Friday, December 24, 2010

mv. Linda Reed, 12/24/10

To quote a John Hartford song (at least, this is how I remember it; my copy is on vinyl, and I don't have a player):

That muddy water never quite runs clear
When I try to give a reason why I want to be here.
Ain't you got no family? No place to be
But out on the river on Christmas Eve.

About 20 years ago, when I was a newspaper reporter, I did a story on people who had to work on Christmas. Among others, there was a guy who worked at a steel mill in Ashland, Ky. I probably had a paragraph or two in there about people who work on the line haul river boats.

I thought about that today as Adam and I saw the mv. Linda Reed coming down the Ohio River today at the K.H. Butler boat ramp in the Swan Creek area of Gallia County, Ohio. It's at Mile 285 or thereabouts, about a mile above Glenwood, W.Va. We got a few shots of the Reed as she passed.

First, the Reed as it approached our position. We haven't had much precipitation in the past few days, winds have been calm and river traffic has been light, so the river surface was smooth before the first of the Reed's 15 coal barges loaded to 10 feet came past. Thus, the boat is partially reflected in the river, too.

The lead barges looked really good reflected on the water's surface. The West Virginia hills did, too.

The Reed has passed us and heads downriver.

Finally, here's how the river looked before the Reed came by. We're on the ramp looking down toward Glenwood. My great-grandfather operated a ferry somewhere around here in the late 1800s, I've been told. In the early 1900s, there was commerce between these two sides of the river. But as vehicle traffic moved to bridges and ferries went out of business, the connection between these two sides of the river faded away.

I saw the Reed a few hours later, still several miles above Huntington. At its speed, the Reed probably didn't pass Huntington until after dark. I have no idea what if anything happens on most boats when Christmas Eve falls. I just hope they had a good evening, whether they observed Christmas or not. And you folks, too.

Two river photos

Here are a couple of photos from recent days. I'm sorry if you were looking for something newsy or informative today. I just don't got it. Like most people, my mind is on cruise control this week for some reason.

First, here are some steps on the outside of the landward guide wall at the Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam. We've had snow on the ground for a couple of weeks. You can see here that not a lot of people have used these steps in that time.

A week or so ago, I had to take Adam to Ironton, Ohio, to see the R. Clayton McWhorter. It's his favorite Dravo Viking, and he hadn't seen it in more than a year. We got to Ironton before sunset, and we saw the boat approaching from downriver, but it was moving terribly slow. While waiting for it, I got off this shot of the Ironton-Russell Bridge. I did shoot the McWhorter as it went by, but by then too much dark had set in.

Yes, this is another one of those shots I took without benefit of a tripod.