Sunday, August 25, 2019

A towboat for Trump

A senior moment today prevents me from remembering what they call the staff on the front of a tow. I think I know, but I don't want to sound totally ignorant by using the wrong term.

Normally the staff flies the flag of the company that owns the boat doing the pushing. Sometimes crews use a different flag. I've seen some tows with the black MIA flag.

But yesterday evening I watched a boat go under a bridge and it had this flag up at the head of the tow. I began wondering if it meant something about the political leanings of the crew ...

... then I remembered the boat was the Brenda L. Murray II of Murray American Transportation. That company is a subsidiary of the coal mining company owned by Robert Murray, who leaves people with no doubts that he supports President Donald Trump. The last time I saw Murray in person was here in Huntington a couple of years ago when he was walking toward the VIP entrance to a Trump rally.

Mystery solved.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

M/V AEP Legacy

It passed Huntington yesterday evening at dusk. The sky was cloudy and the light was not the best.

We don't see the boat up this way very often anymore, so I had to get the picture regardless of the light.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

M/V Marathon

From a month ago today, two images processed differently to see how they would look.

As seen from Russell, Ky., looking toward Ironton, Ohio.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Willow Island lock closure

Read all about it in this week's issue of the Waterways Journal. Story and photos by my wife's favorite working journalist.

Bridges need sidewalks

Not all Ohio River bridges need sidewalks, but more of them should have been built with sidewalks.

I explain some of that here within my 600-word limit.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Two items in the news

The Point Pleasant River Museum and Learning Center sustained heavy damage in a fire July 1, 2018. The building the museum was in is owned by the city of Point Pleasant, W.Va., The governing board of the museum had wanted to demolish the Civil War-era building and rebuild on the site, but a historic preservationist has been fighting that in court. Museum officials have looked around for a site for a new building. Now the Point Pleasant City Council has voted to auction off the old building next month.

# # #

The old Ohio River bridge at Maysville, Ky. — formally known as the Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge — is in need of repairs.There will be some closures this week while engineers determine what the next steps will be.

Friday, August 9, 2019

M/V Kenova

This was the closest I'd ever been to this particular design of boat, and I must say it looks pretty good in Marathon Petroleum colors.

The M/V Kenova is the former Gianna Hull.

I'm glad Marathon kept the old color scheme from Ashland Petroleum when it bought out Ashland's marine assets.

This was taken at the Willow Island Locks and Dam, where lockmaster Billy Collins ...

... has a pretty good view from his desk.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

More from the archives: M/V Arthur E Snider

As long as we're looking through the recent archives, how about this guy on the front of the tow of the M/V Arthur E. Snider of Excell Marine as it was leaving the Greenup Locks and Dam upbound on Oct. 6, 2018.

And here's the boat, if you would like to see it.

I'm not that knowledgeable about Excell Marine or this particular boat, so if anyone wants to fill me in, have at it.

Another photo of the M/V Linda Reed

I found this while looking through my stuff from May. As far as I know, I haven't posted this one ...

... but hey, it's the Linda Reed. She's almost always worth a picture. I just like the looks of this boat. I don't know how she handles or how she rides, but she photographs well.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Point Pleasant River Museum update


The folks at the Point Pleasant River Museum and Learning Center have given up on rebuilding on their former site and are looking at a couple of pieces of property in beautiful downtown Point Pleasant.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Where will the Delta Queen stop next year?

This is the editorial I wrote for this morning's Huntington newspaper. If you can't get past the paywall, here are the bullet points:

The Delta Queen could be back on the river next year.

The schedule is not yet set.

From 2008, near Mile 300

The boat will stop at some cities. Exactly which ones have not yet been made public. If you city wants to get on that list, you had better be working the phones now.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Making tow at Kanawha 0.5

Or maybe dropping a tow. I don't know.

All I know is that it was the M/V David Stegbauer near the mouth of the Kanawha River on a hot, sunny day.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

American Duchess in Huntington

The newest (to us, at least) overnight passenger boat on the Ohio River made a stop at Huntington this morning. A dying car battery, among other things, kept me away from the riverfront when it arrived, but I managed to go down in the afternoon and get a few (hundred) shots before and after it left. Here are six.

Last week, I managed to get a few shots of the boat as it headed up the river. I caught it between Swan Creek and Bladen, Ohio. I might post a few of those soon.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

No internet service, no new blog entries

My internet service at home has been out for more than a week. The provider says it cannot say when it will be back on. I said I will not pay my bill until they restore service. They said if I don't pay my bill, they will cut off my service. I replied, so if I don't pay for service I'm not getting, then you're not going to give me service?

I should have gone into a public utility business.

Blog will return when my internet service does. I have a few pictures to upload.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Scenic view

Today I was driving down the road, and as I passed Ironton, Ohio, I saw the Ohio River bridge glowing in the morning sun. Morning sun has been a rare sight around here the past few weeks. Anyway, I figured it would be nice to get a photo of the bridge from the scenic overlook where I had shot the old bridge a few times. It's on a hill overlooking town. You have to climb a lot of steps to get to it, but when you do, the view is worth it.

Or it was.

This is how the scenic overlook looked today. You wouldn't have been able to see the old bridge if it were still there the way it was two and a half years ago.

This is not a gripe about Ironton. It's a comment on a common occurrence in this part of the Ohio Valley. Someone spends time and money creating a place where you can get nice views of the landscape, but no one ever thinks about how sooner or later you will have to cut the trees that will block the view.

Some of these places are along  main road, and all you have to do is pull off. With some you have to do some climbing. But too often, these views are blocked by trees.

That's it. Whine over.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

M/V Michael T Somales

This boat passed by Huntington this morning on its way up the river.

The Somales is an infrequent visitor to this area. The first time I remember seeing it was up in Elizabeth, Pa., at its christening.

Here are links to the teaser, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Friday, June 21, 2019

M/V Steven J. Mason, 6/18/19

Going under the Sixth Street bridge at Huntington, W.Va.

This was taken shooting toward the sun, but the light reflecting off the boat's stern and the underside of the bridge pleased me.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Ferry in black and white

The Ohio side landing of the ferry at Augusta, Ky.

I like shooting this boat on a rainy day.

Monday, June 17, 2019

M/V Joseph Merrick Jones

Passing under the Ohio River bridges at Ashland, Ky.

Sunday, June 16, 2009.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Size comparison

Today the M/V Eugenie P. Jones of Canal Barge Company pushed another component of the Monaca cracker through this area. As many of the vessels making the trip do, the Jones stopped at Kenova, dropped its load and headed down to Catlettsburg for supplies.

In case you wonder how the size of the Jones' load compares with a common Ohio River towboat, here it is next to the Mary Artie Brannon.

Big, huh?

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Discussion on the barge

Have you ever seen a couple of people talking and from their gestures wondered what they were talking about?

I have.

Friday, June 7, 2019

My latest river column

When I was asked to write a personal column on this subject, I thought I had kept it really, really short. When I did a word count, it came out to around 950. I could have written five times that many. But the limit was around 600. Oh well.

M/V Nancy Sturgis

Yesterday morning I saw the M/V Nancy Sturgis passing Huntington. This was taken from Huntington looking over toward Bradrick, Ohio.

The white church is Defender United Methodist Church. I've been told the church bell came from the steamboat Defender. Which came first I don't know.

And here's the prop wash from the Sturgis, which was pushing 12 barges of stone loaded to 10 feet.

I guess it takes most if not all of what an 1,800-horsepower boat's got to push more than 20,000 tons of stone against the current.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Stairway to heaven?

Nah, this isn't heaven. It's Huntington, West Virginia. Or #almostheaven

But it was nice to be able to go from the river bank back up the hill on this organic, sustainable, non-GMO staircase.

My thanks to whoever discovered this and all those over the years who have kept it up through constant use.

Campsite on the river bank

This morning while I was down on the Ohio River bank getting photos of the M/V Nancy Sturgis, I saw this. It looks like the remains of a homeless person's camp, although it could be a temporary shelter for a local fisherman, now abandoned.

It would not surprise me if this were an abandoned homeless camp. At this particular place, I've found what otherwise would be a perfectly good sleeping bag if it hadn't been left exposed to weather and high water, and I've found a shopping cart (or buggy, as my wife calls it) from a store 27 blocks away.

I have no proof any of this is from a homeless person, but the homeless tend to gather on the river bank here as elsewhere. I wondered about the sleeping bag — who bought it and why; if a person was trying to help a homeless person but the homeless person didn't care, or if he simply abandoned it for some reason; and if so, does it do that much good to go out of your way to help.

I say the last part because burnout is not uncommon among people I know who volunteer time and money to help the less fortunate. Sometimes they walk away because they feel they've been taking advantage of. Sometimes they just have to move on to other things.

Anyway, those are the thoughts this sight brought to my mind.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Another day, another tug-and-tow combo

I had a quick freelance assignment today that required me to locate boats to photograph. In this case, I caught up with the tugboat Tristen and the towboat Brittany Lynn.

And I found these two guys out on the barge.

Now to see if there are any others approaching this area. They seem to be pretty frequent lately.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

M/V Ms Nicole passes Huntington

10th anniversary

It was ten years ago today that the Ohio River Blog launched. A lot of things were going on then, and a lot has changed.

Back then I had just lost my job of 30 years. I was a victim of downsizing. So six days after that, this blog appeared. I needed something to keep my busy while I looked for work, and given my interest in almost all things having to do with the Ohio and its tributaries, it seemed the logical thing to do.

It was a good time to start a blog. Blogging was popular. Towing companies were launching lots of new boats. Coal was big, and boats were everywhere.

But over time people drifted away from reading and moved more toward podcasts and videos. If you're not into politics, you're not going to keep your readership. As interest in this blog waned and as more and more things at home demanded my attention, I got to putting up fewer new posts. And people stopped commenting. So far this year I've had only ten posts worth publishing, and most of those were in February.

I looked at Google Analytics to see how the readership was doing. Based on those numbers and the huge amount of spam I get -- most of it using grammar and syntax that betray the fact the writers' native language is not English -- I came to the conclusion that about half my readership is from Russia and former Soviet republics.

So what now? I'll stay on here, although I don't see posting picking up until something big happens. Even then, I'm tired of working to provide free content when people who make YouTube videos can make some money from their content.

I'm thinking of a few videos I can make, and I am working on a couple of longer-term things that could be more lucrative. Even if they're not profitable, they will be fun.

So please hang around. I don't know if this will keep going for another decade. We'll just have to seel.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

M/V Linda Little

A normal photo ...

And one with some HDR added.

Sorry for the hiatus. There's a lot going one around here, especially with grandchild number two due any time in the next couple of weeks. Plus we're coming out of the drab mud season of river photos (except when we get some nice snow or fog) and now the hills are greening back up.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Two boats

First, the Neil N. Diehl, seen last Sunday. The first photo was taken at Catlettsburg, Kentucky, looking back at the Kenova, W.Va., railroad bridge. The others were taken at Ashland, Kentucky.

Yesterday the AEP Legacy was in the area, so I went to Lock and Dam 27 to get a couple of images.

Eight or nine years ago, we saw these two boats a lot more often in this area than we do now, but things change, right?