Drive Me Crazy

On December 1, 2013 · 11 Comments

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!

Short Distance Namesakes

On December 20, 2012 · 28 Comments

Something has been bothering me since I mentioned the town of Washington, Virginia recently in Flip-Flopping. It claims to be the oldest town named for George Washington, platted by none other than George Washington himself in 1749. I noted that it’s often called Little Washington to differentiate it from nearby Washington, DC which dates to 1791. "Little" Washington is only 68.7 miles (111 kilometres) from "Big" Washington according to Google Maps. Was this the closest distance between two towns that share the same name?

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Washington to Washington

It was not, by the way, but I’ll get to that later.

I began by establishing some ground rules.

  1. The names had to arise independently although they could originate from a common source. Both Washingtons were named for George Washington. Clearly the city of Washington was not named for the little village in rural Virginia, though.
  2. They could not be part of the same basic metropolitan area. Kansas City (Missouri/Kansas), St. Louis – East St. Louis (Missouri/Illinois), Niagara Falls (New York/Ontario) and similar occurrences were specifically excluded. See how I crossed an international boundary on that last one? Right. The two Congos fell into this same category and I tossed that possibility from consideration too (plus, they’re countries not towns).
  3. They both had to be "meaningful" places. That was subjective. I defined it to mean that they both had to appear as labeled places on Google Maps. In the event of an approximate tie I would consider it better if each town was large enough to have a government and a web presence. Washington, Virginia is the seat of government for Rappahannock County in addition to being a town in its own right, for example.
  4. Google Maps would also serve as the final arbiter of distance using simple queries such as "Washington, VA to Washington, DC." No lat/long coordinates or street addresses could be used to shorten distances.

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Greenville to Greenville

I began by consulting Wikipedia’s list of the most common U.S. place names and I figured I’d start with those found in Rhode Island. None of those towns would be very far from a state border by definition. The same would hold true, relatively speaking, for neighboring Connecticut and Massachusetts. That winnowed the list down to Greenville, Riverside, Kingston and Newport for Rhode Island. I didn’t get any cross-border cooperation, though. Nonetheless and to my surprise, Greenville, Rhode Island to Greenville, New Hampshire — crossing through the entire width of Massachusetts — scored very well at 79.6 miles (128 km).

I also uncovered an odd Google Maps glitch, and I’m not sure if it was specific to me or whether it will be repaired before someone else attempts it. I tried to route from "Greenville, NH to Greenville, VT" and it calculated a 0.4 mile path to Panda Wok. I wonder how much Panda Wok paid Google for that nifty little trick?

Then I started getting a weird sense of déjà vu, like maybe I’d already published this article before. That possibility dawned on me as I examined other common town names on the list, particularly Franklin. I worry about the day that it will happen, and believe me it will happen someday. I now have several hundred articles under my belt and it’s hard to keep them all straight. Today is not that day. I searched my archives and found that two Franklins appeared in The Jeffersons and Beyond in a different context with a distance of 102 miles (164 km) between them.

While I was at it I also observed Washington, Maryland on the list and compared it to Washington, DC. It did almost as well as Washington, VA, at 69.7 miles (112 km); only a mile farther! (map). Mostly though, the list was a bust.

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Lens to Lens

Then I transitioned to the desperation method. That involved looking near state and provincial borders for similar towns, and failing that, moving on to national boundaries. Languages tend to slop across European borders so maybe I could find something there. I spotted Lens in northern France and focused on it only because it was a short name. Could there be a Lens in Belgium. Yes, and the distance between them was 66.5 miles (107 km).

I found the best answer of the day completely by luck.

Now I turn the challenge over to the wise and all-knowing 12MC audience. I think there has to be better occurrences, probably numerous ones, that meet the four basic criteria.

Warning at the Border

On January 8, 2012 · 5 Comments

I’m still catching-up from my brief holiday hiatus from Twelve Mile Circle responsibilities. It serves me right for thinking I could keep a low profile with so much geo-weirdness happening in the world at any given time. I imagine many of you saw mainstream press coverage of a few legislators in New Hampshire proposing warning signs for motorists about to enter neighboring Massachusetts?

The argument is that Massachusetts requires automobile insurance and motorcycle helmets, it places greater restrictions on guns and fireworks, and its more restrictive by nature in general. New Hampshire is all "Live Free or Die" and Massachusetts is, well, it’s the People’s Republic of Taxachusetts. That’s how it’s being framed by the NH Legislators involved. I think one quote from the article articulates this position rather succinctly: "Basically I had people come to me and tell me they had accidentally crossed the border and ended up on the wrong side of the law… If they had seen a sign saying ‘hey, you’re about to go into Massachusetts,’ they could have turned around." Indeed.

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A Section of the Hostile Border Region

I’ll leave it to each of you to determine a personal point of view since 12 MC isn’t a political blog (albeit we’ve waded into NH-MA waters briefly before). I also realize this bill is probably a bit tongue-in-cheek, voicing frustration without much expectation of actually passing. Nonetheless that doesn’t mean that I can examine some of the potential implications and have some fun with it.

Would this be the only instance where one state warns motorists of potential problems or restrictions in a neighboring state? I’ve seen plenty of examples that goes the other direction, where a state wants travelers to understand its restrictions to avoid unknowing trouble. I see this in my own beloved Commonwealth along major roads as one crosses the border: Speed enforced by aircraft; Speed Checked by Radar and Other Electrical Devices; and Radar Detectors are Illegal. I’ve seen actual border stops such as California’s Agricultural Inspection Stations (went through the Lake Tahoe Station once). Occasionally I see friendly exit messages like "Drive Safely — Return Again Soon" However the New Hampshire proposal would be a new one to me. Does anyone know of something similar — a warning about a neighboring jurisdiction — and can provide an associated Google Map link?

I like to examine the actual text of a bill when I see an article like this. I know, I’m weird. However source documents often provides revealing information that doesn’t make it into the news. The Legislature is called the The New Hampshire General Court; it is bicameral with a House of Representatives of 400 members. The General Court brags that it’s "the second largest legislature in the United States following the U.S. Congress." New Hampshire is also the 46th smallest of the 50 states so it seems there may be a bit of a Napoleon Complex going on here. It shouldn’t be surprising that "creative" ideas might make their way into the legislative process when representation covers such tiny slices of geography.

The bill, HB 1412 says, "All roads that cross the New Hampshire/Massachusetts state line shall bear signs that say “Warning: Massachusetts Border 500 Feet.” Lest anyone consider this a frivolous use of taxpayer funds, lawmakers propose that " No public money shall be used to pay for such signs." Instead a citizen, group, association or business will sponsor each sign, and in return will be able to erect "a suitable recognition sign."

Warning Massachusetts 500 Feet
I’ve combined both signs into a single sign for further cost savings

My next round of Adsense funding will go towards sponsoring a sign if HB 1412 passes and becomes New Hampshire law. The heck with another holiday abroad. Sponsorship competition will be stiff for signs along busy roads such as Interstates 93 and 95 but those wouldn’t be nearly geo-odd enough for me anyway. I’ll need to find someplace obscure. I have plenty of opportunities among the 138 existing road crossings between the two states.

Well, I counted 138 crossings — that’s what passes for a fun Saturday evening on the 12MC — although I can’t guarantee that exact number. It’s close enough for our purposes. The more significant point to understand is that there are plenty of border crossings that will need sponsors. The court decision for Yarnell v. Cuffley makes it practically impossible to deny 12MC sponsorship, so we’ll be able to sponsor a sign if the law passes and I have the necessary cash on hand.

I found a few possible locations for the Twelve Mile Circle warning sign:

  • It would probably be most useful along some random tertiary road that doesn’t even warrant a state border marker. However that seems rather boring for 12MC purposes.
  • The loops of Brooks Road and Brooks Road Extended may be more appropriate, requiring three signs to comply with the proposed law.
  • Motorists also need to know what they’re getting into when they visit these two houses at the end of a remote cul-de-sac. As an aside, I’d be thrilled to live in a home with a state border running straight down the driveway like the guy towards the east.
  • Maybe the Highway 12 crossing is a possibility, you know, because this is the Twelve Mile Circle?
  • My inner Beavis & Butt-head appreciates the special needs of an approach to Pecker Pond.

Any other sponsorship suggestions from the wise 12MC audience?

Totally Unrelated

Sports Nation Divided says that Turner, Montana is the "Saddest Town in America" because it’s the farthest away from a major league baseball team. I’m looking at you, Weekend Roady.

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