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Date: January 15, 2003 at 14:12:46
From: Judy Patsch, [cache-dq03.proxy.aol.com]
Subject: Re: 1979 Delta Queen Presidential trip Part I


The preparations: Back in '79, the DQ Co. was not doing
very well, largely due to the huge expenses the MQ kept
incurring since her 3 maiden voyages. So many things
had to be fixed or modified, my favorite: the toilets
flushed louder than the whistle blew. So for her first
3 years lots of money was needed to get her up to
speed. So of course, the poor old Delta just kept
paddling along without needed touchups, paint, carpet,
etc. So when Ted mentioned the paint crews, believe us,
she needed it. When the White House contacted the co.
about the President riding, the co. tried to push him
onto the MQ. His response was the DQ or nothing. I was
on board the 2 weeks prior to his cruise and remember
the day the SS walked around the boat in Chester. At
that time, the Mormons had the MQ chartered and word
was it was them looking over the DQ for the next year.
I believe I made a caustic comment or two as they
passed by us lounging on the deck. As Ted said, the
Captain made the announcement that afternoon and it
took a lot to convince us he wasn't kidding. The Master
was Capt. Fred Martin, who had just joined the co. that
summer after retiring from a very high rank in the
Navy. He had been on the MQ for 2 or 3 weeks, and that
was either his first or second week on the DQ. Bob
Reynolds was 1st Mate, pilots were C.S.Ware and Henry
Gross. Charlie Fehlig was brought in to replace Gross
for the Presidential cruise. Those next 9 days were a
madhouse: painting, tearing off the dirty old red
carpet on the stage, cleaning the paddlewheel and
putting in the communications system. I remarked to
Robert Mosier, then the co. Pres. about all the
activity. His answer: "We're just doing a year's worth
of maintenance in a week." Dave Tschiggfrie was summer
watchman/calliope player and his added job was
repainting the trim on the calliope roof fru-fru, or
whatever its called. Ted, weren't the painting crews
civic groups like scouts or something who boarded in
each town? The communications were awesome back in the
pre-cellular age. George (Major George Bafundo), White
House communications chief, supervised and was known to
have a beer or two with us in the Texas. He said this
was a difficult job, but the hardest was the Snake
River rafting trip, with the canyons etc. The secret
stuff was in Bill Kelly's room in the Engine Room, and
room 315 was the main center. As we were leaving
Wabasha upbound toward the bridge, I asked the guy if
the antenna they had just put on the roof would bend.
The answer was no, so I told them it was going to break
off on the bridge, gave the clearance, etc. The guy
pulled himself up onto the roof and disconnected it.
George appeared and asked what he was doing. "She said
it wasn't going to clear the bridge." Nobody in that
highly technical, specialized group had thought about
bridge and wire clearances. So I sat down with them
later and went over the various structures they would
encounter. As we would call home during the trip, we'd
find out they were getting strange calls, of course
from the SS. They checked out everybody who was on the
previous week, in addition to the actual trip's pax and
crew. I guess they thought we might leave a bomb or
something.


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