View Single Post
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 04-07-2014, 10:44 AM
Tom Schiffer Tom Schiffer is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: On Flintlock Farm on Gunpowder Road in Boone County, Kentucky
Posts: 777

Sigh! AJ, Judy, Dale, Pat and Dan...I've posted part of this before. Can't say it was the first time I saw her...I was fascinated by the Greene Line Wharf and the boats often moored there...but in the mid 1950s the AVALON was there loading from the Public Landing. A succession of oil trucks came down the landing and discharged their load into the Avalon's tanks. Then she started loading for Coney Island. I had neither the time or the money to join them, but did stay to see them off. Those three big whistles blended their tones to send their message to the far reaches of the valley, echoed off the buildings in town and lifted the hairs on the back of my neck! The stage was raised and she was put in reverse and nothing happened! Nothing but the churning up of the bottom of the river and sending waves crashing on the landing...and the smell of the river bottom...then much more noisome than now. Rudders were cut one way and another but to no avail...her stem was hard down on the bottom. Finally, a little fellow, (Doc Hawley?) herded all the pax aft and she floated free. Again, that BIG whistle and off she went. Like Pat, my most memorable trip was to Cincy from Louisville to attend Tall Stacks. During 2005, under Chief McCoy, Bruce Babcock recruited a group of steam engineers to give the BELLE an "EKG". Among the group were Keith engineer from Cummins Diesel and myself...being a licensed steam engineer in Ohio. Kenny Howe and Alan Bates were an integral part of the "home team". I could tell from the sound of the exhaust that SOMETHING was wrong...the port engine exhaust did not sound the same as the starboard least one of them had to be wrong and the indicator cards confirmed it. I understand that work on the poppet valves that winter helped oil consumption if not speed. To get a more protracted reading, we did it going to Tall Stacks in October of 2006. Keith brought his lap top to read and record the pressures and since his GPS would not read in the engine room, somebody had to take it to the pilot house. Sigh, I had to do it...communicating with Keith in the engine room via two-way radio! Kevin Mullen was Master and Bill Ray was pilot and I sat the Lazy Bench. And, yes, pilot house chatter has lost little, if any, of its savor, range of topics and learned opinions on sex, steamboat collisions and other calamities since Mark Twain laid down his pen! Unlike Judy, I know where my photos of the event are and, given time and encouragement, may post them. One of the very real plusses of the BELLE was meeting and getting to know all of the above named and many more of you reading this...including our web master and Carman. In the mid fifties, when I first saw the AVELON, I never thought I would have my own steamer and many of you would join me in enjoying it. Cap'n Walnut.
Reply With Quote