Friday, November 11, 2016

My Highpoints and Tripoints

As of November 11, 2016 I have visited 7 highpoints of the 50 United States:

1. Hawaii - Mauna Kea
2. Florida - Britton Hill
3. Indiana - Hoosier Hill
4. Arkansas - Magazine Mountain
5. Ohio - Campbell Hill 
6. Nebraska - Panorama Point
7. Missouri - Taum Sauk Mountain 

I have visited 6 tripoints where the boundaries of three or more states meet:

1. Arizona - Colorado - New Mexico - Utah (known as the Four Corners)
2. Indiana - Michigan - Ohio
3. Illinois - Kentucky - Missouri
4. Colorado - Nebraska - Wyoming
5. Kansas - Missouri - Oklahoma
6. Arkansas - Missouri - Oklahoma

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Tripoint and a Highpoint in One Fell Swoop

Laramie County, Wyoming
Weld County, Colorado
Kimball County, Nebraska
July 7, 2013

Old Texas Trail marker in Pine Bluffs
Getting There

Here I am barreling down Interstate 80 soon to cross the Wyoming-Nebraska border like I have done a dozen times before. I continued going straight the dozen times before, but for this trip on the freeway I have planned my own detour. Twelve miles south of I-80 are two places on the geographer's bucket list, and I am now taking the time and effort to find those places before I continue heading east on the freeway.

I exited the freeway at Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, drove through town, found a historical marker for the Old Texas Trail, and now headed south on Laramie County Road 164 towards Colorado. As I started to feel like I was getting close to Colorado, I looked for the telltale signs of the state boundary line between Wyoming and Colorado. There were no signs welcoming me to Colorado (and no signs behind me welcoming others to Wyoming), but I knew I entered Colorado when things underneath me changed. I traveled from Laramie County Road 164 to Weld County Road 105, and the road transformed from pavement to a dirt / gravel mixture. A change in road maintenance is a sure sign of going from one governmental jurisdiction to another.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Remembering Luther Latham, A Man Worthy of a Highway

Mathiston, Mississippi
August 6, 2016

memorial: something (such as a monument or ceremony) that honors a person who has died or serves as a reminder of an event in which many people died.
(Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary)

On my way home to Texas from Kentucky, I was traveling along the Natchez Trace Parkway and making small detours to find Natchez Trace monuments placed by the Mississippi Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution in the early 20th century. I found one placed in Mathiston along US Route 82, but what caught my eye was the marble sign next to it. It simply read:

Luther Latham
Memorial Highway

Webster County
1928 — 1931

Friday, June 24, 2016

It All Begins With a Place

Panama City, Florida
March 30, 2010

The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he or she has the right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning, and that, if he or she is indigent, an attorney will be provided at no cost to represent her or him.

United States Supreme Court, Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

This story, like all stories, begins with a place. It begins in the early morning of June 3, 1961 at the Bay Harbor Pool Room in Panama City, Florida. A robbery at the Bay Harbor Pool Room set into motion a row of legal dominoes that toppled all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The trial of Clarence Earl Gideon, who lived just down the street from and frequented the Bay Harbor Pool Room, who did not have the benefit of an attorney at his trial, and who pressed his case all the way to the Supreme Court, enhanced the right of Americans to counsel. Before 1963, each state determined if and when an attorney needed to be provided to a defendant and this determination could be applied selectively on a case-by-case basis. In 1963 the Supreme Court in Gideon v. Wainwright ruled that the right to the assistance of counsel was a fundamental right guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution and essential for a fair trial.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Goodbye to Greensberg

Choice Valley, San Luis Obispo County, California
November 22, 2001 and December 22, 2007

You will not find Greensberg, California on a map. You will not find it on the Internet.  You will not find it on the land. A few of us may remember it if we traveled through Palo Prieto Pass in the far eastern slice of San Luis Obispo County. What we remember is the Greensberg General Store: a desolate building with a mysterious past, a building once part of the land, a building now just a memory.

I traveled through Cholame dozens and dozens of times I drove between Kettleman City and Paso Robles. This route is the fastest way from Lompoc to the San Joaquin Valley and the Sierra Nevada beyond it. My first time was in April 1981 on my way to Fresno to explore my soon-to-be university. I traveled through Cholame many more times on my visits back to Lompoc from Fresno and then Mariposa and Truckee.

There's not much to slow you down in this part of San Luis Obispo County along Highway 41, but in all my travels through Cholame, I did stop a few times to sample what Cholame had to offer. There was that time I had to stretch my legs, a couple of times to check out the Japanese memorial to James Dean who died in an auto accident only a few miles away, and the time I had the most delicious coconut cream pie at Jack Ranch Cafe. There was, however, one offering near Cholame that I did not avail myself. It would entice me every time I passed it – Bitterwater Road.