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.