Richard Hedrickson...noted geographer...writes:I don't know anybody named "Hedrickson," much less a noted geographer. But
having grown up on the west coast and spent most of my life here, I can
tell you that, for us far westerners, the west begins at the Front Range.
Denver is western, Cheyenne is Western. Fort Worth isn't western, it's
southwestern, with an emphasis on "south"; all y'gotta do is listen to all
the southernisms in the dialect. Westerners have ranches, not farms (as in
Nebraska and the Dakotas), so those who live in west Texas and eastern New
Mexico sort of qualify - but
they're still flatlanders, so they don't really know from western. The
west is all about mountains. Even in the middle of the Mojave Desert or
the Great Basin, there are likely to be substantial mountains on the
horizon everywhere you look. From a private pilot's perspective, the west
is where you worry about terrain clearance. East of the rockies, you can
fly at 500 ft. AGL all day and never worry about running into anything
except the occasional microwave tower - at least, until you get to the
Appalachians, which are way eastern.
All a matter of perspective, of course. I've heard New Yorkers talk about
"out west in Ohio"; apparently they think Pittsburgh (or maybe
Philadelphia) is the gateway to the west. But then, they call the
Adirondack and Berkshire hills "mountains," so what do they know?
Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520