While searching for topics to write about this week, I discovered a cool new web tool. New to me anyway. But as a result I got a little sidetracked. Sometimes happens to me. I mean the internet is right there in that little red, yellow and blue google circle. It’s so hard to pay attention to writing when the mini ball beckons with so much information to impart. And out there in the Worldwide cyber circle, seems everybody’s smarter than me. Still, I didn’t set out to find a cool new web tool. I set out to find what I should really be writing about. What’s important enough to warrant taking up people’s time.


I checked my files for things I’d been working on and discovered a story I really want to pursue. Sidetracked before the sidetrack. It’s a cool story about a guy who is facing a world’s end scenario. The apocalyptic type. He’s losing everyone and everything important to him and the earth is drying up, the sun a scorching ball, but he’s got a horse, and an urn full of ashes. They set out to see what’s left of the dying world with the smallest hope that maybe there’s something better out there somewhere.

So of course, I go surfing the internet to do some research for this awesome story. I needed to figure out how far it is from Ligonier, Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as the crow flies because this guy isn’t going to ride the highways. And that’s when I discovered it. That cool new web tool you might want to use some day.

crow-in-flightTHE COOL NEW WEB TOOL

I typed in “how do you figure out as the crow flies distances”. Okay, not the most tech savvy internet search topic, but I’m an amateur on the computer. And because of my excellent attention span I was drawn, as usual, to the first site in the list, It’s run by T J Peiffer, a guy who claims to “enjoy all things geospatial.”

So, I typed in Point A–Ligonier, Pennsylvania, and in Point B–Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the top. Hit calculate and I got a bar that told me it’s 42 miles. Illustrated with a map showing a straight red line between them. Exciting how easy this was to use. I’m telling you it was fun. But once again I got distracted and started searching distances that had nothing to do with my story’s topic, or my blog post. For instance, I discovered it’s 2089 miles as the crow flies from where I live to Glacier National Park in British Columbia, Canada. I had to know in case I ever wanted to hike there.

So, even though it made me veer off course temporarily, I highly recommend T J’s crow flies distances site. Just think how many uses this could have, especially for writers. I think it’s the coolest new web tool in . . . 2017 at least!

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Nice! haha. Crows are pretty awesome. It’s amazing the things you learn when you are researching.

It is! But it’s soooo distracting sometimes too. But then I am easily distracted.

Too fun! I got to spend 5 days in Ligonier last fall. It’s awesome there.

I’ve never actually been there. Just went past the exit several times, but the name intrigued me. I’ll have to take the SIDETRACK next time to see it. Ha, ha.

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