Friday, October 4, 2013

Further Adventures of the Running Avatar

It's been awhile since the Avatar checked in, but he certainly hasn't been standing still since we last saw him -- in person! -- on U.S. Highway 12 in Eastern Washington!  No, he's been doing what running Avatars do, which is to say moving across the map as a sort of incentive to the flesh-and-blood human doing the actual running!

Here's how far he has gone to date:

Whoops, that's a depressing choice of scale. Let's try again.

Now we're talking!  So, since we last saw the Avatar in Columbia County, Washington, he's ran northeast as far as Colfax, Washington, before turning back southeast and visiting the campus of Washington State University in Pullman.  From there, he continued east on a pedestrian trail connecting WSU with the University of Idaho in Moscow, only ten miles or so away.

Moscow had been the Avatar's destination for a long time, and having got there he faced a decision about where to head next.  This is often a pretty tough choice in the state of Idaho, where the boisterously rugged terrain resists most attempts to move from Point A to Point B in anything like a businesslike fashion.  After some woolgathering with maps of the Gem State, we came up with the "Magruder Corridor," a long gravel wilderness road that is alternately described on the internet as anything from a longish gravel road to a virtually impassible trace that only the most rugged and foolhardy would dare attempt.  I suspect it is the former in summer and the latter in winter, but since the Avatar is pretty much weatherproof he's heading that direction regardless of the season.  Sometime in early 2014, he should cross over into the state of Montana right along the bridge of Richard Nixon's nose -- that is, if you see the map of the Idaho/Montana border the way I always have.


Yes!  The Avatar made a point of visiting Colfax, Washington, because it is the home of the extremely excellent book artist Tim Ely.  I hardly have to tout Mr. Ely's critical credentials, as his victory in Phase 1, Flight 7 of the IAT Play-In Tournament pretty much speaks for itself.  He is a book artist with cartographic, diagrammatic, science fiction, and Egyptianate leanings, so when you throw in meticulous craftsmanship it's pretty tough to go wrong.

Ordinarily, I would refer you to his website, but it has been deemed by a Google robot to be an "attack site."  It was probably confused by the invented alphabet that Ely uses in most of his work; robots have trouble with that sort of thing.  In the meantime, here are some good sources of Tim Ely reading and gawking:
  • A nice writeup from a Spokane paper.
  • A blog post by someone who went to an exhibition and took some good photos.
So yeah, that's up with the Avatar!


Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

It looks as if Idaho has grown an upside-down mustache, and that can only spell trouble for the Land of Potatoes.

pfly said...

Looking at even the first map I was thinking "there's a *road* there?" Ok, yea, a "road". Nice. Hope your avatar makes it out. It's called the River of No Return for a reason, right?

And then what? Big Hole? Heading for Yellowstone? If so, the gravel road through Montana's Centennial Valley and by Red Rock Lakes NWR is nice in a remote kind of way. There are cows! Yea, in Montana, whodathunk?

If the avatar can take trails it could visit some of the more remote geysers in Yellowstone, which might be, hot. Whatever.