Why Celina, Ohio?
Anywhere but Ohio, if you asked 100 people on the street what "Celina" was, chances are 98 or 99 of them would probably just shrug their shoulders. Maybe one or two might think it was some kind of food additive or maybe a Canadian pop singer.
So how is it that after some years of wandering around various venues in upstate New York, that the International Amphicar Owners Club's major annual gathering, the "Swim-In", came to be held year after year in Celina (rhymes with "Carolina") in far western Ohio?
Sure, the city fathers (and mothers) of the town pamper and coddle us, enthusiastically offering every conceivable courtesy. They are almost embarrassingly helpful and forthcoming. For example, how many know that they even helped supply us with that helicopter for those amazing aerial shots of the 2001 Swim-In after other arrangements had fallen through? Celina has plenty of decent hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, campgrounds and restaurants. Meeting halls and garages are provided free-of-charge for the Club's dinner and tech sessions. There are free boat ramps galore into that great big beautiful Grand Lake St. Marys. Police escorts whisk us as a group through traffic and red lights to various gathering spots. In short, it's turned out it's like the place was designed for Amphicar Swim-Ins. But since relatively few had ever even heard of "Celina" beforehand, who would have guessed at the otherwise inexplicable emergence of this otherwise obscure locale as the venue for the premier annual Club gathering? As we will now learn, this choice could well have an almost eerily para-normal "rightness" to it, perhaps being determined by powerful yet unseen forces...like the Bilgemaster's generic aftershave!
Why Celina, Indeed?
Periodically there has quite a lot of chatter on the Amphicar-Lovers List and elsewhere about possibly changing the venue for the Big Annual Club Gathering, the Swim-In, from Celina to some other location. Alternative suggested locales included Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, Topeka in Kansas, some point in North Dakota (where surprisingly the actual center of North America is said to be) and so on. These suggestions are understandable, since Amphi owners west of the Mississippi would clearly appreciate having a closer venue.
This got one to thinking: Why HAS the premier Amphicar World Event been held in Celina these past several years, anyhow? Originally intended to be simply a regional Amphicar get-together like the large annual Mt. Dora gatherings have become in Florida, Celina simply exploded into the "Main International Gathering" of Amphicar owners seemingly of its own accord. The fact that this development coincided within a year of the Club becoming truly member-run should probably not to be overlooked. Previous national Swim-Ins held in upstate New York were held there chiefly because that's where the organizer lived, former Club President Jeff Sweet. So why Celina, indeed?
In an exchange of emails, The Bilgemeister and Club President Marc Schlemmer both agreed that while each had a hunch that Celina might be quite close to the actual center of the Amphicar World given the geographic distribution of Club Members, there was no hard evidence to bear this notion out. As a result of this correspondence, The Bilgemeister agreed to determine the actual exact and true "Center of the Amphicar World" mathematically as the average of the geographic locations (latitude and longitude) of all of its members worldwide. The results are surprising. A poet soul like former IAOC president Amphipoda might even say it all "has a damned near mystically fishy stink to it...like a long un-bathed mermaid on a Mexican desert bus in August"
After translating the zip codes, postal codes and other geographic information of each and every Club member into decimalized latitude and longitude coordinates using the online services of Zipinfo, the U.S. Geological Survey's Board on Geographic Names, MapTech, Bing Maps, the rare Columbia-Lippincott Gazetteer of the World (Morningside Heights, New York: Columbia University Press, 1962) and other geographic references, and then converting the sum of this information into a true mean average using the Mi¢ro$oft®©™ Excel spreadsheet program, it has now been determined that the ACTUAL TRUE AND EXACT CENTER OF THE AMPHICAR WORLD as represented by an average of the total membership of the International Amphicar Owners Club is located at 39.8441° North Latitude by 85.3706° West Longitude. This is eerily close to Celina, Ohio (40.5555°N/84.6061°W)...Just a hair over one degree (1.04005°) away!
Navigationally and proportionally speaking, this is as close a match as, say, the "North Star" Polaris is to True North, and a far far better match to it than the Magnetic North one reads on a compass. In terms of random chance, the probability of one point on the globe arbitrarily being within one degree of any other like this are on the order of 1 in 129,600. That's better odds than hitting the big state lottery, sure, but these are not odds you'd want to bet the kids' college money on. In terms of distance, being less than 64 miles (103 km) away, just over the Indiana State Line in Henry County, south of the town of New Castle, it seems that Celina and its Grand Lake St. Marys appear to be the very nearest town and body of water to this actual "True Center" of Amphicardom that could realistically host a gathering of more than 235 people and 64 Amphicars, like we enjoyed in 2002.
The real mystery is the how of it, isn't it? Is it really just blind coincidence that the annual world gathering of the International Amphicar Owners Club should spontaneously begin exploding in popularity so close to the actual (if then unrevealed) central point of its membership just as that membership began assuming democratic control of the Club's affairs? Could this be proof of an unconscious hive Amphi-mind? Previous Swim-Ins in upstate New York were considered grand successes if just a dozen cars appeared. So why would an otherwise obscure town in western Ohio suddenly begin drawing nearly 5 or 6 times that number? Below is a map showing just how uncannily close Celina really is to the scientifically-determined center of the Amphicar world. Please note the scale of this map at bottom right--The author's gone on longer beer runs in West Texas.
Map showing True Center of the Club in relation to Celina
The "True Center" of the Club is located about midway between the
red star marking the town of New Castle and I-70 just to the south.
Celina can be seen at upper right.
Map showing distribution of Club
Members throughout North America
Map showing distribution of Club
Please note: Club Members can also be found in
New Zealand, Australia, Kuwait and South Africa.
The above two maps were prepared by Marc Schlemmer, October 2001.
Club members with a penchant for mathematics or cartography who would care to corroborate these findings may obtain a copy of the data used in Excel format by contacting the Club. Comments, suggestions and possible explanations of this curious phenomenon are also welcome and may be included in this page in future.
How long until Celina 2013?
July 24, 2013, 5:00pm EDT
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Last updated May 07, 2013