Friday, February 1, 2013


Shore crew waited in wind, cold and drifting snow
as the sun rose over Detroit Island.
Detroit Harbor, Washington Island -

My purpose for driving to the Potato Dock this morning was to photograph the LP tankers that would unload when the special, early morning ferry arrived.  This was a ferry just for tanker trucks carrying the liquid propane fuel.  This was also the first official occasion using this docking point for unloading two semi trucks.  Truckers from Kaukauna's Schuh Transport typically load product the day before so that they can be on the highway no later than 5 a.m., to arrive at Northport before 7:15 a.m.

The ferry trip went smoothly, with little-to-no ice encountered.  The previous day's winds and the blizzard on Wednesday had blown heavy ice from the Door into the lake, but new ice was already forming in near-zero temperatures.  Within two days the passage will be ice covered once again. Heavier, jumbled ice lies to the west of Plum Island.

A primary concern was if the Potato Dock facility would serve its purpose without hitch, the ramp levels, the available dock surface for turning trucks, and so forth.  Everything worked well, as it turned out.  Lined up on shore where the woods began were vehicles and passengers waiting to be directed to the ferry, just as soon as the trucks cleared the causeway.  The two smaller trucks shown at the end of the pier in the top photo were Ferry Line trucks used to transport freight between the Potato Dock and Terminal building - package freight, food products and such.

It generally takes 2-3 hours for the tankers to unload, time enough for the ferry to run its regularly scheduled morning round trip.  Then, after the ferry once more unloads vehicles, passengers and freight, the empty tankers are loaded for another unscheduled run to Northport.  -  Dick Purinton

Joel Gunnlaugsson secured lines.
Crew waiting for ferry:  Rich Ellefson,
Pete Nikolai, Con McDonald.
Propane, most of it used for heating, is stored at the Hansen
LP facility on Town Line Road, and from there it is
distributed to tanks at island customer locations.

1 comment:

Richard Purinton said...

From Bill Tobey - Just read the online Observer ......

“We’re also planning to install a temporary webcam at the Potato Dock in the near future,” said Purinton. “A lot of people have requested it.”

And your excellent picture of the Potato Dock Friday morning has "bone chilling" written all over it.

Enjoying your blog, as always. You certainly get lots of viewrs!

Bill Tobey