Sunday, September 16, 2012

Skipping rocks

Any day you can spend at your favorite spot along the Ohio River and skip rocks for an hour with your son is a good day.

Actually, we skipped rocks at two spots for a total time of more than an hour, and it was fun. We needed a video camera to determine if my throws skipped 11 times or 16. I favored the higher number, of course.

We saw a couple of boats go by -- a small sternwheeler called the Pickett Hastings and the M/V Andi Boyd -- but they were only diversions as we searched for the perfect rock for skipping. At one point Adam challenged me to skip two rocks at once. I nestled one rock in my index finger and one in my middle finger and ... they traveled in parallel, at least ten skips each. My next five tries to duplicate that didn't work.

As I said, any day you can spend on the Ohio River skipping rocks with your son is a good day.

I'm tired of having seven things going on in my head at once, so something has to give. Unless there's big news, such as a disaster or something really good, I'm taking a break from blogging. Adam and I will be back on Oct. 1.

Who wants to be WV?

I did a short piece last week on how some folks in Oregon and Washington state want to develop coal ports to ship Powder River Basin coal from Wyoming and Montana to Asia. The mainbar is here, and the sidebar is here.

To the point: When you got outside coal-producing regions, a lot of people just don't want anything to do with coal. They don't want anything to do with coal. To them it's a mineral that is toxic to the touch and provides nothing good for humanity, so they don't want to be near it, even if it's out of sight.

I guess you could say some folks in Oregon don't want their state becoming West Virginia.

I'll have more to say on the subject when I return from hiatus, which begins tonight.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Silver Bridge book to be released Oct. 1

I got a note from the folks at the Point Pleasant River Museum that a book they've been working on about the Silver Bridge disaster will go on sale October 1. The book is called "The Silver Bridge Disaster of 1967." It was written by professor Stephen Bullard and student Bridget Gromek of West Hartford College in Hartford, Conn., and Martha and Ruth Fout at the Point Pleasant River Museum.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Someone moved

It looks like ... well, read this for yourself:

The Pirates travel from one end of the Ohio River to the other to face the Reds ...
I knew reporters have a phobia when it comes to math, but I thought they understood geography.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Getting ready for a short break

Hey, folks. I'm getting a couple of things ready for later this week. Then I'm going to take a week or two break from blogging and such. I'm worn out and need to get away from stuff for just a little while.

I find myself trying to take the same pictures or not caring that a boat I haven't seen for a while is in the area. Adam's in school, I'm putting in more hours at work, and I need to clear some stuff out of my head.

So I'll post something on Wednesday and/or Thursday, and then it's a week or two break from blogging and Flickr and the like. But I'll be back. I'm not giving up on the Ohio River. I'll be down there, looking for that heron at one spot in particular in the morning fog. I'll be watching the sun rise and set ... checking to see if the river surface is mirror-smooth ... thinking about Point Pleasant and the cemetery in Gallipolis and how the setting sun lights up the Greenup Locks and Dam ...

And from time to time I'll think about my great-grandfather's ferry, my grandfather's boats, the steam boats my uncle worked on, the towboats a couple of my half-brothers worked on, whatever boat it is one of my nephews is on, and I'll wonder what part of the junk DNA in me expresses itself in the genes that draw Adam and me down to the river bank while his mother and siblings wonder what all the fuss is about.

We can't help it. Even if we've never worked at a lock or on a towboat or on a bridge, we're still, in our own way, river men.

So stay tuned.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

News 9/8/12

Oh, to be in Madison, Ind., on Monday when the next piece of the new bridge is lifted into place on temporary piers. It's cool that the project has its own web site.


A large number of dead fish have been found in the back channel at Wheeling. That can't smell good.


A week after the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Ohio River bridges project at Louisville, two groups have filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop the project.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Last set of photos from Point Pleasant

... so I can move on to other things.

First, two boats get ready for a shoving contest.

There was a lot of noise and a little bit of movement and a lot of horn blowing. I have no idea who won.

And there were sternwheelers, including a couple of sternwheeler races in the rain.

And that's about it. Next? No idea. But that's why they invented tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Aboard the M/V AEP Legacy

At first, I was going to show the same pictures everybody takes when they tour an Ohio River towboat -- the pilothouse, the engines, the galley. But you know, why not show something else?

So here are five photos taken aboard the M/V AEP Legacy that might give you a better idea of the stuff you see on an Ohio River towboat.

One of the freezers:

A sign on the steering console in the wheelhouse.:

 The cook's quarters:

An ax, or an axe. Take your pick:

 Finally, there are various warning signs. This is on one of the big arms that move the rudders:


I didn't get the guy's name, but the P.A. announcer said this guy is the King of the Calliope.

From walking past while he was playing, I assume he wore ear protection. Because it was so loud, I mean.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sternwheeler trail

I had never noticed before the trail that a sternwheel boat leaves behind in the river. Here is the Major on the Ohio River at Point Pleasant, W.Va. The photo was taken in the rain, although I was sheltered by the canopy or whatever you call it that extends from the roof of the pilothouse of the AEP Legacy.

The boat in the background is the Carrie Mays, in case you're wondering.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

More pics from Point

It's taking a while to organize and touch up some of the pictures Adam and I got Friday and Saturday from the Tribute to the River festival at Point Pleasant, W.Va. We wish we could be in Marietta and Pomeroy the following two weekends, but we probably can't make both, unfortunately.

So here is the first batch of photos from Point Pleasant. Enjoy them if you can.

Sternwheelers -- and one sidewheeler -- tied up waiting for the parties to start.

As rain comes and goes and as clouds gather and part, the Silver Memorial Bridge looks might fine.

Open house over, the M/V AEP Legacy leaves the riverfront for some barges it dropped off the night before about a mile up the Kanawha River. This was taken between 5 and 6 p.m. The crew was going to rest until about midnight before heading out for Rockport.

This one is not one of those fancy Photoshop effects where you remove all the color except for something you want to highlight. This is how the scene really looked, with the rain muting the colors of about everything except the AEP Legacy.

Finally, this is how Adam looked as he sat in the AEP Legacy's pilot chair, realizing it will probably be another year before he sets foot on one of these things again.

As I edit them, we'll have, among others, photos of sternwheelers and the inside of the AEP Legacy.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Tribute to the River, Day 2

Adam and I had a great time in Point Pleasant today, most of which was spent touring the M/V AEP Legacy multiple times. Too bad I can't find my card reader, or I would post some photos. Maybe tomorrow.

Tribute to the River, Day 1

I got up to Point Pleasant, W.Va., this evening shortly before sunset by design. I knew there would be sternwheelers on the riverfront, and I hoped the AEP Legacy would be there getting ready for an open house, too. The sternwheelers didn't disappoint me, but the AEP Legacy was not there. So, I spent my time chatting with a few people and taking a few pictures.

Here we go:

As I was studying the Major to decide which angle would be best for shooting, a man, a woman and a girl walked past carrying McDonald's bags. They walked out onto the barge toward the boat. I didn't get a good look at the man's face, but he said something like, "Be sure to put this on the Ohio River Blog."

So here it is.

And here's a look at the Norfolk Southern railroad bridge shortly after sunset.

If you could see this picture in the original size, you could make out the M/V Enid Dibert (I think) and the stacks to a couple of power plants up the river.

Here are a couple of sternwheels, again taken when the daylight was almost gone.

And here's the scene during a bluegrass concert. The stage is off the picture to the right.

If you look in the background, you will see the lower deck lights of the AEP Legacy having come down the Ohio with some coal loads and turning to to up the Kanawha.

I have a lot more pictures from tonight, but these are the ones I could find that were worthy of quick edits and a quick posting. Tomorrow evening I plan to have more.