Sunday, November 6, 2011

M/V Hoosier State

Saturday afternoon, I dropped Adam off at his grandmother's house to spend the night. They hadn't seen each other for a while, so Adam wanted to spend the weekend with her. On the way back to Huntington, I had my older son, Joey, with me. As much as Adam loves the Ohio River, Joey doesn't. He tolerates my and Adam's fascination with it. But sometimes just barely.

After we left grandma's house, I told Joey I was stopping at Point Pleasant to get pictures of the Hoosier State if it was still there. And it was. As we crossed the Bartow Jones Bridge over the Kanawha River, I saw the Hoosier State lightboat (without barges) pointed toward the Ohio. So I parked the car at the foot of the bridge and ran up the sidewalk, hoping to get a good shot of this relatively new AEP boat without barges.

I could have saved my heart the stress. The Hoosier State was moving along lazily. In face, it was about to be overtaken by AmherstMadison's boat, the Drema G. Woods. You can see them here, with the Nell in the background making tow.

I didn't know if Joe Kincaid were in the pilothouse of the Hoosier State and if he saw me, because the boat took its good sweet time moving toward the Ohio. I got some decent shots, considering the boat was either lit up by the warm tones of the setting sun or was in the shade.

I had been up on the bridge for a while when my phone rang. It was Joey, sitting in the car. "You know, you can come down," he said. I explained that I was trying to get some good shots of a slow-moving boat and I would be down when the boat was gone.

Lucky for me, Joey called when the Hoosier State was at a bad spot for shooting. Near the bridge is a utility line of some sort that crosses the river below the sidewalk level. It can get in the way of some decent shots.

As I was waiting for the Hoosier State to get closer, the Drema G. Woods exited the Kanawha to my right, so I got this shot.

The Hoosier State is 48 feet wide, and its hull goes nine to nine and a half feet deep in the water. So, it has to push some water out of the way when it moves, creating these waves.

The design of the Hoosier State's pilothouse has a big window in front of the guy doing the steering,and there's a gap in the center console, allowing him a pretty good view of the front of the boat below him.

But where is he supposed to put his feet when he wants to lean back and take it easy for a few seconds?

As the Hoosier State got closer, it came out of shadow and into the golden sunlight, as you can see in these two pictures.

I saw Joe on the boat as it neared the bridge, and as it went under he shouted up to me that the new AEP boat Mike Weisend was on its way down and should be there in 30 minutes.

We shouted some stuff back and forth before the boat went under the bridge. The last shot I got was of this deckhand.

Down at the car, I bribed Joey with the promise of his favorite sandwich from Subway if he wouldn't complain about my going up the river a few miles to look for the Weisend. He agreed. We went up as far as Cheshire, but we didn't see it. On the way up, we passed the Kyger Creek and Gavin power plants. I told him some about the pollution equipment on them and of how coal-fired plants still leave a lot of stuff behind in the form of coal ash and scrubber sludge that has to be disposed of.

Joey got his sandwich, and I got home to work on editing the pictures. During a Facebook conversation with Joe Kincaid, I was told that some guys on the boat heard sires of emergency vehicles crossing the bridge, and they thought I was as a jumper. I told them the sirens came from a police car and a firetruck escorting a pickup full of cheerleaders. And it's not like I haven't been mistaken for a jumper before.

So that was my excitement for the evening. My one regret is that after the Hoosier Stat exited the Kanawha and as I was crossing the Silver Memorial Bridge, I could have gotten a good shot of the Hoosier State lightboat with Point Pleasant in the background. But the light was fading, my camera was in its bag and I didn't want to take the time to slow down on the bridge, as the traffic that was a quarter of a mile behind me might not notice the slow speed I would have to be going.

Perhaps someday the opportunity will present itself  again.