I have a seven foot section of a river gauge that was torn loose during the flood of the Schoharie Creek in April 1987 -- a flood that tore down the NY Thruway bridge over the Schoharie.
I found the gauge the next day atop a rubble pile on the bank when we were conducting an AMC test of three canoes on the Blenheim waves: the MR ME vs. the Whitesell Piranha vs. the Blue Hole Sunburst II (which narrowly won).
You can nail this gauge section in a river and then go drive to look at it. That's what we all had do in the 70's and 80's. Drive and go look.
The big technological breakthrough was the cassette tape telephone answering machine. The river spotters driving around the northeast on Thursday and Friday could call a river that had water into the machine. Others could access the answering machine if they had the secret code.
Computer access to river gauges. Bah. Humbug. The next thing you wusses will do is buy "Whitewater - The Video Game" and paddle rivers from your living rooms. BTW, I sell that, too. It comes with a Perception saddle that bucks and pitches in synch with the 3D-Surround Sound river video.
1 Canoe/Kayak Trailer
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