Ranger Headquarters

Ranger Headquarters
Big Pine National Forest, Knotty Pine

Friday, June 25, 2010

RB083 Ten Fathoms Deep

It is the heart of winter in Knotty Pine. Townsfolk are tired of the cold and snow and are suffering from cabin fever. Fortunately, it's also time for the Knotty Pine Ice Festival!!! Festival events include bobsledding, skiing, ice fishing, and much, much more. Bill and his rangers are handling contest judging, security, and safety. See just how much fun and trouble the folks of Knotty Pine can have when they finally get a chance to get outside and play after being stuck indoors during a long and cold winter.

Friday, June 18, 2010

RB082 Mr. Sunshine

Herman Weber is a middle-aged man who is retired from the railroad. He loves to share his faith with acts of kindness in and around Knotty Pine. Herman hands out Bibles, pamphlets, and devotional books for his church and visits prisoners in the Knotty Pine jail. He is adored by all the children at the orphanage. The children gave him his nick-name, Mr. Sunshine. A few Knotty Pine residents object to Herman's evangelism work. They work hard to silence him. And besides, Herman hides an important secret about himself. Will these folks be able to stop Mr. Sunshine? Will Herman's secret come out? See how Bill tries to help Mr. Sunshine.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tug Trivia

Tugboats are used to pull or push ships and barges into and out of docks in ocean ports as well as river harbors. These mighty boats may also move disabled ships and oil platforms. They may also be used as icebreakers or salvage boats. Tugs were some of the first ships to be steam powered and today are now diesel powered. Many are now fitted for firefighting duty as well as their regular hauling duties.
A tugboat is designed for great might in a relatively small package. Most tugs use two separate engines and propellers. This two engine design ensures that the tug will be able to get a ship or barge to its destination without a breakdown that would require another tug to finish the job. Two engines also mean more power to do the work. Tugboat engines are usually 680 to 3,400 horsepower (Hp) each. Some large tugs even sport 27,000 Hp engines! Such engine power comes from engines that are also used in locomotive engines. Some tugs are even made just like railroad engines. These tugs use the diesel engines as electrical generators that run electric propeller motors.
Standard tugs use a hawser to pull ships. A hawser is a large, flexible steel or fiber rope. A standard tug has a pointed bow to give it good control in ocean waters as well as is rivers.
Notch tugs are designed to fit into a special notch in the rear of a barge, effectively making the two into one ship. An empty barge is less stable and controllable than one that is loaded, so notch tugs have a winch like a standard tug to pull empty barges.
There is a third category of tugs that is even more closely attached to its load than the rest. ITB, integrated tug and barge, and ATB, articulated tug and barge, are two methods of actually connecting tug to barge that make the two into one ship. In an ITB, the tug is locked solidly to a barge so that the tug and barge don't move against one another. In an ATB, the tug is firmly connected to the barge on pivots that allow the tug and barge to twist and rock against each other to reduce forces on both tug and barge caused by the wind and waves.
Notch, ITB, and ATB tugboats have flat bows rather than the pointed bows, allowing the tug to safely exert all of its power pushing against a barge while spreading the force across a long flat edge on both vessels.

Friday, June 11, 2010

RB081 The Tugboat Cowboy

Bob "Unc" Mitchell and his nephew Dick own the Inland River Barge Company in Junction City. The Mitchells run a couple really big tugboats up and down the Shady River. Dick is a smart boy with good knowledge about tugboats. Dick has several ideas for improving the tugs as well as their barge business, but Unc isn't interested in any of them. Dick is ready to quit the tugboat business. Can Bill step in and settle this family dispute, or will Dick quit the business and leave Unc?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

RB080 The Road to Fame

Young Todd Dalgrin wants to become famous - any way he can. Todd decides its easier to become famous by causing trouble all around Knotty Pine. He goes hunting without permission and causes damage all over town. Todd's dad asks Bill for help. Then Uncle Sam steps in and drafts Todd. Things go from bad to worse in the Army. Todd's commander and his dad both ask Bill for help. What can Bill do for Todd and the US Army?