Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Boat for sale

I linked my previous post on my personal Facebook page. The first comment was from a guy I used to work with who's now at AEP. He says if I really have the itch, AEP has a surplus boat for sale.

If only ...

All I have is a dollar, and I think they want more than that.

Science class presentation

So my eighth-grade son Adam had a class assignment in science. He was to put together a PowerPoint presentation on how technology changes things over time.

What he did was no surprise. He did a piece on towboats, which he turned in yesterday. The presentation required a minimum of five slides. He started with sternwheelers and how some were converted to propellers. Then he moved to the 1940s and the Hillman boats, then to the turtlebacks that were designed in the 1950s, then the Dravo Vikings of the 1970s and ended with modern boats.

 A Hillman boat on the Kanawha River at Dunbar and South Charleston WV.

He said he will tell me what grade he got.

Adam didn't get towboat-crazy until he was in third grade. That spring we were at Virginia Point Park at Kenova WV, where the Big Sandy empties into the Ohio and boats and barges tend to congregate. He saw the M/V George King sitting in the river close to the shore. He took my camera in hand, started snapping pictures and an obsession was born.

Before that, Adam was fascinated by school buses, and he still is. When he was in second grade, every assignment turned into something about school buses. His teacher got tired of that and told him one day he had to write about something other than school buses. The poor kid froze. Now, I would go to the principal and tell her that a teacher was trying to kill a kid's passion.

In first grade, Adam came home upset. His school was serviced by four school buses. One was an older bus built by AmTran. The other three were Blue Birds. He was upset that the AmTran and a BlueBird had been replaced by two C2 models made by Thomas Built. Adam didn't know about the C2 model until the school system had bought one the year before, and he was fascinated by them. I wrote a piece for the local paper about his love of school buses and the C2 on his last day of kindergarten. That day, we received an invitation to visit the factory at High Point NC and see some C2s being made. After the tour, the company's marketing director held Adam on his lap and let Adam steer a C2 around a parking lot. It was the high point of the kid's life until he got to steer the M/V Hoosier State out on the river in 2010.

Anyway, Adam's first grade teacher heard him talking about the C2 and asked, "What's a C2?" So she arranged for Adam to take a brief ride on a new C2 one day after school. By the way, two of my three kids had this teacher in first grade, and she is the kind of teacher who should be paid twice what they're making now. Some should be fired and some should be rewarded. This teacher definitely deserved more than what she was paid.

Maybe some day I'll describe how his love of the C2 turned into an interest in Freightliners.

Adam also likes the Dodge Viper and the original Ford Mustang, by the way. He was so interested in one that we saw at an outdoor car show that the owner took him for a ten-minute ride around Huntington WV with the top down.

That's the kind of kid I live with.

P.S. Adam gets on the bus early in the morning and rides a Blue Bird most of the way. Then he transfers to a C2 for the remainder of his trip. He's ridden the same Blue Bird since kindergarten. But his bus might be scheduled for retirement next year. Although the school system has bought a lot of C2s and HDX models in recent years, Adam's driver says they might be switching to IC Corp. buses (a division of International, which acquired AmTran) next year. So Adam's curious about what bus he'll be riding and if he will commuted on buses made by all three American manufacturers.

I think he'd really like to get a ride on an EFX model somehow, but I don't think our school system has any of those.