Sunday, March 31, 2013

1986 archives

I didn't see much on a quick trip to the river today, but I did find a few slides in a box while I was looking for something else. Here are a few pictures from what I think is late winter/early spring 1986.

First, the Capt. Charles H. Stone, heading south from the Gallipolis Locks and Dam.

And the Katie Kinzeler heading up toward the locks.

From the sequence in the box of slides, I'm guessing the Stone had been helping out on some double cuts at the locks and was heading back to its own tow when this was taken. Judging from the vegetation in the foreground of some pictures, I also assume the river was a bit high this day.

I don't have many good photos of the triple-screw turtlebacks.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The best of the best

As I was waiting for the M/V Kentucky to move into the position where I wanted it to be when I took its picture, I got to thinking about how it would be the best photo of the boat that I had ever gotten. Then I realized it wouldn't be. This one is. Or maybe it's another one that I have in my print collection that I don't seem to have put online. Or is it? Right now I'm not sure.

And, because once an idea gets in my head it usually triggers a train of thought, I began thinking about which boats you could say I have the one picture that because of background, lighting or back story that I can say if I never make another photo of it, I have a really good one.

Several came to mind right away.

The AEP Mariner.

The Hoosier State.

The R. Clayton McWhorter, which apparently is on my Facebook page but not this blog or Flickr.

The AEP Legacy.

The Chuck Zebula (not online).

The Detroit, although this version is cropped to tight; it should show more of the power plants in the background. The 20-by-30 poster that used to hang on my cubicle wall at work was closer to the full-frame version.

The Escatawpa, although really you can't see much of the boat itself, as the barges, the clouds and the light dominate.

The Speedway.

And others. Some, like the Mountain State, are in several pictures that are so good that I can't pick out just one.

I'll still get photos of these and the rest when I can. But it's good that I'm trying not just to get one more picture of a boat, but an even better one than the best in my collection so far.

I do the same with bridges, dams and herons, by the way. I can control things with immovable objects a lot better than with mobile ones, of course.

Marge and Mary ...

... at Lacey  Lane. The M/V Marge McFarlin and the M/V Mary Harter, of course.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Up a tree for the M/V Kentucky

My body says I'm getting too old to climb trees to get a decent photo of the Marathon Petroleum towboat Kentucky.

My wife says she's not going to let me go out chasing boats alone anymore if that's the kind of stuff I'll do to get a picture. Even if I went up all of five feet to get above the other vegetation.

When I was back on firm ground, I got more photos of the Kentucky. I might post them later. I don't know. I do know that I saw these two guys out on the lead barges as the Kentucky moved toward the locks.

I saw several other boats today, too, so I need to set aside time to go through photos and see what's worth posting.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Mud season is almost over

I got this about a week ago at a popular boat ramp and park here in Huntington WV. The water was up a while back, and no one was in a great hurry to get most of the mud off the parking lot because, you know, the river could always come up again. It's only March.

Soon the hills will turn green and the river will turn blue. And it will be time to fill up some new memory cards.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Kentucky on the Kanawha

It's not often that a big Ohio River boat gets very far up the Kanawha River. Most of the time they're on the lower three miles or so, where barge fleets are assembled. Most of the work above there is done by Amherst Madison's smaller boats or when Marathon Petroleum sends one of its smaller boats up to Charleston and perhaps to Hugheston with some barges of petroleum products.

But every once in a while Marathon sends one of its big new boats up that way. The Marathon made a couple of trips up there in 2011, and I got some shots. The past two days, the Kentucky has been on the Kanawha. I got these pictures in the early morning light at Charleston. First, as seen on a couple of sidewalks near the mouth of the Elk River ...

... then from the sidewalk of the South Side Bridge...

... and from a sidewalk down by the river, next to the bridge.

Sometimes to get a discussion going with Adam, I'll say I think the new Marathon boats are prettier than the new AEP boats. He always sticks up for the AEP boats. I don't know which I prefer, but I can argue either way.

One thing I do know is that the light was good for these pictures. I took them in early morning. By solar noon or so, the boat was in shadow and the photos would not have been nearly as good.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Uh oh. Mercury problems.

From The Courier-Journal in Louisville:

Dozens of industrial facilities along the Ohio River may not comply with a tougher mercury pollution standard that goes into effect in October , a regional water quality commission has warned.

A list of roughly 60 wastewater treatment plants, coal-fired power plants and other industrial facilities has been sent to state regulators by the eight-state Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, which sets water quality standards for the Ohio River.

If you want to see the list of plants -- which includes several municipal and small-town sewage treatment plants -- click here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

M/V Andy Mullins at Huntington WV

While enjoying a warm summer evening at Harris Riverfront Park on Sunday, I saw the towboat Andy Mullins tied up at a marina. Here are a few shots of what it looked like.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Two boats on a Sunday

I was out and about a couple of times Sunday when I should have been doing other things, maybe, but the weather was too good.

There were a couple of boats coming down the river.

The D.A. Grimm ...

... and the Robert A. Knocke.

Photo without comment, 3/10/13

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Totally off topic

One of my sisters passed away this week, so today I went to her house where family was gathering. On the way home I noticed these sheep at the farm of her oldest son -- one of my nephews.

It reminded me of a beautiful piece of music by J.S. Bach, one that I hadn't listened to in a while: "Sheep May Safety Graze." I've heard it by orchestra, string quartet and as a classical guitar solo. I like the first way best. While John Hartford may have been my favorite performer of the 20th Century, all-time my favorite musician has to be Bach. The first movement of Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 is my favorite piece of music ever, and I remember a long time ago cleaning house to his Goldberg Variations  as performed by the Canadian Brass. That wasn't something I could listen to driving down Route 7, but it was okay for background music while doing chores.

Back to the photo. I don't know if you can make it out, but there is a strand of electric fence wire barely visible here. I suppose the fence keeps out the coyotes that infest the hills of the Ohio Valley nowadays.

Enough of that. The next entry should be back to the river.

A couple of miles up the Kanawha

I saw these three boats today as I drove from Charleston WV to see family near Gallipolis OH.

There was the Dr. Edwin H. Welch.

And a Crounse boat whose name I did not get. It's coming downriver toward the Ohio.

And the Reliant.

For something totally off topic, spammers have found my photos of Meigs County OH and are sending me totally absurd comments.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Three more Meigs County photos

... and that will wrap up 1981.

First, here's the hydroelectric plant at the Racine Locks and Dam under construction, as seen through a chain link fence. I don't think a lot was going on that day.

Second, this is the William S. Ritchie Bridge to Ravenswood, WV, under construction. Looking back after 32 years, I wonder if I would have gotten this close if it were being built today.

Last, here's the Philip Sport Sporn power plant near New Haven, WV, as seen from Racine, OH. It looks different today, as there's been more construction on that part on the right. Soon it will be a lot different, as it's one of the power plants scheduled to close when new emission regulations kick in on Jan. 1, 2016.

Wheeling bridge closed

The old Wheeling suspension bridge will be closed for a few days because a cable has snapped. Details here.

And if you want to see a photo of the bridge from a different angle, click here.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

And old-time country store, long gone

This is the first of two or three items based on negatives I found that I had shot in Meigs County, Ohio, in spring 1981.

At Shade River Bend, about Mile 210, there was an old-time grocery store run by a woman whose last name was Hensley. I forget her first name. Her sister was there that day, and I think they had a dog in the store, too.

It was an old, old store. I think Ms. Hensley said her father, a man named Swan or Swann, had started the store decades before, and she had taken it over. Ms. Hensley was the shorter of the two women in this photo.

State Route 124 runs along the river there. In this case there was the river, the road and the store in a small rise above the road. One of the two women looked out  at the bend, where you almost do a 180, and said she knows how the boats keep from running into each other: radar. I was tempted to say it was probably radio, but why argue with or try to embarrass someone unnecessarily?

One thing I liked was what was in the background of this photo.

See all those pop bottles? Six to  a paper carton, and six cartons to a wooden case that was loaded or unloaded onto the delivery trucks. These are 16-ounce bottles, although from my days in my parents' country store in the 1960s I remember 12-ounce bottles, too, and the smaller Coke bottles. And most of the cases are the old wood variety.

It's been  years since I've been up that way. The last time I can remember being there was in fall 1988, and by then the store was closed, I think. The building was there, but from the looks of things the store was out of business. Of course, Ms. Hensley and her sister probably passed away years ago.

They would have been among the last of the old country stores along the Ohio River. Now we have convenience stores, which sell a different mix of merchandise and operate on a different business model.

When I drive the river road wherever I am, I tend to look for buildings that remind me of the old country stores like the one I grew up in. And when I see one, I always wonder what stories need to be told before they're forgotten forever. Including my own.

Found some negatives

T his morning I found some black and white negatives that I had misplaced. They were of a short trip into the Ohio River country of Meigs Count y, Ohio, in the spring of 1981. One photo that I found took me back to the late 1960s even. I'll upload and comment on them as I scan and edit them.

And I've been given permission to use a photo or two taken by one of my coworkers yesterday when demolition crews did their thing with part of a steel truss bridge on the Kanawha River.

Given stuff on my agenda -- some of which I get to decide on -- I'll try to have them up this weekend.