Greetings! My name is Del Leu and thanks for visiting ExtremeGeographer.com. I created this website in May 2016 to describe my travels during an extensive road trip as I visit dozens of extreme geographic places around the U.S. – just me and my truck.
But this website isn't just about geography! I'm also visiting lots of National Parks, historic sites and quirky places because, well, I'm a pretty quirky kind of guy. So far I've posted dozens of stories, over 1,600 high-res photos and 53 interactive panorama pictures, so be sure to check them out. Virtually hours of entertainment for the low, low price of... well, nothing.
What's "Extreme Geography"?
Think of places like the highest city in the U.S., the lowest lake, the largest county – basically anything with an "est" in it. That's extreme geography. I do computer mapping for a living and in my spare time, I love visiting "est" places for fun, and I'm taking an 8-month break from work so I can do just that.
My Trip So Far
Here's a quick summary of my trip: I worked in Qatar, a small country in the Middle East, for three years doing computer mapping and returned to my hometown, Portland, Oregon, in March 2016. After buying a new 4WD Toyota pickup truck, I spent two months getting ready for my trip.
I left Portland on May 13 and so far have driven over 26,000 miles across the country (my truck is fairly fuel efficient at 25 mpg, so that helps) while visiting lots of interesting geographic and historic places. I spent most of the summer in the Colorado Rockies learning web design and writing updates – in the same town where I was stationed many years ago as a ranger, so I also re-visited many of the beautiful places where I used to work.
Above: Here's me and my Toyota truck (with the XT GEOG license plate) near Lake City, Colorado in July. Look familiar? Take a look at the last picture in the slideshow at the top of this page. Back in 1986, when I worked as a BLM ranger in Lake City, I took that shot at this same location.
After visiting the Midwest and Northeast this fall, and spending November in Florida, I'm currently in Austin, Texas (sorry, I haven't posted my updated map yet) and am heading back to Oregon where I'll be writing about my travels. Good thing I took lots of notes along the way! But if you can't wait for those stories, check out the 23 new panorama photos I recently posted. Yep, that's a lot of panning and zooming.
The 16 Extreme Compass Points
One of my goals is to become the first person to visit all 16 extreme geographic compass points in the contiguous United States, such as:
- the westernmost point (Cape Alava in the state of Washington),
- the northeasternmost point (near Madawaska, Maine) and
- the west-southwesternmost point (near Point Arena in northern California).
There are a lot of misconceptions about where these places are – for instance, Key West, Florida isn't the southernmost point of anything, I'm afraid. I wanted to set the record straight about these places and figured the best way to do that is to visit them and post a story about each, with maps and directions. While I was in Florida recently, I visited the last three extreme geographic points so now I've been to them all. You can check them out here.
Once again, welcome to my website, thanks for visiting and please check back soon for more updates!