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  • Pete Sisak
    replied
    One thing I always wanted to do, and I might someday...it to find myself an orange VW Bug and stencil the front doors like the DQ's VW was...

    My plan would have been to take it to a DQ shore stop, like Dubuque, PDC or LaCrosse....and state "look what I dug up from the river!"
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  • Keith Tinnin
    replied
    You were indeed a Steamboater John, it was a real pleasure working ( and consuming beverages!) with you... I'm guessing the Master's initials were, "G.S.", am I right? He was a great fellow! By the way, do you still have your "O Club" card from 2002? What a cruise...

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  • John Jarrett
    replied
    My fondest memory of working on the rivers as ship photographer occurred only two weeks after I first boarded the MQ. I was a newbie on board and had just completed my first week alone taking the usual photos of PAX you all are familiar with. Being new and not having made any friends yet, I got a glass of wine and went to the bow, I think it was on Texas deck. The bow was deserted as most of the passengers were still at dinner. It was in the Spring and the weather was perfect as I sat down in a rocking chair. As I sipped my wine I listened to the River and watched the sun set right off the bow. I don't think that I had ever experienced such a serene moment in my life. I thought to myself, "it doesn't get any better than this". I don't know how long I sat there, but eventually I realized it was getting late, so I headed to the Paddlewheel Bar. There were a few officers there sitting at a table and all of the passengers were gone. I recognized the Master of the vessel, and the Hotel Manager, but as I was the new guy and not really a crew member I didn't know if I would be welcome, so I just stood by the bar alone with my drink. As I looked around the room I could see the remnants of what I would soon realize was a weekly Mardi Gras party. There were green, gold and purple masks, decorations and helium filled balloons everywhere. Suddenly the Master spoke and asked me. "Well John, how do you like it so far?" to which I replied, "this is the best f*******job I've ever had". He said, "sit down with us, you're going to be a steamboater!" The next thing I knew we were having a big time laughing, swapping stories and consuming beverages. All of a sudden the Master pulls a helium balloon off of the wall and fills his lungs with the gas and starts making emergency commands in a squeaky helium voice. I've never laughed so hard. It was then that I realized that I had found "my people". Sometimes I find myself thinking about paths I have chosen and how if I had taken that job offer in 1995 that offered retirement,benefits and security, I wouldn't be wondering now what I'm going to do for retirement. But, then I think back about the two years I spent aboard the MQ and AQ and say to myself, "I wouldn't trade that time for anything!"

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  • Paul Penta
    replied
    Originally posted by mel hartsough View Post
    Honestly Tom I cannot remember a time anybody ever fooled around with the BFR and we really didnt "go in" to the towns that much at night, we usually just tied up below the towns so that we could give them the show of our landing in the morning.
    In the case of Hannibal, I recall the reason not to "go in" was to avoid having sleeping pax disturbed by the trains that go right by the landing at night.

    I think that's why, anyway.

    Paul

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  • mel hartsough
    replied
    Honestly Tom I cannot remember a time anybody ever fooled around with the BFR and we really didnt "go in" to the towns that much at night, we usually just tied up below the towns so that we could give them the show of our landing in the morning.

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  • Tom Schiffer
    replied
    Well, Mel, Ted, anybody: Did some miscreant ever move the rock in the dead of night in the interest of goin' or stayin or backin' as the case might be?? Or didn't steamboat mischief extend into that realm? Cap'n Walnut.

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  • mel hartsough
    replied
    YMBAS if'n you've ever had to wade down into that ice cold water to let the line go from the deadman that is now under water.

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  • Alan Bates
    replied
    A cornstalk is higher tech. "She come up one joint last night, Cap," or "She fell pert near a half a joint sence we got hyere," adds depth to the report.

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  • mel hartsough
    replied
    Well in my day we painted the Rock white with either Red or Black letters and yes Capt. Ted I was taught the same thing to tell the pax, Big Fine Rock. And we usually set it at the edge of the waterline unless the Capt. or Pilot told us otherwise.

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  • Ted Davisson
    replied
    Painted BFR's

    Captain Don ,
    Thanks once again for you input concerning the nature , history , and origine of the BFR's and correct me if I am wrong but when we worked for Captain Wagner , didn't we use to paint them , letter them and actually carry them with us on the boat ? In fact , I remember painting them red with white letters ( BFR ) . I also remember getting caught off guard one time when I was actually asked by a passenger as to just what the BFR meant and what it was for. Well , without hesitation I told him , BFR obvisouly stands for ,
    BIG FINE ROCK !! and its what the pilots aim for when they come into the landing . What else ??
    Smooth Sailing !
    Ted Davisson



    Originally posted by Shipyard Sam View Post
    How do you all calibrate your BFR/BAR? Do you "float it" or "sink it"? I'm a floater, that is, I put mine so the bottom is just touching the water like it's afloat. But I got my britches chewed once for doing that way, as the old shantyboatman, Walter Hoffmeier, who first taught, me said he wanted a sinker. Walt said the only way to cow-ler-brate one right is to place it in the river so's the top of the device is barely wet. His method doesn't always work for me, especially when the clarity of the water is questionable, or if it is unknown if the river is coming up or headed the other way.

    Once however, when you establish you're on a falling river, a sinker may be better to use, and a floater allows the degree of rise on a raising river to be closely observed as a sinker would already be beneath the surface and out of sight.


    Willie and Buster's Whirlwind Tour of the World

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  • Bob Reynolds
    replied
    Matt,

    The BFR is usually used at a sloping bank landing, where the head of the boat is likely sitting on ground. Thus it is important to know, within inches sometimes, whether the river is rising or falling and how fast.

    At the Toulouse St. Wharf, it would make more sense to have a gauge bolted to one of the vertical pilings on the wharf to gauge rising/falling water. It is also not as critical to know this at the wharf, as where the boat sits is a deep water situation.

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  • Matthew Dow
    replied
    we never used a BFR on the Natchez when I was there, but I guess we had many BFR's if you count the levee by the boat. Thanks for the explanations everyone!

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  • Shipyard Sam
    replied
    Sinker or Floater?

    How do you all calibrate your BFR/BAR? Do you "float it" or "sink it"? I'm a floater, that is, I put mine so the bottom is just touching the water like it's afloat. But I got my britches chewed once for doing that way, as the old shantyboatman, Walter Hoffmeier, who first taught, me said he wanted a sinker. Walt said the only way to cow-ler-brate one right is to place it in the river so's the top of the device is barely wet. His method doesn't always work for me, especially when the clarity of the water is questionable, or if it is unknown if the river is coming up or headed the other way.

    Once however, when you establish you're on a falling river, a sinker may be better to use, and a floater allows the degree of rise on a raising river to be closely observed as a sinker would already be beneath the surface and out of sight.


    Willie and Buster's Whirlwind Tour of the World
    Attached Files

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  • Bruno Krause
    replied
    YMBASB if you knew what BFR stood for before it was explained on this forum. And, no prompting, I think I got what the variation BAR stands for, too. What an incredibly simple device to tell ya what's happin'. Same thing for the term FRN, which we all knows means Friendly River Neighbors, he he hee.

    BFRs/BAR's do apply on lakes! I have watched my floating/other end on dry land dock try its damnest to head south to the overflow after a huge rain. Hey, ya got heavy rain, the lake is gonna rise. What I need is a BFR!

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  • Tom Schiffer
    replied
    Mathew: I'll stick my neck out and say that if you sit at the feet of Alan Bates you might call it a BAR. Matt, it is simply any rock that you can pick out of a lineup...painted or not. Placed at the very edge of the water, over time, it will indicate a rising or falling river or one that simply has not changed. When you are deeply concerned with passing under a low bridge or doing other things where the stage of the river has any meaning for your plans, it can convey information with a degree of reliability that meteroligists only dream about. It can be meaningfully "read" if no miscreant has moved it in the night! The meaningful terms of these BFR and BAR acronyms are the words "BIG" and "ROCK". I'll let you supply the middle term to suit yourself. I think that Alan credited the BAR term to the Greene Line back in the old daze! Matt, don't feel bad, you mostly lurk at a lake where the information is not all that critical and you mostly tie up where you have fixed landmarks or gauges to go by. Cap'n Walnut

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