Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Long Day In Cleveland

The pictures are mad at me, so just use your imagination.

They say the worst kind of day in Cleveland is every day in Cleveland, and I can certainly attest to that. This has been the ugliest scenery on the trip, not merely because the rest of the lakes have been so charming (they have, though I slept through Detroit proper), but due to the particular faults of the "Mistake on the Lake" itself.

It has been such a long and active day, running right up on fourteen hours of novel activity, that I find myself rather hazy on what actually happened this morning. The general outline of it is that we stopped at a dock only one drawbridge and short channel away from the lake itself. We deckhands were roused half an hour prior to unlatch all the cargo hatches (twenty clamps on each of the twenty hatches to be wrenched free with a special spanner that looks like a tuning fork) and prepare the mooring lines, but then had a good chance to sit and watch the pretty side of the once prosperous town roll up.

At the dock we began unloading both cargo and trash, both burnable and non-burnable since our incinerator is unhappy at the moment, and took on a few more groceries. This resulted in my first step on dry land since Michigan in order to help cart the trash over to a dumpster, and the solid ground proved decidedly unsatisfactory lacking both roll and vibrations. The dockworker driving the pickup full of garbage and me (apologies for any redundancy) made up for as much of that as he could as we drove through a long field of gravel made up completely of half-inch diameter steel pellets of the sort we had loaded in the cargo hold. These pellets, designed to be melted back down into whatever shape necessary, really do fascinate me far more than they should. In any case, the garbage was sucessfully placed in the dumpster and half our cargo was unloaded. I was quite glad to get back onboard, since anything is better than staying in Cleveland and being on the Sam Laud more than qualifies as anything.

This leg of the journey wasn't actually that bad. What came next, though, was a river ride all the way down some thin river or another all the way to the end of the navigable part of the river (not just for us, two crews of recreational rowers came up and had to turn back at the same small railroad bridge that we docked in front of). This journey was made through what was surely the ugliest part of Cleveland (I cannot fathom any part of Mighty America having parts uglier than this) at slower than walking pace, with occasional slowdowns for sharp turns and drawbridges. The best part being that no one told me how long this was going to take, so I remained waiting, on alert to be called back into action, for three and a half hours.

Of course, even on deck most of my job is watching and waiting for someone to need my assistance, so I am sort of used to it by now.

In any case, I apologize for not getting a picture of the factory we stopped at while it had both burnoff stacks running and with lightning in the background from the brief squall that we worked through as the sun began to sink. I do not apologize for not getting a picture of the ugliest sunset I have seen on the lakes, with downtown Cleveland in the background.

For this second dock, when we finally got there, we had to wash down the entire cargo hold as it emptied out, serving the dual purpose of keeping the hold clean and encouraging the iron pellets to slip into the conveyor tunnel. This meant that what would otherwise be just sitting around, or perhaps break time, while the conveyorman watches the slow unloading, we all got to tend hoses for five hours. We got off slightly before 11PM with an early start tomorrow for fuel, and your idiot correspondent is sitting here writing instead of sleeping.

I would say that the best part of the day was leaving Cleveland, but it doesn't look like we will be back up this shithole of a river before midnight. Maybe the best part of the day was the morning, when I enjoyed some excellent pancakes and had never tained my life with the stain that is Cleveland.

Now we have three to four more days back to Silver Bay, and then mostly likely will be back in Cleveland next week. But that is the future, and the future doesn't exist, so now I am going to sleep.

No comments:

Post a Comment