Sunday, December 10, 2017

M/V Amber Brittany

Back when I started this blog in 2009, I had a series of my 10 favorite towboats on the Ohio River. In the years since, I have considered adding a second 10, as there have been some new boats that are worth going out of your way to get pictures of.

So let us place on the second edition of the Top 10 list the M/V Amber Brittany. I like the color scheme, the lines and the overall balance of the boat's design. How it handles or what it's like to live on for two or three weeks at a time, I have no idea, but it sure looks nice.

I had to run up to Point Pleasant today. I got to see just as it was entering the Robert C. Byrd Gallipolis locks. I figured I would catch it again if I came back down on the Ohio side, which I did as it passed Gallipolis.

Here are five pictures. The first four are pretty much straight out of the camera except for some cropping and resizing. I yielded to temptation and played with the fifth image a little bit.

One final point: The pilot wasn't letting any moss (?) grow on his propellers today.  That boat was moving.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

For your reading pleasure ...

If you haven't read either of these yet, they may be worth your time.

Here's one from  U.S. News & World Report.

And  here's one from Reuters.

Both have to do with grain shipments and dam problems on the Lower Ohio.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Reflective river

We're in another dry spell. There was no commercial river traffic and no recreational boats out there, either. The day as sunny and cloudless. River flow was practically nil. Thus, it was a perfect day for the river to function as a mirror.

These were taken from the West Virginia side looking over to Ohio just below old Lock and Dam 27.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

M/V Speedway coming down the Kanawha

I could have gotten a nice photo of the M/V Speedway this morning, but I didn't have my good camera with me, so we'll have to settle for this one taken with my low-end phone.

This is on the Kanawha River. I saw the boat as I was leaving the Capitol, so I went down the boulevard, parked at the first good spot and got off a few shots.

That's the University of Charleston in the background.  The school's president is Dr.  Edwin H. Welch, for whom an Amherst Madison boat -- one of the old Hillman boats -- in named.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Loaded barges and rough water

It sure is wet on the leading edges of those coal barges.

I'm glad I'm not the guy who has to chip the ice away when they do this in winter.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

M/V Paula Ruble

Yesterday while I was in Gallipolis, Ohio, I noticed the Crounse Corp. towboat was still tied up at the Amherst Madison fleet area.

Today it came down the river, but deadheading in the tow of another Crounse boat, the M/V Diane B. Siegel.

To the best of my memory, this was the first time I had seen the Siegel.

It was pretty cold and windy up on the bridge getting some of these pictures. I've been colder, but I still don't like it.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

M/V Alan P Hall in drydock

M/V Alan P. Hall, formerly the Vernon C. Smith. Length 168 feet, width 40 feet. Built 1965  by Dravo. One of the best-looking designs on the river even  after 50 years.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

M/V Lee Synnott passing Lock and Dam 27

An overcast autumn day it was. Warm, but clouds pushed out the last part of direct sunlight before the M/V Lee Synnott passed by.

At least it was pushing 15 loads of coal. A year ago those tows were hard to find around here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

M/V Jackie Englert

Left over from this summer.

It was waiting for another boat to add some barges to its tow.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A little cross down by the Ohio River

I have something going on in my life right now (outside the home) that's tearing me up inside. Some nights I wake up at 4 a.m. and I can't get back  to sleep because my mind is trying to work its way through something that could be permanent or only temporary.

This evening as the sun was setting I went to one of my favorite places -- Harris Riverfront Park in Huntington WV. There's a spot where I like to go to ponder the unsolvable problems of life. As I watched the wind roughen the surface of the water, I thought about how in my decades of life almost all my peaceful spots have been along the Ohio River. The entire  river is a place that I identify with, whether it's at the Point in Pittsburgh or Cairo Point at the other end or dozens of places in between.

As I sat there thinking about how mentally peaceful this place is to me as compared to another place that is far less so, I heard people walking toward me. Behind me and to my left were nine people, mostly young, carrying pillows and what looked like blankets.

"How are you doing?" one asked as I glanced at them.

"It depends on what you're carrying," I replied.

They were from a church in or near Wayne WV,  and they were looking for homeless people who might need pillows or blankets or a Bible. I said I thought the Huntington police had cleared out the homeless camp nearby, but you never know if the people who had lived there had returned.

So they left and kept walking down the river. As I stared at the water's surface again, one girl ran back  and handed  me a small  wooden cross.

I couldn't help but think about what this one symbol means to different people I know. Some have dedicated their lives to what it stands for, while others detest everything it means.

Another thought came into my head, too. Rivers have their own symbolism in secular literature and in Christian theology. On the theological side, I thought about the phrase "rivers of living water" from John 7:37-38.

After that, it was time to leave. The river is still there. The cross is in my car. And I hope the people from Wayne had a productive evening. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Two boats at twilight

I haven't been able to get down to the river much lately -- work and stuff, you know -- and when I have, there hasn't been much there. But this evening I celebrated the end of another work week by dragging my camera down to get a picture of the Leslie M. Neal.

Yeah, I was in a black-and-white mood.

The Neal's pilot disappointed me by being so far out in river and actually heading toward the other side. In through here, boats usually run close to this shore. Then I realized the Neal was over that way because another boat must have been coming down.

And there was.

The Speedway. I remember being on that boat many years ago during an open house at Point Pleasant. Many years ago.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

M/V J.S. Lewis

I didn't get much sleep last night, thanks to my youngest kid being in a nighttime high school band festival and a (deleted) cat finding its way into my bedroom and whining that it couldn't get out.

So by early afternoon, while I was walking with my youngest through the Huntington Mall after buying him a dress shirt for homecoming six days from now, my legs gave out and my energy level felt really low. All I could think about was a good nap until we were on our way home along the road along the river and what did we see in the distance but the J.S. Lewis.

And all I had to take a picture was the camera on my cheap cell phone.

I was surprised when Adam said this was the first time he had seen the Lewis moving under its own power. I've been taking pictures of it for 35 years or more, and he's taken some in the past decade, but I hadn't realized the only time he had seen it was during open houses at river events.

Somehow, seeing that boat gave me my energy back. We went to a spot near the Huntington East End bridge to get some shots.

Then I had to drop Adam off at his work. But I went ahead on down to the 6th Street Bridge and got a couple more shots.

After that, it was time to go home. The nap was nice.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

M/V Leslie M. Neal

I had to go to Point Pleasant today to take care of something. While I was there, I ran into the Mothman Festival.

The good news is that I got some pics of two boats coming out of the Kanawha River and heading toward the Ohio. One of them was the Leslie M. Neal of Crounse Corp.

More later as I can spend time processing images and making them look halfway decent. It's late and my day of busyness is not yet done.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

M/V Catlettsburg

All I had with me was my cheap cell phone camera.

This is the M/V Catlettsburg downbound  past Huntington. My granddaughter and I were playing at McClelland Park when the boat went by. This is a nice spot to view boats, either at the park or down by the river, because boats pass so close to shore here.

A few minutes later, we decided to hit the playground at another park. We got there before the Catlettsburg. I saw these guys watching it pass, so I figured I would concentrate on them instead of the boat.

Monday, August 21, 2017

An infrequent visitor

The M/V Jackie Englert was up this way recently. Here she is downbound passing the boat ramp a few miles below the Robert C.  Byrd Locks and Dam,  formerly the Gallipolis Locks and Dam, yesterday evening.

Earlier she paused in the river a couple of miles below the locks as the M/V George R. Jones III added  four coal barges to her tow, making 19 in all.

As of this writing, the Englert hadn't made it to the Greenup Locks and Dam as far as I could tell.

Friday, August 18, 2017

A good night

You know what feels good? The twilight breeze down by the river. The sun has set and the sky is turning from orange to purple. The steel truss bridge is silhouetted against the sky. The hills are dark, but the river glows from the sky it reflects.

It’s so quiet there that you can feel the breeze better. You snap a pic of the bridge with your phone. A guy there fishing apologizes for ruining your picture. No problem, you say. He improved it. He looks at the picture and agrees.

He says his one-week vacation began when he left work today, and this is how he’s spending the first evening.

The M/V Jerry Tinkey passed a little while ago, but it’s paused upriver below the bend. He must be waiting for a boat to come down through the two curves above. Meanwhile, down the river you see another boat upbound. It looks like it’s pushing 15 empty coal barges. Then it must be a Crounse boat, you guess.

The sky darkens and the breeze continues, a fine counterbalance to a stressful work week and the realization that some things are changing. Like your favorite little girl is too old for toddler things now that she’s about to start pre-K. She’s conquered every climbing device on every playground in the city. Her mind went from age 4 to age 24 overnight, it seems. Way too soon.

Yes, it’s a Crounse boat. That distinct sound of the engines gives it away. Meanwhile, you see a boat coming around the bend up the river. It’s the boat the Jerry Tinkey has been waiting for. Because of its size and the fact it’s pushing some empty petroleum barges, you figure it’s one of Marathon’s canal boats. Or it could be the Catlettsburg.

But it’s 9 o’clock and it’s getting dark. Do they still put the chain across the floodwall gate at 10? You don’t know, and you sure don’t want your car stuck in here overnight. So you leave without learning what boat that is coming downriver.

It doesn’t matter. It’s still a good night.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Tommy H christening, Part 2

More from the christening and dedication of the M/V Tommy H on May 25:

More to come.

Tommy H christening, Part 1

It's almost three months late, as it happened on May 25. I wrote about it in the Waterways Journal. But here are some more photos for those who are interested.

More to come.

Friday, August 11, 2017

At Parkersburg

I think this is the Yvonne Conway of Crounse Corp., but I could be wrong.

It took me a few minutes to find this spot, and I was glad a boat was coming upriver when  I did. It would have been nice to have gotten the Detroit, the Linda Reed, the O. Nelson  Jones or the Hoosier State coming down the river pushing full loads or the Amber Brittany going either way, but I'm glad I got what I did.

M/V Drema G. Woods on the Kanawha

Seen yesterday evening on my drive home from work.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Lost in Marietta, Ohio ... and found

I wasn't really lost yesterday. I was in Williamstown WV covering something, and I went over to Marietta, Ohio, to see if I could get a better shot of a bridge. Leaving town, I got on the wrong street in my search for State Route 7.

After taking a wrong turn, I found myself driving along the Muskingum River, and look what I found there.

Yeah, I'll have to go back someday when I have time to enjoy it.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Diversifying from building barges

Did anyone see this article on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website?

Short version: A place that once made a lot of coal barges doesn't anymore because demand fell off. So it diversified into other lines of business that require bending and welding metal. And even if the barge business picks up again, it will only do so much of it because it wants to keep and grow the new lines of business it has developed.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

You can never have too many pictures of the O. Nelson Jones

My wife and kids may disagree. Except my youngest. He would agree.

In the second photo, look at the lower right corner. Those barges were loaded to 10.5 feet. That's maybe 337 tons over the 1,500 considered normal for the usual nine-foot draft? I didn't get a good count, but I think there were 14 of them, plus an empty chemical barge at the head of the tow. Multiply 14 times 1837 and you get 25,725 total tons being pushed upstream. That's a lot of coal.