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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.

 

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.

Since we’ve had some extreme weather, how about a different type of extreme . . .  with NYC DEP sludge tanker Red Hook approaching the unique Riverbank State Park, one of three state parks within Manhattan, the one with a wastewater treatment plant beneath it.  I’ve just read that it’s now renamed the Denny Farrell State Park.  Who knew . . . ?

Many thanks to Greg Hanchrow for these photos from a few winters back.

Daniel Meeter, frequent commenter on the blog and so much more, happened to overnight in Huron OH and caught these photos of Kristin Noelle shuffling some dredge equipment around.

 

I happened upon Huron OH here a few winters back . . .

Jonathan Steinman caught this photo of Atlantic Salvor returning to the sixth boro some time back;  Jonathan used to send an occasional photo from the east side of Manhattan, but now he’s gotten really busy on the opposite side of the island.   Of course, that’s the GW Bridge in the distance.

Need launch service for supplies or crew change on the upper Mississippi River?  This launch can be trailered to the nearest boat ramp and then rendezvous with the client.  This photo and the one below comes thanks to Trucker Tim.

Sharon Jon has spent its entire life–older than me by a decade–in the Duluth area;  her days may now be done however.

My sister of the Maraki crew got these photos of Bradshaw McKee last week as it backed out of Grand Haven MI. 

I’m surprised by this, since I thought that barge was now married to Prentiss Brown, but those two tugs have quite different superstructures, and this is unmistakably Bradshaw McKee.  The barge, St. Marys Conquest, began life in Manitowoc WI as a tanker in 1937.

Many thanks to Greg, Daniel, Trucker Tim, Jonathan, and Lucy for these photos.

Many thanks to Trucker Tim Powell for sending along these photos taken in Superior WI back in May 2008.  She was launched in 1944 as ST 7067, later transferred to the USACE.  Given the timing, Forney had already changed owners and would soon be painted in Heritage Marine’s gold livery, and renamed Edward H.

She looked quite good in USACE livery.

 

 

She’s still ST 707 gray inside.

I believe Forney, now Edward H, has been repowered, so this Enterprise DMG-38 engine is likely no longer in the boat.   Does anyone know what she currently has for power, and what became of the Enterprise engine?

It turns out I saw Edward H from the air back in June 2017, although I was unable to identify her (I believe from bottom to top here we have Edward, Helen, and Nels.) 

Here’s a similar shot from the other direction.  More of this flight I posted here. The pilot had all the skills.

From Ingrid Staats . . . the most famous tugboat, Theodore Two, at least the most famous tugboat that isn’t really a tug boat.  Bowsprite caught this famous non-tug here in the sixth boro, a decade ago. Ingrid took these photos in Toronto very recently. 

Theodore Two has made quite a few meet-greet stops along its month-long journey from Halifax to Hamilton, salt to fresh water.  Notice the bark canoe as tender?

Photos I saw from various Canadian stops (The pandemic prevented her from calling at US stops along the way.) show as many folks coming to meet-greet as used to appear whenever Urger stopped at towns along the Erie Canal.

From eastriver,  enter the The Black Belt along the lower Mississippi.

And finally . . . a research question from Eric Wiberg:  where is 1945 Bushey tug Chaplain?  See text below for more info.  Eric has even more info.

Many thanks to Tim, Ingrid, eastriver, and Eric for these photos. 

From Eric:  “This tug was at the last U-boat attack ever and is believed afloat in US or Bahamas. In May of 1945 a tug named CHAPLAIN crewed by Louis Alfred Coley, Jr. and others was used by U-853 under Oberleutnant zur See Helmut Frömsdorf of Germany as a disguise to hide under and sink the US merchant ship BLACK POINT, off Point Judith, RI, with the loss of 12 US sailors and naval gunners. Because the tug crew carried on towards New York with a light scow, history missed her, until 2018 and Capt. Colley described the events days before his death. Now, a Bahamian / US maritime historian is seeking anyone has any information on this tugboat, completed in Brooklyn NY in early 1945 by Ira S. Bushey & Sons, steam-powered with a Fairbanks-Morse engine of 1,000 horsepower.

Owned by Red Star Companies and Spentonbush Fuel Transport Service; Bushey affiliates. Sold to Farrell Ocean Services, then McKie Marine Co., and Russell Tripp (Bay State Towing Co.), retaining name CHAPLAIN in all three sales. Russell Tripp sold her to Constellation Tug Co. of Beverly and Boston, MA, who renamed her CARINA. She was sold to a company in the Bahamas in 2005 as CARINA. Names: CARINA believed to be in Bahamas 2009-present, owned by Kermitt Waters, Liberty Oil & Gas exploration, Las Vegas, NV and West Palm Beach, FL, aggregate trades Arawak Cay Nassau. Ex-OCEAN KING, Jeffries Point East Boston, Jan. 1951 to July 2004, ex-MARGARET SHERIDAN (New York), Jan. 1946 to  Jan. 1951, ex-CHAPLAIN (New York) early 1945- Jan. 1946. Specs: IMO: 5260382, GRT: 179, LOA: 95’ X beam of 25.25’. The author is from Bahamas and has been scouring the waterfronts there since c.2015 to no avail and have contacted Liberty Oil & aggregate traders there to no avail. It is possible she has changed names again. Believed to still be US-flagged, she is probably in northern Bahamas or Caribbean, east Florida or US Gulf.” 

She may have been renamed.

 

 

Click here for the previous 85 posts with this title.  Lead photos today come from former owner of this push boat in West Burlington, Iowa.

The vessel, then known as Izona, has since traveled the Interstates and two-lanes to Highlands, NJ, towed by the much-loved Peterbilt of John Zook, of Lewisburg, PA.

Maybe you saw them on the roads, or since then, at a marina in Highlands NJ?

“Mister __”  is a common name for tugboats.  Here, from a secret salt is Mister C.  

Hobo has appeared here before, but never with this outstanding fendering created here.  Hobo is a 1953 product of Caddell Dry Dock.  She’s now living the good life, in the hands of Donna and Charlie Costa.

Emery Zidell is a Centerline tugboat, currently in the sixth boro.  She’s the older twin of Barry Silverton, a more frequent visitor to the boro.  Photo comes from Capt. Anon E. Mous. Zidell is married to Dr. Robert J. Beall.

And finally, currently underway in the western center of Lake Erie, it’s Sarah Dann, pushing this huge crane on a barge from Manitowoc WI to Kittery ME, almost 3000 nm.

Get ready to see Sarah Dann and “Big Blue” in the Welland Canal and Saint Lawrence.  You might see them passing Strait of Canso too.

Below, Jeremy Whitman caught a fabulous photo of the unit passing the 10th Street lift bridge in Manitowoc WI.  Thanks much, Jeremy.

Here’s part of the story from John Buellesbach and MKE Marine Reports in “Around Wisconsin”   “Konecranes of Finland partnered with Illinois-based Broadwind to build several large cranes for the U.S. Navy at the Broadwind Heavy Fabrications yard in Manitowoc, former site of Manitowoc Shipbuilding. The first, a portal jib crane for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, was completed in early May. It weighs 2.7 million pounds, has a lifting capacity of 140 tons, and stands about 160 feet tall. This custom designed crane incorporates unique features that allow it to be operated on the multiple rail section sizes, straight or curved, located at the naval base.”

ETA in New Hampshire is around the 18th.  Track them on AIS.

Thanks to Jeremy, John, the Powells and the Costas, Great Lakes mariner, and other nameless contributors.

By the way, does anyone have photos to share here of CMA CGM Marco Polo and from the same day, Kurt J. Crosby?

 

 

First, some context, and yes, today is that day.  I celebrate it without claiming to adhere to anything beginning with ashes.  This may be grasping at long shots, but I have not visited a location that celebrates this spring event in a long time.  I know . . . shame on me.  More on that later.

Anyone know the author here?  It’s a fat tome I’ve taken it from  . . . over 1600 pages, all from the king of fat tomes and rich language himself.

“We are off!”   It has not nearly the hook of a “Call me Ishmael.”  The short second paragraph, though, is a line that needs remembering.   As to location, Ravavai is contextualized with reference to Pitcairn, at place today with a grand total population of 50.   I’m not sure what the population was 150+ years ago when this was written.

Still in the first short chapter . . .  now that’s prescient .  . in the second paragraph here, describing the skipper!

By now, I hope you’ve concluded the author here has to be Melville, one of the top five authors of the sea and gallivants thereupon.  Anyone want to fill in the names of the other four?  I have my ideas.  Mardi is one of those fat books very few folks read.  I started last night, and hope to complete it.  You can start it here.

But in the spirit of mardi gras, here’s another story you may have missed . . . the houseboat Shameless, piloted down the Mississippi by a dying man, Kelly Phillips.  His first mate was Sapphire, recently honored among the float sponsored by the Mystic Krewe of Barkus.

Here’s more on the voyage of Shameless from Wisconsin to Venice LA, and all the great folks along the river who lent a hand.

And if you need some language yourself, click here for a fat Tuesday glossary.

 

Let’s take a step back now and look at the rest of the L & D at Dubuque, aka the General Zebulon Pike Lock & Dam No. 11.

I gather this red unit on the end can raise and lower the tainter gates, named for the inventor.

Posted at the lock is this set of statistics on the infrastructure.

 

Tied up at the lock is USACE tug Bettendorf.  Just over two years ago and thanks to Barrel, I posted photos of many USACE tugs and other equipment here.

Across the way in Illinois was what appeared to be a house barge.

Caretakers or friends of (or both) L & D No. 11 have made the best bird houses!!

 

 

Public service signage was impressive also.

The mosey was not leisurely, but it whetted my appetite to get back for a trip along the Mississippi.  All photos here by Will Van Dorp, who will soon go into planning mode.

 

This is the last Chicago-bound post . . . after all, I’ve arrived and even seen the city in the rearview mirror.  A large part of Chicago’s port, per se, is here in the Calumet River. 

Kimberly Selvick shows her versatility by gliding beneath the 95th Street bridge, stopping no traffic.  Not far away, I’m told, is Calumet Fisheries. 

 

AEP on the barge makes me think the cargo here is coal.

 

Who’d have thought that jungle on the bank grows in Chicago!?!

 

 

 

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who’d like to head into the system south and west but that’s for later, after I figure out how to do it. Thanks for following along on the Chicago-bound (CB) posts.  It’s time for a new series.

 

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