Wednesday, June 16, 2010

mv. Aliquippa (with minor correction)

Yesterday evening (Tuesday), I was in downtown Huntington, W.Va., waiting for something. As  I usually do, I went to Harris Riverfront Park. There I saw a boat coming up the Ohio River. Then I noticed the second boat farther downstream. Because I had the time, I went up on the 6th Street bridge to get some overhead photos.

The first boat was the Tennessee Hunter. The second was the Aliquippa. And that's the one that interested me more this particular evening.

As the Aliquippa approached the bridge, the fading sunlight started discouraging me. But as the first of five barges appeared out from under the bridge (a long time ago, someone described Appalachian speech as very prepositional), the clouds parted, bathing the river in glorious, warm reds and oranges. Thus, I got this photo of the Aliquippa.

This boat and two others like it -- the Vulcan and the Titan -- are of particular interest to me because I'm pretty sure one of them was the first towboat I ever photographed with a single lens reflex camera and color film. It was back in the fall of 1976, I think, and the boat was painted green and white. It was headed downriver after exiting the Gallipolis Locks and Dam. I didn't get a good enough shot to determine the name of the boat.

So I figured I had a decent photo of the boat (you can see another shot of it passing downtown Huntington by going to my Flickr photostream here). This evening (Wednesday), as I was looking at my photos, I noticed this fellow on the Aliquippa. In the first couple of shots that I saw him, he was staring up at me, probably wondering who this twit with the camera on the bridge was. In the later shots, he's looking back toward the bridge and the setting sun. He must have had a pretty good view of things from where he was.

So that's my intensely interesting personal story for tonight.

Correction: I found the photo from 1976. The boat was mostly white, with green along the bottom. It was heading upriver, about to enter the Gallipolis locks. I also found a photo take a few months later of a similar boat (or the same one, repainted) that was all white. It was heading downstream, having just exited the Gallipolis locks.

Getting ready to drop a bridge

It looks like equipment is moving into place for the demolition of the old 5th Avenue bridge over the Guyandotte River in Huntington, W.Va. The existing steel truss bridge is something like a gazillion years old. It was closed a few years ago because some of the steel members supporting the roadway were rusting and falling away.

The bridge is less than a quarter mile from where the Guyandotte flows into the Ohio River. According to announced plans, demolition charges will go off sometime Friday to drop the bridge into the Guyandotte.

I assume that's where the Anna S, the barge with a crane on it and an empty barge come in. Today they were tied up at the park there at the mouth of the Guyandotte. Here you can see some of the components of the tow, with my favorite Ohio River bridge in the background.

Two on the river

The Ohio River has been up, and news of the river is kind of slow. At least this week has been good for towboat sightings.

Here are two I saw on Monday. First, the mv. Hoosier State as it headed down the river toward Huntington, W.Va., and beyond. That's the Proctorville, Ohio, water tower in the background.

And here's the AEP Mariner at Point Pleasant, W.Va. It's on the Kanawha River, at the mouth.