Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Favorite towboats, part 5: The Dravo Viking class

It's funny how there's never a Viking around when you need one.

In the 1970s and 1980s, I got all sorts of photos of the Dravo Viking-class towboat on my section of the Ohio River. I was away for nearly 17 years. When I aimed my new camera at the river, it seemed the Viking boats had been replaced by other makes.

Yes, the R. Clayton McWhorter comes around every now and then. By coincidence, I found a photo I took of the boat in the 1980s when it was the Steel Rover, and it was taken in the same spot where I got a photo a couple of months ago.

Sometimes I see the Pamela Dewey or the Capt. John Reynolds or another Viking boat in this area, but not nearly as often as I would like.

My liking of these boats has nothing to do with their power, their handling, their durability or anything like that. Of those things, I know nothing. I only know that the Viking class boat makes for some good photos. I could fill a small book with what I have shot of these boats from various angles.

The down side of all this is that I really don't know much about the Viking class of boats. If anyone can point me to a library or an online resource, I would be much appreciative.

In the meantime, I'll continue looking for new angles and different lighting in which to shoot these boats. Their clean lines do a picture well.


Top photo: The mv. Pamela Dewey prepares to enter the Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam earlier this year.

Here, the mv. R. Clayton McWhorter passes Huntington WV downbound this summer. My favorite bridge is in the background.

The mv. Capt. John Reynolds heads upstream past Huntington this past summer. That's the Proctorville OH area in the background.

And the mv. Neil N. Diehl has just left the Ohio River and heads up the Kanawha River, traveling lightboat on Christmas Day 2008. That's the CSX railroad bridge in the background.


One more thing. Where I grew up in the 1960s, most people pronounced Dravo as DRAY-voe instead of Druh-VOE. I remember the Dravo barge line, and I remember when it merged with or acquired Union Mechling and became Dravo Mechling. And now Dravo Mechling is gone, too.


Here's a story about a rescue in the Ohio River in Pittsburgh. A construction worker jumped into the cold waters of the river to pull out a bicyclist who went in.