Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Landmarks of Imperial County

Seeing the 15 state landmarks that lay in Imperial County in a full day is not a difficult task, though it took me three trips and over 10 years to accomplish the same journey. Why? Well, not being very good at finding waypoints with area maps counts a lot, but the biggest change is that properly entered coordinates to a GPS device don’t muff things up very often and can bring you to within a meter or two of your destination…street name entries may not. So, hours lost wandering aimlessly in the desert or sloshing about in the New River are gone forever to a world of satellites and turn by turn directions. In this case the thrill is gone, and it’s a good thing.  

The ‘Landmarks of Imperial County’ album was the beginning of the concept to write and perform songs about California’s state historic landmarks, a financial path that has proven to make playing bluegrass on the accordion in a pizza parlor look lucrative, while being rewarding in other ways. The thinking was that since there had been some past success writing songs about  people, places, and events, rather that love lost and found, then selecting an area and writing a song about each landmark would make an interesting project. Research and developing the first few was a bit like making trips to the dentist, but in short order the process of bringing these stories yanked out of California history to song was something new to past personal songcraft. Using music and performing arts for history and social science…hmmm.

From the album booklet:
There are 15 California State Historic Landmarks in Imperial County; this is an imaginary eastbound tour in song, as they would appear through the valley. Though I've attempted to be historically accurate in researched detail with these songs, occasionally imagination takes over in an attempt to bring these places and events to life.

Here are the little devils; landmarks and songs:

#194 Mountain Springs Station  10-12-1997
#939 Desert Tower  10-12-1997
#1008 Yuha Well 10-4-2003 
#944 Fort Pacheco  10-12-1997
#808 Camp Salvation  7-5-1993
#1034 Tecolote Rancho  10-4-2003
#845 Old Plank Road
#985 Pilot Knob Boogie  7-1-1998
#182 Tumco Mine 7-5-1993, 10-4-2003 
#939 Driftwood Charley  10-4-2003
#193 Picacho Mine  7-1-1998
#568 Hernando de Alarcon  7-5-1993
#350 Misson Pursima Concepcion 7-5-1993
#921 Mission San Pedro y San Pablo de Bicuner 7-5-1993
#806 Fort Yuma  7-5-1993 7-1 1998

The DeSoto is done, dealt to a doof in Duarte. Danka shane DeSoto. A new car has been in the works for some time and with restoration to a street driver complete; it rolls south to gather the landmarks of Imperial County with absolute authority, the pinnacle of post WWII American might.

It is the 1951 Cadillac Series 62 four door sedan. Dawn of the one piece windshield, 126 inch wheelbase fronted with Dagmar bumpers, and with something like 1000 of torque, it rolls past the Salton Sea. For the Korean effort, Cadillac, using these parts, and throwing on some armor and treads built the M-41Walker Bulldog light tank.

This car was originally black but received a new two tone paint scheme of International Harvester grey and FedEx white…..chosen for a perkier but understated look. Mmmm…she rides nice, and things like potholes  dips, and speed bumps are seen and passed over, but not heard or felt in this ‘Body by Fisher’ masterpiece.  

Let’s hop in the Caddy and get started.

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