Bird’s Point Levee July 2011

I was working on a project that sent me on a wild goose chase to Wilson City, east of Charleston and west of Cairo off U.S. 62. Had the bridge not been closed, I could have been in Cairo in less than 10 miles. Mother was along for the ride, so I told her we should go down to see Bird’s Point since we were so close. I plugged it into the GPS and we were off on an adventure.

As best I can piece together, we came off 62 on Mississippi County Route 301, drove until we saw some work being done in the distance on the levee, but decided not to ignore the signs warning us to keep out. We kept on CR301 until it hit CR302, then went up on the levee, which was called CR 303. Along the way, we saw some signs that water had been in that area, but we also saw lots of freshly-planted fields. Click on any photo to make it larger.

Old remains found

I’m guessing the road was closed because old remains had been found along one section of the levee. The Missourian reported that the Osage Nation American Indian tribe has been involved in the investigation, leading to the assumption that the bones and relics were part of a native tribal settlement. The Department of Natural Resources has put a blackout on news of the finds at the request of the Native American tribes involved in order to protect the site from looters.

Remaining water is bird paradise

We saw scores of wading birds taking advantage of the fish trapped in water left behind after the flood.

Fields are turning green

Despite dire predictions that the fields would be ruined for decades, we saw plenty of evidence that farmers were able to plant a lot of crops as soon as the fields dried out. In fairness, we only saw a tiny fraction of the land that had been flooded. I’m sure there ARE parts that have been turned into moonscape and are buried under huge deposits of sand. My point is that not ALL of the land has been ruined.

Scour area is impressive

CR 303, the levee road, ended abruptly at one of the places it was breached. The massive flow of water gouged deep holes in the ground. My van parked atop the levee will give you a sense of scale. I’m guessing the levee is about 15 feet above surrounding terrain. The bluff in the foreground are 15 or 20 feet below that, and I don’t know how deep the water is in the pit.

View behind me

As impressive as that is, if you turn 180 degrees and look the other direction, the fields are clear and have been planted. I don’t know how much work it took to get them into that condition, but looking at the gouged earth without looking at the planted fields will give you the wrong impression, and vice versa.

Equipment at the ready

I don’t know if this equipment belongs to farmers or if it’s there to repair the levee. I didn’t want to interfere with whatever work they were doing, so I didn’t go down to ask.

Interactive Google Map of area


View Bird’s Point Levee in a larger map
 

Gallery of Bird’s Point photos

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right to move through the gallery.

 

 

 

Flooded Quarry, Sprigg Sinkholes

The water in the cement plant’s quarry is a little lower than when neighbor Bill Bolton took his photos earlier in the month, but there’s still a lot of water in the bathtub. Here are pictures of the ebb and flow of water in the pit since 2002.

Pumping water into Cape LaCroix Creek

One reason they’re gaining on it is a new pipeline pumping water into Cape LaCroix Creek at South Sprigg. I don’t know if both pipes were being used at one time or if the one is being held as a spare.

It’s only fair that water be pumped  back into the creek because that’s where some of it is seeping from.

Sinkholes present challenge

Getting TO the quarry was a bit of a challenge. You can’t get there by going south out of Cape on South Sprigg. It’s closed at Cape LaCroix Creek because of some massive sinkholes. We had to come in from the west.

Devices along railroad tracks

I don’t know what these devices are along the railroad tracks north of the cement plant and south of the creek. Railroads have been using defect detectors for years to find overheating wheel bearings, called “hotboxes;” loads that have shifted; how many axles are on the train; objects sticking out and other anomalies. The devices transmit a radio report to the crew when it passes.

Until regular reader and train buff Keith Robinson chimes in, I’m going to speculate that these devices may be looking for changes in the track that would signal a sinkhole has opened up or swallowed the track.

Gallery of photos

Here are more photos of the Sprigg Street sinkholes and the railroad devices. Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the right or left side to move through the gallery.

Do These Photos Say Cape?

I have a friend who was looking for some stock photos of Cape to use as headers on a web page. I started poking around and came up with these old and new photos that I think capture some of the spirit of the town.

The biggest challenge was finding pictures that would fit the exact format shape – a skinny horizontal.

Photographers HATE to shoot for shape

Photographers HATE going out to shoot for shape. We always figured that was a sign that the page designer was too lazy to work with the most story-telling photos on deadline. He wanted to dummy the page early so he could go home early.

Photographers, of course, believe that every photograph is perfectly composed. Some would express that conceit by printing their photos “full frame” with black borders that indicated that the picture had not been cropped. (Guilty as charged.)

Of course, as a guy who had to do his own layouts, I found that sometimes cropping the photo made the page look a lot better. It was OK if I did it; it was a mortal sin if someone else did it.

Photo gallery

Since I’m not exactly sure what my friend is looking for, I’ve pulled together photos that you’ve seen before and some that were in the pipeline. I’m curious to see what you think best says “Cape Girardeau.”

If she uses any, I’ll post the website address. As always, click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.

 

Light Show Over the Ocean

I thought I had seen all the lightning I wanted to see when I was back in Cape last month. Last night, though, Wife Lila and I headed out to see the light show of all light shows over the ocean after a squall line passed over West Palm Beach.

Better than 4th of July fireworks.

It took a few minutes to get there and get set up, so my stills don’t reflect what was going on as well as the video below does. I couldn’t remember how to put the thing on manual focus in the dark, so it’s not as sharp as I’d like. Still, it’s a better show that you see on the 4th of July.

Speaking of fireworks

Son Adam and New Mother Carly needed a break, so they dragooned Graham’s grandparents (us) into babysitting. It’s funny, all of the photos and videos they post of the child show him grinning and gurgling and cooing.

THAT child was hidden away in a closet somewhere. Here’s the one they left us. I looked as hard as I could and I couldn’t find a mute switch anywhere on his person.

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.