Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Things I Carry

After being inspired by another blog (which I highly recommend btw), I decided to do a posting of the contents of my camera bag.  This is mostly what I travel with, since my camera bag pretty much goes everywhere I go.
It doesn't seem like that much when it's in the bag but when its laid out like this, it looks like a lot.  So I'll start in the upper left hand corner and work my way around.  Do try to keep up.

1.  The manuals for my camera.  I don't normally need to look them up but when there is something different that I want to try, they are always nice to have.  Given that I just got a new camera (I'll get to that in a bit), there are some new features that I need to learn about anyway.
2.  A dog-eared copy of the 2012 Know Your Ships.  This is a nice little reference when asked about ships and there are other people around.  I have newer copies at home but the dog eared copy looks more traveled.
3.  A bottle of pain killers.  A few years ago, I flew to California and I had a cold.  I couldn't get any aspirin on the plane, so I figured it would always be good to have a bottle with me.
4.  A pair of wild flower identification books.  They will occasionally come in handy when I feel like identifying the wild flowers I take pictures of.  The lower one breaks them down into the various shapes.
5.  Some cleaning materials for the camera.  There is micro fiber clothe for the lens.  There are also tissue papers.
6.  The maps are Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania.  I know that maps may seem outdated in the age of the GPS but I still like to have them with me.  It is sometimes easier to get the idea of a location when I see it on paper.  However, if you look in the lower left corner, you will see my trusty GPS (or as I call it, the Yuppie Plastic Jesus).  Besides, the official state maps have information that a GPS will not give you.
7.  My 175 to 500mm lens.  This is pretty useful for taking football pictures and pictures of distant ships.  However when taking pictures of ships, sometimes they are hazy.
8.  Just below that lens is my Bomba.  It is very useful for blowing dust off my camera.
9.  Speaking of which, here is my first picture of my new camera.  It is a Canon 70D.  It is close enough to my old 50D that I don't have much of a learning curve but there are a couple things it can do that my 50D can't.  One of the new features that I like is the fact that I can connect through WiFi with my camera so that I can post quick pictures to facebook.
10.  Above the camera is a shutter release.  If you are going to do night pictures, a shutter release and tripod are very important because typically these use long exposures and both will reduce the amount of motion from the camera.
11.  To the left of the camera is a radio scanner.  I've avoided buying one for years because it is fairly easy to get information on the travel of ships.  However, since I've started to follow trains, it is much easier to track trains.
12.  Next we have M-Hat VI.  It pretty much goes everwhere I go.
13.  Below the hat, we have my other two lenses...the 75 to 300mm and 55 to 250mm.  Of those two, I am starting to like the 55 to 250mm more.  I think it is a little more versatile.
14.  I don't carry the Amtrak blanket with me everywhere, but I do prefer Amtrak to other modes of travel.

So there you have it.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Battle of Phillips Corners

The politics of the United States were not always the nice and amicable affairs that they are today.  Occasionally disputes would arise when it came to drawing up the borders of the different states.  Drawing up the Michigan-Ohio border was no exception.  The bone of contention was what was known as the Toldeo strip.
 The borders of the five states that would come out of the Northwest Territory was determined by the Northwest Ordinace of the Continental Congress.  It state that one of the borders would be an east-west line drawn out from the southern most point of Lake Michigan.  One of the maps placed it near the mouth of the Detroit River (which would mean that Monroe and a few other Michigan cities would become part of Ohio.  It also would mean that only 3 of the 5 Great Lakes would touch Michigan).
The different intrepretations of this border created what was known as the Toledo Strip.  This was a chunk of land contested by Michigan and Ohio.  Ohio started to settle more of it and this angered the Michgiganders.  In 1835, the Michigan governor made it illegal for Ohioans to settle in this strip of land.  Militias were formed by each state and they came to battle.
 The battle itself sounded more like a bar brawl than a battle.  One account I read stated that one of the militiamen received a stabbing wound.
Eventually, President Jackson offered a compromise.  The Toledo Strip would be ceded to Ohio in exchange for the Upper Peninsula going to Michigan (instead of Wisconsin).  At the time, this seemed like a raw deal but as iron and copper were discovered there, the deal got much better for the State of Michigan.  This border was never really settled until 1973.

The rivalry has migrated from open warfare (or bar brawls) to the Michigan-Ohio State game.

A Trip on a Canal Boat

As we were driving back from Fostoria on Saturday, my friend noticed that many of the rivers along the way looked like they may have been canals at one point.  I knew that there were a few canals that went through Ohio, so I decided to do a little bit of research on the internet to find out where they may have been.  There was the one I knew of that went from Cleveland to the Ohio River which was called the Erie and Ohio Canal.  I seem to remember there being a canal that went from Toledo down to the Ohio River, but I don't remember what it was called.
 After a little bit of digging, I found out that it was called the Miami and Erie Canal.  It actually started as the Wabash and Erie Canal in 1843.  It 1845, the Miami extension was completed and it was renamed the Miami and Erie Canal.  And it stretched all the way from Toledo down to Cincinnati.  After a little more digging, I discovered that there was a canal boat that I could ride on.  Thinking that was pretty cool, I decided to head down to the Providence Metropark to partake in this activity.
 The park is probably about 30 miles to the Southwest of Toledo on US-24.  So it wasn't too far of a drive from my apartment.  Part of the park is on the canal itself and it stretches over to the Maumee River.
 The tickets themselves were fairly reasonable.  It was six dollars for about an hour long ride.
 A shot of the Maumee River.
 Some of the flowers nearby but I'm not sure what kind they are.
 The boat itself is powered by a mule team that would walk alongside the canal on a tow path. 
Early boats were 61 feet by 7 feet wide and could carry about 30 tons of cargo.  As time went on, the boats would get larger and could carry more cargo.  I think this type of boat was known as a packet boat because it could carry either passengers or cargo.
 Typically the crew would not be women but ours was.   But I think you would typically have someone at the rudder and a couple of people manning poles to provide propulsion in some places.
 They were pulled by mules or horse typically.  The mule handler was known as a hoggee.  James Garfield worked as a hoggee but he became ill and went to school instead.   Eventually, he'd become President.
 The most famous of the canals was the Erie Canal.  It ran from Buffalo, New York to the Hudson River near Albany.  This gave a way to get goods from the Great Lakes to the Oceans.  It opened in 1825.
 Just a shot of the mule.
 And a shot of the boat itself.
 The ride itself gave a pretty good idea of what it would be like to ride on a canal back in the day.
 Because Ohio is not flat as it seems, there was a series of locks that lined the way from Toledo to Cincinnati.  They behave much like the Soo Locks do today but they were manually controlled.
 A shot of the gates.  I think this is a restored lock.
 The location of this particular lock.
 The Ludwig Mill was a part of Providence, Ohio.  Providence itself no longer exists because it fell prey to a cholera outbreak (they would drink from the canal). 
 I believe this is restored as well.
 The miller.
 This was our tour guide.  She gave a pretty good talk about life on the canal.
 The demise of the canal system would come in the late 1850's as the railroads started to line the United States.  The canal boats could not compete with the speed or efficiency of the trains.  This particular part of the canal was used for a power station until 1929.  Afterwards, it was turned over to the Metropark System.
 Another angle of the Ludwig Mill.
 The locks from the other side.
 As I said, it was a manual affair to work the locks.  The valves would have to be opened to either let water enter (if you were going up) or leave (if you were going down).  After the lock finished, the gates would be opened by hand.
 A shot of one of the crew working the gate.
 A shot of the front of the boat.
 The mule team pulling the boat along.
 The rudder person working the rudder.
 The mule team turning around to bring us into the dock.
 Apparently the mules have the right of way.
One more shot of the canal boat.

The Battle of Fallen Timbers Monument

History is not always a pleasant thing, especially the history of the United States.  History is not always full of convenient facts.  One of those inconvenient facts is that when Columbus discovered America, it was already discovered by another group of individuals.  Of course, another incovenient fact is that Columbus didn't actually discover America (if we are taking the European view).  However, given that it was already settled by one group and another group was looking to settle it, there was bound to be warfare.
 The Ohio River boundary line established by the British by the Treaty of Stanwix in 1768 recognized that certain tracts of lands belonged to the Native Americans.  However, the United States did not recognize that treaty since they felt that a certain part of the Treaty of Paris gave them the land.  The Native Americans had a different viewpoint, since they were not a part of the treaty of Paris.
 In 1790 or so, the Western Alliance of various Native American tribes was formed to defend what they thought were their lands.  It achieved several early victories over the American forces and alarmed Washington.  In 1792, he appointed "Mad" Anthony Wayne to lead the American troops against the Native Americans.
 The conflict became to be known as Little Turtle's War and the Native Americans sought to kick out the white settlers that were trying to make what is now known as Ohio home.  This is known as the Turkey's Foot, it was used as a rallying point by the Native Americans.
 This relief depicts the Native Americans arrayed against the Americans.  They consisted of people from the Chippewa, Ottawa, Delaware, Potawatami, Miami, Shawnee, Mingo and Wyandot tribes.  Little Turtle came from the Miamis and the other leader of the group was named Blue Jacket and he came from the Shawnees.
 A relief depicting the white settlers.  I'm sure they had peaceful intentions but they were trying to settle land that was already settled.
 Blue Jacket took a defensive position along the Maumee River and I think this is the site that they originally thought was the battle field.  Wayne took his troops north from Cincinatti and built forts along the way.  He also took the time to train his men because the American forces that faced the Native Americans before weren't well trained and would break ranks at the first sign of trouble.
 The battle occurred on August 20, 1794.  The battle was over fairly quicky as Wayne charged with bayonets and outflanked with his cavalry.  The Native Americans tried to reach the safety of a British fort, but the British commander there refused to help fearing a war with the United States.
 Some of the flowers nearby.
 Another one.
 Because of the success of the battle, the British agreed to vacate their forts in the area and ceded the land to the United States.  This allowed the settling of Ohio.  The United States also signed the Treaty of Greenville with the Native Americans.  This would set the line that divided the United States from the Native Americans....but as history would prove out..this line kept moving west.
 A part of the statue depicting the Native American warriors.  The statue itself was built in 1929.
I think this where the Battle actually occurred.  It was called the battle of the fallen timbers because some trees were felled by a violent storm before the battle.  The Native Americans thought the fallen timbers would slow the advance of the Americans.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The CSL Niagara Passes Belle Isle

We saw that there would be one more ship working her way down the River, so we stuck around for that one.
 She was the CSL Niagara.  I'm not sure where she was coming from but she is heading to Nanticoke which means she either has stone, iron or coal for the steel mill there.  She's not a bad looking ship.
 But not quite as nice looking as a classic laker like the Barker.
 She slowly works her way down the river.  While I enjoy taking train pictures, I think I enjoy ship pictures more.  It is more relaxing and quieter.
 She passes the church in Windsor.
She continues her trek down the Detroit River.