Sunday, December 5, 2010


This map should give the reader an idea of how it was done. Detective work at its core, imagine the brown suit, and fedora in a ’48 DeSoto business coupe, necking knob on the bakelite steering wheel for U-turns, and a pack of Camels with rolled change for the operator’s directions.   
Somewhere in the analog first days of landmark hunting, it was decided to keep a record of events, along with photo scrapbooks and notebooks filled with skewed directions. Remember, it was the ‘pre decent computer’ era and my Apple IIC wasn’t capable of much beyond ‘Lemonade Stand,’ so things were simply checked off in the California Historical Landmarks book. Landmarks there were divided by county with indexes at the end, so they’d get circled as things rolled along. The date entered, along with skier’s icons for degree of difficulty and a smiley face with varied degrees of satisfaction to an un-smiley face. Eyes glazed yet?

Dad gum, that system worked well. Today, everything is on an Excel database and there are 5 columns using letter symbols for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and ‘excellent’ to ‘poor’ and  2 columns in some cipher from the cold war. Though the rest of the information like name, county, number, date, description, and coordinates remain, it sure would be nice to know what was meant.

There was the foresight to begin entering GPS coordinates about 10 years ago and retroactively hunting down waymarking groups with accurate information to sights already visited. Hours, and in a few cases, days have been spent looking for a pesky marker in those pre navigation device days, and with over 90% covered with GPS, the old database is the mother lode.

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