Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Away and back

Yep, Murphy and me went a-traveling again. we launched the plane and flew away west, heading back up to Michigan yet again. ON the way, we flew over Connellsville, PA, and spotted the remains of an old railroad turntable along the Youghiogheny River.

This called for an overflight to get a good look. (As usual, click on any pic to enlarge.)

Now it's a parking lot, but I'll bet there's some old railroad history down there.

Spotted a towboat pushing some coal barges on the Monongahela River a bit later.

Reason for this trip: To go pick up my nephew, The Spud, and bring him down for his annual "guy week" back here.

Murphy just came along to have it out with my father's law mower.

Apparently it's not just my vacuum cleaner that he's got a thing a thing for.

The return flight on the next day was a great day for ship hunting. Right off, I found this self-unloading bulk carrier discharging something on the Rouge River.

Then I found another one discharging iron ore pellets at Detroit's Rouge Steel plant.

At the Detroit River, I snagged this shot of the Detroit skyline, then banged a right turn over Zug Island and headed down river.

Just south of Zug, at another steel mill, we spotted The Little Engine That Could. it was hauling several cars of molten steel and you can see it glowing orange from above.

On the way down, we overtook the Kaye E. Barker.

Launched in 1951 as the Edward B. Greene, this 767-footer was a straight-decker until her 1980-81 lay-up, at which time they added that 250-foot self-unloading boom. She was built for the Cleveland Cliffs line but later sold to For Motor Company, which used her to move iron ore to the Rouge plant until 1989, when Ford Motor Company sold off it's shipping division. Now she sails for Interlakes Steamship Lines.

Then I spotted this classic straight-decker which could only be the Algoma Provider.

Launched in 1963, she's 730 feet long. This is what all of the bulk carriers on the Great Lakes used to look like before most were converted to self-unloaders. The downside is that these old-school carriers require special dockside unloading equipment and it takes a few days to empty the holds whereas a self-unloader can empty her own cargo anywhere in a matter of hours. Still, I like the classics.

Flying on, we caught a brief rain shower that washed the plane down, and then we headed out over Lake Erie. I figured instead of flying straight home, I'd take the boy and dog (or the dog and his boy) camping on one of the Bass Islands. Since Middle Bass has a small rustic campground on the beach within walking distance of the airport, I chose that one.

Murphy, The Spud and I spent our night here camped on the beach, the only ones in the whole campground. We had to walk a mile and a half from the airport to the campground, but the weather was nice so it was no big deal. We set up camp, walked to a nearby restaurant--the only one on the island--and got a pizza, then went back and ate it at our campsite. And typical Murphy, just as soon as our backs were turned, he made a go for the pizza.
"What? I'm just looking at it..."

After dinner, I taught Spud how to build a fire. He made this one all by himself as the sun went down.

Then we watched the sun set over the lake, looked at the stars for a while, since there was no light pollution to impede our viewing them, and went to sleep in our tent with the sound of the waves on the beach. Couldn't have asked for a nicer end to the day.


  1. What a great trip - you're a blessed man!

  2. Sounds like a great couple of days... And I'm beginning to think it's ANYTHING mechanical that Murphy doesn't like.. :-)

  3. Great seeing you again; fun as usual &really good eating! Really proud of your uncle-ing (just remember not to break his spirit as you raise him up). Enjoyed trip pictures immensely...how do you make time to research the neat things you see? Hug both guys for us,
    RV There Yet?

  4. That is one lucky young man and you are a great uncle. Wanna adopt a balding 53 year old?? I have ammo.