Monday, November 23, 2009

Favorite towboats, part 9: mv. Charleston

Somewhere in the earliest of my memories are images of boats such as this one traveling the Ohio River in the early 1960s. One in particular was white with a peach-colored pilothouse. Seriously. But I have no recollection of what its name was.

R & W Marine had a boat something like this in the 1980s. It was painted red and white, and the pilothouse looked like it had been raised.

As best as I remember, this boat, the Charleston, seen here earlier this year at the Gallipolis locks, is closest to those old boats that I saw on the river nearly 50 years ago. A former coworker says this is the prettiest working boat she has seen on the river, and I'll not argue with her for now.

I love those curved lines.

Favorite towboats, part 8: mv. Linda Reed

I've written about this new boat before, so there's no need to spend a lot of time on this one, except that I like seeing it. My only problem is that most of the days that I'm able to catch it here in the Huntington area, the weather is less than ideal for photography.

Here Adam and I caught it on a sunny day right below Gallipolis OH, with the Nancy Sturgis on the  hip.

A coincidence and a discovery

Earlier today, as I was preparing to write about the mv. Tri-State, I looked through some of the photos I had taken of the boat in the past two years. In that process, I discovered a coincidence and something I hadn't noticed before.

I knew I had taken photos of the Tri-State and the James E. Anderson encountering each other at Kenova on July 20. The Tri-State was downbound and the Anderson was upbound. 

As I looked through my archive, I found photos I had taken on March 7. On that day, the Anderson was downbound and the Tri-State was either upbound or motionless, waiting for the Anderson to pass.

As I looked at the photo from March, I noticed an AEP boat at the McGinnis dock in the background. If I noticed it at the time, I figured it was either the AEP Mariner or the Chuck Zebula. But as I looked at this second photo today, I noticed the glass on the pilothouse. Although the sun's glare hides most of the name, the boat has to be the Buckeye State.

And here I thought I hadn't seen the Buckeye State until May 22. My son Adam thought he hadn't seen it until this month, but he was with me that day in March.

Not a major discovery, but an interesting one for Adam and me nevertheless.

Favorite towboats, part 7: the mv. Tri-State

You don't forget the first time you drove a car, the first time someone let you take the controls of a single-engine airplane, and you don't forget your first towboat ride.

In my case, the first drive was when I was 16. The guy who owned the small Cessna let me take the controls as we taxied down the runway toward takeoff for a trip over the Ohio River from Portsmouth OH to Huntington WV and back, and the first towboat ride was about the mv. Tri-State, then of Ashland Oil, now of Marathon Petroleum, in May 1980.

After that, I always enjoyed seeing the Tri-State on the Ohio, and nowadays I look for it on  the Internet when I'm checking boat locations.

As I said in an earlier post, these are not the "best" boats on the Ohio River. They're my favorites.


Top photo: The Tri-State as it heads up the Ohio River, with Lawrence County OH in the background.

Here, the Tri-State has picked up some loads and heads down river past Kenova WV.

Any picture worth using once is worth using twice. This is the Tri-State in the rain passing under the Silver Memorial Bridge at Point Pleasant WV, with Gallipolis OH in the background.


As best I remember from that 1980 trip, the captain was Jack Allen and the relief pilot was Junior Sizemore, who later moved on to the mv. Ashland. An Ashland Oil p.r. guy (Jim Butler, I think) and I joined the boat that chilly, foggy morning at Neale Island near Parkersburg WV. We locked through Belleville that morning and Racine in the afternoon.

We got to Gallipolis in late afternoon. Those were the days of the old, small locks right there in the bend of the river. The lockmaster was putting through boats in the order of three up and one down. I think we were second in line downbound, so we didn't get into the locks until around midnight, I think.

We made it to South Point OH around 8 or 9 a.m., I think.

That was almost 30  years ago. Wow.

Favorite towboats, part 6: Dravo pre-Vikings

Adam calls these boats the "pre-Vikings." They're what Dravo made before it made the Viking line in the 1970s and 1980s. A guy like me, who does not work in the river industry and who does not have access to its reference materials, has no idea what these things are really called.

And I cannot explain why I like them, although the fact they are all over the place here around Mile 310 may have something to do with it. They're almost as numerous as Crounse boats.


Top: The Harllee Branch Jr. at Huntington WV.

Here, the Lee Synnott passes the area of Lawrence County OH between Chesapeake and South Point.

The James E. Anderson prepares to go under the Norfolk Southern bridge at Kenova WV.

About a week ago, the James E. Anderson passed Huntington right before sunset.