Embrace America's Rivers

River Pictures..Click title or image for larger view

Well, it looks like a submarine in the river but actually are barges tied off to mooring cells. Sometimes a great river trip can be gauged by the number of times we say "What the heck it that?" This was taken on a foggy morning on the lower Mississippi River near the town of Donaldsonville, Louisiana 
Capt. John Dugger is squatting while piloting the American Queen under a very low bridge. Jerry Hay is  kneeling down and showing how close the bottom of the bridge is. Only inches to spare.
Capt. Dugger and Jerry are taking their place on what it called the liar's bench on the showboat Becky Thatcher. The name came from visiting pilots sitting on the bench and telling their river lies.
This was not a good day on the river. Looking from the lower helm of the Wabash Queen, we can see huge trees and ice coming down the river. It is difficult to dodge these obstacles in a slow-responding paddlewheeler. This can be disastrous for the paddlewheel itself.
An interesting photo of the shadow of the balloon that Jerry Hay was in while following the Colorado River.  
This man on the Yazoo River at Vicksburg, Mississippi had to paddle his boat back to the dock. That is not particularly unusual, but if you look close, he is paddling with a broom.
Taken one morning from beside the pilothouse of the Ron Shankin towboat. Radar helps but if it gets thick enough the Coast Guard will order vessels to stop.
While canoeing the Big Walnut Creek in Indiana, during high water, this low bridge did not have enough clearance to safely pass under. Jerry Hay was able to get to shore in time to portage around it.
This rock with two residence geese doesn't look unusual, however, an amazing story took place here while Jerry Hay was canoeing down the White River in Indiana. That story is in the book, Beyond the Bridges.
Jerry lets a young man take the helm for a while, showing him the ropes of river piloting. There is much to learn so one should start young, just as was done in the early days of steamboating
We don't think much about a steamboat being an ice breaker, but that is what the Mississippi Queen was doing on the Mississippi River in Arkansas. The ice flow came down from the upper Mississippi River.
Oooops! This backhoe slipped backwards and into the Mississippi River at Natchez, Mississippi. The quick-thinking operator saved it from going all the way into the river by dropping the bucket, which held it in place.
Not exactly but Jerry Hay is taking a break on a large beach on the lower Wabash River. That tree came to rest on the beach after floating down the river during high water. It is amazing to think about how much higher the water was to carry that huge tree.
Jerry and his friends make camp during a long river journey. They traveled the entire 500 miles of the Wabash River in a jet drive boat. This trip inspired Jerry Hay to write the well-known Wabash River Guidebook
Good timing for a great photo. Jerry Hay took this after canoeing through a chute on the upper Arkansas River in Colorado, just as the canoe spun around. Of course, a waterproof camera was used.
This is Jerry Hay's nephew Ryan on his first canoe trip. If he looks proud it is because his uncle Jerry just proclaimed him as an official River Rat, following an impromptu initiation.  
This aerial photo of a bend on the Wabash River just south of Terre Haute, Indiana shows how much the river winds on it's route to the Ohio River. When  flooding cuts across the neck of these bends it creates new islands.
If you ever want to know what feeling real small is like, then take a 13ft canoe through a 1,200 foot lock. Jerry did! You can see the bow of the canoe in the right foreground. The canoe was the only vessel in the lock chamber.
Some days, things just get in the way of progress, like this little log jam. OK, maybe is isn't so little but there was no turning back and there was a small channel of water on the other side that cannot be seen in the photo, so it is not as bad as it looks.
In this photo, Jerry lands his boat at a park in Clinton, Indiana that is usually high and dry. The advantage of this is that a conveniently located Dairy Queen is just up the hill. This boat has plenty of power and a shallow draft, so it is good during floods. 
Most rivers begin tiny and the Mississippi River is no exception. Jerry canoed from the headwaters to Minneapolis. He has traveled the entire length of the river in various watercraft.
Some river hazards are easy to notice, like the lowhead dam in this photo on the White River. Many hazards are not so obvious, but the river will provide clues. Reading the River is not difficult but an important skill to acquire on non-navigable rivers.
Jerry (right) and friends discover the difficulties in exploring a non-navigable stream in a power boat. It requires dragging, pushing, pulling and getting wet feet but deeper water was not far away.
This is on the upper Arkansas River in Colorado. We are just getting reading to go into some rapids named the "Widow Maker". No widows were made that day but we did get wet.
This is caused by clear cutting of the the treeline. The trees helped stabilize the banks and when removed, the bank washes out, causing the river to become wider and shallower. Valuable land is also lost, but it will build up  somewhere else downriver.
Gene Hackman and Jerry Hay meet to discuss a film about the river. Hay would provide technical advise for Hackman who is producing the film. Unfortunately the film could not get financed and the project was abandoned..
A bad day of kayaking on Raccoon Creek in Indiana. The kayak was drawn into a logjam and flipped. Fortunately, Jerry came out the other side and was able to retrieve the kayak and gear, with another lesson learned
On the same trip as the last photo, a safe place to camp was finally found on a high sand bar along the swollen creek. One very important item was lost during the mishap.....The Coffee Pot! Coffee was still made, using boiling water and a sock.
During extremely low water on the Wabash River, an old lock ruins from 1830 was uncovered and surveyed by Jerry Hay. It was built with timber and rocks and normally underwater.
Not really, but this looks like a giant wave about to swallow a boat. It is actually a photo taken from above Niagara Falls with the Maid of the Mist tour boat 160 feet below the falls.
Oak Alley is a beautiful plantation along the lower Mississippi River and is open to the public.
Not exactly. This airplane is being lifted onto a barge from the Ohio River after being used as a movie set. The movie was "U.S. Marshalls" starring Tommy Lee Jones and Wesley Snipes.
Popeye and Jerry Hay in an arm wrestling match. Popeye visited the American Queen while landed at Chester, Illinois. (Jerry won the match). Popeye is based on a character from Chester, hometown of his creator.
This looks like rapids but it is the prop wash from the back of a towboat. Those two nine-foot diameter screws stir up a lot of water. Gulls like to follow them because of the materials often stirred up from the river bottom.
Look closely and see a swan's head at the end of the river snag. It was actually put there by Jerry Hay just to get attention. It remained a mystery to boaters for quite some time. (The head is from a broken yard ornament
It is amazing where trees will grow. This one apparently got started in a small crack in this abandoned bridge pier on the Wabash River and cracked it further as it grew
This is actually a bonfire pile that will be burned. A tradition on the lower Mississippi River at Christmas is bonfires on the levee. There are many creative bonfire designs each year.
Aerial view of the Wabash River during flooding. It is interesting to see the actual river channel still apparent because of the treeline along each bank. This happens when a levee breaks.
Most of the Wabash River is fairly calm but a short section at Markle, Indiana can be very dangerous. It is due to a shallow channel diverting the river around a levee 
This rock formation along the Yellowstone River in Montana is the site of a stop-over by the Lewis & Clark Expedition in 1806. It was named Pompy's Pillar by Captain Clark, for the child that was with them.
Before passing under a very low bridge, the Captain of the Delta Queen had a broom stick taped to the top of the jackstaff. If the broom stick broke, then we would turn back. We made it by an inch!
Jethro of "Beverly Hillbillies" called their swimming pool and concrete pond. This is one of the concrete rivers in California, carrying water from the mountains to the cities
This point of land is where the Ohio River joins the Mississippi River. Look closely to see the blue water of the Ohio mixing with the browner water of the Mississippi. This is at Cairo, Illinois
Actually, this is Jerry Hay taking a little side trip while the Delta Queen in the background is landed along the Tenn-Tom Waterway in Alabama, heading for Mobile
Becky Thatcher, Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain, and the Mayor and his wife greet the steamboat Delta Queen while landing at Hannibal, Missouri. Hannibal is a great little river town and was the home of Samuel Clemens
What, me worry? Jerry Hay sits on his back porch during high water on the Wabash River, with the river flowing under him. It got close but this time the river did not make it into the cabin.
This is no easy task. Jerry Hay had to back his vehicle well into the river to float the Wabash Queen off the trailer. His friend Tom keeps a line tied to the vehicle to keep from being swept downriver. The boat stays in the river, so launching is not often done
This building in Milton, Kentucky along the Ohio River shows the high water levels from past floods. The highest one is the great flood of 1937 that put most cities and towns along the Ohio River underwater. That was the worst flood on record.
What is now a backwater swamp was once a mighty river, but the river changed its course leaving this behind. This is called an oxbow.
This tall rig being towed under the U.S. 90 bridge on the Mississippi River at New Orleans does not appear as though it will clear the bridge, but it does by inches. If the river stage was higher, it would have to wait until lower water.
This little cafe' in Indiana near the Ohio River has an interesting name. Even more interesting is the small sign just above the entrance that reads "You kill it, we grill it"
While preparing to enter this lock at Rock Island, Illinois, you can also see the giant double-deck swing bridge that opens up for us. The lock has a towboat and barges in it heading downriver.
This is a swing bridge on the Cumberland River. In an open position while we pass through. A circular track is mounted on the top of the support pier and wheels turn the well-balanced bridge.

Toilet on Dock

I suppose that this is a very well equipped dock on the Green River in Kentucky. The problem is that it does not appear to have any plumbing, so it is easy to figure out where all the waste is going :(.

Yes, it is an abandoned elevator in the middle of Kentucky Lake (Tennessee River). It was left there when the lake was filled in 1944. It is a strange sight to come upon the first time. This is actually the top of a five story building and fishing is good here.
It took three tugboats to move this huge ship up the Mississippi River at New Orleans. Most ships move under their own power while on the river but this one was being taken to Avondale Shipyard for repairs. Tugboats are a different vessel than towboats.
This is Jerry Hay's vehicle with his canoe, crossing the Utah desert in search of a river. He found it...the Colorado River! There are actually other routes to the river, but this is the scenic.
Friends gather on a large beach at Staff Island on the Wabash River near Terre Haute,  Indiana. Everyone is always welcome to join the beach party. All you need is a boat to get there.
Jerry Hay performs a ceremony and puts a hard-earned (climbed a coconut tree) coconut into a mountain river in a Hawaii, hoping it will reach the sea. It likely will.
Melt water is rushing beneath Jerry as he sits in a glacier cravess in Alaska. This is the beginning of a stream that eventually flows into the Kenai River and on to the Ocean.
Canoeing past junk cars is a sad sight, but efforts are being made to stop this and clean up the riverbanks. Some folks even leave a mess from their campsites. This is a crime! LEAVE NO TRACE THAT YOU WERE THERE!
Passing Sisters Island located on the Yukon River near Dawson in the Yukon Territory and visited by Jerry Hay, while exploring the Yukon River. The Yukon is a beautiful and historic river.
Many abandoned steamboats can be found along the Yukon River. There are three boats here that are slowly decaying. When the owners went out of business, they just landed the boat and left.
This boat is well equipped for trips on the river. Look closely and you will see a privacy curtain for those showers and porta-potty. There is also a dinner table and room to set up a tent.