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    River Navigation
    From: Bruce Stark
    Date: 2003 Nov 28, 20:23 EST

    Sorry! I started this a while ago, and when interrupted, hit the "send"
    rather than the "send later" button.
    On the 26th you wrote:
    >I've been interesting myself in the celestial-navigation of Lewis and
    Clark's famous journey across the American continent, and looking into some
    of the volumes of Gary Moulton's edition of their journals. . . .<
    And you went on to ask questions about river pilotage and navigation.
    Janice was going over the newspapers that had piled up while we were gone,
    and noticed an article on Lewis and Clark that, though it doesn't answer any of
    the questions you raised, will probably be useful. Here are the more
    interesting parts:
    >VANCOUVER, Washington—
    Where parts of the Missouri River run nearly straight today it corkscrewed
    200 years ago, so much so that Lewis and Clark at least once had to coax their
    boats up 36 miles of it to get 1200 feet farther west. Months later, on the way
    home, William Clark commented that the river looked nothing like it did
    before. Today, most of it bears no resemblance to when it was home and highway for
    the Voyage of Discovery. . . .<
    >Martin Plamondon II, a professional mapper, has spent 30 years using old and
    new maps, coordinating grids, and heading out on foot to follow the often
    fuzzy descriptions, to show what the country looked like when the explorers
    passed through it and what it looks like today. . . . <
    >Plamondon, 58, says Clark was not always the best judge of distance. "At age
    26 or 27 (when he began his project) I assumed that when Clark said
    three-quarters of a mile he knew how far that was." Plamondon said. "He was almost
    always 40 to 45 percent off in his estimates." . . . <
    [since virtually all the dead reckoning was done using estimated distance
    that's an important piece of information]
    >He said Meriwether Lewis, who took over mapmaking duties briefly, was a
    disaster.  Virtually nothing is where he said it was. . . . <
    These quotes are from a fairly long article in the Eugene Register Guard. It
    mentions that Gary Moulton calls Plamondon's maps "real jewels." Other experts
    seem to think equally highly of them. I think this is important information.

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