Where we're always on the road, and it's always 1962! TM
While it may not have snow in the winter, central California’s San Joaquin Valley still has hazardous winter weather. The area is subject to a phenomenon known as the Tule fog, and over a four-day period from January 28-31, 1962, 28 people died in traffic crashes due to the fog in central California. Eleven people died in a single crash when a bus was hit by a freight train. The other eleven people were killed in separate accidents along US-99 under conditions of visibility of less than 100 feet. The cloud cover did not dissipate until February 2. Unfortunately, such accidents are not a rare occurrence, and there have been multiple vehicle pileups of over 74 vehicles in 1998 and 108 vehicles in 2007, currently the worst on record there. Three people died that year, also on old US-99.
So what makes the area so dangerous in winter? The San Joaquin Valley is somewhat of a large bowl of air trapped by mountains on all sides. After the autumn rains, there is often a lot of moisture that begins to evaporate in the winter sunshine. Colder mountain air drifts down and traps the moisture, creating fog. If it becomes dense enough to prevent daytime sunshine from fully evaporating the fog, it can stay for days and reduce visibility to as little as 10 feet. Once the fog has formed, strong turbulent air is necessary to break up the fog layer, and that sometimes doesn’t occur for days. This apparently happens a lot: a Dense Fog Advisory was in effect for Fresno as I wrote this article!
California’s central valleys filled with fog, January 17, 2011. (NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen with data from the Land Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE).)
"The Twist" by Chubby Checker finally ended its record-setting run at #1 on January 26, 1962. It had originally been a hit in September, 1960, but as all hit records do, "The Twist" faded away. The dance craze it popularized did, too. But a full year after the song’s initial success, a gossip item in the New York papers noted that actress Merle Oberon and the exiled Prince Serge Obolensky of Russia were Twisting the night away at the Peppermint Lounge. Suddenly, American adults pushed it back on the charts, where “The Twist” reclaimed the #1 spot on January 13th and stayed there for two weeks. It was the first and only time a pop single has fallen completely out of Billboard's "Hot 100" and then returned to the #1 spot in a completely separate release. And, the Twist craze was not done yet, because Joey Dee and The Starliters’ “The Peppermint Twist” went to the top spot until February 10, 1962!
Daytona International Speedway 24 hour course (Public domain image by Will Pittenger from Wikimedia.)
If you're new here, discover what Roadtrip-'62 TM is all about and why it's always 1962 here.
Maybe you didn’t know, but Roadtrip-'62 has a Pinterest page! Come peek at all the great things from 1962 that I’ve discovered. There’s some pictures from the Roadtrip-'62 pages, others that I’ve uploaded especially for Pinterest, many others from around the web, and I’ve repinned great photos from other Pinners. You can follow me and get instant messages when I Pin something new.
The long-running comic series Classics Illustrated ceased publishing new titles in August, 1962. The series began in 1941 under the name Classic Comics. In 1947 it was changed to Classics Illustrated with “The Three Musketeers”, an adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ novel of the same name. The publisher, Gilberton, kept the comics in print for decades, often with new covers, new interior art, or sometimes page reductions resulting in abridged versions. The Classics Illustrated name was also licensed in many other countries for editions in languages other than English, including Portuguese, Greek, and Norwegian. It appears sales lagged by 1962, perhaps due to television and the popularity of Cliff's Notes as a way to get a quick read of classic literature. The final issue in 1962 was “Faust”. Two additional issues apparently planned for that year were finally released in 1969.
scan from Grand Comics Database
If you’re at all interested in the history of Atlanta, Georgia, check out the Atlanta Time Machine. This is a repository of postcards and other photos of Atlanta over the past century. There are many gems from the early 1960s, including the First National Bank under construction during 1960, many other downtown buildings that have since been demolished. You can even see programs for the Playboy Club for the shows presented in 1962. There’s also Atlanta's only surviving drive-in theatre, the Starlight Drive-In, and early shopping centers.
For Day 24 of the US-6 roadtrip, we traveled 128 miles from Des Moines, Iowa. Come travel along and look out across the Missouri River as we end the day at Council Bluffs, Iowa. Along the way, we stop at an original lodge of the Grand Army of the Republic, the organization that US-6 is named for, buy some local potato chips, and find more surprises.
Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge and Restaurant, Council Bluffs, Iowa (from 1963 postcard)
If my US-6 trip has you interested in Council Bluffs, Iowa, check out the Council Bluffs Public Library. The library’s Special Collections page on Flickr has an excellent collection of photos spanning the city’s history. You can find places from 1962, photos of historic floods, Richard Nixon’s 1960 campaign visit, spectacular fires, and much, much more. Every city should have an archive like this!
Bayliss Park Fountain, Council Bluffs, Iowa, ca. 1950 (Photo from Council Bluffs Public Library Special Collections, used by permission.)
In case you’ve never read our other roadtrip, stop in for Day 1 of a 1962 trip down US-23. The trip begins in Mackinaw City, Michigan and travels for a couple of days down the beautiful Lake Huron shore. You can enjoy some history, beaches, and views of ships on the lake. Just don’t forget to buy some delicious Mackinaw Island fudge before you leave town!
Murdicks Fudge shop, Mackinaw City, Michigan
Here’s the whole country twisting to the new #1 song for February 10, 1962, “The Peppermint Twist” by Joey Dee and The Starliters!
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Just a short trip for Day 26, from Omaha to Lincoln, Nebraska, for old-fashioned good eating, and a lighthouse on the prairie.
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Events Calendar: happening for over 50 years!
- January 24-25, 2015. 53 cars from 10 different automobile manufacturers began on the green flag this year. Click for this year’s winner and other stats.
Weather for Fresno, California on January 26, 1962, from the National Climatic Data Center:
Current weather for Fresno, California, from WeatherForYou.com: