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After a seiche sped us from Buffalo to Cleveland through the night, morning found us under the Cleveland Memorial Shoreline Bridge, down where the Cuyahoga flows.  Cuyahoga, to most non-Clevelanders of my generation, connotes a many times burning river of the past.

Here’s a reference to that time on a sign inside the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.  I never visited Cleveland in the 1960s or ’70s, and without these opportunities to visit now, I’d have imagined it a possible setting for a Philip K. Dickesque dystopia.  As a caveat, let me say upfront that  I’ve not lived in Cleveland, so this post is based on impressions gleaned from reading and quick visits like this one.  But

this has to be the most unexpected postscript to any predictions made in 1972.

Believe it or not, this working Iowa is 102 years young.

All these photos–except the one directly above which I took on July 4, 2016–were taken in a few-hour period of time in late July 2017.

Restoration indeed, and with the collaboration of Cuyahoga River Restoration, cuyahoga arts & culture, and  ArcelorMittal.

Yet commerce goes on. It does not have to be “either-or-or.” A 634′ Buffalo weaves through what must be a captain’s nightmare to get to the steel plant under the corkscrew path of the Cuyahoga.

 

Simultaneously, a 630′ Manitowoc exits the Old River after having taken on a full load of road salt for Milwaukee from the Cargill Salt mines extending far under Lake Erie.

For both watch standers, this has to be an ordeal of concentration.

 

 

And a waterway already juggling commercial vessels and recreationalists, trains are another factor;  all small vessels lined up as one train after another cross this bridge move expeditiously once the lift rises.

 

My early 1970s self would never have imagined 2017 Cuyahoga’s mouth, although

accidents sometimes happen.

Still, I believe the effort is worth it.

All photos and sentiments by a gallivanting Will Van Dorp.

 

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The photo below is not Lake Ontario; it’s Oneida Lake in the early morning as we outrun a storm.  If my numbers are right, Oneida is about 80′ lower than Rome NY.  Hence, the descent into Lake Ontario, which is another 200′ lower than Oneida.

If you thought we were descending–as a diver–into Ontario . . . well, that would be rewarding, but English is just ambiguous sometimes.  Anyhow, Oneida is big, not great, and that’s alright by me.

E-23 has a very friendly lock master, as do almost all the locks.  They’re happy to chat, especially when an ocean liner like Grande Mariner squeezes through.

To digress and use a photo I took near the east end of the Canal three years ago of GM exiting a lock, behold the ocean liner.

At Three Rivers, we leave the Erie, and enter the Oswego Canal, formed by the confluence of the Oneida and the Onondaga, a canal with a slightly different history.   Before lock O-1, we pass the Syracuse (Canal) Maintenance Shops, located in Lysander, another one of those classical names.

In Phoenix adjacent to O-1, we see a dam with Tainter gates, named for a Wisconsin engineer named Tainter.

Below lock O-1 also there’s a drawbridge.

Just above O-2 in Fulton, Fourth Street and Nestle Avenue cross, but the other side of the Nestle plant looks

like this, after a century of production.  Another former product of Fulton–once called the city the Depression missed–was shotguns.

As evening falls we start the first of the descents in Oswego, O-6.

O-8 is the end, and marked by tug Syracuse.

In the morning, we head out early, but not as early as folks fishing, taking part in enterprise valued at over $110 million.

There’s the lighthouse in Sodus, where I learned to swim, in spite of my best efforts to resist it.

Rochester looms beyond the ridge, and we

choose to hold up some hours in the port.

As we tie up at the dock, a charter boat from the Canadian side–we do share the Lake–heads back out.

All photos and focus and any errors attributable to Will Van Dorp.  From here and the rest of the trip, we climb again.

 

 

GWA is “going west again,” and here we start at about 130′ above sea level.  We’ve just passed the road sign included in a post here in 2006. Ahead of us is lock E-2, the beginning of the flight of five, located in the town of Waterford.

Above E-3, my former vessel waits, along with Chancellor. Those two boats alone have a combined total life of 196 years between them.   In the foreground is the business end of a cutter suction dredge.

Recreation boats come from everywhere.

Beyond the guard gate atop E-6 is Grand Erie, who also came from away, the Ohio River in her case.

Locals know how to enjoy the 200-year-old waterway.

Below E-11, we get a green light in the early morning drizzle.

Squeezing a 183′ x 39′ vessel through the locks involves a skilled crew and vigilant lock master.

Drivers on the Thruway at this point are 42 miles from Albany, 190 from NYC.

At E-15, still in the drizzle, a Florida boat —Sharon Ann–waits as we lock through.

Above E-16, the 90-year-old Governor Cleveland attends dredge pipes, maintenance dredging being ongoing.  Yes, the canal needs maintenance, and so does the Thruway, any street, RR tracks and infrastructure, my car, my body . . . .

A boxer takes its human for a run . . .

More guard gates–width is 55′–to squeeze through.

Lords of the air watch all along the waterway.

At E-17 we share a lock with Tender #5.

Since we tie off above E-18, Lil Diamond II has to maneuver around.

An SPS lands a crew on the bank for preventative maintenance … keeping dead trees from falling into the water and jamming lock gates.

More recreational boats from far-off ports.

More maintenance above E-19, this time with dragon dredge and the electric tender . .  . #4.

Reinforcement of the canal walls is a canal priority this year.

 

I always imagine the mythical Utica lies beyond the berm marked by the open tower. Central NY was once included in the “military tract,” land distributed to Revolutionary War veterans.

Above lock E-20, we are at the high point of this portion of the Erie Canal,

and Rome was the original high point/ portage in the Mohawk portion of the waterways that pre-date Europeans settlement of North america.

We are now 456′ above sea level, where we’ll pick up the journey tomorrow.

All photos by and any errors attributable to Will Van Dorp.

 

GWA stands “go[ing] west again,”  the next set of posts all attempting to catch myself and maybe you up, if you’re following along, with random and I hope interesting photos from the past almost three weeks.  I realize that catching up is impossible, and in this case while I had vacated the sixth boro, big stuff happened.

A word that comes to mind is protean– named for Proteus.  Type “define: protean” into google and you’ll appreciate why it’s difficult to catch up.  But here goes.

Within a half hour of departing Warren RI, we pass Naema and

Lionheart.  Do check the links.  Either would be worthy of a post in itself.

And still north of the Rte 138 bridge, we see NOAA R/V Henry B Bigelow.

On the cusp of Block Island Sound, we encounter inbound Atlantic Pioneer, where you’d expect her returning from a run. Here’s a post I did almost exactly two years ago when Atlantic Pioneer components still needed to be combined at the shipyard.

A bit further, it’s Carol Jean and Islander, both Block Island bound, although one will arrive much before the other.

By now, we’re into Long Island Sound and being overtaken by darkness.  That’s Atlantic Navigator II as a speck heading toward us.

This dawn photo found us within NYC and approaching the East river.  It’s Fort Totten, designed for the entire US by Robert E Lee.  Here could be a dilemma:  there’s no debate that I know of of striking his name from the credits for this fort.

We pass HuntsPoint Produce Market,

the floating pool,

Marty C–a Weeks tug I’ve never seen,

the “north end” of Roosevelt Island with the Blackwell Island Light,

Gabby L Miller pushing past Cornell Tech‘s yet-to-be used buildings,

the Brooklyn Navy yard with Asphalt Sailor and –I believe– the old Great Point,

swimmers in the water doing a Manhattan circumnatation,

and–let’s end it here for today–a yacht  named  Vava II.  Here’s info on her owner.

Protean  . . . day 1?  It’s not even over, and I think so.

Lots more to come.

 

Here’s a quick post to alert you that several days may go by without word or photo from tugster.  I’m repeating a trip I made last year from Warren RI to Chicago IL via the Erie Canal and other great American and Canadian waterways. If you missed it, you might check out last year’s posts here.

I’m onboard lecturer working a small passenger ship.  Despite my lightweight MMD, I am indeed gainfully employed, paid not to stand watch, throw line, read a chart, wipe spilled oil, bust rust, or maneuver the vessel.  I puff on no cutty pipe and chew or spit no quid.   I swab no decks, make no beds, brush no heads, shut no sheet, serve no drinks but to myself, “sir” no sirs, peel no spuds.  I leave others to juggle flower pots, pluck strings, and tickle ivories–although I play crazy air-concertina.  I could go on.  However, I do racont, if that be the verb exercised by a raconteur.  I indulge no ideology except that of the gallivant.

But in 2017, tall tales might be considered gauche, aka fake news, a phrase that goes back to the 1890s, although I’d suggest that Eve herself was an occasional purveyor of compromised truths, in conjunction with Adam’s dispersal of same.  So the racontage I disperse needs to be both researched and enthralling . . . a tough combo.

The article below truly comes from the April 27, 1921 New York Herald, and if I applied for the “perfect job” advertised there for the SS George Washington, I’d not be hired.  If you are in the need of a belly laugh,  rolling on and then off the deck guffaw, read the article in your best raconteur voice to your supervisor.   Or have a subordinate perform it to you, aloud or over the intercom.

Thanks to a Sandy Hook  pilot who shared it with me the other day.

I’ll catch up this account through the waterways to Chicago whenever adequate wifi enters my environment.

 

Let’s start with the grande dame . . . Edna G, on the land side of the loading dock in Two Harbors MN.  Guess her year of build?

Two Harbors is about 30 miles NE of Duluth.

Click here for more info.

Nancy J, at the same ore dock, dates from 1964, but I know little else.

Bayfield, now a gnome in a planter, was built as ST2023 by Roamer, Holland MI in 1953 and was turned over to the USACE in 1962.  I don’t know how long it has adorned the planter.

I wonder who did the fancy weld . . .

Huron–ex-Daniel McAllister–is seven years newer than Ellen McAllister, a sixth boro staple.  Huron‘s been here only since early 2017. 

And I have to end the photos here, with these two unidentified GL-tugs, although I’m guessing might or not not be Arkansas, Kentucky, and/or North Carolina.   I only figured out later how to get closer . . . after I’d left town.  This is what Grouper used to look like.

And if you can spare a half hour, here’s a youtube of another tug, previously of Twin Ports, and older sibling of Urger . . . Sea Bird, which like Urger had at one point been a fish tug, a topic for another day.   Here’s a three-minute youtube which shows GL tugs arriving in port.  If you listen to the intercom in the background, you’ll note that Duluth–like Port Huron–has someone announce each vessel as it traverses the Ship Canal.  I call that valuing the port.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Around 1000 the other day, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. headed outbound through the Canal.   Let’s suppose she was loaded to capacity, 78,850 tons of Western coal.

Again . . . 1000′ x 105′ heads out into the lake.

I’m sure I heard the woman there say to her child, “Let’s wave at daddy.”

 

 

Power comes from four EMD 645 V-20 2-stroke diesels, spinning two four-blade 17.2′ VP props.

 

Below is intermodal transportation at its clearest.   American Integrity, same dimensions and power as McCarthy, has its 250′ boom rotated to port, away from loading gear.  Note the train that almost completely circles the coal pile, like a large snake.  Let’s assume the train is 100-cars long although there may be a few more, each car carrying 100 tons.  So it takes seven trains to fill one of these ships.

Later the same day, American Integrity heads out . . .

 

 

as lots of folks and gulls wait along the Canal  . . .

About 10 months ago I saw American Integrity discharging at the St. Clair Power plant in East China, MI.  It amazing in these next two pictures, how

1000′ foreshortens . . .

Around independence day, it’s appropriate somehow to be talking about american integrity . . .

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

The way ships’ names work for me . . . they’re memorable!  I recalled immediately having seen Orsula upbound on the St. Lawrence 10 months ago here.   Here Orsula departed the grain docks for Montreal . . . 1344 miles and 129 hours away.  Click here for some facts for Twin Ports, the mid-continent intermodal hub.

Walter J. McCarthy, 1000′ loa, had just come through the ship canal and was headed for the coal docks, I believe.  Coal arrives here from out west, lots from Wyoming.

 

 

The aerial lift bridge can accommodate air draft of up to 180.’

Since I’m writing with hindsight, Ursula went to Montreal and is currently at sea, headed for Ravenna, Italia.

Click here to see Heritage Marine’s tug Nels J clearing out April ice….

Below, I don’t know the date of the outbound (down bound) steam ship, but

this Viking ship sailed here in 1926, with a crew of three humans and one dog, and started an exchange that continued until it was not last summer….

So here’s a research request:  the Viking ship below, still in Duluth but undergoing restoration, traversed the Erie Canal on the way here.  Has anyone ever seen photos of this ship in the Erie Canal?  And while I’m making request, has anyone ever seen a photo of a new build military vessel–of which supposedly there were more than 400–headed eastbound on the Erie Canal during and before WW2?

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who took the two vintage photos on the walls of Grandma’s Saloon & Grille. 

 

Yesterday’s post left you in the air–quite literally–circling above Duluth with Beaver Air Tours, the busiest port on the Great Lakes, and passing over a set of Heritage Marine tugs.  Thanks to Lee Rust’s comment on yesterday’s post, I learned a fascinating story about one of the tugs, the 1908 Mount McKay.  Check it out here.   Here we’re flying west looking out toward the St. Louis River.

The pilot pointed out the Edward L. Ryerson, below on extended layup.  Click here for many more photos of this beauty, which began service in Manitowoc in the summer of 1960.  for many more photos and more history of “fast Eddie–capable of 19 kts!!–click here.  This blog has had a previous photo of Ryerson–assisted by Grouper– here.

 

Note the unusual mast-stack combo and the absence of self-unloading gear.

J. B. Ford–launched 1904–is now ending her days after serving them out here as a stationary storage facility.

As this link tells, she survived many storms, outlived all her fleet mates.  The stories of the generations of her crew . . . . I hope they’re not entirely lost.

That’s the Duluth Ship Canal, which I’ll talk about in a future post, and the Aerial Lift Bridge;  J. B. Ford’s scrapping is happening on the land upper right in this photo.

Circling over the Ship Canal, we look down at museum bulker William A. Irvin, named for a former president of US Steel.

Who can tally how many tons of ore she carried in her lifetime from 1938 until 1978 . . . .

 

Let’s head toward the St. Louis River from a different angle and get a closer look at the Arthur M. Anderson.  Click on this link for photos and info of the ordeal she and other lakers face in the December waning weeks of the navigation season.

Anderson has plied the lakes since 1952, and is often associated with the Edmund Fitzgerald, as the last to have contact with the Fitzgerald in the fateful storm of November 1975.

 

Can anyone identify this tugboat?

At the coal pile, it’s  American Integrity . . . I’ll add some closeups of her in tomorrow’s post.

American Integrity is exactly 1000′ x 105′ and with a 78,850 ton capacity,  a “super carrier” built in Sturgeon Bay WI and moving steel ingredients since 1978.

Closing out today’s post . . . we pass part of the Fraser Shipyard, founded by Alexander McDougall, father of “whalebacks” and much more, two of which are currently in very different states of repair in New York waters, the Interwaterways 101 aka Day Peckinpaugh–AND Interwaterways 105, whose current disposition can be seen at the same link as for the 101 . . . the Michigan in the graveyard on the Arthur Kill.

One of the tugs below is FSY  III . . . I suppose the other two are I and II?

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who hopes to return here near the end of the season.

Here’s more on the port and the lake aka  gichigami in Ojibwa.

 

 

Yesterday’s post requires a complement, so here it is.  The flight out was less turbulent but equally rewarding for folks looking out the window.  Behold the Tappan Zee.  This stretch of the river–from Piermont “pier” (created by the Erie RR) on the west side of the Hudson to Croton Point on the east and a little margin on either side represents approximately 10 statute miles, by my estimate.  Rockland Lake,  directly across the river from Croton Point and usually obscured by Hook Mountain just south of Haverstraw, can clearly be seen here.

Here’s the next stretch of river from Croton Point north and almost to Poughkeepsie.  That’s about 40 statute miles, as the crow flies.  By slow boat, that’s the better part of a winter’s day.  Note the long skinny reservoir,  DeForest Lake, at the 4 o’clock point of the photo.

From my seat on the starboard side, I was hoping for a glimpse of Lake Ontario, but this is way beyond my hopes:  despite the clouds, a clear view of the 27-mile Welland Canal from Port Colbourne on Lake Erie below to Port Weller on Lake Ontario above.

Last summer we exited here, near the MRC scrapyard at Port Colbourne just after 1600 after having entered the Welland Canal

here at Port Weller, just before 0900 that day . . . so the aerial above represents a day’s traverse through the Welland locks, with no delays.

By this time, I was starting to think the pilot of this aircraft must have wanted to be credited on this blog, for as we headed into Detroit airport, he gave me this final treat:  a view of the 740′  Algoma Harvester upbound through the cutoff leaving marshy Walpole Island to starboard and the more substantial Seaway Island, ON to its port. The natural flow of the St Clair River–and the international border– is along the far side of Seaway and Miller, MI.

My week away involved another flight, a long drive, and then the flight with my camera–not my phone.  Since I’m on an aerial fling, I’ll share some of those tomorrow.  Below is a sample, for you to savor if you want to guess my destination.

 

 

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