December 2011 Archives

Ping Pong with Grandpa

Grandpa Roy came to visit a few days after Christmas. After helping install some new lights in the basement and lunch at the local sports bar, he took on his two favorite grandsons in a 2-against-1 match of ping pong.


We also played a little Blackjack, as has become our tradition.

The Stoplight Of Idaho County

Both my parents grew up in small towns in Idaho County. It's a large county (8,500 mi2) with a small population (about 16,000).  That's a population density of about 2 persons per square mile. Compare to, say, Manhattan, which has 70,000 persons per square mile.

Grangeville is the largest town in Idaho County. About 3,000 people live there. We often pass through, or at least very near, Grangeville if we drive south to McCall or Boise. Sometimes we go there to ski at Snowhaven. The picture below is the intersection of Main and Idaho Streets in Grangeville.


I was a bit blown away when my Mom recently remarked that this was the only traffic light in the whole county! Makes you wonder if it was installed only to meet some requirement that all U.S. counties must have at least one traffic light. Or perhaps it is job security for the county's lonely traffic engineer? Do they stock one spare replacement bulb? Compare, again, to Manhattan where, according to some random web page I found, there are about 2,800 traffic lights.

Some other fun facts about Idaho County:

  • It was named "Idaho" before the State, and even the Territory, was.
  • It is among the very few counties with more than one time zone.
  • Nearly 7,000 mi2 of the county are National Forest land. Only counties in Alaska have more.

Now Playing in Downtown Moscow


Like A Boss

Here's Colin catching up on work while on Thanksgiving vacation at Grandpa Roy's house.


Halfway Between the Equator and the North Pole

A couple weeks ago we drove to Boise, making the long drive through Idaho's Heartland. One of my favorite spots along the way is the imaginary line representing 45° N latitude, also known as the 45th Parallel.

It's a special place for me for a couple of reasons. First, its just a cool geographic spot. Also, as kids we often went skiing at Brundage Mountain, where they have a run named "45th parallel." That was probably the first time it registered with me. Later, our family had a getaway cabin in the development then known as Kimberland Meadows. The turnoff from highway 95 is right at the sign and the turnoff road is named 45th parallel. So we "lived" very close to it for a while. On weekends.


Colin happened to ask "where are we?" about a mile before we got to the sign and without hesitation I answered "halfway between the equator and the north pole." He knows about the earth's poles, equator, and latitude, but didn't believe that I could possibly be telling the truth. It was great to have him read the sign as we passed it. On our way back we stopped for the picture.