Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Question For You Logistics Experts --

-- if a US Postal package being sent from California to Michigan has started off in Coarsegold, CA, and gone from there to Fresno on Tuesday, and from there to Bell Gardens, and then on to San Marcos where it arrived yesterday, on Saturday, and by now, by Sunday, has gone from San Marcos to San Diego... does that mean it's about to get on a boat bound for the Panama Canal, and from the Canal to New York City by boat, maybe the same boat, maybe a second one, and from NYC up the Erie Canal to the Great Lakes and eventually on to Detroit?

Why do I ask? Oh... no reason, really. Just wondering about a hypothetical package. Not a large package, not a bulldozer or a railroad locomotive. Just a book. An entirely hypothetical package containing a book. Couple of pounds.

There's a big port in San Diego. I'm not sure if it's a big rail or air freight hub as well. Maybe it is... *sigh*

PS, 9 Sept 2013, 10:05 AM: If that same small package -- still an entirely hypothetical package, you understand -- which had been in San Diego, California, yesterday, on Sunday, was processed through a USPS sort facility the same day, late yesterday, I think that might tend to indicate that it did not, in fact, travel by boat from San Diego to Michigan. Sounds more like a situation where it had been sent from Coarsegold, California, to Fresno, to Bell Gardens and then to San Marcos, because for some reason it had been put into a bag of mail to be delivered in San Marcos, and then when someone saw that it was addressed to be sent to Michigan, they sent it on from San Marcos to San Diego, a couple dozen miles away, and there put it on a plane to Michigan. In a hypothetical situation like this, I'm guessing maybe the USPS might now be expediting the rest of the delivery to make up for the mix-up which sent the parcel to San Marcos.

I wonder whether any US Mail sent from one part of the US to another part of the US really ever does go through the Panama Canal. I'm sure a lot of it was in the period immediately after the canal was completed in 1914, and I'm sure that before 1914 a lot of it was sent all the way around South America. I'm just not sure whether that route is still taken for any US Mail from the US to the US. But what do I know? nothing, that's what. Like I said, even this route from Coarsegold to Michigan with a detour to San Diego is entirely hypothetical. Makes you think, though. They say that before the US had a transcontinental railroad, the route by sea from New York all the way around South America to San Francisco took far less time than any direct overland route. San Francisco was a bigger city than Los Angeles for a while, and certainly the biggest US west coast port as late as 1900, but how long after that it was bigger than LA, I couldn't say. The movie Chinatown (great, great movie) had given me the impression that by the mid-30's SF was still California's biggest city, and that LA was still waiting to be transformed into a juggernaut by the city's Department of Water and Power. Jake Gittes, the film's protagonist, even says at one point, and I quote: "LA is a small town." However, some historical population figures I randomly grabbed of of the Internet without having a clue how reliable they might be say that LA's population exceeded SF's by 1920, and was almost double SF's by 1930. Could this be yet another example of Hollywood screwing over our historical perceptions in order to sell popcorn?

Any, I'm rambling. And it was just a hypothetical package anyway! How many times do I have to say that?! I'm not the one who's on trial here! ATTICA! ATTICA!

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