The Maniac Collector's Inbox (227)
October 8, 2006
Sherlocking In Idaho, Again
My job required me to be in Hamilton, Montana for a one-day training session. For those not familiar with Montana, Hamilton is about 40 miles south of Missoula. For some reason, flying from Dallas-Ft. Worth to Missoula takes an act of Congress and about 12 hours. The last time I tried this, my airplane developed mechanical issues and we had to land in Kalispell. I had to rent a car and drive 4 hours to Missoula. I vowed never to do this again unless there was a threat of death.
For my trip last trip I opted to fly from DFW to Oakland; Oakland to Seattle; and Seattle to Spokane. From Spokane, I drove to Hamilton, 3 ½ hours away. My total time for this trip was just 11 ½ hours, besides it is a beautiful drive across the Idaho panhandle and the continental divide into Montana. Besides all of this, I had a Sherlockian ulterior motive. Along this route is Idaho State Highway 4. The last time I was there, I was equipped with a cheap analog camera I had bought for the expressed reason of taking the Idaho 4 photograph. I will admit up front that I have become a digital camera snob. The quality of the pictures I originally took are not up to my current digital standard, so I made sure that my digital camera was with me when I departed.
My job requires me to train radiologists on how to read “soft-copy”. Soft-copy is the term used for reading radiographs (X-Rays) via a computer screen as opposed to an actual film. A radiologist is a medical doctor trained to interpret X-Rays and when someone comes along and tells a radiologist that films are going away, there can be some real concerns. There seems to be two types of radiologists. Those who are computer literate and those who are not. Thank goodness, the radiologist in need of training in Hamilton was the former and not the latter. He started work on Monday and when I arrived on Thursday, he had already mastered most of our system’s functionality. I found out later that he had written a program that takes images and reconstructs 3-D images.
I have been to the hospital in Hamilton on several occasions. I know the staff and Director of Radiology and have a good working relationship with him. Since there was not really anyone in need of anymore training, the director thanked for my time and told me I could take off. I had barely been there 3 hours so what this meant was I had all day to make the leisurely drive back to Spokane. I took a side trip to Thompson Falls, Montana to photograph a road sign where Montana State Highway 4 used to be. The highway, decommissioned in the 40’s, no longer exists. The drive from Thompson Falls to Wallace, Idaho is an extremely scenic drive. When I turned onto Idaho Route 4, I noticed that there was a new sign since my last trip. I drove the 7 ½ miles to the highway’s end and took a new, digital round of pictures including the new sign.
I have just a few more trips scheduled for the remaining months of the year. My plans do not include new places where I might photograph signs of four. Sixteen states do not have a State Highway 4 although this may not be 100 % accurate. None of the resources I have used, list a Highway 4 for Idaho and I have certainly proved them wrong. All of my remaining trips for 2006 are to states where I already have digital photographs of their State Highway 4s. I have created a Power-Point presentation called “The Signs of Four.” If anyone is interested in seeing this, send me a message and I will email a copy to you. I am also adding a chapter to it titled “Other Contributors” so if you have any photographs for “signs of four” send them to me as well and they will be included.