Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Dams of the Muskegon River

I was released from the rehab facility yesterday and I decided that I wanted to go out exploring today.  While I was in the rehab facility, I stumbled across a Michigan History magazine that mentioned some of the early hydroelectric dams in Michigan (if not the country).  After a little research online, I found out about some of these dams that are still operational today.  So I decided to go seek them out.
 The first dam that I ran across was the Croton Dam in Croton Township which is near Newaygo, Michigan.  Newaygo itself it about 30 miles north of Grand Rapids on M-37.  A few years ago, I passed through Newaygo when I did my M-37 tour.  Anyway, it was a nice day to go exploring.
 This dam was built in 1907 under the direction of William Fargo for the Grand Rapids-Muskegon Power Company.  Eventually this company would become Consumers Power and ultimately Consumers Energy.  The dam itself was built into an earth embankment.  They decided on the Muskegon River because for the most part it was not navigable.  The dam originally used two Westinghouse horizontal generators and could produce 8.8 megawatts of power to Grand Rapids, Michigan.
 In 1979, it was added to the National Registry of Historic Places.
 Despite the fact that this is a renewable energy source, there is some controversy over the use of hydroelectric power.  They are dangerous to fish because it can prevent them from going to their upriver spawning locations.  There is also the potential that they raise water temperatures.  Despite all this, the dam is still supplying power today and the permit is good until 2034.
 The Hardy Dam is located in Big Prairie Township and is about about 10 miles from the Croton Dam.  Unfortunately, many of the roads leading to a view of the dam itself were closed, so I had to settle for this picture of the top of the embankment.  It is another embankment style dam and at the time of its completion, it was the largest dam east of the Mississippi.  The reservoir has a surface area of 4,000 acres and the dam itself can generate 31.5 Megawatts.
Construction of the Hardy Dam began in 1929 and it was designed by William Fargo.  It was completed in 1931 and named after George E. Hardy who was one of the financiers of Consumers Power.
From the looks of it, there were some pretty nice trails leading to a spot where someone could get a decent picture of the full dam but that sounds like a summer project.  This dam was added to the National Historic Registry in 1997.
The Rogers Dam was constructed in 1906 with a 4.5 Megawatt capacity.  In 1921, the original power plant was destroyed in a fire and replaced with a 6.8 Megawatt generator.  It is the oldest dam operated by Consumers Energy.

Friday, January 26, 2018

All Things Must Come to An End

So I had a bunch of appointments on Wednesday.  One of them was a echo scan where I got to see pictures of my heart (including the valve).  That was pretty neat to see.  Then I had a follow-up visit with the heart surgeon.  He said that some of the weight restrictions were off and that I could drive again.  He also stated that I could return to work on March 1.  That is pretty exciting, I think.  After that, I had a CT scan.  I think that went pretty well.

After roughly two months, my antibiotic IV will be ending tonight.  I think I have enough penicillin in me to choke a horse.  That means, I will be released tomorrow.  I'm very excited about that because it means that I can return to a normal life again.  It also means that I will be able to work on my blog again (other than updates to my health).  I think I even have a project lined up.

What does all of this mean?  Well, I'm going to work at getting some of my weight off.  Fortunately, I was in pretty good health before this but as we know, this can be fleeting.  I'm also going to seek out more unusual spots for this blog.  It doesn't mean that I'm going to ignore aircraft and ships though.

Once again, I would like to thank all my fans for their support through this experience.  It's always nice to know that you are appreciated.  I will also give a shout out to the heart people at St. Joseph Hospital.  While I don't like the circumstances I had to meet them, I will have to say they are awesome.  I would also like to give a shout out to all the nurses that treated me through this.  You are all pretty awesome.

At approximately 11:00 A.M. tomorrow, I will be requesting permission to take off from my rehab place.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Good News

My IV ends on Friday January 26 which means I will get sprung from rehab on Saturday.  On Wednesday, I have an appointment with the heart doctor.  I'm pretty sure I'll have good news from that.  All of this combined means that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Soon, I will return to an ordinary life.

Once again, I'd like to thank all the people that have shown support through this whole ordeal.

Even the big boys need a helping hand at times.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 Update

So I figured that I would give my readers an update of my status.  I had an appointment with the Infectious Diseases people on Friday.  They were going to look at me and there was a possibility that I could get oral antibiotics instead of the IV that I am currently on.  If that would have happened, I probably would have been discharged from the rehab facility.  That didn't happen, so I am going to be here until the 26th of January at least.  I'm actually okay with that.

They ended my physical and occupational therapy because they said that there wasn't much more they can do with that.  They did clear me to wander the halls which is nice because I can talk a walk whenever I want.  I will have a wellness adviser for the duration of my stay.  That will be helpful because exercise will get me back to a normal state of healthiness.

The chest incision is healing pretty well but it still hurts on occasion.  I have an appointment with the surgeon around the same time as the IV is done.  I think I'll have good news then.  Maybe I will be able to get out photographing again.  I still probably will not do sports until I get cleared to go back to work but I don't see any harm of photographing ships or airplanes.

Again, I want to express my thanks for all the prayers and well wishes.  They've been very helpful in pulling me through this.

Since I can't get a current picture, I will leave you will an older picture of the current Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Goodbye to 2017 and Hello to 2018

Normally when I do one of these posts, I try to find the most interesting things I did during the year or the things that made me most excited.  However I'm going to start this post with the last picture I posted in 2017 because there is some significance to it.  Plus, I'm still in the hospital and it's not as easy to find the pictures I want on my lap top.  Also, I normally break this into two posts but it's kind of fitting to keep it in one post.
It's hard to believe that the last picture I took in 2017 is one that I barely caught. It seems like I pretty much spent the month of November not feeling well.  In fact, it was lucky for me that I caught this plane because I was entertaining not taking my camera bag with me (which is unusual).  Anyway, this shot wasn't planned which is also unusual for me.

Since Thanksgiving weekend, I have been in the hospital or the rehab center.  Two weeks ago, I had my heart surgery and I seem to be recovering well from it (except for some of the pain).  That kind of put a damper on my photographing plans.  With the cold weather, I would have had some good ice shots.  Oh well, maybe next year.  I've also missed a good chunk of the EMU basketball season and I'll probably miss the rest of it but we'll see.  But like I said, I'm getting better and I'll be back.

Last year was probably an average year for me.  I didn't go to any place new but I still got some pretty cool pictures.  EMU basketball ended up not doing so well.  Same with EMU football, their 6 game losing streak pretty much eliminated any chance of them going to a bowl game.  Engineer's Day was pretty cool but I didn't do the Chicago thing again.  There were a few trips to Grand Haven and I finally got some wind swept Lake Michigan pictures that I was happy about.  I got way too many pictures of the airport though, I'm going to try to curtail that a bit in 2018.  I did discover Magee Marsh and that was cool.  I hope that I'm well enough to chase eagles come spring.  I would really like to catch the young eagles take their first flights.

I got a few ship shots including a couple of ships that haven't appeared here before.  I think I would like to get more ship shots next year.  I think there are a few more new builds coming out.  Plus Algoma Central bought four ships from American Steamship and there's a chance that a couple ships that have laid up for a long time might come out.  If they do, I want to catch them.

With that said, I think 2017 could have better for me, so I am going to make sure that 2018 is better.

Since I haven't done one in a while, I would like to take a long train trip this year.  I'm not sure if I want to do Seattle or San Francisco though.  I am leaning towards taking a trip out on the Empire Builder and taking US-2 back home.  I'll have to figure out long it will take to drive back though because that will be the deciding factor.

I think Chicago will finally have A380 service this year and if they do, I want to make sure that I go to catch one of those bad boys.  I think they are ugly but I still would like to see a plane that large.  While I go to ORD, I would like to time it so that I catch one of the Iceland Air Aurora planes.  Maybe I will luck out and Detroit Metro will get one.

I would also like to take a trip out east again.  I really would like to see Steam Town in Scranton but I think I would to see the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C.  Of course all of this depends on how much vacation time I have left and my endurance.

As far as the blog goes, I want to try finding more odd tidbits of Michigan and Ohio history to seek out.  I want to continue the state highway and roads series though.  I think this year is going to take a trip down Gratiot.   Of course, I will continue with ships and planes.

Anyway, I would like to thank all of my readers.  If there is anything you would like to see here, feel free to comment.  If you have suggestions, please feel free to do so.

I'll leave you with one of my favorites from the year.