Alaska had 415,231 lightning strikes statewide in 2020. That may seem like a lot, but it’s nothing compared to Texas. In 2020, the Second Largest State in the U.S. had 33,816,168 strikes, which led the nation. The Lone Star state also had the #1 slot in 2019.
Florida led the U.S. in strikes per square mile, with 194 events.
Rhode Island had the least lightning events with only 8551 in 2020.
There were 170 million lightning events across the United States in 2020, which was a drop of 52 million from the previous year.
Even the high Arctic receives some flashes. There were 192 events north of 85°N over the course of two days: July 1-2.
The Washington Monuments was struck on June 4.
Vaisala’s U.S. National Lightning Detection Network, records both in-cloud, and cloud to ground lightning flashes.
The only restaurant food I had on the entire trip was in Missoula. I stopped at a small, local shop on Hwy 93. I walked up to the restaurant, and was greeted on the sidewalk by an employee. Several menus were on display boards along the sidewalk; it could have been a drive-in. There was only one other customer, a fellow traveler on a motorcycle. I placed an order, and waited out on the walk.
Any drive through western Montana is a passage through some beautiful country. The temps had dropped dramatically from the day before, the skies were overcast, and a light mist hung in the air. Highway 93 winds north out of Missoula, skirting the western shoreline of Flathead Lake. Eventually, it passes through Kalispell and Whitefish. The only bad traffic was in Whitefish. Oddly enough, I think it was the worst of the entire trip.
The Portal was different. Most of the normal questions were not asked, although I was asked if I was transporting a firearm. Covid-19 questions were on the front burner, opioid questions came in second. In all my travels through Canada, this was the first time my car was searched. And boy, was it searched. An agent even opened a mouthwash bottle, and did not screw the lid on properly. My duffle will have a minty fresh scent for the rest of the trip.
I was a bit surprised about the overzealous border agent, but I chalked it all up to boredom. I was there for approximately 40 minutes, and no one else came through. I was given my orders: Take the shortest route to the Alaska border, no stopping for food, no stopping for pictures, and only pay for gas at the pump. During the search, they found that I had all the food needed to cross, along with plenty of water and camping gear. I was asked if I had lodging plans, and I said I only had one night planned – camping near Golden, British Columbia. They must have been satisfied, because they let me pass.
*A footnote: I am not complaining about the procedure, as much as I’m detailing the account for other travelers. The world has changed, even between neighbors. I am extremely grateful that the Canadian officials let me return home through their country. They did not have to, and I am fully aware of that fact. Still, it was a night and day different experience, from what I have been through in the past.
The ZX resting in Kootenay NP
My first camp site in Canada was in BC’s Kootenay National Park. A little more formal of a setting than I had been visiting up until this point. Much of the facilities were closed. One tidbit of info: Just because a website says they have working showers at the campground, does not mean that one is allowed to use the working showers. All were shutdown due to the pandemic.
Notice, once again, I lost a front license plate to a souvenir hunter. The Nissan has been without a front plate since a visit to Tampa, Florida in 2016.
The launch of Apollo 13 from Cape Kennedy, Florida
Fifty years ago today, the crew of Apollo 13 was launched from Cape Kennedy, pushed along by the massive Saturn V. Just 2-1/2 hours from launch, the S IVB third stage reignited, providing the final push towards the moon.
Apollo 13’s trajectory was so accurate, the first planned course correction was cancelled. A return to the moon’s surface was looking good.
The crew of Apollo 13: James Lovell, commander; Jack Swigert, command module pilot; Fred Haise, lunar module pilot. Photo credit: NASA
1935 Duesenberg Special Speedster Model J; Photo credit: Gooding & Co.
The ’35 Duesenberg SSJ was the fastest pre-WWII production road car, with speeds reaching 140mph in 1935. It is powered by a supercharged 420 cubic inch DOHC eight cylinder, which produced 400 HP.
The Duesenberg Straight Eight; Photo credit Gooding & Co.
This incredible vehicle went up for auction this past weekend during the famed Monterey Car Week. Gary Cooper once owned this SSJ; it was one of several Duesenbergs the actor owned during his lifetime. The Duesenberg was eventually bought by road racer , car manufacturer and America’s Cup winner, Briggs Cunningham. The Cunningham collection was bought by Miles Collier. It is Collier and the REVS Institute that is auctioning the car.
The Duesenberg SSJ at REVS Institute; Photo credit: Circle-to-Circle
I had the opportunity to see this famed Duesenberg at the REVS Institute, when the Frozen Foursome visited Tampa in April of 2016. It really is a remarkable machine. Absolutely stunning, with beautiful lines. Even today, it must be something very special to drive.
The Duesenberg’s cockpit at the REVS Institute; Photo credit: CtoC
The Duesenberg SSJ was sold at the Pebble Beach Auction for $22 million. At that price, the Duesenberg becomes the most expensive American made car ever sold at auction. It also became the most expensive pre-WWII model ever sold.
There were only two Duesenberg SSJ’s ever built. The second car was owned by actor Clark Gable.
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO; Photo credit: Sotheby’s
A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO was also up for auction at Pebble Beach. Ferrari made thirty-six 250 GTO’s. The Ferrari sold for a staggering $48.4 million. At that price, the 250 GTO becomes the most expensive car ever sold at auction.
The Battle of Olustee, was fought on 20 February 1864. It was the only major battle of the Civil War, fought in the state of Florida. Union troops, 5500 strong, led by General Truman Seymour, landed in Jacksonville, and moved towards Tallahassee, in order to disrupt Confederate supply lines, mainly the rail lines.
There were 5000 Confederate soldiers, led by General Alfred Colquitt, dug in near the town of Olustee.
The two armies crashed into each other at Ocean Pond, in one of the bloodiest battles of the war.
The Federal army was funneled in between swampy areas, where the Confederates had built up sturdy earthworks. Still, the Federals looked like they could win the day, when several events turned the tide. Fighting was fierce on both sides. At the end of the day, the Confederate soldiers held their ground, but suffered 946 killed and wounded, and 6 captured or missing. The Union force suffered 1861 killed or wounded, with 506 captured or missing.
While in Florida, I visited Olustee Battlefield. I had stopped by the Olustee Depot for details on the battle, and the National Forest that surrounds the area. Ocean Pond now has a popular campground. There is a small museum on the main road into the battlefield, and an interpretive trail that follows some of the troop movement.
It was a sketchy day to be hiking about, but I did the battlefield trail anyway. There was a line of thunderstorms across the Florida panhandle and Georgia. When I left the Depot, I knew that we were already in a tornado watch area, and that there were tornadoes sighted just north of the Park. Still, I figured I had until 4pm, when things would get nasty. The rain was spotty, but when it came down, it came at me sideways. The wind howled, and thunder rolled all around me. Out in the middle of the swamp, was a lone bell or chime, clanking endlessly in the wind. It was an eerie addition to the old battlefield.
If the cover today was anything like it was in 1864, there would be little to hide behind if you were a Union soldier marching in on the entrenched Confederate force. Ferns, and a lot of tall pines.
Every year, near the battle’s anniversary, a reenactment takes place on the site of the Civil War battle. It is suppose to be one of the most vivid one’s out there. So much so, that movie producers have filmed the reenactment for their Civil War movies. One film that contains footage shot of the reenactment is “Glory”.