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Monday, November 24, 2008 - Foscue Creek Park, Demopolis AL

Towboat Thelma Parker II working on the Tombigbee River, Nov 23, 2008.
Towboat Thelma Parker II pushing a load down the Tombigbee River below the Demopolis locks, Nov 23, 2008.

The Thelma Parker II

What a beautiful towboat - ya gotta love the light from those red decks reflecting off the white walls and the under side of roof overhangs above. Here's a short blurb about her I grabbed from Parker Towing Company's page on their vessels.

This 140 foot by 35 foot twin screw towboat was purchased by Parker Towing Company, Inc. in December, 2004.

Built in 1974 by Mainstream Shipyards, Greenville, MS., it is powered by two 16 cylinder GENERAL MOTORS E.M.D. model 645 diesel engines, delivering 3,800 horse power through 3.79 to 1 FALK reduction gears. Originally named the FRANK H. PEAVY while owned by Greenville Towing Co., Inc. It was transfered to William Leasing Company, Greenville, MS in March, 1979 and renamed SHELLY MOTT. Sold in May, 1982 to TPC Transportation Company Inc., St. Louis, MO. and renamed SNO SHEEN. Sold in February, 1989 to Peavey, MS and renamed GREENVILLE. Sold in March, 1996 to American Commercial Barge Line, Jeffersonville, Indiana.

It replaces the original M/V Thelma Parker which was destroyed by a devastating fire while transiting the Tenn-Tom Waterway on October 18, 1998. It is presently in service on the Warrior-Tombigbee River, Tenn-Tom, Tennessee, Ohio, Upper and Lower Mississippi, Intercoastal East Waterways and Mobile Bay.

She appears to be in good hands today.

Night camp

Site 45 - Foscue Creek Campground, Demopolis AL

Wind on the Gangplank

There was almost no soil in that part of the range - just twelve miles' breadth of rough pink rock. "As you go from Chicago west, soil diminishes in thickness and fertility, and when you get to the gangplank and up here on top of the Laramie Range there is virtually none," Love said. "It's had ten million years to develop, and there's none. Why? Wind - that's why. The wind blows away everything smaller than gravel."

Standing in that wind was like standing in river rapids. It was a wind embellished with gusts, but, over all, it was primordially steady: a consistent southwest wind, which had been blowing that way not just through human history but in every age since the creation of the mountains - a record written clearly in wind - scored rock. Trees were widely scattered up there and, where they existed, appeared to be rooted in the rock itself. Their crowns looked like umbrellas that had been turned inside out and were streaming off the trunks downwind. "Wind erosion has tremendous significance in this part of the Rocky Mountain region," Love said, "Even down in Laramie, the trees are tilted. Old-timers used to say that a Wyoming wind gauge was an anvil on a length of chain. When the land was surveyed, the surveyors couldn't keep their tripods steady. They had to work by night or near sunrise. People went insane because of the wind." His mother, in her 1905 journal, said that Old Hanley, passing by the Twin Creek school, would disrupt lessons by making some excuse to step inside and light his pipe. She also described a man who was evidently losing to the wind his struggle to build a cabin:

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