Monday, November 15, 2010

Small world down by the river

If you read my Election Day post below, you'll see I took the Monongahela Monitor to Hildebrand Lock and Dam in early November. Here's an epilogue.

When I got back from that trip I noticed that my Sansa Mp3 player, which had been in a pocket of my backpack, was missing. I looked everywhere but could not find it. I had tied the Monitor up to a big sycamore and walked through the woods up to the rail trail then on to the dam. So, I figured that a branch of the bush had plucked the wires for the ear buds and I'd walked on through the woods leaving my Sansa hanging from a bush.

So, last Saturday my wife and I hiked up to the same spot where I thought I might have lost it. There was a bicycle propped against a tree next to the trail, and down below, next to the sycamore where I had tied the Monitor, a guy was fishing.

I followed my Election Day footprints through the woods, looking for my Mp3 player, and yelled out to the guy fishing, telling him I had lost something, so that he wouldn't be alarmed at my approach. "I have it," he replied, with a smile over his shoulder, holding his rod out over the Monongahela.

"What?" I asked, surprised by his words. "You found an Mp3 player?"

"Yes, but it's at home," the fisherman replied. His name is Bill Collins, he told me. He fishes in that spot lots and found my Sansa days earlier. Now, if he hadn't been there fishing that day, I don't think I would have gotten my music back. He asked about all the African percussion on it.

"Yep! That's mine" I'm in the Morgantown Drum Circle, and listen to a lot of percussion, especially Babatunde Olatunji.

So, we agreed to exchange phone calls, and I was able to meet Bill and his wife as they headed to church the next day. She invited me to go to church with them, and I gave them a gallon of apple cider I'd bought at Walmart that morning.

Those two are real nice folks. I told my wife, as we were walking home after the first encounter with Bill down by the River, "See, this river is such a great place. I meet people and have such interesting times" I hope to see Bill again. I know where he fishes, and he told me he would fish all winter for catfish. He was hoping to catch a walleye when we talked on Saturday.

I had put my Sansa through the wash early in the summer, and I didn't think it would ever work again. It did! Now, it's had a further adventure. Maybe it's because I have Babatunde on there.

Friday, November 12, 2010

End of the season

It's cold! I got a call from Mark at the marina yesterday. He said he's pulled the Monitor out of the river and winterized her. We'll be putting some new deck on this winter and back out on the river next spring - heading upriver to the Hildebrand pool, too. You all keep warm now!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Election Day trip upriver

On Election Day I was off from work. In West Virginia state workers get the day off to go vote. I did vote, late in the day, but during the afternoon I took The Monongahela Monitor upriver to Hildebrand Lock and Dam.

We worked all summer below and just above the Morgantown Lock and Dam cleaning up litter, and I was wondering what conditions were like further up. Plus, frankly, it was a beautiful day and I knew it was time to lay up the Monitor for winter at Mark's Marina (mile 97). I wanted one last boat ride.

The title says "Late November...." I don't know what I was thinking. It was actually early November. I'm a confused old man. Anyway, I saw a lot of litter along the banks as soon as I got away from the area we had cleaned during the summer. I am writing an article for The Dominion Post that shows it. I'll post some of the photos after the DP article comes out. I hope that next summer we can get up through the Morgantown Pool and into the Hildebrand Pool for cleanups.

Also, here is Mike Krafcik's report from WBOY-TV on our last litter cleanup in late October.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New prop for the Monitor

Well, it looks like I can get a new propeller for The Monongahela Monitor - and a new deck. The Morgantown City Council has once again approved funding for my river cleanups, and that means that "deferred maintenance" on the Monitor doesn't have to be deferred. The boat has to have a new deck because of some soft spots, but although the propeller is nicked pretty bad, it still works. But I'd like to put on a new one to take out the vibrations caused by the old prop. So, thanks Morgantown City Council.

The City has supported my program since it began, and the Council understands that without the Revival the litter would be all around the Wharf District. Given all the development in that area, doing nothing simply isn't an option any more.

Next summer, I am determined to get further up river. The Adopt-a-Mile-of-the-Mon effort should help. I hope to have a WVU student to help me raise funds.