Drive Me Crazy

Previous 12MC articles delved into creative and sometimes bizarre pairings of street names with suffixes. Those were explored in posts such as Order in the Court, He Went Thata Way and No Way! Way!. Enough with the Courts and Ways (curds and whey?). It’s time to drive.

Line Drive

Line Drive, Manchester, NH, USA

Readers from international areas devoid of baseball might wonder why Line Drive would be an odd street name choice. It’s an intuitive term to those of us who grew up with the sport, and similarly difficult to translate to outsiders. No doubt, someone trying to describe a Cricket term to me would have the same problem in reverse. Instead I’ll steal the dictionary definition: "a ball that is hit by the batter and goes in a nearly straight line not far above the ground." It can be dangerous to players on the field at the receiving end of a line drive and can also lead to spectacular plays when handled properly.

Consequently I found several Line Drives at municipal ball parks and baseball diamonds including two at professional minor league stadiums.

  • The New Hampshire Fisher Cats, a Double-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays plays at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium (formerly Fisher Cats Ballpark) at 1 Line Drive in Manchester, New Hampshire. What is a fisher cat? It’s a type of weasel.
  • The Iowa Cubs, a Triple-A farm team of the Chicago Cubs, plays at Principal Park, at 1 Line Drive in Des Moines, Iowa.

Disk Drive

Disk Drive, Madison, AL, USA

I suppose at one time maybe 15 years ago Disk Drive would have sounded like a clever street name for an industrial park hoping to attract information technology companies. At least the occurrence in Madison, Alabama had an honest-to-goodness linkage to the IT industry. Intergraph Corporation, a software development and services company, maintains an office there albeit with a street address other than Disk Drive.

Honorable Mentions

Scenic Drive, Hamilton, ON, Canada

There were often several examples of each name. I tried to select ones that were the most representative.

  • Scenic Drive, Hamilton, ON, Canada (map)
  • Cattle Drive, Austin, TX (map)
  • Over Dive, Vermillion, SD (map)
  • The Drive Drive, Benoni, Gauteng, South Africa (map). This was an amusing Google Maps error. Other online maps labeled it The Drive with no suffix attached so apparently the true name was more than Google could handle
  • Sunday Drive, Hanover, PA (map). That was as close as I could get to Sunday Driver.
  • Just Drive, Fort Worth, TX (map). It was located in a trailer park. Of course it was. I’m still looking for the more crude variant Shutupan Drive, which I think would make a fine name for a street. I found a coffee shop in Incheon, South Korea called Shutupandtakecoffee which made me recall the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld. Shut up and take coffee! No coffee for you!
  • Could there really be no Pile Drive?

The Best (or Worst)

Doctor Dr., Virginia Beach, VA, USA

I held a special fondness for Doctor Drive, located in a number of places nationwide. The answer might not appear all that obvious until converted to its logical abbreviations. Doctor Drive shortened to Dr. Dr.

The example I highlighted from Virginia Beach would be noteworthy from a couple of perspectives. First, it intersected with Hospital Drive so that implied maybe at one time it could have been appropriately named for its circumstances. Second it offered additional opportunities for abbreviated mischief. Thus, the Get Reel Lure Co. (caution – annoying website background music) could potentially shorten its address to: 204 Dr. Dr., VA Beach, VA!

Odds and Ends 9

I’ve collected another raft of small discoveries not nearly meaty enough to stretch into an entire article on their own. 12MC readers have also been kind enough to make me aware of some unusual situations. That must mean it’s time once again for an installment of Odds and Ends, our ongoing collection of bite-sized morsels.

An Interesting Juxtaposition

Where Hooker Meets Pleasure

Certain things are inexplicable and should simply stand on their own without further elaboration. I’m just going to state for the record that Hooker Avenue and Pleasure Drive intersect in Madison, Wisconsin. There, I said it.

I lied. I’ll go ahead and elaborate.

One neighborhood developed with street names based upon military figures from the U.S. Civil War, one of whom was Major General Joseph Hooker. Another neighborhood included rather generic names, one of which happened to be Pleasure Drive. Hooker and Pleasure came together. Apparently I wasn’t the first to discover this odd concurrence. Historic Madison noted that "the street signs at Hooker and Pleasure Drive are reportedly the most often stolen of any in Madison." Imagine that.

There’s also an Old Hooker Road in Georgia. TMI?

Was It the Plan?

Small, Remote Norfolk Island

I received a nice gift on Tuesday, a first-time virtual visitor from an exceedingly obscure land.

I begged rather shamelessly in my Plan for Rare Visitors and hoped it might work. Now, more than a year later, someone hit the site from Norfolk Island. Literally(¹), I’ve recorded hundreds of thousands of visitors on the Twelve Mile Circle since I first started tracking them nearly six years ago. This was the first and only Norfolk Island visitor ever.

Norfolk Island, a largely self-governing territory of Australia, has fewer than 2,500 residents. Yet, it also has its own top-level Internet domain (.nf). That makes it a particularly difficult capture for those of us who like to count such things and want to attract at least one reader from every top-level domain around the world.

That’s why I included Norfolk Island on my earlier wish list when I said, "Australian readers. Maybe one of you plans to go on holiday to the Shire of Christmas Island or the Cocos (Keeling) Islands? Norfolk Island, anyone? Send me a hit if you’re there and happen to think about it."

If one of you did that for me, thank you, I definitely noticed and appreciated it. If it was a coincidence, well, thank you anyway unknown Intertubes voyager.


Warren Co.’s Portion of Augusta Bottom Road

"Joe" made me aware of a situation he’s been following outside of St. Louis, Missouri. I’ll share the article link he referenced from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "County switch floated in Augusta Bottom Road dispute." That article includes all the information one would ever need about the topic although I’ll try to briefly explain and synopsize it without mangling it too much.

Warren County didn’t want anything to do with Augusta Bottom Road after it got flooded-out. The road was a shortcut for people in Franklin County and St. Charles County. It did nothing for people in Warren. Who could blame them for not wanting to pay for its replacement? So they didn’t. Surrounding jurisdictions picked up the tab for Warren’s segment of Augusta Bottom Road. That worked fine until a teenage driver died in an accident on the Warren segment, and her family sued for damages. Now nobody is allowed to use the road; insurance companies won’t provide coverage because they’ll only do it if the policyholder is the landholder. One of the options on the table would involve transferring a bit of land from Warren County to St. Charles so that St. Charles’ insurance would apply and the road could re-open.

It would need to be approved by the Missouri Legislature. It’s complicated.

Joe has been following this story like I’ve been following the Bibb-Monroe Boundary Dispute. These local dramas are endlessly fascinating and addictive. I recommend everyone select one and make it a hobby. You will not be disappointed.

Crime in Isolation

Selden Island, Maryland

"Rob" mentioned a recent crime involving the theft of farm equipment. The crime wasn’t particularly memorable although it happened at an interesting spot, a Potomac River island on the border between Maryland and Virginia. As 12MC has mentioned before, the boundary between Maryland and Virginia follows the low-water mark on the river’s Virginia shore as ratified by the 1874 Black-Jenkins Award (and recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court as recently as 2003). Simplistically, Maryland owns the river and the islands set upon it.

Take a closer look at Selden Island. It’s a lot closer to Virginia than it is to the rest of Maryland, and in fact the only way to get to the island overland is by using a small bridge on the Virginia side (see panoramic view). The officer on duty had to cross from Maryland on White’s Ferry (my visit), drive down through several miles of Virginia, and then cross back into Maryland to take the report.

Well, I thought it was pretty cool.

Thanks Joe, thanks Rob, and I hope everyone keep sending geo-oddities to 12MC!

(¹) a literal literally not a figurative literally

Webby Finds

I can’t seem to make a dent in my list of potential Twelve Mile Circle articles. I keep writing steadily and in the process I run into several more morsels that go onto a never-ending pile. It’s become a perpetual motion machine.

I’m going to do something I haven’t done in a very long time. I’ll featuring some obscure and beloved websites. The last time I devoted an entire article to something like this was all the way back in March 2010 and even then I did it with some trepidation. Websites tend to come-and-go, and those recommended by 12MC don’t seem to fare well after I mention them. In fact, I’m pretty sure a 12MC endorsement is pretty much a death knell. Nonetheless, the sites I’ll feature are very well established with prospects of solid longevity. Maybe we’ll break the curse. Either way, at least I can place check marks next to three entries on my overflowing topic list in a single shot and call them done.

Odd Wisconsin

Wisconsin State Capitol
Wisconsin State Capitol by
"not fit for any civilized nation of people to inhabit."

The Wisconsin Historical Society publishes Odd Wisconsin in blog format about once a week, beginning about a year ago. It hits on three of my interests: geography; history and weirdness. As they note, their mission is to "Amuse, surprise, perplex, astonish, and otherwise connect you with your past." They "lower a bucket into the depths of Wisconsin history and bring to light curious fragments of forgotten lives."

That bucket has been lowered into some rather interesting places. I’ve learned:

  • The Madison area — the site of the state capital since 1836 — was once described as "not fit for any civilized nation of people to inhabit."
  • Wisconsin and beer are practically synonymous, and several American brewing empires traced their origin to the state. Nonetheless beer almost became illegal during the early years of statehood. Voters passed a prohibition referendum in 1853 and it failed only because the state legislature didn’t endorse it.
  • One area could have become Petersylvania; no, not Pennsylvania, Petersylvania after Rev. Samuel Peters.
  • The town of Dekorra was poised by geographic happenstance to become a major settlement like Madison or Milwaukee. Never heard of it? Exactly.

Bridge Hunter

trestle looking down
Trestle looking down by ken ratcliff, on Flickr
via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license
Niobrara River Cowboy Trail Bridge

I could get lost on for days, just drilling down randomly on the 30,000+ bridges contained on its pages. Contributors add bunches of new ones to the site every day. Almost three hundred vertical lift bridges? Simply mind-blowing. I could also feast on 600+ tunnels or nearly a hundred ferries listings if I ever grew tired of bridges, too.

Let’s try it out. Say, I want to see only Nebraska bridges and then select Cherry County from the clickable map. The Niobrara River Cowboy Trail Bridge looks promising, and there it is with four photographs, a Google Street View image, lat/long coordinates and various vital statistics. Just like that, I learned about an old Chicago & Northwestern railroad trestle (map) that was converted to pedestrian use as part of the Cowboy Trail, which is a Rails-to-Trails project. Now I’ll have something interesting to do when I visit Nebraska’s largest county. There are thousands of possibilities like that simply waiting to be discovered on the site.

I wonder if the website attracts the wrong crowd sometimes. The URL is only a single letter away from Bride Hunter. Lonely-hearts with bad typing skills in search of mail order brides might arrive on the site only to leave disappointed.

Virginia Places

Veramar Vineyard Berryville

Veramar Vineyard
12MC Visits Lots of Virginia Places

I’ve used Virginia Places as a reference for years. It is copyright © 1998-2013 so I guess the owner continues to maintain its content even thought the formatting seems to be stuck in 1998. Virginia Places serves as a reference for a geography class at George Mason University (Geography of Virginia – GGS380) so signs look promising for it to stick around for awhile.

The index page includes that annoying, anonymous Virginia quote that one sees scattered throughout the Commonwealth: "To be a Virginian either by Birth, Marriage, Adoption, or even on one’s Mother’s side is an Introduction to any State in the Union, a Passport to any Foreign Country, and a Benediction from Above." Whatever. I’ll forgive Virginia Places for that brief transgression because I like leafing through the rest of its pages.

Completely Unrelated

Remember last year when I served as a chauffeur for someone participating in the Dust Bowl Marathon Series? My participant selected the half-marathon option, so only half-crazy.

We’re doing it again. This time it will be the Riverboat Marathon Series (Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana), April 12-16, 2014. That gives all of you plenty of time to get in shape and join us for one or more of the races. I’m already salivating over the number of counties I’ll capture.