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Motorcycles & Steamboats ??

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Old 08-13-2008, 06:20 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: I presenbtly live in Covington , LA.
Posts: 673
Default Motorcycles & Steamboats ??

Greetings From New Orlean ,
One of the things I remember most from my early days on the Str. Delta Queen and as strange as it may sound , were the presence of a motorcycle (s) on board the boat . I use to sometimes watch in amazement of the sight of Capt. Wagner , and as giant as a man as he was , come riding up the stage on the boat's Honda 90 , which of course was miniture in comparison to him . At the time , a Honda 90 was not that much different in size to a Moped and to see Captain Wagner in a full uniform and officier's hat and with a cigar sticking out of his mouth come roaring up the stage was something that both the crew and passengers just watched in awe . I also remember Capt. Wagner telling me of his motorcycle adventure stories of when in his prime he rode an old Indian motorcycle and would terrorize the back roads of Tennesee . I also remember one early morning in Baton Rouge when Capt. Wagner asked me to go to New Orlenas , on that same Honda 90 , and somehow shang hai , I mean recruit a new deck crew . I spent the better part of that day driving to New Orleans , doing just about 45 mph and just wondering how in blazes would I find anyone that would care to go to work on a river steamboat on a one day notice . Well , the only answer to that question was to go directly to the French Quarter and Bourbon St. and needless to say there was an ample supply of burned out and down on their luck hippies that jumped at the opportunity . Actually , many of them stayed on much longer than any first thought but none of that would have been possible with out that old Honda 90 getting me to the city . Another example of a motorcycle on the boat was Franlin Mile's ( the Chief Steward ) Kawasaki 650 . Franklin just did not have the same visual effect on the passengers and crew and Capt. Wagner did but to see Franklin pop wheelies going down the stage was a sight in and of itself . Not to be out done , Capt. Wagner soon allowed me to bring my own bike on board and for quite some time at that . At the time I owned a Honda 450 and not only did it serve me well when the boat was in a town but I was also able to ride it back and forth to New Orleans when my vacations would come up . It was great having a motorcycle on the boat not only from the standpoint of having a means of transportation but more importantly at that age when we are ALL imortal and invincible , I remember the rides into the different river towns either with or without a female companion . On one very very rememberable night , after the boat had nosed into Six Mile Point ( Audobon Park ) just above New Orleans , I and a certain purser rode off the stage and into the New Orleans night and did not return until early daylight , just in time to raise the stage and steam into New Orleans . Yes , as strange as it may sound , during those early days on the Delta Queen , a motorcycle was not uncommon to see on the bow of the boat and those memories of Capt. Wagner straddling that little Honda 90 was something that you would have to see to believe . Those were really really good times that will probably either for the good or bad , never make it into a Log Book !
Smoothe Sailing !
Ted Davisson
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