There’s a Reason It’s Called That…


It was just about seven years ago right now that I took this photo. My wife and I were off for four weeks (how awesome is that!!!) and we took a long-awaited road trip through the southwestern United States. We aren’t the kind of folks who go to see big cities. We would much rather travel and see nature. And we did on that trip! We swung through parts of California (where we lived at the time), Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and back home again. We hit a lot of national parks. And just yesterday, I found the DVD I’d burned of some of the places we went and that we saw.

Today’s picture was taken in Death Valley. We only spend one afternoon, one night, and part of the next morning there, partly because IT WAS HOT!  I seem to recall it was in excess of 115 degrees. There is a reason it is called “Death Valley”. I can see how people could easily die there. I cannot imagine how the first people made it across the valley without incinerating. 

But, it has a haunting beauty of its own, and I find myself wishing I could go back and see it again – except maybe not in mid-June. I think the early spring might be just about perfect as I hear there are wildflowers that bloom there. Hard to imagine when you see a picture like this one. 

Those sand dunes are probably 150 feet high. Wonder how many bleached bones are buried underneath them?

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1858, a bridge being built to connect eastern and northern Vancouver in western Canada collapsed, killing 59 workers. The bridge, known as the Second Narrows Bridge, was finally completed in 1960 and, in 1996, it was renamed Ironworkers Memorial Bridge to commemorate the people who lost their lives during its construction. The disaster was the worst involving a bridge in Canada’s history.

The bridge was being assembled by Dominion Bridge Company over the Burrard Inlet and was 175 feet above the water at its highest point. At 3:40 p.m., one of the structure’s steel spans buckled suddenly, causing the entire structure to collapse. There were 79 workers, almost a third of them painters, on the bridge at the time. Most were earning $3.85 an hour, about $25 in today’s money.

Twenty people survived the long fall, with fishermen pulling them from the water. Colin Glendinning, a worker who survived the collapse, recalled the fall, You know what I was thinking? ‘Oh God, I wish I had a parachute’ — I really did. The fall tore off Glendinning’s ear, broke his leg, and permanently damaged his lungs. He later returned to work on the bridge, only to break his other leg a year later.

A subsequent inquiry blamed the tragedy on a calculating error by one of the engineers who lost their lives in the collapse. However, some survivors believed that sub-standard construction materials were to blame.

A vigil honoring the victims is still held at the bridge every June 17.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: One of Neptune’s moons, Triton, may be the coldest place in our solar system. Its temperature can be as low as -391 F (-235 C). It’s volcanoes even erupt ice.


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