You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Urger’ tag.

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.

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve not been to the Great North River Tugboat Race since 2014, but in normal times, September 5 would see the next race.  But we’ve dispensed with the “normal times” concept for the time being.

In selecting the batch for this post, I wanted splash, froth, bubbles, and the effervescence the river can react with when tons of steel and thousands of horsepower push through the ever changing water.   The next two photos are from that 2014 race. 

It was overcast during the race, but an hour or so later, when pushing contests were happening and

the wakes flattened out and we sized up USAV MGen. Anthony Wayne, patches of blue appeared.  I should leave you in suspense about how this push went.  Let me put it this way;  they left town not long after the push-off.

2013 was an equally overcast day, and again, not to identify every tugboat in that lineup, it appears that W. O. Decker has either jumped the gun or activated its jet drive and will soon rise up out of the Hudson on her hydrofoil assists. I’d guess the latter.

See what I told you . . . Decker has gone so far ahead that it’s already over the horizon.

Second lap maybe for Decker?

It’s starting to appear that in 2012, as in ’13 and ’14, it was overcast.

It was great to see Buchanan 12, usually burdened with a half dozen stone barges, disencumbered and frothing up the river.  That’s the 1907 Pegasus back there too.

In 2011, I was able to get a photo of the racing craft along with sky spray by one of the fireboats present, likely 343.  What’s remarkable comparing the photo above with the one below is the color of the water;  hurricane Irene had dropped a lot of rain upstate and all the tributaries sent that into the Hudson with tribute in the form of silt.

Quantico Creek and Maurania III did an excellent job of stirring up the water.

But again, it was overcast and hazy over silty water.

However, in 2010, we had blue skies that really accentuated the DonJon boats like Cheyenne and

the harbor colossus, Atlantic Salvor.

In 2009, there were wispy clouds, allowing the “queen of the day” to be Ellen McAllister. But look who else showed up!!!!

Urger.   Urger would EASILY have won the race, but she was doing what she does best . . .  urging all the other boats and crews to be fleeter than she, holding herself back, allowed herself to be that day.

All photos and commentary, WVD. See you at the races in 2022.

 

 

I just happened to look at the August 2014 section of the archive, and this was the engine room at that time of the living, breathing tugboat Urger.

The top photo shows the Atlas-Imperial fore-to-aft along the portside, and below, it’s the opposite . . .  starboard side aft-to-fore.

Below is that same view as above, except with a tighter frame on the top of the engine.  On my YouTube channel here,   are several videos of this engine running and Urger underway. 

Below from early September 2015 are three NYS Canals boats, l to r, Tender #3, Gov. Cleveland, and Urger. . . .  all old and in jeopardy.

At that same 2015 Tugboat Roundup that precipitated the photo above, notice the juxtaposition of old and new:  passing in front of the 1914 Lehigh Valley 79 is

Solar Sal, which a month later would earn distinction as the first solar vessel to transit the canal from Buffalo to the Hudson with four tons of cargo, as a demonstration of its potential. Solar Sal‘s builder was David Borton, whose website has all the info on his designs for marine solar power.

A story I’d missed until looking something else up yesterday was David Borton’s 2021 adventure, sailing on solar in Alaskan waters.

And that brings this zig-zag post to another story linking the Canal and Alaska. 

Last August Pilgrim made its way through New York State to the Great Lakes and eventually overwintered in Duluth. I took photos above and below on August 1, 2020.

Earlier this summer, Pilgrim was loaded on a gooseneck trailer

so that it could transit the continent

along the Interstates to the Salish Sea.   As of last week they’d made Ketchikan, and their next stop will be Kodiak Island.  Eventually they clear customs and their next stop will be Russia.

All photos except the last three, WVD.  Pilgrim photos attributed to Sergey Sinelnik.

The Waterfront Museum in Lehigh Valley 79 is now home to a high-res livestream harbor cam aimed from Red Hook;  check it out here.

 

 

Happy 120 years old, Urger!  I urge you  to read the note at the bottom of this post.

And . . . .Oops!  I read the timer wrong. Bidding for Grouper, in Lyons NY,  ends about six hours from now. 

Lyons is a county seat, but it’s possible to take a photo of lock E-27, right in the town,  such that it appears to be rural.  A row of buildings to the right separates the canal here from a major street, Water Street;  to the left, there’s a strip mall along NY-31.

Lyons is the home of Muralmania, and it shows;  this was one of two murals just west of lock E-27.  The next lock, E-28A, is about a mile away.

Just before getting to lock E-28A, you see the section workshop buildings.

That’s Route 31 paralleling the canal.

At the top of the lock chamber, you have a great view over into the Lyons Dry dock.  Whatever is in the dry dock during the navigation season is surplus, in need of repair, or beyond repair.  Grouper is there, its rusty stack with its yellow ring visible in the foreground.

Staged and waiting for deployment are a set of tugboats, dredges, and a quarters barge aka “floating lodging,” like the one being auctioned off with bidding ending late this afternoon.  To repeat, I’d misreported closing of bidding in an earlier post, but today it ends.

We negotiate another low rail bridge before coming up to lock E-28B, about 4 miles to the west of E-28A.

 

In the port of Newark, I catch up to Sweet Love, a small trawler I caught at the Narrows last August.  The lovely storefronts in the village disappeared thanks to the misguided efforts in the 1960s called “urban renewal.”

West of Newark at Wide Waters is the hamlet of Port Gibson, Ontario County’s only port along the Erie Canal.  During the 19th-century iteration of the canal, this was a port.

The bridge here has just been refurbished.

From there, the canal narrows as we head west.  The rain started falling as well. 

 

 

We had miles and locks to go, but we called the trip “over” when we got to the Port of Palmyra, because of a breach in a spillway ahead. 

All photos, WVD.

Sign the card here to celebrate Urger‘s 120 years.  Its future too is threatened.

In six days, the gates along the NYS Canal system will be staffed and lifting/lowering vessels across the state.  This is the third in a series of posts about the vessels that have worked to keep the canals functioning. 

Not all these vessels, like Wards Island below, remain;  it’s now over 50′ under surface of salt water on Hempstead Reef, scuttled.  The bow of the tug here, Syracuse, does continue to work as she approaches her 90th birthday.

Below you see the 88-year-old tugboat Syracuse towing a group of canal vessels late in the season back in 2014.

Tender #1, along with most of the other tenders, are now in their 10th decade.

Ditto #9.

Curvaceous boats are out, and state-of-the-art boxy ones are in. 

Boats like Waterford approach their eighth decade. 

Grand Erie and Urger, both inactive, have been featured here many times.

And boxy, mostly nameless replacements have replaced them.

Urger here exits the lower side of Lock 17 in Little Falls as the sun illuminates the chamber.

All photos, WVD, who salutes the crews who operate these boats, even the finicky old ones.  If you’re sailing the canal this summer and see these boats and crews, give a wave but also give them wide berth, as they diligently work to keep the waterway open.

Of course, if you need a guide, check out my virtual tours based on my boat transits and my one bike trip.

Here was T-23 days.  Now, in less than two weeks, the canal will be open.  Some of the vessels operated by NYS Canals to perform maintenance were featured in the T-23 post;  more are in today’s post.

Let’s start with Tender 2, T2, in Utica, nose to nose with tug Erie.

Tender #3 is tied up here just west of the dry dock in Waterford.

Left to right here are a self-propelled scow (SPS 60 maybe? the number) and Lockport.  That land derrick marks this location as Fonda.

Port Jackson is one of the new boats operated by NYS Canals.  The location is just west of lock E-13, and Grande Caribe, as well as her younger sister Grande Mariner powering her way west to Chicago will likely never be seen in the Canal again.

Tied up here in the shade east of Utica is Governor Roosevelt.

At the Utica section yard, it’s Erie again.  Note the NYS Thruway maintenance vehicles in the background.

Just west of lock E-19, the Dragon dredge gets support from Tender #4.

And on another occasion, it’s the same dredge assisted by Tender #5.  I took the photo between locks E-6 and 7.

And closing this out, how about a shot above the culvert of the tugboat that turns 120 years afloat this year, Urger.

All photos, WVD.  If you’re planning to transit the canal beginning on day 1 of the season  . . .  May 21, these are some of the maintenance vessels you’ll see. But don’t postpone a trip along the Canal because some of these could disappear any year now.

WVD is solely responsible for any errors of fact.

May Day!  It’s a busy day without access to my archives.  May 2011 . . .  Urger in Lyons NY, waiting for the dry dock to flood.

Back in the sixth boro, it’s Elk River and Siberian Sea…eastbound at Con Hook, and  

near the same location, it’s Lincoln Sea and Eastern Dawn, both westbound.

Greenland Sea . . . also westbound.

Barbara McAllister has long gone from the boro, as have some of the vessels above and below. 

Others, like Eagle Service, have been renamed. 

This Ken’s Marine Service boat I saw once, and I’d still love to know the story and current disposition.  Anyone?

Shelby Rose is still in the boro, but when I last saw her at a dock, her vivid livery was greatly faded.

Gazela is still in Philly.  She arrived here in May 2011 to dock at Atlantic Salt, I believe, in a driving rain.

And in late May, the orange Blue Marlin arrived in town for the longer-than-expected loading process of some boats sold to Nigerian interests. If I recall correctly, that Trumpy (?) yacht is still in the boro.

Happy May Day . . .  smell the flowers, work in the garden, or even dance around the pole today if you are so inclined.  Or, you might choose to adopt the May Day tradition of  University of St. Andrews students in Scotland . . .

All photos from the archives . . .  WVD. 

T minus 23 days,  that is, for all of us who remember the early days of NASA  . .  . 23 days until the NYS Canals open soon after sunrise on May 21.  If you have the opportunity, get yourself to one of the portals and see the excitement.

At several intervals before then, I will post countdown photos of NYS Canals boats;  all photos of old boats they are, ones that require lots of maintenance, but many folks find them beautiful and desire they be kept in some functioning condition, like old horses put out to clover, not the glue factory.   All these photos I took during the 2014 season, when I worked on the canal.  I won’t include a lot of text here;  besides time constraints, I’ve already included such info in previous posts and years.  Also, let me introduce a new archive, an ongoing project by a young, active Great Lakes mariner. See it here, and the root site is here.

June 2014 in Little Falls, day one of my employment, I waited on the wall for the 1901 Urger. That’s a Quarters Barge #14 (QB14) to the right, a  lodging afloat for canal workers assigned to projects far from home. I slept in the quarters on Urger.

Seneca escorted a tender across Oneida Lake and has arrived at the east end, Sylvan Beach.

Urger here passes Governor Cleveland in a previously unpublished photo.

Syracuse here near the Oswego portal illustrates

the NYS Canals connection with the Great Lakes.  This can be and is a portal to the Gulfs of Mexico and Saint Lawrence, and thence to all the watery parts of the planet. 

Derrick Barge (DB) 4 here transfers dredge spoils from a scow to a bank needing bolstering;  in the distance you can see the beauty of rural Mohawk Valley.

Tender #6, here near Albion, can no longer be seen unless you’re breathing air from a regulator 80′ down 2.5 miles off Shinnecock, a very distant corner of NYS.

Heading for the western end of the canal in Tonawanda,  the aptly named DeWitt Clinton chugs along with purpose between Medina and Middleport.

Pittsford here stands by an ancient scow on another bank near the Rochester suburb of  . . . Pittsford.

All photos, WVD, who has many more to share before the canal opens.  I’ll avoid replication as best I can.

If you want to see more of the canal now, check out my April 2020 covid project, a virtual tour, here.

 

 

This is the last Roundup I’ve attended.  Here’s another shot from the swim platform, where I’m flat on my belly. That’s Mike Byrnes, last year’s “old man of the sea” at the portside of the wheelhouse.

Downbound in the Federal lock, it’s Waterford, Governor Cleveland, and Tender #3.

 

On the northbound trip, the two smaller tugs fell in alongside Grand Erie.  Grand Erie is a 1951 build that first worked for the USACE in the Mississippi system.

Tug Buffalo heads for its berth beyond Pennsy 399 and Lehigh Valley #79, where

David Sharps bugle greets each vessel as it passes.

 

Lisa Ann was a newcomer that year, I believe.  She was built at Marine Inland Fabricators, where the “new” canal tugs like Port Jackson have also been built.

Another newbie in 2015 was Solar Sal, a solar powered newbuild that actually transported cargo later in the season.  Like Ceres the year before, these are prototypes, and  like Ceres, Solar Sal transported this cargo.

Ever so salty, it’s Ben Grudinskas, captain and builder of Atlantic Hunter.

Here Atlantic Hunter faces off against the mighty Tender #3.  By the way, Tender #3 is 43′ x 10′ and came off the ways in 1926!!  1926 . . . . 94 years ago.

It’s currently powered by a 220 hp Detroit Diesel.

In closing, the land activities include line toss, open to all comers, but won by the pros. I failed at the 15′ mark.

And I’ve not attended the Roundup since 2015, but unless I’m employed and on duty, I hope to make the 2021.

 

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