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Lawton and Geronimo, Oklahoma

Posted by graywacke on September 10, 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 2456; A Landing A Day blog post number 892.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N34o 33.843’, W98o 19.333’) puts me in SW Oklahoma:

My very local landing map shows that I landed just outside titular (and major city) Lawton:

Where’s Geronimo?  Here’s Geronimo:

You can see that I landed in the Ninemile Creek watershed:

On to the East Cache Creek.  Zooming back:

Unsurprisingly, the E Cache flows into the Cache, and after a short trip, there’s the Red River of the South (67th hit).  Although not shown, all of my regulars know that the Red discharge (more or less) discharge to the Atchafalaya (74th hit).

Here’s a Google Earth (GE) shot that shows that I landed right in a small subdivision:

Of course, I was keeping my fingers crossed as I yanked the Orange Dude from his perch on the side of the map, thereby generating the blue lines that show where he’s allowed to visit.  Here’s what I saw:



AYKM?  The Googlemobile dude drove into the subdivision, but didn’t take the extra three minutes to complete the outside loop!  Usually, I’m pleasantly surprised by the extent of GE Street View coverage.  Not this time. . .

Here’s a close-in GE shot showing that I landed at the end of the driveway for 350 Southeast Lasso Loop, Lawton OK:

What’s the chance that the folks that live here will ever see this post?  Pretty slim, eh?

Here’s where the OD could get a decent look at Ninemile Creek:

And here’s what he sees:

Sorry about the blurry shot, but this is a 2008 Street View photo.  Picture quality has improved greatly over the last 11 years.  Here’s the view in the other direction (upstream):

I felt like I had to make Lawton titular, given its size (pop 100,000; the fifth-largest city in Oklahoma) and proximity.

I don’t have much to say about Lawton.  I did note under “Notable People,” the fact that singer / song writer / studio musician Leon Russell (1942 – 2016) was born here.  He worked with many famous musicians, including Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Elton John, the Rolling Stones, George Harrison, the Beach Boys, Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, the Band, B.B. King, the Byrds, Barbra Streisand and Glen Campbell (and I’m sure I missed several others).

I saw Leon Russel in a February 2016 concert in Sellersville PA.  He died later that same year . . .

His most famous song is “A Song for You” (1970).  Here’s a 1971 live version:


I’m ready to move along to Geronimo (pop 1,300).  There’s not much to say about Geronimo, except that (of course), it’s named after the famous Indian warrior of the same name.

True confessions.  I don’t know anything about Geronimo.  So it’s about time that I learned, eh?  From Wiki:

Geronimo (“the one who yawns,”) June 1829 – February 17, 1909) was a prominent leader and medicine man from the Bedonkohe band of the  Chiricahua Apache tribe. From 1850 to 1886 Geronimo joined with members of three other Chiricahua Apache bands — the Tchihende, the Tsokanende and the Nednhi — to carry out numerous raids, as well as resistance to U.S. and Mexican military campaigns in the northern Mexico states of Chihuahua and Sonora, and in the southwestern American territories of New Mexico and Arizona. Geronimo’s raids and related combat actions were a part of the prolonged period of the Apache–United States conflict, which started with American settlement in Apache lands following the end of the war with Mexico in 1848.

While well known, Geronimo was not a chief among the Chiricahua Apaches.  However, since he was a superb leader in raiding and warfare he frequently led large numbers of men and women beyond his own following. At any one time, about 30 to 50 Apaches would be following him.

During Geronimo’s final period of conflict from 1876 to 1886 he “surrendered” three times and accepted life on the Apache reservations in Arizona.  Reservation life was confining to the free-moving Apache people, and they resented restrictions on their customary way of life.

In 1886, after an intense pursuit in Northern Mexico by U.S. forces that followed Geronimo’s third 1885 reservation “breakout,” Geronimo surrendered for the last time to Lt. Charles Bare Gatewood, an Apache-speaking West Point graduate who had earned Geronimo’s respect a few years before.

Geronimo was later placed under General Nelson Miles.  Miles treated Geronimo as a prisoner of war in Arizona.

While being held as a prisoner, the United States capitalized on Geronimo’s fame among non-Indians by displaying him at various events. For the United States, this provided proof of the superiority of American ways. For Geronimo, it provided him with an opportunity to make a little money.

In 1898, for example, Geronimo was exhibited at the Trans-Mississippi and International Exhibition in Omaha, Nebraska. Following this exhibition, he became a frequent visitor to fairs, exhibitions, and other public functions. He made money by selling pictures of himself, bows and arrows, buttons off his shirt, and even his hat. In 1905, the Indian Office provided Geronimo for the inaugural parade for President Theodore Roosevelt.

He died at the Fort Sill hospital in 1909, as a prisoner of war. Geronimo is buried at the Fort Sill Indian Agency Cemetery surrounded by the graves of relatives and other Apache prisoners of war.

For reasons that will soon be clear, I’m going to do a quick check-in with Billy the Kid.  From Wiki:

Billy the Kid (born Henry McCarty in 1859); also known as William Bonney; died 1881 at age 21) was an American Old West outlaw and gunfighter who killed at least eight men before he was shot and killed at age 21.

McCarty was orphaned at age 14. The owner of a boarding house gave him a room in exchange for work. His first arrest was for stealing food at age 16 in late 1875. Ten days later, he robbed a Chinese laundry and was arrested, but he escaped only two days later. He fled from New Mexico Territory into neighboring Arizona Territory, making him both an outlaw and a federal fugitive. In 1877, McCarty began to refer to himself as “William H. Bonney.”

After murdering a blacksmith during an altercation in August 1877, Bonney returned to New Mexico, where he joined a group of cattle rustlers. He became a well-known figure in the region when he joined a militia group and took part in the Lincoln County War. In April 1878, his militia killed three men, including Lincoln County Sheriff William J. Brady and one of his deputies. Bonney and two other militia members were later charged with killing all three men.

Bonney’s notoriety grew in December 1880 when the Las Vegas Gazette in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and The Sun in New York City carried stories about his crimes.  Sheriff Pat Garrett captured Bonney later that month.

In April 1881, Bonney was tried and convicted of the murder of Brady, and was sentenced to hang in May of that year. He escaped from jail on April 28, 1881, killing two sheriff’s deputies in the process and evading capture for more than two months. Garrett shot and killed Bonney—aged 21—in Fort Sumner NM on July 14, 1881.

Wiki has a lengthy entry entitled “The Legend of Billy the Kid:”

More has been written about Billy the Kid than any other gunslinger in the history of the American West, while hundreds of books, motion pictures, radio and television programs and even a ballet have been inspired by his legend.

When he was still alive, “Billy the Kid” had already become a nationally known figure whose exploits, real and imaginary, were reported in the National Police Gazette and the large newspapers of the eastern United States. After his death on July 14, 1881, all of New York City’s papers ran his obituary, and within days, newspapers around the United States were printing exaggerated and romanticized accounts of Billy the Kid’s short career.

In the fifteen or so dime novels about his criminal career published between 1881 and 1906, the Kid was an outlaw antihero, customarily depicted as a badman with superior gunslinging skills, or even as a demonic agent of Satan who delighted in murder.

So now imagine that not long before he was killed, Billy the Kid met up with Geronimo in Lordsburg NM. Geronimo would have been about 50 years old at the time, with his notorious years behind him.

Amazingly, a couple of musically-inclined gents (Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore) wrote and recorded a song about that chance meeting.  The words are posted after the video:


There is an old story in New Mexico
Bout the night Billy the Kid met Geronimo
In a Lordsburg barroom they spoke their mind
One hand on their pistols and cold blood in their minds.

Billy the Kid said to Geronimo
“My mother died young and left me all alone
“So I grew up wild, my gun my best friend
“I killed 21 men and I’d kill them all again.”

Geronimo said “I’ve got no place to hide.
“The land of my birth, I don’t recognize.
“There’s barbed wire and railroads towns without end
“My people are scattered like leaves in the wind.”

Billy the Kid said, “We’re just the same
“We’re cursed and we’re damned as they whisper our name,
“We’re hunted, we’re hated, we’re feared and reviled,
“By every God-fearing man, woman and child.”

Geronimo said, “No, we’re not the same
“All the harm that I’ve done, I feel great shame
“But I fought for my family, my tribe and my land
“But we’ll pay the same price for the blood on our hands.”

As the morning sun rose and the coyotes cried
And the Chiricahua and the outlaw said good-bye
And rode cross the desert their separate
One prison-bound and other to his young grave.

By the way – there is no historical record of such a meeting.  So, add this to the legend . . .

I’ll close with this shot of the erstwhile Valley View church (from about 15 miles SE of my landing) posted on GE by g smallwood:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day


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Barnhart (and the Permian Basin), Texas

Posted by graywacke on September 3, 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 2455; A Landing A Day blog post number 891.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N31o 9.569’, W101o 5.326’) puts me in W-Cen Texas:

My very local landing map shows that I landed just outside titular Barnhart:

Here’s my not-so-very local landing map, showing:  1) plenty of small towns, and 2) that San Angelo is the big town around:

The circled towns have been featured in two previous posts.  From one of them (my Iraan post) comes the following gem:

The name has nothing to do with the country of Iran. Oil was discovered on the ranch of Ira Yates and a contest was held to name the town that would soon materialize. Ira’s wife was named Ann. A woman (Mary Louise Lewis Hardgrave) combined the two names [although she dropped an “n”] and won a town lot as a prize.  She later sold the lot for $1,000.

My streams-only map shows (kind of) that I landed in the watershed of Spring Creek; on to the South Concho River (4th hit); to the Concho (7th hit); to the Colorado (30th hit; no, not that Colorado!).

I have pretty decent Google Earth (GE) Street View coverage:

My oil-patch-savvy readers can tell that I landed in the oil patch!  (All of those white patches are where oil wells are located.]

Here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

I found a fairly close-by place for the OD to get a look at my drainageway:

I wasn’t sure of the name of the Creek (since my Street Atlas map doesn’t pick up Spring Creek until quite a few miles further east).  But the good ol’ Texas DOT came to the rescue (as seen by the OD):

And Spring Creek is quite lovely.  A downstream look:

And upstream:


Of course, I checked out all of the local towns (not counting the towns I already covered in previoius posts), and of course, I couldn’t find much.  But I did find an August 2013 Guardian piece by Suzanne Goldberg  featuring Barnhart that caught my attention.  Here are some excerpts:


Fracking boom sucks away precious water from beneath the ground, leaving cattle dead, farms bone-dry and people thirsty

by Suzanne Goldberg in Barnhart, Texas

Beverly McGuire saw the warning signs before the town well went dry: sand in the toilet bowl, the sputter of air in the tap, a pump working overtime to no effect. But it still did not prepare her for the night last month when she turned on the tap and discovered the tiny town where she had made her home for 35 years was out of water.

“The day that we ran out of water I turned on my faucet and nothing was there and at that moment I knew the whole of Barnhart was down the tubes,” she said, blinking back tears. “I went: ‘dear God help us. That was the first thought that came to mind.”

Across the south-west, residents of small communities like Barnhart are confronting the reality that something as basic as running water, as unthinking as turning on a tap, can no longer be taken for granted.

Three years of drought, decades of overuse and now the oil industry’s outsize demands on water for fracking are running down reservoirs and underground aquifers. And climate change is making things worse.

The town — a gas station, a community hall and a taco truck – sits in the midst of the great Texan oil rush, on the eastern edge of the Permian Basin.

A few years ago, it seemed like a place on the way out. Now McGuire said she can see nine oil wells from her back porch, and there are dozens of RVs parked outside town, full of oil workers.

But soon after the first frack trucks pulled up two years ago, the well on McGuire’s property ran dry.

Water levels were dropping in his wells because of the vast amounts of water being pumped out of the Edwards-Trinity-Plateau Aquifer, a 34,000 sq mile water-bearing formation.

“They are sucking all of the water out of the ground, and there are just hundreds and hundreds of water trucks here every day bringing fresh water out of the wells,” Owens said.

“If you’re going to develop the oil, you’ve got to have the water,” said Larry Baxter, a contractor from the nearby town of Mertzon, who installed two 20,000-gal tanks on his land earlier this year, hoping to make a business out of his well selling water to oil industry.

By his own estimate, his well could produce enough to fill up 20 or 30 water trucks for the oil industry each day. At $60 (£39.58) a truck, that was $36,000 a month, easily. “I could sell 100 truckloads a day if I was open to it,” Baxter said.

Very briefly (and this will be in my own words with zero research), fracking is a method to create fractures in an otherwise tight oil-bearing geological formation.  Witihout fracking, little or no oil will flow to a well.  With fracking, suddenly the well can become very productive.  Fracking involves pumping fluids (mostly water) down the well at extremely high pressures.  This opens up fractures in the rock.  And then, some sort of sand-like material is also pumped down the wells.  This material (through which oil can readily move) flows into the fractures, and props them open.

According to the American Geosciences Institute, each fracked well requires anywhere from 1.5 to 16 million gallons of water.

Wow.  I had no fracking idea fracking used so much water.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I must say that I’m generally pro-fracking, in spite of environmental concerns (although this high water use pushes me back a little).  I feel like the energy-independence that fracking provides outweighs environmental concerns.  Looking from a national security perspective, it seems really important that the United States can no longer be held hostage for oil imported from a politically unstable (and unfriendly) country.

That said, I’m in favor of a strong government oversight role – to make sure that communities (or individual homeowners) are not negatively impacted – and when they are, to make sure that the frackers do what needs to be done to correct the situation.

Also – one can make the argument that all of this newly-available petroleum lessens the impetus to develop and use alternative energy sources – obviously not good for our ever-warming planet . . .

The article about Barnhart was from 2013.  I wonder how they’re doing now. . . .

The above article mentions that Barnhart is on the eastern edge of the Permian Basin.  “Permian” is the name of a geologic time period (spanning about 50 million years, beginning 300 million years ago).  The Permian Basin is a sequence of mostly Permian-aged sedimentary rocks (limestones, sandstones and shales) that for a variety of reasons I won’t go into, ended up trapping vast quantities of petroleum in various underground geologic nooks and crannies (my terminology) throughout the basin.

From Wiki:

The Permian Basin is the largest petroleum-producing basin in the United States.  The first oil well was drilled to a depth of 2500 in 1921.  As of 2018 the basin has produced a cumulative 33 billion barrels of oil and 118 trillion cubic feet of gas. Currently, nearly 2 million barrels of oil a day are being pumped from the basin.

Rigzone.com reports that fracking in the Permian Basin continues at a torrid pace.  Almost 550 wells were fracked in June 2019.

At about 4 million fracking gallons of water per fracked well, 2.2 billion gallons of fracking water were used in fracking June alone.  Multiplying by 12, we’re up to 25 billion fracking gallons per fracking year.  Thatsafrackinlotta fracking water . . .

I’ll close with this shot posted on GE by Nick Zapiain:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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Idaho City and Placerville, Idaho

Posted by graywacke on August 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 2454; A Landing A Day blog post number 890.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N43o 55.308’, W115o 47.038’) puts me in W-Cen Idaho:

My local landing shows that I landed out in the boonies, but reasonably close to my two titular towns:

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of Elk Creek.  You’ll have to trust me when I say that the Elk ends up in Mores Creek:

Zooming back, it’s apparent that Mores Creek discharges to the Boise River (2nd hit); on to the Snake (86th), to the Mighty Columbia (180th):

Here’ an oblique Google Earth (GE) shot looking up the Elk Creek valley past my landing:

Staying with GE, I couldn’t get anywhere close to my landing on GE Street View, and I had to go all the way down to Idaho City to get a look at Elk Creek:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

Amazing, isn’t it, that this tiny little stream dug out that huge valley?

Just downstream from Idaho City, Elk Creek flows into Mores Creek.  Here’s a look at the creek a few miles southwest from Idaho City:

Moving right along . . .

As you might suspect, I looked at way more than just the two towns on my local landing map.  And as you might also suspect, they were all:

In fact, the above symbol pretty much says it all about Idaho City and Placerville.  But I did see that in Wiki’s Idaho City piece, there’s a section entitled “Chinese.”  Here ‘tis:

Four thousand Chinese lived in the Idaho Territory from 1869 to 1875. Like many Chinese immigrants, they came to work as miners, laundrymen and cooks.

Although today Chinese are rarely seen except as tourists, the 1870 Idaho City census reported at 1,751 Chinese, nearly half of city residents.

Annie Lee was one legendary Idaho city woman who like Polly Bemis, escaped enslavement from the “world’s oldest profession”. She escaped from a member of the Yeong Wo Company in the 1870s to Boise to marry her lover, another Chinese man. Charged by her owner with grand larceny, she told a judge that she wanted to stay in Boise City. The judge subsequently granted her freedom.

Polly Bemis was Wiki-clickable:

Polly Bemis was born in rural northern China. As a child, she had bound feet, which were later unbound. When she was eighteen, there was a prolonged drought, during which her father was forced to sell her to bandits for two much needed bags of seed.

[A daughter for two bags of seeds?  Such a deal . . . ]

She was then smuggled into the United States in 1872 and sold as a slave in San Francisco for $2,500.

[Her value went up quite a bit!]

It was common for Chinese men of that time to have multiple wives and concubines, all having some social status and living under the same roof. When a Chinese man moved to North America, he might take a concubine with him or acquire one there, as custom required him to leave his wife in China to take care of his parents.

An intermediary took her from San Francisco to Idaho, where her buyer, a wealthy Chinese man ran a saloon in a mining camp in the town of Warren

How she gained her freedom from her Chinese owner is uncertain.  However, in mid-1880, the census listed her as living with saloon owner and fiddler Charlie Bemis who befriended her when she first arrived in Warrens, and protected her from unwanted advances.

Wiki goes on and on about Polly & Charles’ life.  The story didn’t really grab me, so I won’t bother with it . . .

Moving over to Placerville, from Wiki:

With the decline of mining in the 1870s, the town’s population declined.  A good percentage of the population was Chinese, as the Chinese were allowed to work the less rewarding claims that the white miners would not touch. The Chinese also established services like laundries and restaurants.

I then Googled Chinese Idaho history.  I found this 2009 AP article by Jennifer K. Bauer.  Here are some excerpts:

. LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — A black ponytail in a 1920s mason jar, empty graves in an Idaho forest cemetery, a massacre in an isolated river canyon — they’re all links in the little-told story of the Chinese in Idaho, who came by the thousands but then drastically left at the turn of the century. At one point, the Chinese made up a quarter of the state’s population. They were drawn by gold and exited on a tide of prejudicial laws created to stifle their population.

The first recorded Chinese in the area was a man who signed the Luna House register in Lewiston in 1862. By the 1870 Census, 28.5 percent of Idaho’s population was Chinese, although their population was likely underestimated.

Chinese were among the thousands of miners who came to Idaho for gold, discovered in the fall of 1860 in Pierce. When gold became harder to find, or miners heard of bigger strikes elsewhere, they moved on and Chinese immigrants settled in, willing to work harder for less.

Chinese mining methodology was different. While many miners worked alone, the Chinese worked in large, often related groups and drew from their experiences using water in agriculture. They formed neighborhoods with stores, gardens, and medical

But far from being seen as contributors to the evolving Western society, the Chinese were seen as a threat.

When the Nez Perce Indians first encountered Chinese people in the 1860s, they tried to talk to them, said Allen Pinkham, a Nez Perce tribal historian.

“All we got was a blank stare,” Pinkham said, so they called the Chinese “zelmin,” meaning “blank stare.”

Americans had very little understanding of Chinese customs. The perception exists today that most Chinese were opium addicts.

About one-third to one-fourth of the Chinese smoked opium.  Unless locally banned, the imported drug was legal until 1909. A fingernail-sized amount, about three puffs, cost 25 cents and was about as much as the average miner could afford.

“If you’ve been out there on that rock pile six days, you’re probably going to want a little relaxation. That’s probably all you would need to forget you were hungry.”

Chinese had separate cemeteries, carefully chosen through feng shui practices to balance spirituality and geography. They were often located on the slope of a small hill enveloped by surrounding hills, said Terry Abraham, a retired library archivist from Moscow who studied Chinese cemeteries throughout the Northwest.

Some of these cemeteries contain shallow, empty graves.

It was customary for Chinese men to plan for the possibility of their death in the foreign land and make provisions for their remains to be shipped home, Abraham said. About every 10 years, someone would come West to collect remains. The culture’s emphasis on patrilineal descent meant the bodies of women often remained.

Various laws prevented Chinese men from staking their own claims, from returning to the United States once they left, or bringing their wives or parents to the country to start families. One 1882 law put a 10-year moratorium on more Chinese laborers entering the country. Even before the law passed, the Chinese population had dropped by 1,000 in Idaho.

In 1883, Lewiston’s Chinatown, located downtown near the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers, caught fire, says Lewiston historian Garry Bush. “No Lewiston firefighter would fight it until it threatened white structures.”

Bush says whites would cut off the queues of Chinese men to terrorize them. Cutting the traditional ponytail was a sign of treason in China, leading to execution. A couple of years ago, Bush was given a queue in a 1920s mason jar by someone who lived in the Clearwater River region.

One of the worst racial crimes in Northwest history occurred in Hells Canyon in 1887, when as many as 34 Chinese miners, who had worked their way upriver from Lewiston, were slaughtered along the river.

The crime was discovered when some of the bodies washed up two weeks later in Lewiston. Six Oregon men were charged with the crime, several from prominent families in nearby Wallowa County, Ore., says R. Gregory Nokes, a retired Oregonian newspaper reporter and editor who has written a forthcoming book on the massacre that lays out the case for a cover-up.

“It’s one of the worst crimes in Oregon history and it’s not in Oregon or Northwest history books,” he says.

Three of the accused fled and three were found innocent in a short trial for which few records exist. The crime was never fully investigated by U.S. authorities, despite complaints from the Chinese consulate.

Nokes and Wegars were part of an effort to change the name of Deep Creek where the massacre took place. Over the objections of Wallowa County commissioners, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names officially renamed it Chinese Massacre Cove in 2005.

“In my knowledge,” Nokes said, “it’s the first official acknowledgment that anything actually happened at that particular place.”

I’ll end this post with a couple of pictures posted on GE within five miles of my landing.  First this, by Wade Patrick:

And then this, by Bentley Hunter and Gigee Lindsley:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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Mount St. Helens, Washington

Posted by graywacke on August 14, 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 2453; A Landing A Day blog post number 889.

Dan:  First, let me apologize for my tardiness.  It has been more than two weeks since my last post.  Sometimes, life gets in the way of posting . . .

Anyway, today’s lat/long (N46o 16.816’, W121o 56.372’) puts me in SW Washington:

My local landing map shows that I landed a mere 14 miles NE of Mount St. Helens: 

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of Elk Creek, which is part of the Clear Creek watershed:

Zooming back, we can see that the Clear Ck discharges to the Muddy River (1st hit ever!). 

The Clear Creek loses its soul when it hits the Muddy!  Anyway, the Muddy discharges to the Lewis River (also 1st hit ever!), on to the Mighty Columbia (170th hit).

Before moving on, a quick word about the Lewis River.  I bet you assumed (as I did) that it was named after Lewis from Lewis & Clark.  Well, listen up (from Wiki):

Unlike nearby Lewis County and Fort Lewis, the Lewis River was not named for Meriwether Lewis, but rather for A. Lee Lewis, an early settler who homesteaded near the mouth of the river.

Moving over to Google Earth, you can see that I was able to locate the Orange Dude fairly close to my landing:

And here’s what he sees:

The landing is down in a valley, about a thousand feet lower than the roadway . . .

The OD was anxious to get a look at my local drainage, so he found a spot to get a look at Clear Creek:

And here’s his upstream view:

His downstream view shows us many old logs:

If I had to guess, I’d say the logs are detritus from the eruption . . .

Did you notice some Street View blue lines up on the mountain?  Evidently, some Google Dude with a Google Cam hiked up to the summit!  And here’s the view, looking down towards the blown-out side of the mountain (with Mount Adams in the background):



Speaking of the blown-out side of the mountain, here’s a map showing the blast zone:

And here’s a GE shot, where you can still see all of the scars:

Staying with GE:


So.  I’ve written quite a bit about the geology of the Cascade volcanoes, and won’t do again now.  If you really want to learn about the regional geologic context of Mt. St. Helens and other volcanoes in the northwest, check out my Mt. Shasta post.  For a shorter version, try my White Swan and Mt. Adams post.

While I landed about 14 miles from MSH, I landing only 8.5 miles from Spirit Lake.  From Wiki:

Spirit Lake is a lake on the northern flank of Mount St. Helens in Washington State. The lake was a popular tourist destination for many years until the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Prior to 1980, there were six camps on the shore of Spirit Lake: a Boy Scout camp, a Girl Scout camp, two YMCA camps, Harmony Fall Lodge, and another for the general public. There were also a number of lodges catering to visitors, including Spirit Lake Lodge and Mt. St. Helens Lodge; the latter was inhabited by Harry R. Truman.

Of course, Harry Truman was Wiki-clickable; more about him in a bit.

Before 1980, this was quite the bucolic place:

Back to Wiki:

During the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, Spirit Lake received the full impact of the lateral blast from the volcano. The blast and the debris avalanche associated with this eruption temporarily displaced much of the lake from its bed and forced lake waters as a wave as much as 850 ft above lake level. The debris avalanche deposited about 430,000,000 cubic meters of pyrolized trees, other plant material, volcanic ash, and volcanic debris of various origins into Spirit Lake.

Lahar and pyroclastic flow deposits from the eruption blocked its natural pre-eruption outlet to the North Fork Toutle River valley at its outlet, raising the surface elevation of the lake by approximately 200 ft. The surface area of the lake was increased from 1,300 acres to about 2,200 acres.

However, the deposition of volcanic material decreased the maximum depth of the lake from 190 ft to 110 ft.

The eruption tore thousands of trees from the surrounding hillsides and swept them into Spirit Lake. These thousands of shattered trees formed a floating log raft on the lake surface that covered about 40% of the lake’s surface after the eruption:

So, what about this Harry Truman guy?  From Wiki:

Harry R. Truman (October 30, 1896 – May 18, 1980) was the owner and caretaker of Mount St. Helens Lodge at Spirit Lake near the foot of the mountain, and he came to fame as a folk hero in the months preceding the volcano’s 1980 eruption after he refused to leave his home despite evacuation orders.

Truman is presumed to have been killed by a pyroclastic flow that overtook his lodge and buried the site under 150 ft of volcanic debris.

[Oh, come on!  “Presumed to have been killed” ??  Give me a break  . . . ]

During the 1930s, Truman divorced his wife; he remarried in 1935. The second marriage was short, as he reportedly attempted to win arguments by throwing his wife into Spirit Lake, despite her inability to swim.  He began dating a local girl, though he eventually married her sister Edna, whom he called Eddie.  They remained married, operating the Mount St. Helens Lodge together until Edna’s death from a heart attack in 1978.

In the Mount St. Helens area, Truman became notorious for his antics, once getting a forest ranger drunk so that he could burn a pile of brush.  He poached, stole gravel from the National Park Service, and fished on American Indian land with a fake game warden badge. Despite their knowledge of these criminal activities, local rangers failed to catch him in the act.

Truman was a fan of the cocktail drink Schenley whiskey and Coca-Cola. He owned a pink 1957 Cadillac, and he swore frequently.  He loved discussing politics and reportedly hated Republicans, hippies, young children, and especially old people.

[Strange mix!]

When his wife Edna died in 1978, Truman closed his lodge and afterward only rented out a handful of boats and cabins during the summer.

Truman became a minor celebrity during the two months of volcanic activity preceding the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, giving interviews to reporters and expressing his opinion that the danger was exaggerated. “I don’t have any idea whether it will blow,” he said, “but I don’t believe it to the point that I’m going to pack up.”

Truman displayed little concern about the volcano and his situation: “If the mountain goes, I’m going with it. This area is heavily timbered, Spirit Lake is in between me and the mountain, and the mountain is a mile away, the mountain ain’t gonna hurt me.”

Law enforcement officials were incensed by his refusal to evacuate because media representatives kept entering the restricted zone near the volcano to interview him, endangering themselves in the process. Still, Truman remained steadfast. “You couldn’t pull me out with a mule team. That mountain’s part of Truman and Truman’s part of that mountain.”

Truman told reporters that he was knocked from his bed by precursor earthquakes, so he responded by moving his mattress to the basement. He scoffed at the public’s concern for his safety, responding to scientists’ claims about the threat of the volcano that “the mountain has shot its wad and it hasn’t hurt my place a bit, but those goddamn geologists with their hair down to their butts wouldn’t pay no attention to ol’ Truman.”

He caused a media frenzy, appearing on the front page of The New York Times and The San Francisco Examiner and attracting the attention of National Geographic, Time, Life, Newsweek, Field & Stream, Reader’s Digest, United Press International, and The Today Show.

A historian named Richard W. Slatta wrote that “his fiery attitude, brash speech, love of the outdoors, and fierce independence… made him a folk hero the media could adore.”  Truman was immortalized, according to Slatta, “with many of the embellished qualities of the western hero.”

As the likelihood of eruption increased, state officials tried to evacuate the area with the exception of a few scientists and security officials. On May 17, they attempted one final time to persuade Truman to leave, to no avail. The volcano erupted the next morning, and its entire northern flank collapsed.

Truman was alone at his lodge with his 16 cats, and is presumed to have died in the eruption on May 18.

[There they go again.]

The largest landslide in recorded history and a pyroclastic flow traveling atop the landslide engulfed the Spirit Lake area almost simultaneously, destroying the lake and burying the site of his lodge under 150 feet of volcanic landslide debris.

Truman emerged as a folk hero for his resistance to the evacuation efforts.  The Columbian wrote: “With his 10-dollar name and hell-no-I-won’t-go attitude, Truman was a made-for-prime-time folk hero.”

Truman’s friend John Garrity added, “The mountain and the lake were his life. If he’d left and then saw what the mountain did to his lake, it would have killed him anyway. He always said he wanted to die at Spirit Lake. He went the way he wanted to go.”

Truman’s niece Shirley stated, “He used to say that’s my mountain and my lake and he would say those are my arms and my legs. If he would have seen it the way it is now, I don’t think he would have survived.”  Truman’s cousin Richard Ice commented that Truman’s short period as a celebrity was “the peak of his life.”

Moving right along . . .

So.  Harry wasn’t pleased with those damned long-haired geologists.  Well, one of them was killed within seconds of when Harry was killed.  From Wiki:

Due to the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, approximately 57 people were killed directly, including innkeeper Harry R. Truman, photographers Reid Blackburn and Robert Landsburg, and geologist David A. Johnston.

Mr. Johnston was Wiki-clickable:

David Alexander Johnston (December 18, 1949 – May 18, 1980) was an American United States Geological Survey (USGS) volcanologist who was killed by the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington. A principal scientist on the USGS monitoring team, Johnston was killed in the eruption while manning an observation post six miles away on the morning of May 18, 1980. He was the first to report the eruption, transmitting “Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!” before he was swept away by a lateral blast.

[USGS personnel were in Vancouver, WA (about 50 miles SW of the mountain) monitoring the situation.]

Despite a thorough search, Johnston’s body was never found, but state highway workers discovered remnants of his USGS trailer in 1993.

Here’s a video of the eruption, viewed over 6 million times:


I’ll close with this photo posted on GE by Dave Smith:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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Spur, Texas

Posted by graywacke on July 29, 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 2452; A Landing A Day blog post number 888.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N33o 15.151’, W101o 6.155’) puts me in Cen-NW Texas:

My local landing map shows that I landed some distance from my titular Spur (actually about 20 miles).  Post is much closer, but as I’ll discuss in a bit, I already posted a Post post. 

My streams-only map:

I landed in the watershed of the Salt Fork of the Brazos River (just north of the drainage divided between the Salt Fork and the Double Mountain Fork; in fact, at first I assumed the wrong watershed.  This was my fifth landing in this watershed, making the Salt Fork the 173rd river on my list of rivers with 5 or more hits.  And then, of course, to the Brazos (34th hit).

I landed way out in the boonies, with no worthwhile Google Earth (GE) Street View coverage of my landing.  But I did manage to get the Orange Dude on a bridge over the Salt Fork:

And before showing you the Salt Fork proper, here’s a look at the sign that the ever-vigilant Texas DOT put at the end of the bridge:

And here’s the Fork itself:

So, I landed near Post a while back (June 2017).  My Post post is a great post, and I encourage you to enter “Post Texas” in the search block to check it out.

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.

A native of Spur, Texas, Applewhite attended several universities, and as a young man, served in the United States Army. After finishing school at Austin College, he taught music at the University of Alabama. He later returned to Texas, where he led choruses and served as the chair of the music department at the University of St. Thomas in Houston.

[Sounds pretty normal so far.]

He left the school in 1970, citing emotional turmoil. His father’s death a year later brought on severe depression. In 1972, he developed a close friendship with Bonnie Nettles, a nurse; together, they discussed mysticism at length and concluded that they were called as divine messengers.


They operated a bookstore and teaching center for a short while, and then began to travel around the U.S. in 1973 to spread their views. They only gained one convert.

[Too bad it didn’t end there . . . ]

In 1975, Applewhite was arrested for failing to return a rental car and was jailed for 6 months. In jail, he further developed his theology.

After Applewhite’s release, he traveled to California and Oregon with Nettles, eventually gaining a group of committed followers. Applewhite and Nettles told their followers that they would be visited by extraterrestrials who would provide them with new bodies.

[It’s hard to imagine followers who actually bought into this.]

Applewhite initially stated that his followers and he would physically ascend to a spaceship, where their bodies would be transformed, but later, he came to believe that their bodies were the mere containers of their souls, which would later be placed into new bodies.

[whatever . . .]

The group received an influx of funds in the late 1970s, which it used to pay housing and other expenses. In 1985, Nettles died, leaving Applewhite distraught and challenging his views on physical ascension. In the early 1990s, the group took more steps to publicize their theology.

In 1996, they 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):

There’s a cool story about the discovery of Hale Bopp.  From Wiki:

The comet was discovered independently on July 23, 1995, by two observers, Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp, both in the United States.

Hale had spent many hundreds of hours searching for comets without success, and was tracking known comets from his driveway in New Mexico when he chanced upon what appeared to be an unknown comet just after midnight. The comet lay near the globular cluster M70.  Hale first established that there was no other deep-sky object near M70, and then consulted a directory of known comets, finding that none were known to be in this area of the sky.

Once he had established that the object was moving relative to the background stars, he emailed the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams, the clearing house for astronomical discoveries.

Bopp did not own a telescope. He was out with friends near Stanfield, Arizona, observing star clusters and galaxies when he chanced across the comet while at the eyepiece of his friend’s telescope. He realized he might have spotted something new when, like Hale, he checked his star maps to determine if any other deep-sky objects were known to be near M70, and found that there were none.

He alerted the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams through a Western Union telegram. Brian G. Marsden, who had run the bureau since 1968, laughed, “Nobody sends telegrams anymore. I mean, by the time that telegram got here, Alan Hale had already e-mailed us three times with updated coordinates.”

The following morning, it was confirmed that this was a new comet.

So.  It’s time for tiny houses.  Wow.  There are 20+ web sites that discuss tiny houses in Spur! And here they are now:


I’ll do it the easy way.  Check out this video:


Then I ran across an article entitled:  “‘No anarchists or nudists’ welcome in Texas ‘Tiny House’ community.”  From the article (RT.com):

Hard-boiled Texans in the tiny city of Spur have begun to re-think their initial embrace of the Tiny House movement since too many “anarchists and nudists” started moving to the town.

Two years ago, residents signed a proclamation declaring Spur to be “America’s first ‘tiny’ house friendly town.” Nearly all building restrictions were removed in the hope of reversing a population decline and attracting “eco-conscious, do-it-yourself builders who like to live in very small houses,” reported the Wall Street Journal.

Dickens County commissioner Charlie Morris said the recent influx of new inhabitants has brought residents that are “educated, professional, and seem like they really have something to bring to the community,” but then added, “What we don’t want are anarchists or nudists.”

The town’s loose building codes, low prices, and ultra-high-speed fiber internet have allowed residents to work from home rather than farm for a living.

However, Spur soon realized that they needed a few more rules and regulations.  New restrictions specify that all tiny houses have to be connected to the power grid, water supply, and sewer system – and they can’t be on wheels.

And, anarchists and nudists aren’t welcome . . .

I’ll close with a couple of GE shots from Spur.  First this, from just north of town (by Jeremiah Anzaldua):

And then there’s this cool spur & arrow sculpture right in Spur.  The sculptures were built by local welder John Grusendorf; the photographer is Eric Viklund:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania

Posted by graywacke on July 21, 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 2451; A Landing A Day blog post number 887.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N41o 22.625’, W80o 27.943’) puts me in NW Pennsylvania:

My local landing map shows that I landed in a spot almost surrounded by the Pymatuning Reservoir, and not far from my titular Conneaut Lake:

Note:  I’m referring to the lake, not the town . . .

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of the Shenango River (first hit ever!  Note that the Pymatuning Reservoir is the dammed-up Shenango), on to the Beaver River (3rd hit); to the Ohio River (153rd hit).  Of course, the Ohio makes its way to the MM (951st hit).

Speaking of watersheds, check out this map:

Pretty dramatic when you think about it.  North of the line, rainwater ends up going past Quebec City on its way to the North Atlantic, and south of the line, it ends up going past New Orleans on its way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Just imagining the scenery that the drops of water will be passing through, here’s the St. Lawrence in Quebec City (GE shot by Sabastien Rodriguez):

And the Mississippi in New Orleans (GE shot by Vaughn Dunn):

Unlike the Continental Divide out in the Rockies, this divide is very subtle, lacking any obvious drama.  I can’t help but think of some local residents whose land is on both sides of the divide (or who drive across it every day), but they have no clue.  When I lived in northeastern Ohio, it just so happens that the very same drainage divide was about a half-mile from my house.  I remember going out for jogs, and turning around when I crossed the divide . . .

Let’s move on to Google Earth, and see about Street View coverage for my landing.  Not bad:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

I had the OD head south of the Reservoir, so he could get a look at the Shenango proper:

And here ‘tis:

Before leaving GE, let me zoom way back and show you all 474 of my landings since January 2013:

Notice the large landing-free zone that stretches from NY down to Ohio, then southeast to the Carolinas?  See that lonely landing south of Lake Erie?  That’s today’s landing.  Let’s take a closer look at the northern portion of the LFZ:

You can see that today’s landing certainly has no close neighbors . . .

Sometimes I land within a few miles of a previous landing, and sometimes I land in the middle of an LFZ . . .

Moving right along.  Unlike the man-made Pymatuning, Conneaut Lake is natural.  From Wiki:

Conneaut Lake is the largest natural lake in Pennsylvania by surface area.  During the summer season, it is heavily populated with vacationers, many of whom are from the Pittsburgh area. Other than the lake itself, the largest draw to the area has long been Conneaut Lake Park, a popular amusement park.

[More about the amusement park in a bit.]

Conneaut Lake was formed as a kettle lake at the end of the Pleistocene. A large block of ice broke off the receding ice front and was surrounded by accumulating sediment. After the ice melted, the resulting depression was filled with water forming the lake. Lakes that form in this manner are known as kettle lakes.

Water exits the lake through the Conneaut Outlet which flows into French Creek [and then to the Allegheny River, which joins the Monongahela to form the Ohio in Pittsburgh] making it part of the Mississippi River drainage.

Kettle lakes are cool.  I enjoy imagining myself in western Pennsylvania about 10,000 years ago.  In front of me is a mile-high front of ice, with torrents of meltwater flowing away from the ice. The meltwater torrents are heavily loaded with sand and gravel that was entrained within the ice.   Then, this huge chunk of ice at least the size of Conneaut Lake (3 miles long by one mile wide; likely much bigger) breaks away from the ice front. It dramatically tumbles down on the sand and gravel already deposited in front of the glacier.  It fairly quickly gets buried by sand and gravel being carried by the meltwater.  This huge block of ice would remain for some time.

How long might it remain buried, one could ask?  I have no clue.  Heck, it could be buried for years as far as I know.  But eventually, it melts; and as it melts, the sand and gravel above it begins, naturally enough, to subside.  And then, this depression becomes low enough to fill with water, and voila!  There’s Conneaut lake.

Staying with all things glacial, I noticed this on my local StreetAtlas map:

Hmmm.  The Conneaut Lake Kame, eh?  Well, as a geologist, I remembered a kame as a glacial feature, but I was a little vague as to exactly what it is.  Off to Wiki I went:

A kame is a glacial landform, an irregularly shaped hill or mound typically composed of sand, gravel and clay.  With the melting of the glacier, streams carry sediment to glacial lakes that form in depressions on the ice.  The sediment is deposited in the temporary lake, building what is termed a kame delta on top of the ice. However, with the continuous melting of the glacier, the kame delta eventually collapses onto the land surface resulting in the formation of a kame.

Kames are often associated with kettles, and this is referred to as kame and kettle topography. The word kame is a variant of comb, which has the meaning “crest” among others.

This is also pretty cool – so let’s use Google Earth (and hopefully Street View) to get a look at this kame.  Here’s the GE aerial view:

Oh no!  The erstwhile kame has been removed and is now nothing but a sand and gravel pit!  I hate it when that happens!  As they say, this thing kame and went .

So what about the amusement park is noteworthy?  From Wiki:

Conneaut Lake Park is a summer resort and amusement park. It has long served as a regional tourist destination, and is noted by roller coaster enthusiasts for its classic Blue Streak coaster, which was recently classified as “historic” by the American Coaster Enthusiasts group.

Conneaut Lake Park was founded in 1892 as Exposition Park by Col. Frank Mantor as a permanent fairground and exposition for livestock, machinery, and industrial products from Western Pennsylvania.

The park was renamed “Conneaut Lake Park” in 1920 to reflect a move toward more amusements and rides. Rides added over these years included a Tumble Bug, bumper car ride, and a Figure Eight roller coaster (later renamed The Jack Rabbit). In 1938, the park’s signature roller coaster, The Blue Streak, was added.

In 1995, the Park filed for bankruptcy and was taken over by a non-profit corporation.  In the early 2000s, the park experienced a renewed interest, driven by roller coaster and amusement park enthusiasts.  Several of the park’s rides, including the Devil’s Den and Blue Streak Roller Coaster, were repaired by volunteers. In August 2010, the park received $50,000 in funds from a contest sponsored by Pepsi for use in restoring the Blue Streak.

I went to the Conneaut Park website, and found this bit of nostalgia / marketing:

Opened in 1892 as Exposition Park, located on the west side of Conneaut Lake in Western Pennsylvania, a gem survives to this day as a trip back in time. Not a manufactured museum or contrived in any way, Conneaut Lake Park now represents a real alternative to today’s frenetic and agitated lifestyle.

The very feel of the park, indeed even its aroma, hint of a long and steady past there for us to enjoy. Conneaut Lake Park is a salve to nerves stressed to the breaking point – truly a place of relaxation and refreshment.

Who can resist a picnic with family and friends in Blue Streak Grove where the sound of shrieking riders makes you laugh and hurry to finish your meal so you can be where they are, on the ride of your life? Who can pass up playing just one game and trying to win that “Grand” prize stuffed animal? Imagine dancing the night away in the Dreamland Ballroom and watching the sun set from the balcony… No, Conneaut Lake Park is not just an amusement park, it is a way of remembering what so many people tend to forget when they grow older: how to be a child!

To sit in one of the old wooden rocking chairs on the porch of the Hotel Conneaut and watch a July moon rise over the lake, shimmering in reflection off the soft waters while the red and green of the boat’s running lights seem to skate effortlessly over the lake’s surface, captures something no technology could hope to approximate.

Conneaut Lake Park, to so many of us and hopefully many more generations to come, is not just an amusement park, it is memories and good times, carefree moments we all experienced, whether you are ninety years old or nine years old.

So, we offer to you now, to take a ride back in time to remember and to relive and to make new memories as patrons and lovers of Conneaut Lake Park. Hold on tight and enjoy the ride!

Here’s a GE shot of the Blue Streak by David Kenzig:

And another from the GroupOn website:

And yes, I was able to send the OD for a Street View shot of the Blue Streak:

I’ll close with this GE shot of Pymatuning Reservoir by CasMag:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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Eucha, New Eucha, Old Eucha and Jay, Oklahoma

Posted by graywacke on July 13, 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 2450; A Landing A Day blog post number 886.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N36o 22.625’, W94o 49.814’) puts me in NE Oklahoma::

My local landing map shows nearly all of my titular towns:

More about the lack of just plain Eucha in a minute.  Speaking of Eucha, my readers must pronounce it correctly.  Here goes (and repeat after me):  OO-chee.  You may laugh at the local pronunciation, but it’s actually accurate.  More about that in a bit.

Here’s my streams-only map:

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of the Spavinaw Ck; on to the Neosho River (7th hit).  Although not shown, the Neosho makes its way to the Arkansas (134th hit); on to the MM (950th hit).

Some nice round numbers here.  Landing 2450 and Mississippi River watershed hit 950.

Moving on to Google Earth (GE), here’s where I asked the Orange Dude to set up to check out my landing:

And here’s what he sees:

I couldn’t get a decent SV look at Spavinaw Ck, but got a view of Lake Eucha (formed by a dam over the Spavinaw):

And here’s what the OD sees:

I was able to find a GE photo by Priscilla Wenzel of Spavinaw Creek just upstream from the reservoir:

So let’s check out the various Euchas (the OO-chees).  First, we’ll take a look at Google Earth:

There’s plain ol’ Eucha!  It turns out that GE’s Eucha is StreetAtlas’ New Eucha, and StreetAtlas shows nothing where GE shows New Eucha.  I’m going with GE.  Got that?  No?  Don’t worry about it . . . 

Let’s start with Eucha.  From Wiki:

Eucha, pronounced “oochee,” was named for Oochelata, a principal chief of the Cherokees. Eucha, well known for its Indian culture, often has Indian taco sales.

Two things.  First, the chief’s name was Oochelata; ergo, the OO-chee pronunciation is excellent.  Secondly, funny how “Indian taco sales” made it to Wikipedia.

Moving on to New Eucha.  Wiki has nothing to say.

Moving on to Old Eucha.  Wiki has nothing to say.

Oh, well.

Time to move to Jay.  Wiki:

Jay (pop 2,500) is home to numerous Cherokee tribal offices and a health clinic for the Delaware District of the Cherokee Nation.  The city is celebrated as the Huckleberry Capital of the World and has been host to the annual Huckleberry Festival each July 4 weekend since 1967.

The Huckleberry Festival is a big deal – it lasts for three days and has many events that guarantee fun for all, including a frog jumping contest.  Here’s a pic from a June 2018 issue of the Grand Lake News:

The young lad is holding “Froggy,” who won the “largest frog” contest at the 2017 festival.

Back to Wiki:

Jay was named for Jay Washburn, a nephew of Stand Watie.  Around 1908, the exact location of the center of the county was surveyed, with the intention of founding the County Seat.

The survey pinpointed allotment land belonging to Thomas Oochaleta, a full-blood Cherokee. Since acquiring title to a full-blood’s allotment would require a lengthy federal legal procedure, the committee shifted their attention to the allotment adjoining Oochaleta’s on the east, a parcel belonging to committee member Claude L. “Jay” Washbourne.

As a mixed-blood Cherokee, Washbourne was exempt from the federal policy restricting the sale or transfer of his land. He gave ten acres on which to construct a town. The committee quickly constructed a frame building to serve as a post office, and then submitted the required three town names for consideration. The names submitted were “Center,” “Jay,” and “Washbourne.” Postal authorities chose Jay for its brevity.

Stand Watie (Jay’s uncle) was Wiki-clickable:

Stand Watie (Cherokee: Degataga, lit. ‘Stand firm’) (1806 – 1871), was a leader of the Cherokee Nation, and the only Native American to attain a general’s rank in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. [Geez.  I didn’t realize that Indians fought on the Confederate side!]  He commanded the Confederate Indian cavalry made up mostly of Cherokee, Muskogee and Seminole, and was the final Confederate general in the field to cease hostilities at war’s end.

Under Wiki’s “Notable People” was one Buzz Wetzel (great name and cool pic):

Charles “Buzz” Wetzel (1894 – 1941) was a pitcher in Major League Baseball who played briefly for the Philadelphia Athletics during the 1927 season. Listed at 6 ft 1 in, 162 lb., Wetzel was born in Jay, Oklahoma.

Wetzel was 32 years old when he entered the majors on July 27, 1927, and did not have a decision or any strikeouts. Wetzel posted a 7.71 earned run average in two games, including one start, giving up four earned runs on eight hits and five walks in 4 ⅔ innings of work. As a hitter, he went 1-for-1 with a run scored. He pitched his final game on July 28, and never appeared in a major league game again.

At least he made the Bigs, and hey – he batted 1.000!

And check out his Philadelphia A’s jersey.  There must be a story about the elephant, eh?  Well, it turns out that back in 1901, Ben Shibe started a new Philadelphia team to compete (for fans) with the Phillies.  In 1902, John McGraw, the already-very-successful owner of the Baltimore Orioles and then the New York Giants, was asked what he thought of the A’s.  “White Elephant,” he quickly retorted.

For those of you who aren’t sure of the meaning of the term, here’s the Google dictionary’s definition:  “a possession that is useless or troublesome, especially one that is expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of.”

McGraw kept playing up his quote, and the press picked up on it.  Eventually, the A’s figured what-the-heck, and embraced it as one of their logos in 1909.  They tried to distance themselves from it in 1919, but in 1920 went all in:

There you have it.

Also from Jay is Tommy Morrison “former world heavyweight boxing champion.”  A few points of interest from Wiki:

  • Born in Jay, Morrison (1969 – 2013) spent most of his teenage years in Jay.
  • He began boxing in 1982 (age 13, using a false ID) and had a 202-20 record.
  • He began his professional boxing career in 1988 (at 19).
  • In 1989, Morrison had 19 profesional wins and no losses, 15 by knockout. Actor Sylvester Stallone observed one of Morrison’s bouts. Stallone arranged a script reading and cast Morrison in the movie Rocky V as Tommy “The Machine” Gunn, a young and talented protege of the retired Rocky Balboa. Morrison took a six-month break from boxing to work on the movie in 1990.
  • In 1993, he managed to fight George Foreman in a heavyweight title bout. He won a 12 round decision.
  • After three successful title defenses, he lost a bout (and the title) to Lennox Lewis, as he was knocked out in the sixth round.
  • He died of AIDs at age 44.

I’ll close with this GE photo by Howard Hansen of an Eucha Lake sunset:


That’ll do it . . .




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Port Sanilac, Michigan

Posted by graywacke on July 4, 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 2449; A Landing A Day blog post number 885.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N43o 27.758’, W82o 58.804’) puts me in E-Cen Michigan (on Michigan’s “thumb”):

My local landing map shows that I landed in (as I am wont to say) a “veritable plethora” of small towns:


Here’s my streams-only map:

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of the South Branch Cass River (first hit ever!); o to the Cass River (first hit ever!); on to the Saginaw (3rd hit); on to Lake Huron (19th hit).

Moving over to Google Earth (GE), you can see I have excellent GE Street View coverage of my landing:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

The OD had to ramble a couple hundred yards west to get a look at the South Branch:

And here ‘tis:

Of course, I checked out each of the teeny towns on my landing map.  Nothing, nothing, nothing.  At first, Port Sanilac look pretty damn hookless, until I noticed this in Wiki:

The Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve is a designated shipwreck preserve that is very popular with scuba divers.

The Preserve was Wiki-clickable, so I was off . . .

The Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve was established to promote conservation of the submerged historical resources in Lake Huron near Port Sanilac, Michigan.

[Submerged historical resources?  Of course, that means shipwrecks.  Enough with the jargon!]

The Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve spans a total of 163 square miles of Lake Huron. The Michigan Underwater Preserve Council oversees activities relating to all of Michigan’s Underwater Preserves.

The preserve is open to scuba divers.

[OK, but still nothing about shipwrecks.]

Port Sanilac was originally a lumberjack settlement on the shore of Lake Huron named “Bark Shanty Point.” In 1857 the village was renamed to Port Sanilac. Local legend attributes the name to a Wyandotte Indian Chief named Sanilac. Local landmarks include the Port Sanilac lighthouse (burning kerosene from its opening in 1886 until its electrification in 1924) and a twenty-room Victorian mansion (now a museum) built in 1850 by a horse-and-buggy doctor, Dr. Joseph Loop.

There are numerous shipwrecks located near Port Sanilac.


And then, there was this table:


Three of the wrecks were Wiki-clickable:  the Charles S. Price, the Regina, and the Sport. 

The Charles S: Price:

The SS Charles S. Price was a steel hulled ship lost on Lake Huron on November 9, 1913 during the Great Lakes storm of 1913.

[The storm is Wiki-clickable!  More about the storm a little later…]

The Price was found on a day after it foundered with her bow above water, and her stern dipping below. Because of her disposition, the ship’s length could not be measured to make a positive identification of the vessel: the wreck was initially assumed to be the Regina. The vessel was eventually identified as the Price before she sank on 17 November.  In spite of several efforts, the ship was never salvaged.

The SS Regina:

The SS Regina was a steel ship, with a crew of 32. The ship sank during the Great Lakes Storm of 1913 after taking great damage. Lost for more than a half century, she became known as the “Great Mystery of the Great Storm of the Great Lakes”. Since found, she has become an active dive site for scuba divers and is now part of Michigan’s underwater Preserve system.

Sailors initially theorized that Regina collided with Charles S. Price, another ship sunk in the storm, as some of the bodies of Charles S. Price’s crewmen were wearing lifebelts from Regina.  However, this theory was dismissed after Charles S. Price was found capsized on Lake Huron; a diver confirmed that the ship was Charles S. Price and that the ship showed no signs of being in a collision.

And finally, the Sport:

The Sport was a tugboat, built in 1873 and wrecked in 1920 in Lake Huron.  On December 13, 1920, the Sport set out from Port Huron, bound for Harbor Beach. It encountered a heavy gale, and by 6:00 pm was taking on more water than could be pumped out. The seasick and exhausted firetender returned to his bunk, and the boat lost steam, killing the pumps. The crew abandoned ship at about 11:00 pm, and washed ashore near Lexington, still alive.

The wreck of the Sport was discovered in 1987.  In 1992, the Sport became the first Michigan shipwreck with her own Michigan Historical Marker placed on her. The wreck is now part of the Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve, and popular with divers.  The marker was damaged and removed in 2002.

So what about this 1913 storm?  From Wiki:

The Great Lakes Storm of 1913 (historically referred to as the “Big Blow,” the “Freshwater Fury,” or the “White Hurricane,”) was a blizzard with hurricane-force winds that devastated the Great Lakes from November 7 through November 10, 1913. The storm was most powerful on November 9, battering and overturning ships on four of the five Great Lakes, particularly Lake Huron. Deceptive lulls in the storm and the slow pace of weather reports contributed to the storm’s destructiveness.

The deadliest and most destructive natural disaster to hit the lakes in recorded history, the Great Lakes Storm killed more than 250 people, destroyed 19 ships, and stranded 19 others.

The storm, an extratropical cyclone, originated as the convergence of two major storm fronts, fueled by the lakes’ relatively warm waters. It produced 90 mph wind gusts, waves over 35 feet high, and whiteout snowsqualls.

Here are some Wiki storm shots, starting with this Cleveland street:


Waves breaking on a seawall in Chicago:

And local press coverage:



I’ll close with this lovely GE barn shot from about 4 miles SW of my landing (by Tudor ApMadoc:

That’ll do it . . .




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Mt. Vernon, Indiana

Posted by graywacke on June 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 2448; A Landing A Day blog post number 884.

Dan:  Before getting down to ALAD business, I’d like to say how much I enjoyed seeing you and Anya at your sister’s wedding.  I didn’t do too badly as officiant, eh?  And as I mentioned to you, I’ve been incredibly busy at work, thus explaining my much-longer-than-usual time between posts.  So . . .

Today’s lat/long (N33o 12.424’, W107o 36.585’) puts me in SW Indiana:


My local landing map shows that Mount Vernon is pretty much the only game in town:


My streams-only map shows that I practically landed in the Cypress Slough, on to the Ohio River (152nd hit).

It goes without saying that all rainfall landing on my landing (that doesn’t evaporate) of course, ends up in the MM (949th hit).

Moving over to Google Earth (GE), you can see that I have pretty decent Street View coverage of my landing.  It looks like the GoogleMobile was headed south on some little road, when the driver realized that he was actually on a driveway that went only to someone’s farm:

Here’s what the Orange Dude sees.

The OD, who has been working for me for years and knows well what to look for, took initiative and found that he could take a look at Cypress Slough:

And here’s what he sees:

The OD needed a little help to find the Ohio River crossing with Street View:

But he was excited to see a tug pushing a string of barges upstream:

A little bit of searching my earlier ALAD posts resulted in this discovery:

Oh my!  I landed just a little over a half mile from a previous landing!  Of course, I checked out landing 1962 – you can, too, by searching for “Mt. Vernon,” where you’ll find my August 2011 post.  In that post (which, of course, is very interesting), I featured Diamond Island, and included this quote:  “In the late eighteenth century, it was a hideout for river pirates, most notably, Samuel Mason and his gang as well as the notorious serial killers, the Harpe Brothers.”

I’m sure you’ll want to learn about the island’s nefarious past . . .

Before moving on to Mt. Vernon, I noticed that there aren’t many bridges over the Ohio River in the vicinity of my landing.  I went to Google Maps, to see what kind of trip was necessary to drive to the Kentucky side of the river, just across from my landing.  Well, here ‘tis:

And then, if heading downstream to cross the Ohio was your cup of tea, here’s the drive:

Now to Mt. Vernon.  This time around, I’m featuring a native son and a native daughter from Mt. Vernon.  Ladies first.

From Wiki, under “Notable People:”

Anna Byford Leonard (1843–?), reformer

Two things.  How is that we know when she born, but not when she died?  Also, she was a “reformer.”  What did she reform?

Her name was Wiki-clickable, so off I went:

Anna Byford Leonard (July 31, 1843 – ) [still unknown death date] was an American reformer, who was the first woman who was appointed sanitary inspector. She also served as president of the Woman’s Canning and Preserving Company.

[Sanitary inspector?  Sounds like a local political job.  I wonder where?  Continuing:]

Anna Byford was born in Mount Vernon, Indiana, July 31, 1843.

In 1889, Leonard was appointed sanitary inspector, being the first woman who ever held that position, and was enabled to carry out many of the needed reforms.

[Same question.  Also, what “needed reforms?”  Continuing:]

It was through her instrumentality, aided by the other five women on the force, that the eight-hour law was enforced, providing that children under fourteen years of age should not work more than eight hours a day. That was enforced in all dry-goods stores.

[Sounds good, but maybe peculiar for a “sanitary inspector.”  Funny that the 8-hr work day was enforced in all dry goods stores.  Tough luck if the kids worked anywhere else!  Continuing:]

Through her endeavors seats were placed in the stores and factories, and the employers were instructed that the girls were to be allowed to sit when not occupied with their duties. She was enabled to accomplish this through the fact that the physicians and women of Chicago were ready to sustain her, and the other fact that her position as a sanitary inspector of the health department made her an officer of the police force, thus giving her authority for any work she found necessary to do.

[Ah, finally!  Now we know she was the Sanitary Inspector for the City of Chicago . . .]

As a result of this eight-hour law, schools were established in some of the stores from 8 to 10 am, giving the younger children, who would spend that time on the street, two hours of solid schooling.

[They started working at 10?  Whatever . . .]

In 1891, Leonard was made president of the Woman’s Canning and Preserving Company, which, after one short year from its organization, she left with a 4-story factory, with a working capital of $40,000.

[And I’m sure she treated her employees well!]

Leonard was an artist of ability, having studied abroad and traveled extensively.  She was a Theosophist.

Theosophist?  From Wiki:

Theosophy is an esoteric religious movement established in the United States during the late nineteenth century. It was founded largely by the Russian émigrée Helena Blavatsky and draws its beliefs predominantly from Blavatsky’s writings.

[Their logo is off to the right.  Don’t worry, that’ not a swastika – it’s backwards.]

As taught by Blavatsky, Theosophy teaches that there is an ancient and secretive brotherhood of spiritual adepts known as Mahatmas, who—although found across the world—are centered in Tibet.

These Masters are believed to have cultivated great wisdom and seemingly-supernatural powers, and Theosophists believe that it was they who initiated the modern Theosophical movement through disseminating their teachings via Blavatsky.

They believe that these Masters are attempting to revive knowledge of an ancient religion once found across the world and which will again come to eclipse the existing world religions.

Theosophical groups do not refer to their system as a “religion”.  As stated in their logo, “There is no religion higher than truth.”  Theosophy preaches the existence of a single, divine Absolute.  Theosophy teaches that the purpose of human life is spiritual emancipation and claims that the human soul undergoes reincarnation upon bodily death according to a process of karma. It promotes values of universal brotherhood and social improvement.

Membership of the Theosophical Society reached its highest peak in 1928, when it had 45,000 members.  It sounds very Buddhist . . .

So, I spent an inordinate amount of internet time trying to find the date (and cause) of Anna Byford Leonard’s death.  Strangely, no obituary, no luck.

Back to Wiki Notable People:

Frederick Charles Leonard (1896-1960), astronomer.

How about that, another Leonard!  I wonder if he’s related in some way to Anna, although “Leonard” is her married name and Mr. Leonard was from Chicago . . .

From Wiki:

Frederick Charles Leonard was an American astronomer. As a faculty member at UCLA, he conducted extensive research on double stars and meteorites, largely shaping the university’s Department of Astronomy.

Leonard was born in Mount Vernon, Indiana in 1896 and moved with his family to Chicago in about 1900.  From the age of eight, he showed great interest in the stars and by early adolescence had become an active amateur astronomer. In 1909 (at age 13) he attended the annual meeting of the Astronomical and Astrophysical Society of America. The same year, he organized the Society for Practical Astronomy (SPA),[6] a national amateur organization.

Leonard was a prolific writer and by the age of 14 had attracted the attention of numerous publishers.  He authored a year-long series of articles titled “Mr. Leonard’s Star Colors” in a popular international science magazine of the time – The English Mechanic and World of Science.

Quite the precocious kid!

So anyway, he researched double stars, which were unknown in the early part of the 20th century, and also studied meteorites, founding the Meteoritical Society (still active today, with over 1,000 worldwide members).  The Society awards an annual Leonard Medal, named in his honor.

Perhaps more interestingly, he was one of the first astronomers to hypothesize the existence of the Kuiper belt.  The Kuiper Belt includes far flung (beyond Neptune) solar system objects including Pluto, other rocky planetoids and a gazillion comets.  From Wiki:

In 1930, soon after Pluto’s discovery by Clyde Tombaugh, Leonard pondered whether it was “not likely that in Pluto there has come to light the first of a series of ultra-Neptunian bodies, the remaining members of which still await discovery but which are destined eventually to be detected”.

As I wrap this up, I must say that I had a tough time finding a decent scenery photo on GE.  As much as I hate to cross state lines, that’s just what I did, finding this picture by Travel KY, posted just across the Ohio River:

That’ll do it . . .




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Chloride and Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

Posted by graywacke on June 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 2447; A Landing A Day blog post number 883.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N33o 12.424’, W107o 36.585’) puts me in SW New Mexico:

My local landing map shows that I landed out in the boonies, but not terribly far from many teeny towns, and one slightly-larger town (T or C):

I’m not going to bother with my usual streams-only StreetAtlas map, because it gave me precious little information.  So, off to Google Earth (GE).

I’ll start with a very local oblique look at my landing:

And then zooming quite a ways back, I’ve identified my local streams as follows:

I used the GE hydrographic feature so that Icould  figure out I landed in the North Fork Palomas Creek watershed; on to Palomas Ck.  Zooming back, you can see that the Palomas discharges to the Rio Grande (52nd hit):

I sent the Orange Dude to a road that crossed the Palomas just before it discharges to the Rio Grande:

Here’s what the OD sees looking upstream:

And downstream:

Speaking of downstream, I had the OD head down the Rio Grande some number of miles before he could get a good look.  Here ‘tis:

As is my wont, I checked out all of the little towns north and east of my landing.  They are all nearly defunct mining towns, with only Chloride having a significant internet presence.  From Wiki:

Chloride had its start in 1881 as a mining community when chlorargyrite (silver chloride) ore was discovered along the streambanks.  A post office was established at Chloride in 1881 and remained in operation until 1956.

And this, from WesternMiningHistory.com:

Beginning as a tent city in 1880 when silver was found in the canyons and mountains to the west, Chloride soon grew to 3,000 souls, mostly hard working, hard drinking, hard rock miners.

Chloride in 1884

A robust boom town, Chloride had all the required establishments: nine saloons, two general merchandise stores, butcher shops, hotel, boarding houses, an assay office, blacksmith shop, drug store, law office, livery stable, Chinese laundry, ladies millinery store, a photography studio, a candy store, and of course, a red light district, but no church.

I found a couple of videos.  First this, a quick travelogue:


And this more substantial video from NM True TV that features an interview with the gentleman who keeps the ghost town more-or-less alive:


It’s time to tell the Truth or accept the Consequences.  From Wiki:

In 1916, the town was incorporated as Hot Springs, due to the presence of numerous flowing hot springs nearby. It became the Sierra County seat in 1937.  By the late 1930s, Hot Springs was filled with 40 different natural hot springs spas– one spa for every 75 residents at the time.

The city changed its name to “Truth or Consequences”, the title of a popular NBC Radio program. In March 1950, Ralph Edwards, the host of the radio quiz show Truth or Consequences, announced that he would air the program on its 10th anniversary from the first town that renamed itself after the show.

Hot Springs got in touch with the show, and committed to the name change.  The town officially changed its name on March 31, 1950, and the 10th anniversary program was broadcast from there the following evening.

In the early 50s, the radio program migrated to television, with Ralph Edwards continuing as host. Here’s what Wiki has to say about the show’s premise:

On the show, contestants received roughly two seconds to answer a trivia question correctly (usually an off-the-wall question that no one would be able to answer correctly, or a bad joke).  If (as nearly always happened) the contestant could not complete the “Truth” portion, there would be “Consequences,” usually a zany and embarrassing stunt.  Ralph was ready to extend the question to two or three parts in the rare time that a contestant could actually answer correctly.

On December 31, 1957, Ralph stepped down as host and handed the baton to Bob Barker.  This was Barker’s first game show hosting gig.  He is best known as the host of “The Price is Right” for 35 years (from 1972 to 2007).

If you have the time (and are so inclined), here’s a video of the entire 12/31/57 show that started out with Ralph Edwards and ended up with Bob Barker.  It’s really a time capsule . . .


I’ll close with this lovely shot of the Rio Grande near Truth or Consequences by Harish Makundon:

That’ll do it . . .




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