Reservoir on the map – first hit ever!); on to the Salinas River (only my second hit). 

See the gap in the river course?  That’s because almost always, the river dries up for a substantial portion of its length – due primarily to the use of water for irrigation.

And an interesting sidelight involves that S-shaped estuary you can see on the streams-only map just north of the mouth of the Salinas.  This is the historic location of the mouth of the Salinas (it’s now known as the Elkhorn Slough).  The internet presents three possible scenarios for this relocation:  1) farmers filled in the lower course of the river in the early 1900s to create more farm land, re-routing the river to discharge further south; 2) the 1906 earthquake shifted the land so much that the river changed course; or 3) a combination of the two.

Moving on to Google Earth (GE), here’s where I could place the Orange Dude to get a look at my landing location:

And here’s what the OD sees:

I was also able to find a bridge over the San Antonio River with Street View coverage:

Here’s a lovely upstream view:

And a lovely downstream view:

So of course, I checked out the four potentially-titular towns, and as you can tell by my eventual title, I found only one hook.  Let’s get a GE look at Lockwood:

Not much, eh?  To be fair, this is the central intersection only, and the “town” includes a larger area (thus the population of 379 hardy souls).  But here where GE puts the dot on the map, there are only four residential properties, an elementary school and a mobile home park, the “Valley Oaks Mobile Home Park:”

What does Wiki have to say?  Not much:

Lockwood is in southern Monterey County and is a small community consisting of farms, ranches, and vineyards, on a vast prairie encompassed by the coastal mountains.

The first post office opened in 1888.  The name honors Belva Lockwood, candidate for President of the United States in 1884 and 1888 on the Equal Rights Party ticket.

Belva was Wiki-clickable, but I quickly skated over to a piece on the National Women’s Hall of Fame website (and yes, she’s an honoree).  From that website:

Belva Lockwood (1830-1917) began to teach school at fifteen and married at nineteen. When her husband died soon after, she was left with an infant daughter to support. She returned to teaching and determined to continue her education.

In 1857 she graduated with honors from Genesee College (later Syracuse University). After a move to Washington, D.C., she married Ezekiel Lockwood. She was nearly forty when she decided to study the law. She finally found a law school (what is now the George Washington University Law School) that would admit her, but even there her diploma was held up until she demanded action.

Lockwood was admitted to the bar of the District of Columbia, but was refused admission to practice before the Supreme Court. She spent five years energetically lobbying a bill through Congress, and in 1879 Belva Lockwood became the first woman to practice law before the US Supreme Court.

In 1884 she accepted the nomination of the National Equal Rights Party and ran for president. She polled over 4,000 votes and ran again in 1888.

Using her knowledge of the law, she worked to secure woman suffrage, property law reforms, equal pay for equal work, and world peace. Thriving on publicity and partisanship, and encouraging other women to pursue legal careers, Lockwood helped to open the legal profession to women.

Wow.  That’s a helluva resume, eh?

A quick word about the 1884 and 1888 elections.  In 1884, in a very close election, Grover Cleveland (Democrat, back when Democrats were the conservatives) squeaked by James Blaine (Republican I never heard of) by 4,914,482 to 4,856,905 votes (219 vs 182 in the absolutely-stupid-to-this-day Electoral College). 

In 1888, Grover ran again, but this time he was beaten by Benjamin Harrison.  Grover won the popular vote, but for the third time in US History, lost the election based on the absolutely-stupid-to-this-day Electoral College, (233 vs 168).

Just for the record (even though Belva wasn’t running this time), in 1892, Grover won both the popular vote and the absolutely-stupid-to-this-day Electoral College vote – beating Benjamin Harrison.

So here’s an interesting query when you’re socializing with friends or family:  Name the presidential candidate (not named Roosevelt) who won the popular vote for president in three consecutive elections . . .

It’s that time for me to search GE looking for posted pictures to post in my post.  But alas (and alack), I couldn’t find any worthy candidates within a reasonable distance from my landing.  But I did find a GE Street View shot of this barn in Lockwood:

I must confess that I made some adjustments using a photo editor . . .

That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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