Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Infinite Art Tournament, Round Two: Estes v. Van Eyck!

Richard Estes
born 1936

Beat Max Ernst on the last vote in Round 1. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!!!


Jan Van Eyck
1422 - 1441

Beat William Etty in Round 1 by a two-vote swing. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!!!


Vote for the artist of your choice in the comments, or any other way that works for you. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Wednesday Post

Greetings From Colorado!
Being a statistical breakdown of the 5000s' recent journey to the Centennial State


Showing one of many switchbacks on U.S. Highway 40 going over 11,307-ft Berthoud Pass.  In the background is Red Mountain and site of the Urad molybdenum mine.

When it became apparent that we were going to have an extra few days on our hands in Colorado, Mrs.5000 was firm and decisive.  "I want to get counties in Eastern Colorado," she said.  "I'm really close to completing the state."

It's is a blessing when your spouse shares some of your interests.  Arbitrary travel is not for everyone.

In accordance with her wishes, I prepared a tactical map laying out our objectives:

This showed the counties needed by Mrs.5000 in blue and the ones needed by me in purple.  This turned out to be very handy in our hour to hour decision-making process.  Our ultimate route is shown in part here, in this exclusive early-stage glimpse of the digitization of the Atlas of All Roads Traveled:

On the first day of the road-trip proper, I scored three Colorado counties while Mrs.5000 bagged two plus another in New Mexico.  On day two, as we pulled off the five-states-in-two-hours trick and then cruised north on Colorado's Eastern tier, Mrs.5000 hit a nine-county jackpot, taking three more in Colorado, two apiece in Oklahoma and Kansas, and one apiece in New Mexico and Texas.  I only gathered three more in Colorado.

I am not missing many Colorado counties now, but they are
scattered across the state, making what Mrs.5000 terms a bad "leave."
Mrs.5000 keeps track the old-fashioned way.
Although there were no new states involved (there can't be, here on the mainland) it was nice to reestablish some (admittedly marginal) credibility with Texas after nearly 16 years, with Oklahoma after 15, and with Kansas -- where I lived for nearly a decade! -- after nearly 14 years away.

Ad Astra per Aspera
There are of course many ways to collect states.  Some people go for shot glasses.  My most recent form of collection is to run in 'em.  Unfortunately it wasn't practical to stop for a run in Texas or Oklahoma, but on May 25 New Mexico became my eleventh state running-wise.

I hope you had an excellent Memorial Day weekend too.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Infinite Art Tournament, Round 2: Eakins v. Ensor!

Thomas Eakins
1844 - 1916

Crushed German pioneer Adam Elsheimer in Round 1.


James Ensor
1860 - 1949
Belgium's famous painter

Survived an early deficit and a voter defection in an amazing Round 1 comeback victory over Sir Jacob Epstein. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!!!


Vote for the artist of your choice in the comments, or any other way that works for you. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting.

Monday, May 27, 2013

How to Visit Five Western States in Two Hours

First, you need to get to Clayton, New Mexico.  Travel time to Clayton is not included in your two hours.

From Clayton, you're going to drive northeast on US 56 to Cimarron County, Oklahoma.

That's right, Cimarron County.  The least populous and least densely populated county in Oklahoma, it is the western tip of the Oklahoma panhandle.  Here's the layout.

As soon as you get to the New Mexico/Oklahoma state line -- where US 56 enters the map at the lower left -- turn south on a gravel road and drive about a mile and a half.  This road will end at a T intersection, where you'll see this.

The post behind the sign is the survey marker showing the point where the northern border of Texas meets the border between New Mexico and Oklahoma.*

You can get to the post via a nearby cattle guard, and you do the obvious thing.

Voila!  You have now been in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, and you're only about 15 minutes in.

Return to the highway and continue northeast to the nifty roundabout at the heart of the county seat, Boise City.

Pretend you're heading to Guymon, but you're not; you'll actually turn on the edge of town to keep going northeast on US 56.  Allow yourself to be hypnotized by the minimalist charm of the Panhandle landscape.  When you see the sign marking the Texas County (Oklahoma) line, at the upper right hand side of the above map, wake suddenly from your trance and careen left onto another gravel road.

This time, you're going to drive about five miles north, but it's a good road so no worries.  You'll reach another T intersection, and... nothing.  But turn left, and drive another mile or so, and suddenly you'll see this up ahead on the right:

Awesome.  You'll run up and inspect it, and stand inside of its metal frame (probably an old windmill) so you can be in three states at once.  But then you'll notice there's no survey marker, and after you putter around for a while you can find this back in the road, if you didn't park on top of it.

...and once again, you do the obvious thing.

And there you have it!  You have now been in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas, and it is not even lunchtime.  Turning around and heading straight east will get you back to the highway at Elkhart, Kansas.  From there, you're on your own.

Mrs.5000 and I (and our intrepid travel mascot, obviously) did exactly this yesterday morning as part of a really lovely expedition on the Great Plains.  You'll be seeing bits and pieces from our fieldwork for quite a while.


* "But New Mexico is WEST of Texas, not NORTH of Texas!"  Good eye.  However, there is a jog in New Mexico's eastern border that makes the state extend two miles further east in this area, into space you'd expect to be part of Oklahoma.  If for some odd reason you want to stand on the northwest tip of the Texas Panhandle, I can tell you how to do that too, but at that point Texas shares both its western AND northern borders with New Mexico.