Clouds Over Tower Rock

Tower Rock 07-27-2016_8583If it’s Wednesday night, that means it’s Liver & Onions night at The Mississippi Mud Tavern in Altenburg. Buddy Gerard and I usually top off the evening with a trip down to Tower Rock to check on water levels and see if any boats are passing.

This night, the only boat traffic we heard on my scanner was far, far away and breaking up, so the prospects of seeing a towboat go by was slim. Radar was painting some strong storms around, but they were mostly east and south of our position. Still, these clouds made for a pretty picture. Click on it to make it larger.

I was sort of hoping for a shot like this recent visit.

I ran into some heavy rain north of Fruitland, but Jackson must have REALLY gotten a deluge, based on how the creeks were running.

Sunset Over the Mississippi

Thebes sunset over Mississippi River 03-28-2016I took a grab shot passing through Future City the other night. (If you don’t know where that is, hang on a couple of days.) When I started writing a post on it this afternoon, I ran across some interesting information that needed more than one photo to break up the type.

I looked at the time, checked for when sunset was going to be, and realized there was just enough time to saddle up, drive 30 miles, shoot some new photos and get to Shemwell’s Barbecue for some good catfish before they closed. (If you know where Shemwell’s is, then you probably know where Future City is.)

On the way home, just as I rounded the bend to where Hwy 3 parallels the Mississippi River on the north end of Thebes, the sun dipped below the horizon, leaving this view behind. If you click on the photo to make it larger, you’ll notice a tiny white dot of light in the middle of the shadows on the far bank. That might be coming from The Riverhouse (or, maybe not).


MV Donna Griffin

MV Donna Griffin from Trail of Tears 12-04-2015Road Warriorette Shari came down from St. Louis the other week with a list of places she wanted to go: Old Appleton (where we saw the old Silver Dollar Tavern just hours before it was torn down), the Mississippi Mud Tavern for Liver and Onions Night, the Lutheran Heritage Center’s Christmas tree exhibit, and Trail of Tears State Park.

From the Mississippi River overlook, we were lucky enough to catch the MV Donna Griffin coming upstream. We could hear her talking to another boat to arrange a passing, but I think it was well north of us, so we didn’t get to see that. We could hear a train whistle in the distance, but it must have been on the Illinois side, so we missed seeing two major transportation systems at the same time.

Rigging amazes me

MV Donna Griffin from Trail of Tears 12-04-2015It always amazes me how the pilots and captains can maneuver long strings of barges around sharp bends and between bridge piers. I know those straps have to be bigger than they look in this photo, but still, I can’t imagine how much strain is placed on them when the captain needs to move something that’s a thousand-plus feet in front of him.

Here’s a website with some interesting factoids. It says that a standard barge is 195 feet long and 35 feet wide, although some of the newer ones are 290 by 50 feet.

Let’s assume that the ones in the photo are standard length. The string appears to be two wide and six long. That would mean that you have to figure out where to make your turn from nearly 1,200 feet back. Think about THAT the next time you complain about a parallel parking space being a little tight.

You can click on the photo to make it larger, but I didn’t spot anyone on deck checking us out.

Bald Knob Cross

MV Donna Griffin from Trail of Tears 12-04-2015That little white dot on the top of the hill in the distance is the Bald Knob Cross.

Has had three names

MV Donna Griffin from Trail of Tears 12-04-2015The Donna Griffin was built by Nashville Bridge Shipbuilding in 1965. A website, reports that she was named the Julia Woods until May 2006, when she became the Michelle O’Neil. In May 2009, she was renamed the Donna Griffin. I didn’t find anything that explained who the boat was named for nor the significance of changing the names in May.

A shipbuilding site said Nashville Bridge Company was originally a bridge builder, founded in the 1890s. It was converted to shipbuilding in 1915 and, by the 1960s, it was said to be the world’s largest builder of inland barges. George Steinbrenner bought it in 1969 and added a second yard in Ashland City in 1977; he sold the company to Trinity Marine Group in 1995. Trinity closed the Nashville yard in 1996, when the City of Nashville decided that the downtown shipyard property would be more valuable to the community as a stadium.

She is 180.1 feet long, 50.5 feet wide, and the hull depth is 11.5 feet.

The towboat is owned by Ingram Barge of Nashville, the largest carrier on the inland waterway system.

Not Big on Beale Street

Memphis 11-23-2015Our family generally headed north to St. Louis instead of south to Memphis, but I suggested that Curator Jessica fly out of Memphis on the chance that I might drive home to Florida for Thanksgiving towing a ski boat for Kid Adam. I haven’t had a chance to check out the boat’s motor and make the trailer roadworthy, so I’m sticking to Cape for Turkey Day.

About the only thing I remember about Memphis is that Dad always warned me not to honk my horn in that town because the noise ordinances were so strict the cops would ticket you for being overly horny.

Mud Island was closed

Memphis 11-23-2015I had hoped to show Miz Jessica Mud Island, but it was closed for the season. We didn’t have a lot of time before her plane left, and we were already down in the Beale Street area, so we elected to park at the Beale Street Landing and walk up to the street known for the Blues and W.C. Handy for a quick bite to eat and to soak up the ambiance.

Let me say I was less than impressed. She and I split a sampler platter that contained some onion rings that were so tough you couldn’t bite your way through them; nachos consisting of a few dry threads of pulled pork BBQ glued to taco chips with plastic cheese, and two nondescript chicken wings.

I had REAL barbecue at the Dixie Pig in Blytheville the next day. Instead of Beale Street onions that could be used for shoe leather, The Pig made theirs with Texas sweet onions that were tender and as sweet as eating an apple.

I felt like a rube

Memphis 11-23-2015I don’t like places like Disney World because they have no soul. I feel the same way about modern Key West. I preferred it when it was a scruffy Navy town with pawn shops every other door and full of disreputable types who had let social gravity sweep them to the southernmost part of the continental U.S.

I know I didn’t give Beale Street enough time, but walking around there made me feel like a rube. I don’t like feeling like a rube.

Reflecting on the Real World

Memphis 11-23-2015I felt much more at home when we hit our parking lot just as the sun was going down and the Mighty Muddy Mississippi River was reflecting in a window. Ahhh, back to the Real World.

It’s that time of year again

Buy From to Support Ken SteinhoffEverybody is getting all excited about Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Overspend Wednesday (I made that one up), so I’m going to join the din.

If you are going to shop Amazon anyway, please go to my blog and click on the big red ‘Click Here’ button at the top left of the page (or, this one). That’ll take you directly to Amazon with a code embedded. If you buy something, I’ll make from four to seven percent of your purchase price without it costing you anything.

Think of it as being your painless Christmas present to me.