The Independence Day Fireworks

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The Old Maltese
Independence Day Fireworks
26 Annual Events

a continent-length summertime trek, in even-numbered years northward from the mountain heights of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to the far Arctic north of Canada, along the way challenging your logic, alertness, and common sense

a shorter version of the big St. Valentine's Day Massacre

from country to country, cover thousands of miles yet still be able to sip your orange juice on the porch, because it's all done on maps!

This is how the Independence Day Fireworks works:

As soon as we hear from you, we'll send you the book of instructions and the giant Rand McNally Road Atlas, upon which the course wends its way northward the length of North America (in odd-numbered years it's southward).

The entry deadine is July 31. The completion deadine is August 8.

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Note: Entries for the 2022 Independence Day Fireworks closed on July 31.

Our next map rally will be the 60th St. Valentine's Day Massacre, starting on New Year's.

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By following the instructions, on your porch, the kitchen table, or wherever is cooler, spending an hour or so (or however long the orange juice lasts) at a time, you travel on a continuous half-regular-St.-Valentine's-Day-Massacre-length course, from page to page in the Atlas.

Each year we explore an odd-numbered U.S. highway, in alternating years north-to-south or south-to-north.

This past summer it was northbound U.S. 75, from Texas through Dallas and Tulsa and Topeka and Omaha to northern Minnesota. Then onward to the Canadian North.

In 2021 it was southbound U.S. 287, from Montana through Yellowstone and Fort Collins and Amarillo to the Gulf of Mexico. Then onward to Honduras.

In 2020 it was northbound U.S. 83, from the southern tip of Texas through Abilene, North Platte, and Pierre to North Dakota's border with Manitoba. Then onward to the Canadian North.

In 2019 it was southbound U.S. 81, from northeastern North Dakota past Fargo, Wichita, and Oklahoma City to Fort Worth. Then onward to Honduras.

In 2018 it was northbound U.S. 231, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes, going from the Florida Gulf Coast through Dothan (in Alabama), Murfreesboro (in Tennessee), Bowling Green (in Kentucky), and Klondike (in Indiana). Then northward to Qausuittuq in Canada's farthest-north reaches.

In 2017 it was southbound U.S. 65, from the upper midwest down to Louisiana, through such marvelous metropoles as Minneapolis, Des Moines, and Tallulah. Then we continued southward to Central America.

Along the way, we ask you questions to see if you're on the correct course. Here are two instructions from this past summer's event, somewhere in Kansas, and the question between them.

5. Go north on U.S. 75.

Question: Do you see Soldier and Dragoon rivers?

6. On the Topeka map, go west on highway whose numberís last or sole digit is 4.

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You will have until August 8 to send in your answers.

Following scoring, custom-designed awards go to the top competitors, and local champion certificates to the best of them from each state, province, and country.

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Google Street View

Fireworks rallyists will notice that occasionally during the rally we provide a link to a Google Street View photo taken along the course.

These photos [along this past summer's course] donít affect the Fireworks course or questions in any way and may safely be ignored if you arenít interested in them.

But click on any of these if you are interested in seeing what's 'really' there [and -- this is remarkable -- after clicking on an image you can look around or travel along the road, as with any Google Street View photo].

As for us, we're enjoying the scenery, especially the clouds.

in Leg 1: Rodeo in Durango

in Leg 1: Notrees in Texas

in Leg 2: Frio Draw in New Mexico

in Leg 2: Red River

in Leg 3: Muddy Boggy Cr. in Oklahoma

in Leg 3: other road west of U.S. 169 in Kansas

in Leg 4: Sylvan Grove in Kansas

in Leg 5: Kansas 31

in Leg 6: Logan Cr. in Nebraska

in Leg 6: Homer in Nebraska

in Leg 6: Mallard in Iowa

in Leg 6: Graceville in Minnesota

in Leg 7: N. Br. Twos in Minnesota

in Leg 8: Eagle Cr. in Saskatchewan

in Leg 8: Fort Vermilion in Alberta


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