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Much ado about very little

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Old 08-17-2011, 08:39 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: On Flintlock Farm on Gunpowder Road in Boone County, Kentucky
Posts: 777
Default Much ado about very little

Yesterday afternoon about 4:30, (actially 5:30; we left the house at 4:30) I with Brother John piloting emerged from Gunpowder Creek in MISS BLUE, my 22' steam launch. At that time the ROBERT A. KNOKE was passing up river with a fair sized loaded tow. Rounding out into the Ohio, the KNOKE was about a hundred yards ahead of us. Having some three, twenty-pound sacks of charcoal left from our Marietta gig last week, I poured on the coal and cracked open the stack draft and opened the throttle. Steam pressure rose from 60 psi to 80; then 100 psi. (relief valve is set at 150). Business picked up and we slowly, ever so slowly, caught up with and passed the tow boat. Not the tow, mind you, just the tow boat. This took about a half-hour at which time the KNOKE was making a one-whistle pass (in silence) of the down-bound RICHARD E. WAUGH. We were moving up river at the blistering pace of 5.8 mph (Garmin GPS) land speed! All was going well until my grates got clogged (this charcoal had lotsa ash) and even increased stack draft could not sustain my fire until I cleaned it. With nearly half my fuel expended, we turned around amidst a glorius sunset. We ran a total of 10.30 miles on three sacks of charcoal. My other steamer, MISSIE, a 20' steam launch, will run about 3 miles on a gallon of propane. Sometimes I'd get over 20 miles on a 20 pound cylinder. Like your car, mileage depends upon how heavy your right foot is. In spite of a fair amount of drift, the river was just fine for cruising and we had a fine time. Wish you coulda been there!
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