Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chasing boats again

Between the demands of my job, commuting and stuff I have to do around the house nowadays, Adam and I don't get to spend much time chasing towboats anymore. But today I was able to be home at the right time, and I noticed on the Internet that the M/V Hoosier State, Adam's favorite boat, was downbound at Mile 288 at 6 p.m. So we finished baking some cookies that we had in the oven and headed out to find the boat and possibly chase it down the river.

We went on the Ohio side to the park at Old Lock and Dam 27. In the evening, you shoot there with the sun over your right shoulder, and the golden light can make decent photos if the boats cooperate by being there at the right time. We figured we would be early, but better early than late.

While we waited for the Hoosier State to arrive, we saw this boat approach us upbound.

We tried to guess what boat it was. Adam guessed the Winnie C. I guessed the Champion Coal. Both were more or less semi-educated guesses, as we didn't know what other boats were in the area. As it turns out, we were both wrong. It was the Carrie Mays of Campbell Transportation.

As we watched the Carrie Mays pass our position, we noticed it was moving toward our side of the river. We could think of only two reasons for getting this close to the bank: to get out of the current or to position itself to meet the Hoosier State, which we could not yet see.

We didn't know about the current, but in a few minutes we saw the Hoosier State approaching us downbound.

Adam suggested we run down to the Guyandotte boat ramp to see the Hoosier State again. Before we could leave the park, we were approached by a stranger asking us if this was a good fishing spot, hjow clear the water is normally, if there is a lot of large boat or pleasure boat traffic on the river here, and so on. We chatted for a while. I showed him some photos that I keep in a small album in my camera bag. He left, and so did we.

We got to Guyandotte in time to see the Hoosier State approach as darkness was falling.

As the boat passed under the East End bridge, a sprinkle started to fall. It was raining, it was getting dark, Adam had homework to do ... we had to go.

But we did have fun like we haven't had in a while. Adam took one last look at the Hoosier State as we left and said it might be a long time before we see it again. Maybe, I said, and maybe not. We'll just have to see how it plays out.


Two more thoughts:

The Hoosier State was delivered to AEP on Nov. 2, 2009, if I recall correctly. That was the same day we saw the Buckeye State at Lock and Dam 27.

While the Hoosier State is fairly new and, in terms of horsepower, one of the most powerful boats on the river, the Carrie Mays is older and weaker. It was built in 1951 and has about 1,800 horsepower, compared to the Hoosier State's 6,000 or so.