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As you know, I’m just back from a trip.  A few months back, I’d considered taking the bird with me, a la John Steinbeck with his dog.  But he would not have been an easy companion, and since some work was involved, I thought it better to go without Charley, one of Nigel’s many names.  Others included Nigelina, pippit, the Kroc, Haji Naji, and more.

Nigel had many friends; really that cat is lost these days, as am I.

They discussed politics and played games, re-enacting human struggles.

Since he was at least 40, he outlived several generations of other house animals, hundreds of generations of goldfish had we kept those.

Some birds scared him, like “big pella” as this night heron who perched on the rail of the boat to look inside would be called in “tok pisin” language.

This big smelly guy in the middle would just disgust him.

I met the green bird when I was 20 years younger even than in this photo, as this example of technology

will show.  How many of your current friends have you known since 1986?  I met the bird in 1986, and he moved under my roofs in 1992.

He was ever helpful;  he’d lend tech support on the Mac, he’d measure up problems, and answer phone calls.

He’d have zoom calls with his hierarchy long before we humans thought of that.

Tech savvy he certainly was . . .  telling a very skeptical black cat about psychedelic music.

He loved many types of music, including opera when I met him.  Here he was experimenting with glass resonance, attempting to shatter his glass bowl.

I should have done my version of travel with Charley, given that he’d intimidate

even the most brazen, and unfortunately I met some brazen jokers on this past trip.

And he will be missed.  He’s planted beside a blue road under trees green with leaves and noisy with birds;  I suspect at night, he and other denizens of that woods dance by the light of the moon.  I’m sad he’ll travel no more on the avenues and trails of the living.

But some day . . . we will travel together again .  …

Until then, farewell, fly far, my winged friend.

All or most photos, WVD, who’s posted about many other birds here.

Today I hope to return to the sixth boro safely.  I’ve not yet tallied my miles driven, but if you want to guess, I’ll let you know.  I saw a lot of trucks in those miles, some of them on pedestals, like this Diamond heavy wrecker along I-80 in western Iowa. I’m not sure if this is a Diamond T or a Diamond Reo.

This very backlit photo shows two trucks, one you likely don’t immediately notice lower right.  In the foreground, a Chevrolet–based on the cutout in the rear window–with a tow rig.

I managed to squeeze a bit of river and a towboat into this post . . . .  This Freightliner has backed down a ramp to transfer 7000 gallons of diesel to the tanks of the boat.

Here’s one I’ve not seen in a long time:  GM’s answer to the increasingly popular imports from Volkswagen, an early 1960s Corvair Greenbrier van.

In an eastern Nebraska town called Plattmouth, birthplace of Raymond Chandler, I spotted this pair–a 1920s tanker and a flatbed truck of the same vintage–as well as 

this Dodge Brothers tractor, again on a pedestal.

More recently, in a cornfield in central New York, these two pickups were part of the racing action.  I’ve many more photos from that event, should you be interested and should I need another distraction. I know some of you don’t do FB, but here’s a John Kucko Digital original that really captures racing on a drag strip in a corn field in Savannah NY.

All photos, WVD, who meets a big milestone soon. 

Still not back along the sixth boro . . . and so here are more photos from along the road . . . 

Some murals are faded and others recently applied.  The one below must require some local knowledge to explain the juxtaposition of agriculture and defense.

Others make sense as reminders of a journey of generations.

I just can’t pass up remotely taking brightly talented photos posed for others, or

really odd items, or

smoke coming from

a diverse

set of engines and applications.  

I’ll get back home later this week.

All photos, WVD, who throws in a little truckster and tagster here.   

Oh . .   and in this yacht parade, what’s that third boat?

More on this later.

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How to structure some at photos sent along by eastriver while at sea had flummoxed me too long.  But looking through some old titles, a eureka moment happened . . . I’d used this title once before . . .  here.

Twilight on a hot asphalt-hauling steel barge

looks pretty good.

When the horizon retreats, twilight has a bigger canvas on which to fling color over a bigger expanse of sea and sky.  The photos remind me of ones in this tugster post, also taken at sea under Maxfield Parrish skies.

Thanks, east river . . .

 

Fred left us yesterday, and he will be missed.  Click on the photo below to see the source of this photo and read the context. Fred was a hilarious and complicated guy:  born in Germany, raised in Canada and in the north country of New York State.  I first met him on the Hackensack River in Secaucus, over by Snake Rock.  After he retired and moved back to the north county of “Fort Ed’ard,” I would see him each year at the Tugboat Roundup.  In fact, I alway had a berth on his boat at the Roundup.  

From my perspective, Fred’s opus really was his website, the travels of Tug 44, named for his trawler, and accessible by clicking on the image below.    In this screenshot below, you see only a partial list of his categories.  Drill down to each of the categories, each of which contain almost infinite subsets of information.  

Fred contributed to a number of tugster posts here.  I know there are even more, but I’ve not always been consistent with my tags and categories.  When I thought I knew the canal, Fred showed me there was so much more to learn, leading me to return again and again.

My first email contact with Fred came here in 2007, and our exchanges about the Dutch boat Livet led eventually to my meeting him in Secaucus.

In recent years, Fred had turned to wildlife photography and took many stupendously beautiful photos of “critters” in the north country here.  If this is the only link you look at today from Fred’s site, you’ll be a big part of the afternoon admiring these.   

Blogposts I did with photos I took from tug44 over the years are too many to post, but here are a few:

2014 and before I knew I would crew on Urger.

2013 and again

A favorite is this one from 2009, when I first learned firsthand what craziness ensues when you have a potato gun primed with hairspray and an armory of 50-calibre radishes . . . .

Hilarious, complicated, generous . . .  Fred, you leave a hole in the universe.

I had to leave the Missouri way too early, and will return as soon as possible.  For my last set from the roads of eastern Nebraska, let’s start with friendly boaters zipping downstream. 

Barges loaded with Iowa and Nebraska grain head south for the lower Mississippi and export.

Note the red floats on either side, safety lines I suspect in case of runaway.

Morning I stopped at a boat ramp near Brownville, population less than 500, where 

I stopped to see Captain Merriwether Lewis, a USACE dredge

one of the last surviving vessels from the (relative) straightening of the Missouri beginning in the 1930s.

She was the result of a 1920s infrastructure project we still benefit from today, and is currently a museum I could not wait around to see.  Well, next time.

Driving back to the Phelps City MO side of the river, I saw the perfect illustration of the advantage of barging.  The white trailer extreme right below is 

the first white trailer to the left here below . . . .   All those trucks headed to the elevator would

NOT fill even half a Missouri/Mississippi River barge.

All photos/choices/sentiments, WVD, who needs to get back here.  Events compelled me back over the Mississippi too soon and back to NYS.

 

When this tow came off Oneida Lake headed west, 

I wondered how many folks would interpret this incorrectly, that this was a tow and not a push.

Ditto . . . heading into lock E-23.

 

Of course, regular readers of this blog know precisely what is going on. After a long hiatus at the dry dock in Waterford, Urger has been pushed across the state to the dry dock in Lysander to be hauled out and mothballed, maybe and hopefully to be revived when the time is right, like a cicada or a future astronaut traveling light years in suspended animation . . . .

For more people than not in the “canal corridor” of New York State, Urger is without doubt that best known tugboat, the only one that thousands of New Yorkers have set foot on . . . . 

Who is that unmasked fellow with a t-shirt that reads “tug boating is a contact sport”?

I have it on the best authority that exactly five years ago yesterday, he was in the Urger wheelhouse piloting the now nameless vessel through this very same lock, very much mechanically alive.

 

All photos yesterday, WVD, who offers this post as contribution to #URGERjourney.

Edna A has appeared on this blog by that name;  it was also here as HR Hawk

My goal was familiarization, not veni vidi vici, or exploration of the 2300+ miles of river crossing parts of seven states, beginning in SW Montana.

Barge traffic is possible there now because of the work of the USACE.  More on that in a later post.

Here was my top-priority destination:  the current northernmost aka upriver port.  more on that later too. 

The above port is 50 miles north of Omaha and on the Iowa side.  So is Omaha connected to salt water . . .  indeed.

There’s a story here and here. . .  about a beaver and a business opportunity.

Now in the sixth boro, boats like the one above never worked, not so on the Missouri.  If you’ve ever following the Missouri and see a sign about the “steamboat exhibit” at DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, by all means, check it out. 

 

250,000 artifacts including 1860s steam technology have been excavated, cleaned/preserved, and nicely displayed.

It turns out there’s another steamboat wreck exhibit in Kansas City, which I took no time to check out, but I will next trip. Of note, both Bertrand and Arabia were built along the Ohio river, far to the east.

As to the question of current commercial activity north of Kansas City . . . it’s there.

If you’ve never read River Horse, a boat trip from the sixth boro’s Elizabeth NJ to Astoria OR, check it out.  I’m eager to re-read Moon’s account of his navigation of his boat through this geography.  Recently, I re-read his account of transiting the Erie Canal and encountering tug Urger and its erstwhile captain Meyer.

By the way, Urger will be featured in tomorrow’s post.

All photos, observations, WVD, who is back east of the Mississippi and catching up.

Again . .  greatly abridged . . . it took the two-lane most of the way across Iowa–included a fuel stop in Pella— from the Mississippi to the Missouri, although from Des Moines westward, I did take I-80, where a fleet of windmill parts was parked in a long rest area. 

 

I got back on the two-lane again to get to my river port destination.  The high-rises here are grain elevators, and small towns sometimes grow up with services around them. 

I got as far north as Sioux City, when I needed to turn south again.  The rest of this long river has to be postponed for the next trip, since what drove this trip is work, which I’ll hold off on explaining.  

But you can’t be here without countless references to the Lewis and Clark gallivant, a wandering westward at the behest and on the payroll of the United States.  

Near Blue Lake, a state park features a set of replicas of the vessels of the expedition.  

The centerpiece is their keeled boat/barge/mothership Best Friend.  Can you imagine poling, rowing, and towing this behemoth?!!

 

As I said, earlier, the northern areas of this river, South Dakota upstream to Montana, must wait for the next expedition/gallivant.

All photos, WVD. 

 

Road Fotos never tell the whole story, but enjoy these fleeting sights from the Mississippi Valley . . . like an excursion boat called Tom Sawyer

or one called Mark Twain . . ..

Some towns have statues of obscure favored and maybe local folks . . .

but no such unknowns are raised onto a pedestal in Hannibal. Is there anywhere in the US a writer as universally known and recognized as Mr. Clemens?

I’m sorry never to have met him.

Let me be uncharacteristic, and add a bit about my visit here.  After some trouble I’ll not elaborate on in Saint Louis, I was driving north along the Mississippi.  After some debate with myself, I pulled into Hannibal, found a room, took a shower, and walked around town looking for some food.  The BBQ place had moved out to the highway (Highway 61 !), so I walked on and found a Turkish place, right next to the farmer’s market where I bought some pears.  This Turkish place…  I sat outside, where a cat of the feline sort joined me.  The waitress had no voice but was very charming and wondered why anyone would visit Hannibal.  I’ll get back to that.  After a delightful and delicious meal, I paid up and walked out onto the deserted street, or I thought it was a deserted street.  Two deer, who seemed to be out exploring, met me.  We chatted and then went our separate ways.

Why would anyone visit Hannibal?!!  

Are you kidding me?  

I’d go back.  I highly recommend a visit to Hannibal, although I can’t guarantee you’ll meet the deer, the cat named Isabel, or the waitress with no voice.

All photos, WVD, who is now out of my personal WiFi desert.

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