Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More on low flow

It felt like we had three days of news today on a day when we were down two people trying to put out a paper. Here is an Internet-only piece I did on the run about low water levels here in the upper third of the Ohio River.

A forgotten swimming hole

I don't know how long this rope has been  hanging from a tree at this particular spot. I assume this was a swimming hole at one time, at the mouth of a creek emptying into the Ohio River. I've been to this spot many times in all four seasons, and I've never seen anyone around this old rope swing.

On this particular hot summer day, there were no signs anyone had been to this spot all summer -- no footprints, no litter, no nothing.

It reminded me of a similar swing on the Ohio side of the river at old Lock and Dam 26 near Eureka (also known as Chambersburg). My older sisters used to go there to swim with a bunch of other teenagers. It's hard to think of those three sisters as teenagers -- they're all in their 60s now, and grandparents, but they were young once. I remember one of them was in the water and a boy decided to swing out and land on or near her. She held out her arm and fist. He landed on her fist with his face, breaking his nose in the process.

Why does no one use this swimming spot anymore? Perhaps it's because of swimming pools, or pollution, or the idea that the river is just too dangerous a place to swim in.

Maybe someday I'll see someone swimming here. But really, probably not.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

To be in Madison, Indiana

They're moving the first section of steel truss into place for the new bridge between Madison, Ind., and Milton, Ky.

Link here.

Who among us wouldn't want to see that sight in person?

Low flow (Updated)

Another sign we haven't had a lot of rain here in the upper middle part of the Ohio River: The Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is restricting lockages of recreational craft to even-numbered hours.

I hear we won't get rain for a while, and the daytime temps could hit 100 by Friday.

UPDATE: I took the link down. It's not working. Instead, here is a news release that says the same thing.

Putting it back together

Here's one last set of photos from when the M/V Andi Boyd made the trip through the Greenup Locks and Dam in two cuts. The M/V AEP Future pulled the first nine barges out. Then the Andi Boyd came out with the other five.

That meant the deckhands had to use the wires and ratchets and toothpicks and such to put the barges back together.

Monday, June 25, 2012

M/V Andi Boyd

Here are two pictures of the M/V Andi Boyd exiting the Greenup Locks and Dam.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

M/V AEP Future

Here are a few more photos of the M/V AEP Future at the Greenup Locks and Dam.

Traveling up the Ohio

From a comment left on the previous post: Some folks are heading up the Ohio River in a boat and writing about their experiences. According to the blog, they're in the Cincinnati area now and headed for Pittsburgh.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Backup at Greenup

On the way back from there to here, I stopped by the Greenup Locks and Dam to see what was there. The main lock is down for repairs, so I got a good look at the AEP Future and the Andi Boyd. Here's a sample of the 300 or so pictures I took. That's one way digital trumps film.

These aren't the best. They're a sample.

More later, maybe.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Louisville bridges update (very short)

Another step has been taken to get construction on the Louisville bridges project under way this year.

Missed opportunity

Yesterday morning I was driving to work in Charleston, W.Va. As I was crossing the last bridge over the Kanawha River (there are three between home and the office), I saw a boat with interesting colors upbound. So I took a side trip to get a picture. At a certain spot, I saw the boat was the M/V Gilbert Taylor.

I sorely wanted to get a picture. But the clock said 9:25. Finding a place to park, finding a place to shoot, driving five blocks to the building and then up to the fifth or sixth floor of the parking garage, down the stairs and into the building would take seven minutes minimum, and I had a mandatory 9:30 meeting. So I skipped the photo shoot.

When I got to the office, the big digital clock on the wall to remind the TV people what time it is read 9:29:34. The 9:30 meeting started at 9:40. Oh well.

It was a long day, dominated by news of yet more coal mine shutdowns. These mines, all operated by Arch Coal, produce coal for power plants. Judging from their locations, they ship about all their coal by rail.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

More on the Buckeye State

I was thinking a little while ago about the christening of the Buckeye State in Cincinnati this evening. I've taken a lot of pictures of that boat the past few years. Here's one.

The first two times I saw the Buckeye State, I was across the river and thought that it was the AEP Mariner or the Chuck Zebula. Here is a link to an earlier blog post where I talked about that.

And here is a photo I took of it on May 22, 2009. It was the evening I had lost my job of 30 years, nine months and one day (but who's counting?) and I made a short trip to my home area for some alone time. This was taken from the Ohio side of the Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam. Again, I thought it was the Mariner or the Zebula until I got home and downloaded the photos and zoomed in.

And I'll probably get more of the boat until I either leave this area or until the day far in the future when it's sold to South America.

M/V Buckeye State et al

I've been told AEP will have a christening ceremony for the M/V Buckeye State in Cincinnati this evening. The ceremony should conclude at about the time of the summer solstice, by coincidence. These things are usually invitation-only affairs, and Adam and I weren't invited, but I have to work anyway.

But to all I know who will be there, have a good time.

And I hear a couple of Ingram towboats are changing ownership this week, too. More on that when I see the boats with their new stack logos.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Easy way out

I have a lot of photos I needed to post, so I put them on my Flickr photostream. Feel free to check them out over there.

Friday, June 15, 2012

This day in history, sort of

It's been a long week, and when I've been able to get down to the river, there hasn't been much to see. Coal-fired power plants have plenty of coal on hand, and there doesn't seem to be much coal moving out there. Maybe there is and I've missed it, but when I've been down there, boats have been hard to find.

So I went through my archives and found a few photos taken on June 15 in past years just to see what was happening this day a few years ago. Here are a few. Some have been on here before. Some have not. Enjoy them until I can catch up on a few things.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

More on the tug

Someone has sent me information on the tugboat seen on the Ohio River -- now on the Mon -- last week.

The tug is the Mr. Russell. It was pulling and the towboat Tristen was pushing a couple of barges with machinery for USS, which I assume is U.S. Steel, at Clairton, Pa. Both boats will remain on the Mon for another couple of weeks while the barges are unloaded. Then they will head back down the river to Mobile to get another load for Clairton.

Apparently the tug has gotten quite a bit of attention on the Ohio, as we don't see those things up here very often.

And I hear there may have been a tight fit under one bridge that has a clearance at normal pool of only 42.5 feet.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Two news items

Oh to be in Madison, Ind., on or about June 18 when the first span of the new Ohio River bridge is lifted onto the temporary piers built for it.


Here's a question: Continue pouring money into the way-behind-schedule, way-over-budget project at Olmstead, or divert some of that money to other critical lock and dam infrastructure needs on the Ohio River system? Another question raised in the article is whether recreational boaters and hydroelectric companies should kick in some or more of the cost of rebuilding said infrastructure.

Cod off gard

As I was walking up the bank after getting some pictures of a bridge, I saw this poor fella on the ground. I assume someone cut the line and left the hook in his mouth, and left him or her here to die on the river bank.

I want to get a closeup look at a gar's teeth some day. But I needed to get to a grocery store to buy some vittles for supper, so I kept my hands off this time.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My favorite bridge ... again

Tedious week at work last week. It will be worse this week. So, I take my river time when I can get it.

Here's a standard photo of Huntington's East End bridge.

Here are a couple more from different spots.

Sunset in Huntington WV

At Harris Riverfront Park.

It was a good evening to be down by the river. Yes it was.

Tugboat on the Ohio

A couple of my Facebook friends have told me a tugboat -- yes, a tugboat, not a towboat -- called the Mr. Russell is on the Ohio River. According to the Corps of Engineers' vessel locator, it is somewhere around the Montgomery Locks and Dam, if not in its pool.

That's too far away for me to go today, but if anyone hears of it getting down to the Racine, R.C. Byrd or Greenup pools in the next few days, please let me know in case I miss it.

After years of griping that boats on the Ohio are towboats and not tugboats, I want to see a tug.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Some other stuff in the news

The Charleston Gazette this morning has a story about a company in Marietta, Ohio, that offers guided kayaking tours of the Ohio and its backwaters. It sounds like an interesting trip for people who want to see some wildlife on the creeks.


The New York Times has a piece on the riverfront resurgence of Cincinnati.


Speaking of Cincinnati, here's the latest on the possibility of tolls to pay for a new bridge. Only they're not tolls anymore. They're user fees.


Still on Cincinnati, one more item before we go. Yahoo Travel has its list of Ten Stunning Riverfront Towns. Cincinnati is on the list. So is the nearby small town of Augusta, Ky. My guess is that whoever compiled this list needed a small town that few people had heard of. The Rosemary Clooney-George Clooney link may have been the clincher.

But I can think of some small towns along the river that offer just as relaxing a spot as Augusta, and my readers undoubtedly know of more.

One of my favorite spots is on a hill that overlooks the river. You can see for miles, and when the weather is right, you can get up there in an unbuttoned long-sleeve shirt and enjoy the breeze and the quiet. You can watch towboats and pleasure boats and bass boats on the river, and you can listen for truck traffic and trains off in the distance. It's a place where you can relax for a few minutes and leave your troubles miles away.

There's another spot I used to enjoy. I had to park my car along the road and walk down a creek back to get to it, but once there I could look across the river at old farm houses. Down the river was an island, and beyond that a large manmade structure. I visited the spot several times until one day I noticed some people nearby walking in the area. The me-ness was gone, and I've been back maybe once since.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Parking lot runoff and Ohio River quality

I did this short story at work today, based on a news release I got from the EPA this morning. It has to do with the EPA not liking the amount of rainwater running off the asphalt and concrete in my city of Huntington WV. As a person with no college-level training in hydrology or the chemistry of water that runs off parking lots into the Ohio River, I am kind of mystified that it would be such a major contributor to water quality problems in a river as big as the Ohio, but what do I know?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Two news items

A construction worker at the Olmstead Locks and Dam project on the Ohio River below Paducah was killed in an on-the-job accident Friday.


And an inflatable dome used for sports activities collapsed at Robert Morris University on Friday. The Golf and Sports Dome is on the western end of Neville Island near Pittsburgh.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Escatawpa on the Kanawha

As I left work this evening, I saw the Escatawpa downbound on the Kanawha pushing nine loads of coal, so I thought I would ... you know.

I shot this from the Patrick Street bridge. The wind was hard enough at times to move me a half step or so,   and the way the bridge is built I got an odd feeling of being up too high with too few rails to protect me. But I stuck around long enough to get this picture.