Saturday, September 26, 2009

Power on the move

Our little town had quite the carnival atmosphere this weekend, because visitors were here.

Several weeks ago, two enormous steam generators destined for the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant arrived in the United States. A French company called AREVA constructed the generators, which were shipped by boat across the Atlantic, north through the Chesapeake Bay, and as far along the Susquehanna River as the water depth would allow. Then, the generators were boarded onto specialized carriers to make their way across Lancaster County at 3-4 mph. They arrived in town Friday, and were parked along a side street for the weekend.

These behemoths are 74 feet long, 25 feet high, and weigh in at over 1,000,000 pounds each. The logistics of moving them safely are apparently tremendous, as the sheer weight is a threat to local roads and bridges that were not designed to handle such loads. To help alleviate the strain, each generator is loaded onto a carrier with 24 axles. Each axle supposedly carries weight equivalent to a fire truck. The generators appear to be accompanied by a large fleet of State Police Officers at all times, and local newspapers report that the convoy is over a mile in length when on the move.

On Sunday night, these generators are slated to leave town. They must cross Route 30 to reach TMI, but they are too heavy for the bridge that would take them across the U.S. Highway. So, the plan is to close Rt. 30 in the wee hours of the morning and have the equipment to cross 30 at grade by going up an off-ramp, removing the guardrails that make up the center median, and then exiting by the off-ramp for the westbound lanes.

One of the policemen on duty said they take a corner much better than you would think!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A banner day

I carpool with a coworker most days, and we've been seeing a bald eagle very occaisionally, in a particular area where a small stream joins with the larger Codorus Creek. There's a large concrete box on the creek bank where the two streams meet. Its an industrial area and very near to the city of York, not your typical wildlife viewing habitat. Twice we've seen it sitting on the box, one time using the box as a dinner table to eat a fish.

Yesterday, however, the birds upped it a notch. As we were crossing the Susquehanna River at the start of our commute, we saw a large bird fly over the bridge. I couldn't confirm it was a bald eagle, but when I looked to the right, I saw a second bird with the distinctive white head and tail flying low and fast over the water. This eagle eventually landed on a rock in the river, next to another large bird. But they were too far away at this point to ID the third bird.

As we arrived in York, we figured it would be too great a coincidence to see our "regular" eagle. But, we kept our eyes peeled, and sure enough, the eagle was perched on the concrete box. This time he had a friend, a second eagle sitting on a small stone in the stream. We turned the car around to get a better look, and took a picture with the only camera available to us, my coworker's iPhone. Today, with my camera in my lunch sack, we saw no eagles at all ... go figure!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Honeymoon Catch-up

I guess now is as good a time as any to dig into my massive pile of photos from our honeymoon this July.

This is Summit Lake in Lassen Volcanic Park, with Lassen Peak in the background. Our first night of camping was spent in the edge of the trees to the right. Lets just say that this was a bad time to discover that we'd forgotten to pick up any bug spray. As the sun went down, I walked out along the lake and found this hidden view - you had no idea the mountain was back there from the campsite.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


As the middle of September approaches, a Pennsylvanian knows that the first frost is uncomfortably close to hand. But even so, the garden is still producing plenty of tomatoes, and I wanted to get some photographic evidence before the cold ultimately destroys the vines. Late last winter, I decided to focus on tomatoes after happening upon a book called Heirloom, which followed a farmer who specialized in heirloom varieties of tomatoes.

I hopped on E-bay and had soon purchased seeds for "Aunt Ruby's German Green," "Cherokee Purple," "Yellow Pear," & "Mexican Midget." I also planted a hybrid "Early Girl" as insurance. After much worry and trepidation over the future of my little seedlings, we were fortunate to have the most perfect tomato-growing summer possible here in central PA. Temperatures were reasonable, rain was plentiful, and the tomatoes darn near took over the yard. Here's a pie plate full of them, including two oddball varieties that volunteered on their own, with no aid whatsoever from me. I guess they're a gift from the people that owned the house before we did!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Getting my feet wet again ...

After many moons without a new post - moons that encompassed a wedding and a honeymoon and various other smaller-scale adventures - I am dipping my toes back into the blogging water.

Towards the end of August, our weather switched abruptly from high summer to early fall, and this clear warm evening on the river was just the ticket. I actually wore out the batteries in my camera taking multiple pictures of golden sunset interplaying with river and bridge.