Saturday, December 12, 2015

Lock & Dam Chains

An eye bolt sunk into concrete holds a ring of iron on Lock & Dam #10 in Guttenberg, Iowa. This anchor is located on the exterior wall of the lock entry wing. Presumably it is used to secure recreational craft to the wall outside of the lock before launching or recovering a boat. These irons may have originated when the L&D system was constructed in Guttenberg in 1937. Despite some pitting the hammered ring is in good shape for being 78 years old.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Golden Indian Creek

A block away from 42N HQ is Indian Creek. The city of Cedar Rapids built a clay and dirt dike a year ago to help prevent the creek's annual flooding in the Sun Valley neighborhood. So far so good.

Late afternoon yesterday I re-visited the creek and shot a half dozen images of the cloud filtered sunlight on the fast moving water. Without any photo editing this image was the result. Quite spectacular I think - and it is only footsteps away.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Canadian National Railway At Home in the Snow

Last weekend's snow storm brought 7.5 inches locally. Three days later the snow melted away. Canadian National CN Railway services part of this community by hauling ethanol and grain plus much more I suspect. On this day the locomotive pointed to the west, aiding in warming off some of the frozen precipitation.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Quaker Oats Home of Cap'n Crunch

These two photos could be joined to show the expansiveness of the Pepsico Quaker Oats plant/mill here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The century old plant receives oats and corn from the surrounding agricultural lands and then performs cereal magic.

Somewhere in that complex the site produces kid (and adult) favorite Cap'n Crunch cereal. When the wind is just right and the ingredients are just so, you can smell Crunch Berries being made. Its been that way for years.

The advantage point of this photo is across from the Cedar River. In 2008 the river rose to historic levels and damaged the plant. As the city discussed how to solve long term flooding issues the plant workers installed a metal barrier along the east shore of the river to help in future flood prevention. The wall has not been hard tested since 2008. Good to know that the Cap'n won't let his plant stop production come rain or high water.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Snow from Canada, Oh the Irony!

So I'm out looking for snow scenes to photograph since we received the first of the season white stuff last night and this morning. Locally 7.5 inches of wet snow blanketed everything. At the Quaker Oats mills here in Cedar Rapids, four hopper grain cars from the Canadian Pacific Railway were not spared from the frozen precipitation. Its the white cap of snow over word "Canada" that caught my attention. Snow from the Great White North is something generally expected, now it is confirmed! Good one eh?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mid-November Tug Traffic on the Mississippi River

On November 15th the temperatures along the Iowa - Wisconsin border were near 60F. Tugs and barges took advantage of the weather to move northward on the Mississippi River towards Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin (upper left.)

A small tug pulled along side of the David L Griggs tug. Both vessels belong to the Marquette Transportation Company which operate from Paducah, Kentucky on the Ohio River. David L Grigg's present location can be seen at this link.

The smaller tug detached from the Griggs, rotated and helped to push a formation of barges just outside of the frame.

Another tug was busy assembling the formation just north of the smaller tug and the DLG. This island, which is visible from Iowa's Pike Peak State Park is probably a staging area for barges as there is evidence of tie offs and signs.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Color on the Muddy Mississippi River

The color of the Mississippi River at Guttenberg, Iowa is brown, organic brown, the color of coffee and crème. At Lock and Dam number 10 a ladder connects the lock portion to the top of the structure for maintenance or emergency situations. At this time of year the brown water could have been white or contain chunks of clear ice. No so on this 60 degree plus day.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Wide Body over Wisconsin

Yesterday while taking advantage of 60 degree plus weather in mid-November I was in Wisconsin to see the sights. With crystal blue skies around I looked up and saw this wide body climbing in the sky. It passed directly overhead as it aimed to the northwest - maybe toward Minneapolis or Seattle or points west. Anybody know the airline and airframe model?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

More Information on Iowa City's F-86 Sabre Jet

A communication regarding my last post concerns the history of the Iowa City Municipal Airport's F-86 Sabre jet memorial. Websites dedicated to identifying certain aircraft exist and are fueled by input from photographers, historians and local contributors.

One 42N blog reader provided a link to such a site where he and others have detailed information about this Korean War era airframe and its history in Iowa.

Additional history regarding this particular F-86 is welcomed. Please visit the website below and add your knowledge of this memorial to the veterans of Johnson County, Iowa.

From the Aerial Visuals Airframe Dossier website (Link):

Airframe Family: North American P-86/F-86 Sabre
Latest Model:F-86L Sabre
Last Military Serial:53-0750 USAF
Construction Number:201-194
Latest Owner or Location:Iowa City Municipal Airport, Iowa City, Iowa

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day Study of an F-86 Sabre

Outside the entrance to the Municipal Airport in Iowa City, Iowa is this F-86 Sabre jet fighter. I took a few photos of it the day I got my first Nikon DSLR camera. Now with a newer Nikon camera and five years later its time to return to the venerable monument to examine what it is telling us.

This summer a painter gave a new coat of red white, blue and black to various areas of the airframe.

While not many people take the time to inspect the underbelly of the fighter it was important to check that the plane's integrity is being maintained.

The business end of a once powerful jet. Sabres vs. MiGs over North Korea back in the 1950s defined modern jet aerial combat.

A plaque on a small granite boulder below the plane reads,
This F-86 Sabre Jet
Re-dedicated by Johnson County Veterans
July 4, 1980
To the Memory of
American Veterans of all Wars
Who Have For More Than 200 Years Served
And Sacrificed in the Cause of Freedom
"They Shall Not Be Forgotten."

Monday, November 2, 2015

Busy Cat Days

Ever visit a cat? This one is quite friendly and loves to be near people. She has the run of the ranch and is both an indoor and outdoor resident of the house. In mid-October, "Kitty" yes that's her name, liked to stretch on the deck in the afternoon sun.

Playing around with low sun angles, shadows and textures is what this photo is all about.
On my last day of visiting, Kitty showed me what serves as back scratchers when humans are not around to do the job.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

In Between the Clouds

Its been a while since I've flown. Three years in fact. This time the journey was from Chicago (ORD) to Cedar Rapids (CID) on the last leg of a journey from Nashville (cats.) The pilot reported it would be a race between weather moving in to CID and his ability to land safely.
Wheels were down on final approach about a quarter mile from the runway when the captain pulled up and went around. A wall of water hit the plane with lightning all around. After a 10 minute arc around the airport the pilot said he would come in from the opposite direction. A few looks outside and it was easy to see what was happening. Developing rain systems were popping up along with the wind and light show. We did make it down just as the one of the waves hit. Our plane taxied near the ramp and shut down. For the next 90 minutes we sat on the tarmac as storm waves came through. Apparently there are actual FAA regulations about ramp crews servicing planes when lightning is around. Think about it - metal planes and jet fuel - not really safe if you are working the ramp and baggage collection in those conditions.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Duchess - Guardian of Sheep

This is Duchess. She lives on a ranch in Tennessee where she guards sheep. She was acquired from another family where she did the same job. While in her later years she has developed some medical conditions that may restrict her ability to do the sheep guarding job properly. Still when not watching over the flock Duchess looks for human attention.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Minnow Buckets Afloat at Huddle's Resort

This epic tank has been anchored at Huddle's Resort on Leech Lake, Minnesota for decades. In the 1960's minnow buckets were made of metal, now the floating plastic containers keep fresh water flowing and minnow bait alive. This same tank is or was used for attaching a stringer of fish for cleaning inside the brown shed. Numbers on the white tie-off board correspond to family cabin numbers and the hotel rooms.

In late September the fishing was poised for pick up as the weather cooled off. That particular week the water temperature was 58F. Locals wait for the thermal cline turnover that flips warmer and cooler water layers in the lake. At that time fishing generally gets favorable. Of course fishing is always better the week before or the week after my visit.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Single Seagull Spotted at Leech Lake

A single seagull watches over low breakers on Leech Lake's south shore in northern Minnesota. Each wave brings the potential for a minnow or crawfish snack. Why else would the bird be here in September's late afternoon sun? While not gliding over Regent's Park Canal, this bird will need a pal for a minute or two before flying south soon. But enough of the Red Rose Speedway references.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Rooms Available at the Hotel Hurst in Maquoketa, Iowa

Like many towns here in the Midwest, there are a number of unique architectural buildings near downtown. Maquoketa, Iowa located in the eastern portion of the Hawkeye state boasts a few historic structures from long ago. This one retains its former name, Hotel Hurst while offering 21st century town dwellers comfortable residential living as apartments for seniors I think. If the walls could talk they might reveal how and why the building was constructed but more importantly the many stories from hotel visitors when the town depended on rail for their connection to the world.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Towboat Captain's Detailed Map of the Lower Mississippi River near Rodney Island

In the days before easily updatable mapping software, towboat captains on the Mississippi River detailed sections of the river in their log books by hand drawings. Captain C.W. Elder's map book can be seen at the George M. Verity River Museum in Keokuk, Iowa. The 1920's towboat was decommissioned and sold to the city of Keokuk in 1961 for the purpose of educating generations about towboats on the river.

This map appears to show the hazards of the water along a stretch of river between Mississippi and Louisiana, just north of Natchez, MS. South is to the top of the map. Rodney Island is the key to trace this hand drawn waterway illustration to modern maps like Google Maps. Discover for yourself.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Ingram Barge Company's James F Neal Towboat Exits Lock & Dam 15 At Rock Island Illinois

On August 23, 2015 Ingram Barge Company's James F Neal towboat pushes barges northward out of Lock and Dam 15 in Rock Island, Illinois. Harvest of northern grains is just a few weeks away and barges are needed at grain ports along the Mississippi River.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Superfortress B-29 Fifi Comes to a Stop at Cedar Rapids KCID Airport

August 1, 2015 - FIFI the only flying B-29 (at the moment) taxis near a crowd waiting for a chance to see her up close. Paying passengers were treated to a 30 minute ride around Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In addition to the B-29, a F4U Corsair, P-51 Mustang, a SB2C Hell Diver, a Stearman,and a C-45 Beechcraft were present and offering rides $$$ to $$$$. A living piece of history. The captured video sound does not do justice to the vibrating pulses of four huge radial engines.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What to Wear on the Bottom of the Mississippi River

While two of your best buddies hand crank the air supply to your helmet you go overboard some nine feet down to inspect the towboat. Its caught on a snag or lodged on a sandbar on the Mississippi River. Weighted lead shoes, lead vests and lead belts stabilize you against a fierce river current, you will be lucky to see anything let alone function. A few tugs on the ropes that connect you to the surface and you will be pulled up into the air world. Just remember not to anger your buddies or they might forget to turn the crank of the air pump while you are watching catfish swim by.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Chief Keokuk Oversees the Mississippi River

Atop a limestone bluff overlooking the Mississippi River in southeast Iowa is the gateway city called Keokuk, named after the region’s Sac and Fox warrior chief. He died during 1848 in Kansas. The Chief's remains and "other materials of historic value" were reinterred at the base of this moment in the city named in his honor. The town is one of Iowa's oldest communities as explorers coming up the Mississippi stopped at the confluence of the Des Moines and Mississippi Rivers to settle. Later the town became one of the jumping off points for pioneers setting out on the Mormon trail to Salt Lake. Its a very historic town that brims with the sights of the past.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Two WWII Medal of Honor Recipients Buried at Rock Island National Cemetery - Edward Moskala and Frank Witek

Rock Island National Cemetery is located on Rock Island, Illinois along the Mississippi River. In Section E of that cemetery there are two World War II Medal of Honor recipients, both of whom fought in the Pacific Theater and were killed in action.
US Army Private First Class Moskala's Medal of Honor citation reads:

"He was the leading element when grenade explosions and concentrated machinegun and mortar fire halted the unit's attack on Kakazu Ridge, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands. With utter disregard for his personal safety, he charged 40 yards through withering, grazing fire and wiped out 2 machinegun nests with well-aimed grenades and deadly accurate fire from his automatic rifle. When strong counterattacks and fierce enemy resistance from other positions forced his company to withdraw, he voluntarily remained behind with 8 others to cover the maneuver. Fighting from a critically dangerous position for 3 hours, he killed more than 25 Japanese before following his surviving companions through screening smoke down the face of the ridge to a gorge where it was discovered that one of the group had been left behind, wounded. Unhesitatingly, Pvt. Moskala climbed the bullet-swept slope to assist in the rescue, and, returning to lower ground, volunteered to protect other wounded while the bulk of the troops quickly took up more favorable positions. He had saved another casualty and killed 4 enemy infiltrators when he was struck and mortally wounded himself while aiding still another disabled soldier. With gallant initiative, unfaltering courage, and heroic determination to destroy the enemy, Pvt. Moskala gave his life in his complete devotion to his company's mission and his comrades' well-being. His intrepid conduct provided a lasting inspiration for those with whom he served."

US Marine Corps Private First Class Frank P Witek's Medal of Honor citation reads:  

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, 3d Marine Division, during the Battle of Finegayen at Guam, Marianas, on 3 August 1944. When his rifle platoon was halted by heavy surprise fire from well-camouflaged enemy positions, Pfc. Witek daringly remained standing to fire a full magazine from his automatic at point-blank range into a depression housing Japanese troops, killing 8 of the enemy and enabling the greater part of his platoon to take cover. During his platoon's withdrawal for consolidation of lines, he remained to safeguard a severely wounded comrade, courageously returning the enemy's fire until the arrival of stretcher bearers, and then covering the evacuation by sustained fire as he moved backward toward his own lines. With his platoon again pinned down by a hostile machinegun, Pfc. Witek, on his own initiative, moved forward boldly to the reinforcing tanks and infantry, alternately throwing hand grenades and firing as he advanced to within 5 to 10 yards of the enemy position, and destroying the hostile machinegun emplacement and an additional 8 Japanese before he himself was struck down by an enemy rifleman. His valiant and inspiring action effectively reduced the enemy's firepower, thereby enabling his platoon to attain its objective, and reflects the highest credit upon Pfc. Witek and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country."

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Towboat James F. Neal Passes Through Lock & Dam 15

The Ingram towboat, James F. Neal passed through Lock and Dam 15 on the Mississippi River at the Rock Island Arsenal across from Davenport, Iowa. Look closely on the brown concrete wall as the level of the lower river is marked within the lock. The waters will rise up to the red bricks below the control house before the barges are pushed upriver.

The James F. Neal pushes barges upriver and ties together another barge segment before moving north towards Lock and Dam 14 about 10 miles away.

I have included these photos to show those who have never visited a lock and dam system on a big river. The sights are impressive with boats and people moving grain, fuel, metals and assorted goods from region to region. These 24/7 operated boats and lock systems truly demonstrate how America works.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Colors of Summer

I think this is Queen Anne's Lace. If so, its is also known as a wild carrot. Whatever the name, the plant can be found in abundance around the 42N area. This particular flower was blooming in nearby Amana, Iowa.

Cone flowers grow quite well generation after generations on some properties like this Amana, Iowa home garden. However my attempt to extend the yellow flower beds have failed miserably. Maybe its bad soil or hungry deer and rabbits. Or all three.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Looking Towards East Amana, Iowa

From Amana, Iowa (sometimes called Main Amana) the views are pretty spectacular. This one is looking north over society owned farmland.

A swing of the camera to the right brings East Amana into view. This is really a village with a few homes and several farm out buildings. Even in the middle of summer it is a pretty site.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Fr. John C Grim - 28th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers - More Research Needed

Southwest of Stone City, Iowa, the place that artist Grant Wood immortalized on canvas is a very small and old cemetery. Recently at that location I spotted a number of small US flags still in place almost a month after Independence Day. I came across this headstone of a Civil War vet named, Father John Conrad Grim. His service in the 28th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers is noted in this more recent headstone. Many stones of that era (turn of the century) are made of marble, and years of weather erosion have nearly erased most of the information. Whether that is the case for Fr. Grim's original stone is for further research.

The 28th Regiment, according to this website was involved in many famous battles including Antietam, Bull Run, Chattanooga, Kennesaw and of course Gettysburg. The regiment also was present for General Johnston's army surrender. It's not clear when Fr. Grim came into the regiment but the possibility that he participated in these historic campaigns raises some interesting research possibilities.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

B-29s Help End WWII

Three days ago, Fifi the B-29 departed Cedar Rapids, Iowa (KCID) for her home field in Texas. At present she is the only flying B-29 in the world. Two more B-29s are being restored to flight status.

Today some traditional and new media outlets reported the 70th anniversary of the B-29, Enola Gay's mission over Hiroshima, Japan where the first atomic bomb was dropped. Three days later on August 9th the B-29, Boxcar dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. On August 15, 1945 Japan surrendered unconditionally to Allied forces, thus ending World War II.

Flight visits by WWII aircraft help to remind present generations as to why this country fought to repel imperialism and preserve the tenants of liberty.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Boiling Sunday Evening Clouds

Sunday evening and huge cumulus clouds were miles away but still delivered a show. While this cloud bank reflected evening colors near sunset, I helped them along.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Florida Bound From Sunny Iowa

While waiting for the warbirds to takeoff and land at the Cedar Rapids, Iowa airport commercial traffic kept up its busy Sunday schedule. Allegiant Air flies to vacation spots from cities like Cedar Rapids. This time the flight destination was the Sarasota, Florida area.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

FIFI B-29 Prepares for Takeoff at KCID Cedar Rapids Iowa

Fifi the B-29 World War II bomber made a four day stop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa this weekend. These three photos are from this morning during the plane's last full day here. Yesterday the weather was fantastic and many people turned out to see the aircraft and other WWII era fighters.

By going black and white and jacking the contrast I produced this old time looking image of the plane. With some sand and tropical trees this could very well be some runway in the South Pacific during 1945.

Fifi's late morning trip around the Cedar Rapids area ended with another successful landing at KCID. Airport Park area on the east side of the property is an excellent place to see and hear planes of all sorts come and go. Its just not everyday when a historic aircraft like the B-29 comes to town.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cat on a Cool Limestone Rock

The Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, Illinois (near the Quad Cities) is home to many animals large and small. On the large side is this leopard who was cooling off on a huge rock in the midday sun when I came around. Zoo keepers made sure the animals get lots of water and shade from this oppressive summer heat. In the case of the leopard he was content by letting his body heat be absorbed by the limestone slab while checking for intruders as a potential quick snack.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

FiFi - It Was a Dark and Stormy Night at KCID Cedar Rapids

Once again Fifi, the WWII B-29 is on Cedar Rapids concrete for a few days. She will be joined by other WWII era combat planes and trainers for static display and rides. This shot came at a time of diminishing light and increasing rain. Besides having to photograph through chain link fencing the potential for me to be a lightning rod was very high. Go visit the plane if you are in the area.

Spectacular Sunset in Cedar Rapids Tonight

A spectacular sunset tonight in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In the foreground is Penford Products, a bio starch producer. Aside from correcting a tilt, there was no post production filtering used. A thunderstorm was passing to the south of the city at sunset. There was a rainbow too - but my photo of that was poor at best.

Fifty Shades of Green

Strong sunlight is filtered by scores of trees in the Wapsipinicon State Park near Anamosa, Iowa. Soaring high humidity seems to feed all things green to bring out Nature's spectacular verdant shades.

The canopy of green light is so vivid that you may think it will last forever. But in about two months the first day of fall arrives and with it the green will become yellow, red, orange and brown. Enjoy these green days while the summer lasts. I will.