The yellow ball that started it all

On July 8, a little more than two weeks into Road Trip 2009, CNET News reporter Daniel Terdiman posted this picture, challenging readers to identify what the yellow ball is. His thought was that this might be a fun, interactive, task that could get people involved.

I didn't really intend to make it a daily Road Trip feature, but the response to the contest was huge--and stayed huge for the next three weeks as, each day, I posted a new photo and a new challenge.

Of the 23 daily challenges, this one generated the most interesting responses--from nuclear radiation measuring equipment (the photo was taken in Arco, Idaho, the first town in America to ever be powered by nuclear energy), to a recycling bin, to a Cloudbuster, to a portable nuclear/electric power-generating device for military use in remote areas. No one seemed entirely sure what the answer was.

The truth was, I didn't either. (In subsequent days, I always knew what the picture was). But it turns out the yellow ball--and the other one just like it down the same block in Arco--is a former marker strung along power lines so that pilots can see the lines. A little less interesting than a portable nuclear energy-generating device, but there you have it.

Thanks to everyone who participated. And stay tuned for the Road Trip 2010 picture of the day challenge next summer.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Bomarc B

Eventually, since I offered a prize to each day's winner, I had to cap the number of times someone could win at two. That was because of one Florida gentleman who, by my last count, was the first person with the right answer six times, and came in second three times. He is, it seems, a master of search terms.

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 9, this is a Bomarc B, a surface-launched, pilotless interceptor missile, from the Hill Aerospace Museum near Ogden, Utah.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

The Sun Tunnels

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 10, this is artist Nancy Holt's terrific Earthwork, the Sun Tunnels, near Lucin, Utah.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Newspaper Rock

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 11, this is Newspaper Rock, a stunning petroglyph near the entrance to Canyonlands National Park in Utah.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Starr Kempf kinetic sculpture

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 13--I missed a day on July 12--this is one of the late artist Starr Kempf's incredible kinetic sculptures, as seen on display in front of his family's Colorado Springs, Colo., house.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Cheyenne Mountain springs

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 14, these are giant springs designed to protect the buildings inside the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, outside of Colorado Springs, Colo.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Painted horse in Ogden

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 15, this was just one of the many painted horses that were part of Odgen, Utah's Pioneer Days celebration.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Dewey Bridge

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 16, this is Dewey Bridge, along Utah's scenic Route 128, near Moab, Utah.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Lexington stamp mill

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 17, this is the Lexington Stamp Mill, in Butte, Mont.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Quake Lake

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 18, this is Earthquake Lake, or Quake Lake, near West Yellowstone, Mont.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort gondola

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 19, this is the gondola that takes visitors to the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming to the top of Rendezvous Mountain.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Crowheart Butte

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 20, this is Crowheart Butte, near the town of Crowheart, Wyo.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Casper Ghosts

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 21, this is a game between the Rookie League (Minor League baseball) Casper Ghosts and Helena Brewers, in Casper, Wyo.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Meyer-Womble Observatory, Mt. Evans

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 22, this is the Meyer-Womble Observatory, on Colorado's Mt. Evans.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Idaho Falls waterfall

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 23, this is a waterfall in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Mexican Hat

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 24, this is the "Mexican Hat," near Mexican Hat, Utah.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Falconry Heritage Wing at Archives of Falconry

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 25, this is the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Falconry Heritage Wing at the Archives of Falconry at the World Center for Birds of Prey, in Boise, Idaho.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Independence Rock

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 26, this is Independence Rock, in central Wyoming.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

West Yellowstone painted bison

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 27, this is a painted bison in West Yellowstone, Mont.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Landscape Arch

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 28, this is Landscape Arch, in Arches National Park, near Moab, Utah.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Montana state capitol building

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 29, this is the Montana state capitol building, in Helena, Mont.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Wind River Canyon

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 30, this is Wind River Canyon in central Wyoming. More people got this one wrong than any other--except perhaps the yellow balls. Many people thought it was the Royal Gorge in Colorado.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

No. 119

The Road Trip picture of the day challenge for July 31, and the last challenge of Road Trip 2009, this is Union Pacific Railroad train No. 119. In 1869, it met up with the Central Pacific Railroad's Jupiter, at Promontory, Utah, forming the Transcontinental Railroad. The site is now celebrated at the Golden Spike National Historic Site.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:
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