Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Quest for Nevada Complete!

Here is one final self-indulgent post about the quest for my 50th state. After this I can get back to more interesting (to the rest of you) stuff.

The quest is complete! I reached my 50th state-Nevada late at night on Amtrak's California Zephyr. Although there is no "Welcome to Nevada" sign along the train tracks (at least not visible at night) you know you're at the border when you go through Wendover, Utah and then into West Wendover, Nevada. These are the only towns after dozens of miles of salt flats so it's pretty obvious when you've arrived.
The map above shows our entire route. It bleeds off the edge of the allotted space here but you can click to see the entire thing. We flew into Denver and spent a day and a half there, then took the train to Reno. Next we rented a car and drove down to Lake Tahoe via Virginia City. After a couple of nights in Tahoe we drove down to Yosemite National Park and then on to Oakland for a wedding, followed by a flight out of San Francisco. All in all it was way too much to try and do in a week but well worth it! A few more details and photos can be seen on Twitter-see the sidebar to the right.

Just to get really self-indulgent, here is my updated county map.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Truckee River-Reno, Nevada

The Truckee River flows out of Lake Tahoe, eastward through Reno, emptying into Pyramid Lake. Similar to the Humboldt Sink, this lake does not have an outlet. Water evaporates or flows into the ground. Seems like a lot of water flowing by just to dead end in the desert.

The detailed map:
The schematic map:
The view:

Training through Nevada!

I have made it to Nevada! We are traveling along the Humboldt River which drains most of northern Nevada, but does not ever reach the ocean. The river drains into the Humboldt Sink, a dry lakebed. It forms a natural transportation corridor across the state and Amtrak's California Zephyr uses this valley to get across the state

Pass the salt!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Another Hole in the Continental Divide

The Moffat Tunnel  creates another hole of sorts in the Continental Divide. The 6.2 mile long railroad tunnel that we went through earlier today also carries water from the western side of the Rockies to Denver
The map below shows the tunnel (the straight dashed line) juxtaposed with the twisty overland route. Source: Moffat Road Railroad Museum

Quest for Nevada Begins!

Train just pulling out of Denver. According to the Amtrak status map it's going to be a windy route.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Continental Divide Interrupted

In the Teton Wilderness of northwestern Wyoming the Two Ocean Pass creates a small hole in the Continental Divide. North Two Ocean Creek flows across a ridge and then splits into two distributaries, Atlantic Creek and Pacific Creek. Atlantic Creek flows into the Yellowstone River, then to the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Pacific Creek goes to the Pacific Ocean via the Snake and Columbia Rivers.
This joining of waters allows fish such as the cutthroat trout to migrate across the divide, from the Snake River to Yellowstone Lake (source National Park Service.)

There are several other gaps in the Continental Divide as shown on this map. 

The areas with double red lines are endorheic basins. They do not drain externally-water flows into swamps, the ground, or it evaporates. The Great Basin (in brown above) is a large example of this. I plan to travel through there next week and may have more details about that region.

There are a couple of other places where waters cross the Continental Divide in North America. These include Divide Creek near Kicking Horse Pass in the Canadian Rockies and Isa Lake in Yellowstone National Park. Isa Lake (autocorrects to "is a lake") has streams that flow westwards to the Atlantic and eastwards to the Pacific which is totally backwards!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

40 Maps That Won't Explain Anything-Part 3

The "40 Maps" articles are breeding like rabbits! There's 40 maps to "explain" the Middle East, the Internet, maps that show you How The World Works, and Maps They Didn't Teach You in School (diss the education system all you want, at least they didn't teach you this crap!) If you wade through all of this, you will find a few useful maps but mostly you'll find bad cartography, bad data, and bad assumptions made from the bad data. You'll also find a healthy serving of lazy stereotypes.

I'm not sure why 40 is the magic number but to properly make fun of this series of viral garbage, I have 40 maps that will not explain anything to you, they're just maps. Enjoy them. Since 40 is (in my opinion) way too many maps to absorb in one blog post, I am doing them 10 at a time. This is Part 3. Part 1 and Part 2 are here and here.

21. Tourist Map of Liechtenstein - click to pan and zoom the whole country.
22. Movie Star Homes-Hollywood-Brentwood
23. Proposed LA Metro Westside expansion-via Jewish Journal
24. EPA's Top 10 cities with the most Energy Star Certified Buildings - locations of cities are a bit off but I've seen much worse.

25. From Visualizing Mental Maps of San Francisco - "Yo-Shang Cheng is Sill Not Entirely Sure What's in the Southern Half of the City"
26. Mario BART
 27. The Apollo 11 landing site using a baseball diamond for scale - from NASA
 28. Apollo 17 using Paris for scale - also from NASA
29. The Ohio State Parks Geocache Challenge
30. Map of the Week, according to the Geek Art Gallery.