Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Los Alamitos Traffic Circle

John, what in the world is the above picture doing in your blog? Is the Los Alamitos Traffic Circle located in Fillmore? Or Utah? What's going on here?

Naturally, I'd like to tell you a story. One of the many "fun things" about a road trip is the learning, education and downright mind expansion that goes on as one traverses wide swaths of geography. Being the inquisitive sort, I am always curious as to "this and that."

This morning, it's still snowing and Susun is still sleeping. We finally figured out how to get the room heater to work well and it's nice and toasty. With so much time on my hands, I figured I might as well learn some stuff. So, I began by Googling Interstate 15. It was once US Highway 91. I was looking for a way to interpret the Spinning Wheel motel in context of how people traveled what's now called OLD US Highway 91. Main Street in Fillmore was once a busy highway.

My online research took me through a lot of highway history. It seems that Old US 91 once terminated at a place called the Los Alamitos Traffic Circle in Long Beach, California. It was built in 1930 in preparation for the 1932 Olympics and was the first major "roundabout" constructed in America. I became fascinated with this traffic circle and went looking for any historical photos I could find.

That's how I stumbled onto Nikolas Schiller. Who's he? Well, he appears to be the most avant garde cartography I have ever encountered. His work is really "out there" and it's totally amazing stuff. Click here to read a 2007 Washington Post article about the guy. Imagine Martin Escher Meets Google Maps. Anyway, that's how the beautiful artwork above wound up on this lowly blog. Click here to go to Schiller's blog.  It has more of his maps and the right hand sidebar has links to other major media articles about him. You can bet I will be spending a lot more time looking at Schiller's "art maps."

As most of you know, Susun and I have a HUGE soft spot for maps in our lives. We both share a common passion and love for maps of all kinds. One of our many mottos might be "Too many maps is not enough!" So it is with particularly ironic that I "discovered" Schiller sitting here in a snowbound motel on Old US 91. Fillmore will never quite the same again. Ah, the webs we weave here in The Spinning Wheel Motel!

Well, that's just a tangent story--but that's the fun sort of stuff we love about traveling. Somehow, odd connections get made and strange thing get discovered. Interesting ideas are pondered and mysterious questions posed. Travel is good for your brain. Do it more often.

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