Train on the water

Train on the WaterFor what seems like a perfectly obvious reason to me, the soundtrack in my head for the past few days has featured a heavy rotation of Deep Purple.

Train on the Water isn’t a likely successor to Smoke on the Water, the 42-year-old British rock song that Rolling Stone magazine in 2004 ranked 434th on its list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

Still, it’s not every day that a train appears to travel across water. It’s been the scene in Muscatine for the past few days as the Mississippi River this morning reached 23.3 feet and was still rising. Flood stage at Muscatine is 16 feet.The river was projected to crest this evening at 23.7 feet.

I seem to recall a friend who is an old railroad guy telling me a few years ago that trains can travel through Muscatine so long as floodwater doesn’t go over the tracks. But I couldn’t immediately reach him this morning. I’ll update this later if I hear back from him.

Also, the trains appear to be rumbling through our little city on the river’s West Bank at a slower-than-normal speed.

In addition to slower trains, flooding has detoured traffic in Muscatine. But not much else has changed. You may have noticed that today is the Fourth of July. A full schedule of activities are planned for today in Muscatine, including a parade at 5 p.m. and fireworks at 9:35 p.m. Both will proceed as planned.

It’s going to be a good day and I hope to see you at the parade. I’ll be one of the people riding a bicycle in the parade while wearing a purple Team MCSA jersey.


 Just a little bit about Smoke on the Water and Deep Purple … the song was written about the fire that destroyed the Montreux Casino in Montreux, Switzerland, in 1971. The members of Deep Purple had watched the fire spread across Lake Geneva from the hotel where they were staying. At the time, the band consisted of  Ian Gillan (vocals), Jon Lord (organ), Roger Glover (bass), Ian Paice (drums), and Ritchie Blackmore (guitar).

In 1971, I was only 5. But I later became a fan of the band as a college student, when I learned that Tommy Bolin played bass for Deep Purple in 1975-76 before his death of a heroin overdose at age 25. Bolin was born and raised in Sioux City, Iowa, where I went to college. An early boss in my reporting career was a huge fan and introduced me to Bolin’s music and career.


It looks as if time is up for today. I hope everyone has a great Fourth of July.