Road Warriorette Reactions

NN north of Bertrand 12-03-2015All of my road warriorettes display different reactions to my driving. Foodie Jan is prone to scream “We’re all going to die!!!!” at the least provocation. She’s also the one most likely to question my food and lodging choices.

Curator Jessica is so young she still thinks she’s immortal, so she takes my driving quietly.

You haven’t heard much about Warriorette Anne lately because she abandoned me for Texas. She kept quiet even when she had good reason to scream. It was on that occasion that Mother, the original Warriorette, said she didn’t scream because she was biting down too hard on a pillow to keep from doing it.

(You can click on the photos to make them larger.)

Now that I think of it

Suspension pipeline from Grand Tower IL 07-17-2011I only knew of one time when Mother expressed any kind of shock.

I was trying to get a good photo of the world’s longest suspension pipeline that links Wittenberg, Mo., with Grand Tower, Ill. I had been there about an hour earlier and got some nice pictures, but after heading north along the river and not finding a good angle, I decided to race the sun back for this shot. I made it with about five minutes to spare. When I went airborne over the top of a levee, Mother yelled, “Whoa!

I knew there was a road on the other side of the levee, but she, evidently, didn’t.

At the time, I wrote, “She never yells, ‘Whoa!’ She yells, ‘Gun it!’ She must be getting old.”

Getting to the point of the picture

NN north of Bertrand 12-03-2015Getting back to the original subject of the tree photo at the top of the page: Warriorette Shari, my old high school girlfriend (briefly, by her choice), and I were hammer down on NN north of where I took the silo picture when I smoked the brakes and did a sliding U-turn. Shari didn’t say a word, even when I pulled off on the side of the road and jumped out.

I had spotted a farm pond that was perfectly smooth and picking up the reflection of trees backlit by the setting sun. It captured the feel of The Bootheel for me: the endless flat ground, the green crops, the trees and buildings way off in the distance.

When I crawled back in the car, I tried to explain my philosophy of “Shoot It When You See It” because I was losing the reflections of the trees in the three or four minutes it took me to get turned around and start making exposures.

This old tree standing sentinel in the field has the same feel as the pond photo, but I like the reflections better in the first shot.

I almost always use a circular polarizing filter on my lens to protect it, reduce reflections and make skies more dramatic. Depending on the angle of the light, sometimes it doesn’t work at all or, like here, it causes part of the sky to be a different shade, which bothers me.

Pipeline and Perry County Photos

I played hooky last night. Son Matt and I were out late working on a couple of prototype books for me to bring back to Cape next week when we celebrate Mother’s Birthday Season. We printed up about 25 copies of Tower Rock: “A Demon that Devours Travelers” to see if there’s any market for a small, inexpensive photo book about Tower Rock in Perry County. We’ve been working with the Altenburg Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum on a bigger project, so we’re going to see if they think there is a market in the gift shop for this.

Longest Suspenstion Pipeline

On the way to photograph Tower Rock, I have to pass what has been called the longest suspension pipeline in the world, carrying natural gas from Texas to Chicago. Over the years, I’ve shot it from the air, from a ferry underneath it and from the Missouri and Illinois sides. It’s an interesting structure that looks different under every lighting condition. I haven’t done the layout and copy for it yet, so it may get folded into the Grand Tower book if my critics tell me that it needs more “weight.”

If things don’t change, I expect to be northbound toward Cape Tuesday. That means you may have to go back to reading some of the older pages for your morning fix if I don’t shoot something on the road. A good place to start is to go to the bottom of the page where it says “Sitemap” in tiny, tiny type. Click on that and it’ll take you to a listing of everything that’s been published.

Corn, Sunset and Pipeline

I was rocketing along a levee road trying to get a good angle to shoot the suspension pipeline over the Mississippi River between Grand Tower, Ill., and Wittenberg, Mo., when I saw the sun light up the tassels on on a corn field. It was worth stopping for 45 or 50 seconds. Click on the photos to make them larger.

Longest suspension pipeline in the world

When it was built, this pipeline was said to be the longest in the world. Someone saw some of the photos I’ve taken of it over the years and suggested it would be a nice souvenir photo book to go along with a couple others I’m working on.

I have shot it from below while working on a story about a ferry that crossed under it; I’ve shot it from the north, west, south and the air. This was the first time I’ve shot it from the Illinois side.

Must be getting old

I had been there about an hour earlier and got some nice pictures, but after heading north along the river and not finding a good angle, I decided to race the sun back to here. I made it with about five minutes to spare. When I blasted over the top of the levee and screeched to a halt, Mother yelled, “Whoa!”

She never yells. “Whoa!”

She yells “Gun it!”

She must be getting old.

Wittenberg – Grand Tower Ferry

I’m working on a big project on Wittenberg, a once thriving German community in Perry County that couldn’t stand up to the 1973 and 1993 floods. When I was there before this year’s flood, it was down to two buildings and three residents.

Here are photos I took of the Tower Rock Ferry shortly after it started operating in October of 1966. That’s my 1959 Buick LaSabre station wagon in the photo. (I point that out because there’s a group of folks who collect them and search out every picture they can find of them.)

Ferries have served since 1870s

Mary Beth Mueller Dillon’s book on Wittenberg says that The Wittenberg Ferry & Reality, a large ferry, operated between Grand Tower and Wittenberg, a “favorite crossing place for covered wagons.”

Ferry stories in The Missourian

  • Mar. 2, 1927 – The Wittenberg Ferry is now running again for the season. Your business is appreciated. Otto Lungwitz, Owner.
  • Mar. 17, 1932 – The Wittenberg ferry has not been in operation because of ice. Drivers of several cars have been disappointed. The ferry will start service again as soon as the ice is gone.
  • Mar. 23, 1932 – The Wittenberg ferry was busy Sunday, with no ice in the river. Ray Murry has bought a 1911 model Buick, said to the oldest car in good running condition in Perry County.
  • Mar. 31, 1932 – The Wittenberg ferry is busy transporting corn trucks, as large supplies are coming from Illinois to Missouri.

Inmans start Grand Tower Ferry

A newspaper story Oct. 7, 1966, said that dual ribbon cutting ceremonies in Missouri and Illinois will mark the start of ferry service between Wittenberg and Grand Tower, Ill. Mrs. Charles Inman, who with her husband, will officially christen the pusher boat, Miss June. The barge and push boat, which can haul six cars at a time, was built in St. Louis.

The Miss June will succeed Miss Bertha, which served from Oct. 1922, to May 1942, under the management of Otto L. “Nick” Lungwitz. The ferry was discontinued when it became too small to accommodate modern vehicles. The journey will take motorists under the 2,150-foot Texas-Illinois pipeline bridge, the longest such bridge in the world.

Crosses under Texas-Illinois pipeline

Sally Wright Brown wrote a story Nov. 24, 1974, about June Inman being the second licensed woman towboat operator in the United States. Her family has been in the ferry business since 1895. Her husband had been piloting the boat until he took a job at the East Perry Lumber Co. in Altenburg.

The Miss June was attached to the middle of the barge with a hinge. When the ferry reached the far shore, the push boat would pivot on the hinge to set up for the return trip.

“Floating section of a highway”

Someone described ferries as being a  “floating section of a highway.”

This “floating highway” saved drivers a 70-mile round trip drive to Chester, Ill., or Cape to take a bridge across the Mississippi River. When the service started, fare for a car was $1.50, later raised to $2.50. A tractor trailer cost $3.50.

I don’t have the exact date when the ferry ceased running. The Dillon book said that the Inmans ran it from 1966 to 1976.