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Franz, Carmen & Leonie on the Ohio

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    Franz, Carmen & Leonie on the Ohio

    Had a great visit with Franz, Carmen and Leonie this afternoon here at Lamb Landing, Ohio River mile 545.9. They had arrived at Dayton, Ohio yesterday (by way of Chicago) visiting with the Fryants and operating some steamboat models. They were in Rabbit Hash this morning, then here at Lamb for a cookout on the riverbank. Leonie enjoyed the American cuisine (roasted marshmallows and hotdogs!). We all took a quick jonboat trip out around the fleet for some photos, then went aboard the BARBARA H. The jonboat was necessary to get out to the fleet, as we have some highwater from lots of rain in the upper-Ohio valley. They should be in Louisville now...

    On Thursday evening these august visitors were seen treading the gently trembling decks of the Str. BELLE of LOUISVILLE during her evening dinner trip. Also seen were Vic Canfield, Pat Carr, Barb Hameister, Kieth Norrington, Judy Patsch, Pat Traynor, and T.C. Vasconcelos.

    A good time was had by all!


      Saturday was a real steamboater's day on the Ohio at Louisville. A large contingent of posters/lurkers, S&D members and steamboat buffs and buffettes were on hand for a lovely afternoon cruise on the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE. Franz, Carmen and Leonie of course won the prize for having travelled furthest. After the cruise (where Dave Tschiggfrie and Capt. Greg Menke played the calliope), Dave & Jonathan Tschiggfrie presented their wonderful slide show on the Str. AVALON at the Howard Museum. Some other notables were Capts. Jim Blum and Don Sanders, Ann Zeiger and Chief Kenny Howe. The list goes on, and a great time was had by all. For all who could not make it, we missed you and you missed a great steamboting day!


        A congenial group of 66 attended the fine presentation on the history of the steamer IDLEWILD/AVALON by Dubuque's dynamic father/son steamboat buff duo David and Jonathan Tschiggfrie. Despite the very warm day and the fact that the 1880's carriage house (where members of the family resided during the four year construction of the mansion) of the Howard Steamboat Museum is NOT air conditioned, everyone greatly enjoyed the event.

        A special whistle salute of THANKS to Dave and Jonathan for presenting this excellent program; to Judy Patsch for supplying a "ton" of her delicious cookies (chocolate chip, oatmeal and peanut butter) and for serving refreshments; to Jo Ann Schoen for providing plates of her delectable fudge; and to museum stalwarts Yvonne Knight (our affable, able administrator), Janice Molnar, Shawn Turner, Aastik (our summer intern from the Rivers Institute at Hanover College -- he's from Nepal and said he was delighted to meet so many "steamboat FANATICS"!) and other volunteers who assisted in ways great and small. For a museum which runs on an extremely tight shoestring budget, we are very proud of our programs/events which we could not possibly sponsor without the enthusiasm and hard work of our small but mighty staff, plus the dedicated volunteers and members who unfailingly roll up their sleeves and "pitch in" to make it happen -- and who do it with style and gracious hospitality.

        I especially wish to express my THANKS to EVERYBODY who attended the program (and contributed generously to the donation jar!) and who also enjoyed the cruise(s) on the BELLE with the terrific red carpet southern hospitality of Capts. Kevin Mullen, Bill Ray, Jamie Donohue, Mark Doty, Chiefs Jim McCoy, Steve Mattingly, Kenny Howe and all the other steamboaters too numerous to mention. On Friday afternoon's BELLE cruise we were excited and happy to meet a gentleman from St. Louis whose grandfather had been an engineer on the IDLEWILD and who shared with us one of his grandpa's detailed logs from his time on the boat. Truly, people on the river are happy to give!

        Lots of fine "river people", including past and present passengers, officers and crew members of the IDLEWILD/AVALON/BELLE were on hand to reminisce, adding much to the enjoyment of the day. The iron brig from the boat, and a pilothouse nameboard from the AVALON (colorfully painted 40+ years ago by Capt. Doc Hawley) provided some unique "photo ops" . Also enjoyed was the display of memorabilia from the boat, which included photos, posters, tickets and souvenir items. Many were pleased to receive authentic advertising passes from the AVALON, which were given away as a memento of the occasion.

        And, of course, it goes without saying that a special treat of this gathering was having Franz, Carmen and Leonie with us! It was a pleasant day of steamboat fun and fellowship and we'll look forward to seeing everybody "on deck" at the next offering in the "River Ramblings" progam series, which will be announced when I have worked out the arrangements. Have a safe, happy Fourth of July holiday and, as my beloved steamboat mentor Ruth Ferris always closed her letters, "Keep up steam!" Curator Keith
        Last edited by Keith Norrington; 07-07-2006, 09:27 AM.


          When I asked Carmen what they had done since arriving last Sunday, it was a veritable list of who's who on the Ohio whom they had visited! In addition to those people Steve already mentioned, our Munich Munchkin and parents had taken the Belle of Cincinnati trip, visited with Richard and Mary Stewart at the Chilo Museum(great to hear that Mary was able to accompany them to the museum), and visited Capts. Bill and Darlene Judd. They truly don't miss a thing nor waste a moment while on their US vacations. Sunday morning they were breakfasting with Alan and Rita Bates. Next up for them is the MQ UMR trip, during which they hope to ride the JBS for the first time too. As to the Howard Museum weekend, it was truly the hottest ticket in town, literally! But everyone survived the heat of the day and had a wonderful and informative time. While the Howard doesn't have the money or the bigtime image of the Dubuque museum, it truly is the Little Museum that Could... and does! They have a very forward looking board, a dynamo director in Yvonne, and of course Mr. Do it All in Keith. It was a pleasure to be part of those festivities. Several of us managed 4 trips on the Belle from Thursday through Saturday, and their usual hospitality was present. What a strange feeling to be watching those historic photos at the museum, and later some extra footage at the gathering at my hotel suite, and to realize we had been riding that very same boat that day yet! Its also a bit unnerving to be watching those historic scenes and know you were part of them, making you an historic item too! My room afforded a view of the river, so I was able to end the weekend watching the Belle return from her moonlight charter...that 55 year old memory of watching the lights get bigger and bigger as she approached was repeated... Many of the weekend's participants went on Jim Reising's boat Sunday, and I'm sure we'll hear about that soon too. All in all, it was a wonderful time with honest to goodness river people and a real steamboat. We may not be affluent financially, but we are affluent travelers through steamboat history and river fellowship...


            Judy, My, oh My! Wish you had been able to stay over one more day for the WONDERFUL trip we had on JIM'S DREAM Sunday. It might have been hotter than a firecracker, but with a breeze every once in a while and the nice hospitality we had on Jim's boat again this year, we made memories that will last forever! Fun and friendship abounded. We keep wondering on Jim and Kenny will top last year and yet they always seem to be able to do just that. We left Captain's Quarters Marina promptly at 11:00 with whistle salutes from several boats including the BELLE of LOUISVILLE and the DELTA QUEEN thanks to the thoughtfulness of Travis in bringing a keyboard along. Besides the whistle salutes that sound like steam whistles he has mastered on it, we had a departing caliope concert - just like on the big boats! After a leisurely trip up river to Rose Island - with several pilots at the wheel - including that cute little Munich Munchkin, we put off a landing party to explore the old Rose Island/Fern Grove area. They came back to the Mother Ship within a short time with no artifacts, nor did they see any dangerous wildlife. Hope they didn't get into too much poison ivy. Rose Island had been washed away in the 1937 flood and there is nothing much to see except a pile of rocks now and then and the old swimming pool that looked like something out of a horror movie. This is my judgement from the pictures that were taken by the landing party and later viewed on a lap top computer on the way back downriver. (How about today's technology)! I personally was not part of the landing party and stayed on the mother ship to partake of the first seating luncheon, so ably planned and executed by Kenny and Jim. We had a very satisfying lunch of fried chicken, slaw, potato salad and a few no bake cookies that were left over from the wonderful presentation at the Howard Steamboat Museum the day before. With the help of a pretty fast current we were back at the Captain's Quarters by 4:00. Travis provided us with another concert as we were coming into the marina and we had applause from those on shore. Everyone was a little tired, hot and sunburnt, but can't wait to see what Jim and Kenny can dream up for next year. When the call comes out for reservations you better get your name in the hat VERY early, because it is a trip not to be missed. What a GREAT way to spend a typical 4th of July weekend! Jim, Kenny and Carolyn, thank you all so much for another wonderful memorable day!


              Thanks too for giving those of us who couldn't join an update. It sounds like it was a grand time had by all : ) Wow!

              I don't know if Ambassador truly understands or appreciates the friendships we have all managed to form by having both the steamboats to enjoy and the Internet to share our adventures. Thanks Franz and Carmen for making this forum possible.

              People who cruise on big cruise ships also form friendships but I don't think it has the same flavor as those steamboat river rats.

              Enjoy the 4th of July fireworks: )



                Weekend Steamboat Blast!

                T'was ever bit as much fun as it sounded. What a steamboat weekend! The Boys from Dubuque made the history of the Steamer AVALON come alive and even brought back "Cap", but for a little while. It was stirring to hear his booming voice once more. Later that evening, over in Judy's room where Dave and Jon were showing old AVALON and DQ home movies, I was stunned when the Big E commanded, "Pick up the stage about a foot, Don." Nearly lost my composure on that one.

                Thanks to Jim, Cap'n Walnut and brother, for furnishing the three boats. I was hoping to ride the MISSIE back down, but the heat did me in by that time, and I was hogging the fan inside the DREAM's forward cabin lounge when the tiny steamer pulled away.

                "Cap'n" Leonie is a natural pilot and gracious ambassador of good will. She's every bit as swell as I heard she was. What a treat to see so many old friends again: Bob and Sharon Reynolds and their fine boys; Capt. Jim Blum and Chief Kenny P. Howe, Jr., Cap'ns Alan Bates; Kevin Mullen, & Bill Ray from the BELLE; Judy, Travis, Keith, Barb H., Mary Bill, and all the other river rats to numerous to name.

                Gosh, my head is still spinning, and it's not all from the heat. What a great weekend! Thanks to all who made it possible.


                  Did we mention that Rabbit Hash was closed up tight Saturday due to almost the entire population being down on the Belle??? And one steamboater/poster we keep forgetting to mention who attended was Grind with the Wind Ted Guillaum. It truly was a 'sacred' experience for those of us lucky to know Capt. Wagner, either by working with him or riding as a passenger on his boats, to view and hear those movies of Fish Fry's. Shipyard has modestly left out how much 'inside crew info' he was able to add to the showing, being one of Cap's early deck crew... you know, if Dave hasn't already started it, he should put together a book on the Big E, maybe some of it could be submitted remembrances from us. If anyone isn't familiar with it, Jane Curry's book, The River's in my Blood, has a feature chapter on Capt. Wagner, well worth anyone's time to read too...


                    Sam: The trip back down was more fun on MISSIE than the trip up...back down the Kentucky side. I think that I could have found a way to cool you off with a bit of spray now and then. MISSIE and I got the once-over from the Coast Guard Aux. Leonie, Kenny, Jim and Keith got to be "double enders" on MISSIE...Munich Munchkin before we went up river and the rest after. MISSIE logged 26.9 miles...12 plus miles up to Rose Island and less than six back! She was under steam for 5 hours and 55 minutes. Some current! It took me two and a half hours to get there and an hour to get back! I sent my pix to this site administrator, but rumor control has it that he is currently on vacation somewhere in the New World.


                      Grand Louisville Weekend

                      What a fantastic steamboating weekend was shared by river friends from all over the inland rivers in Louisville! Jonathan and I want to express our deepest appreciation to all who came to watch and listen to the IDLEWILD/AVALON program at the Howard Museum. In spite of temperature, humidity, and a long-winded narrator, we and our program were received graciously and enthusiastically. Thank you all for coming! A big thank you also goes to Keith Norrington, who ably stepped in as the modern-day Betty Blake to promote, plan and make this weekend at Howards possible. To Yvonne, Judy, and all the Museum volunteers, our gratitude for making the afternoon go so smoothly and enjoyably and deliciously. To Capts. Mullen, Donohue, Ray, and Chiefs Howe and Mattingly, the depth of our gratitude for your hospitality on the BELLE knows no bounds! And to so very many dear river friends who made the trek to the Falls City and Jeffersonville, you were the highlight of the weekend for us. If I begin to name names, I know someone will be forgotten, but it was each one of you who made this celebration of the IDLEWILD/AVALON/BELLE an affair to remember. Mark your calendars now: OCTOBER 18, 2014. The BELLE's 100th anniversary. Let's gather then aboard the matron of Western Rivers steamboating. Until next time we see each other, thanks for the memories!