EVANSVILLE, IND. — Folks here have been floating a lot of theories about how a camper ended up on a sandbar in the middle of the Ohio River.
Roy Couture reported in the July 22 edition of the Evansville Courier & Press that a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contractor created the sandbar while dredging the river channel. Which seems to be an annual chore.
“The camper was not there when a crew finished on the river Wednesday evening around 5 p.m., but it was parked on the sandbar by the time crews arrived back to work Thursday morning,” Corps of Engineers spokesperson Abby Korfhage told Couture in an interview.
Couture also mentioned in the article that the incident generated hundreds of comments on the EvansvilleWatch Facebook page. As of July 31, the post had generated 444 comments and 566 shares.
Some commenters were quick to point a finger at Ollie Page.
In September 2017 Page drove a Chevy S-10 pickup out onto the sandbar. Page claimed he was able to drive on water after replacing the air in his tires with helium. He told a local TV news reporter that he put 110 pounds pressure in the front tires and 90 pounds in the rear. Valuable information for anyone who might want to duplicate his feat. You probably should allow higher pressure for a full-size pickup. Or camper.
Seems that Page might have been blowing a lot of hot air.
According to a post on Ask Zephyr, an online feature presented by Zephyr Solutions, a supplier of helium and other gases: “Helium balloons ‘float’ because the thin shells (whether latex or mylar) that hold the helium are light enough that they don’t disrupt the buoyancy of helium. Tires on the other hand, are crazy heavy.”
A tire filled with helium would sink to the bottom of the river, let alone a whole truck, Zephyr went on to say.
Some commenters cited the TV show Breaking Bad in which the main characters, Walter and Jesse, cooked meth in an RV parked out in the desert.
“Just your local chemistry teacher and their former student cookin‘ up out there,” frequent commenter Derek York posted.
Apparently, the sandbar has a history of attracting pranksters.
“Does anyone remember the grand piano that was left there years ago?” Melinda Decorrevont asked.
Perhaps that was meant to be a twist on the dueling banjos scene in the film “Deliverance.”
Here are a few more choice comments from the EvansvilleWatch Facebook page:
From Sarah Reynolds, “Somebody won that bet.”
In a similar vein, Michael G. Folsom said, “Hold my beer.”
Then there was this from Steve Gregory: “Now I’m worried about that Airbnb reservation I made.”
And one of my favorite comments, from Lacey Hernandez-Mixtega: “Plenty of room for a Dollar General next door!”
In a follow-up article in the Evansville Courier & News dated July 28, Roy Couture reported that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had located the owner of the camper. However the Corps spokesperson would not provide a name. Too bad. What a great interview that would have made.
If I were to try to track down the owner without having a name to go on, I’d start with local divorce records.
That just might be the story behind the marooned camper. A couple split up. She got the house; he got the camper. Then he took too long getting it out of her driveway.
This originally was published as one of my weekly outdoors columns in the Ashland Times-Gazette and elsewhere.