Sunday, April 22, 2012

Coal dock or not?

Local authorities in Paduah want to build a rail-to-barge coal dock, but folks acoss the river in Metropolis, Ill., aren't too hot on the idea. Story here.

A contest that never happened

A while back, Adam and I had one of those ideas that sound good when you're kicking it around, but you don't know if you want to live with the consequences. Plus, we would be unable to make a decision on one part, so we put the idea aside. Except I want to bring it back to talk about the decision we would be unable to make.

We were thinking about a series of faceoffs to determine which towboats we like to get pictures of. Not which boats would win a shoving contest or a race, or which ones would be the most comfortable to live on, or which ones have the best paint schemes -- just which ones make the best pictures.

We would have had a modern division -- boats like the Omar, the Tennessee Hunter, the Dravo Viking, the old Dravo "steel" boats and the like -- and a classic division -- the Aliquippa, the D.A. Grimm, the Oliver C. Shearer, the Lelia C. Shearer and the O. Nelson Jones, among others. But the hardest choice of who would advance in the tournament would have been one that would have disappointed or upset the most people we know. Plus, I couldn't have decided which I prefer, and splitting my vote in half would have been a copout.

The decision would have been between the modern AEP boats -- we'll go with Adam's favorite of the group, the Hoosier State -- and the new Marathon boats, which we will refer back to by using the name of the first boat of that group, the Detroit.

We have a lot more pictures of the AEP boats than the Marathon boats, mainly because there are ten of one and four of the other, if you include the Nashville Hunter, and because the AEP boats are in our area a lot more frequently.

First, four photos of the AEP boats.

We like how tall they are, and we like the pilothouse glass. They have a distinctive silhouette day or night. And they look good from so many different angles.

Then there are the Marathon boats.

They lower and wider so they can go under lower bridges. They don't have the horsepower of the AEP boats, but they obviously do they job they need to do.

The color schemes are even. The AEP boats look good most of the time, but the shade of white and the red stacks of the Marathon boats look particularly good in the early morning and early evening hours.

So would it have been the Hoosier State or the Detroit? Adam has his preference, but I can't decide. It's like when people ask me for my favorite song or my favorite color. I don't have one. It depends on my mood. Most of the time I prefer purple, but for some things I prefer red or blue. Sometimes I want to listen to Bach's Bradenburg Concerto No. 3, and sometimes I feel the need for Johnny Cash singing "Sunday Morning Coming Down" or the Annoying Orange's version of "Friday."

It's the same with boats. I was looking at some photos of the Omar recently, and I was thinking about how those boats are at or near the top of the box-on-a-box design, although I probably prefer the Vikings in that group.

We know who would have won in the classic division. It's just in the modern division that we wouldn't have had a clear winner. But we did have fun coming up with the brackets and talking about our favorite boats and how designs have changed over the years.

Delta Mariner pilot talks

The pilot in charge of the Delta Mariner the night it hit the Eggner's Ferry Bridge, causing one span to collapse, give his account of what happened that night on the final day of hearings in Paducah. The story is here.