Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Touring the mv. Muontain State

Adam and I spent so much time chasing towboats up and down the Ohio River this past summer, we had to go to Point Pleasant WV for the Tribute to the River festival on Labor Day weekend so he could get aboard the ones open for public tours.

The mv. Mountain State of AEP was the one he really wanted to see. He has taken a liking to the new AEP boats, and it impressed the crew when he started talking about the two under construction -- the AEP Leader and the Hoosier State.

I've written about the boat before, and I won't repeat the basic information here.

Anyway, here are some photos from the weekend. If I had the desire and the time, I could post three or four times this many and still have angles rarely photographed by people not in AEP's' employ.

First, the boat as it was tied  up to the Point Pleasant riverfront.

The pilothouse was a popular spot on the tour. I asked the port captain if I could get a shot of Adam at the controls, and he helped by putting one of Adam's hands on a rudder stick and another on a throttle.

There are two radar displays. Those are the high screens with green. On the right of the photo is an electronic navigation chart. It displays the boat's' position, and it identifies some of the other boats in the area. It calculates their positions and speeds, and it can estimate where the Mountain State will meet or overtake the other boats.

This is what the pilot sees when he looks down toward the towing knees. Because here is no control panel directly in front of him and because he has such a large window, he can look almost straight down.

And this is what the deckhand sees when he looks up at the pilothouse.

Adam is a bit less than five feet tall. This is him in the engine room looking down at one of the two engines.
Here's the view from between the smokestacks, looking toward the front of the boat.

And this is the name of the boat that you are most likely to see from shore.

Yes, it was a very good visit. Adam and I enjoyed it thoroughly. He's learned a lot about the inland waterway industry this summer, and he learned a lot more in one visit aboard a working boat.

Now he wants to see the Buckeye State. I've seen it once, and him not at all. And there are those other two boats he's waiting to see.

That's one reason his mother calls him Jim 2.0.

mv. J.S. Lewis

The J.S. Lewis is one of my favorite towboats to shoot simply because it is so old. It went into service in 1931 as the Vesta. Over the years, its name was changed and it was converted from burning coal to using diesel fuel.

You don't see the boat out very much. The time I'm mostly likely to see it is when it's needed for special events, such as the Tribute to the River last weekend at Point Pleasant WV.

First, here's my youngest, who will be 10 years old soon, sitting at the sticks in the pilothouse.

Here is one of the boat's' two engines.

An external view, taken as the sun was getting  close to setting.

And the J.S Lewis as seen from the mv. Mountain State.

Finally,  the bell at the front, which bears the boat's original name.

I told Adam that my grandmother's name was Vesta. She died when I was about the age Adam is now. We weren't close or anything like that. I can't even recall having a conversation with her. But the bell did give us a chance to talk about our family history.