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Follow the DQ to Chattanooga

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    Update from the River

    Here is an update from my friend.

    A couple more photos for you. The first is approaching Preston Island, where we have a summer cabin, halfway between Guntersville and Scottsboro. The second is from the Sportsman's pier at the end of my street, about three blocks from my house in Scottsboro. And the third is passing under the B.B. Comer bridge at Scottsboro. The Comer bridge is the last remaining of 15 memorial bridges constructed by the Alabama Bridge Company in the late 1920's. A replacement bridge is being built and when completed, the old Comer bridge will come down.

    As you can see, the weather today has been overcast making the overall scene rather uninspiring, but having to shoot from the north side of the river at least it wasn't badly backlit.

    I gave up the chase at the Comer bridge.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Wesley Paulson; 02-10-2009, 12:47 PM. Reason: Corrected Pictures


      In that last picture, it looks like she barely made it under. What's the DQ's air clearance with stack and stern flagpole down?


        It used to be 52'10", but that new hull added a couple of feet. I'd guess about 55 or 56. And of course she's not really loaded down on this trip...


          DQ Clearances

          The clearance in that photo reminds of a tale in Miss Letha's book. I think the DQ was headed to Madri Gras on a flood stage. When she went under one bridge the mate reported "you'd get a $1 bill in there (between the stack and the bottom of the bridge), but a $5 bill wouldn't fit!"



            The DQ left the Nickajack Lock at 5pm CST.

            From this article:

            Chattanooga Welcomes The Arrival of the Delta Queen | WDEF News 12 | News, Weather and Sports for Chattanooga and the Tennessee Valley

   sounds like the DQ is stopping for the evening somewhere in Nickajack Pool. In the morning she will make her way to Ross' Landing on the south shore of Chattanooga by 1pm EST

            Anyone know of a good webcam with a view of this?

            Maybe these guys will have a live camera going for the event.
            WDEF News 12 | News, Weather and Sports for Chattanooga and the Tennessee Valley


              A Few More

              Another set of photos and some commentary from my friend Alan Maples in Alabama.

              Two more; the first shows the DQ earlier this morning about to pass under the highway 431 bridge at Guntersville. The second, just for fun, is Cincinnati steamboat enthusiast John Weise and his Delta Q-mobile; I encountered John near the Comer Bridge where he had already staked out a much better location than I had originally planned.

              This was an interesting morning. While I am not "into" boats as some people are, I have fond memories of watching the DQ pass our cabin, calliope playing. And it is steam, and grand American history too. A voyage on the DQ was always on my "someday" list. I never made it, although I did book passage on the SS Badger across Lake Michigan two summers ago.

              One thing that has struck me is how little some things have changed about riverboats. We are all used to almost instantaneous information in the electronic age, yet the DQ has proved elusive, vanishing from sight for hours on end. It really is a throwback, not only in terms of technology, but to a whole different way of life too. I tried to second guess the boat's schedule all weekend, hoping that it would pass by me in daylight. When I saw it reported through Wheeler, I calculated it would make Guntersville Lock before dawn if going straight through, and more towards evening if they were stopping in Decatur. I was up very early with no new information as to the DQ's whereabouts. I was betting on a Decatur stop. I did a google news search and caught an item in the Huntsville paper reporting the boat by Ditto Landing in the wee hours. Ditto is not far downstream from Guntersville. If that were true, I had to get moving and quick. I hustled out the door at 5:30 am and drove forty minutes to the lock. The last couple of miles were down a deserted two lane road in the darkness. Then suddenly the lights at the lock, and there she was, warmly illuminated; magnificent. Five minutes later and I would have missed her and not known which way to go. I didn't realize that you could no longer go out to the lock itself. The homeland security bit is getting out of hand. But never mind, I was lucky to be there at the right moment, lucky to see her, and lucky to be there in the dark so I could appreciate how grand she looked, all lit up. That I will long remember.

              Don't know that I took a moment to say thanks, but I would not have been chasing a steamboat this morning if you hadn't posted news of her trip on rypn. Without your heads up I would have learned of her passage only after the fact. Your links to proved interesting and informative. I go to Chattanooga on a regular basis to volunteer at TVRM so I'll keep an eye on her for you.

              Attached Files


                Update on the DQ arrival into Chattanooga Wednesday

                She has tied up above Nickajack Lock for the night. Her entrance into the rainy city front is scheduled for 1 PM. Apparently some media are boarding in the morning to ride in, necessitating the removal of nonessential crew to keep the number on board satisfactory to the CG. Also apparently, after the arrival at the city front and the disembarking of the media, there will be a short harbor trip for invited guests. After that returns, she goes up to the hotel landing spot.


                  Talking about clearances I for one have jumped off the Pilot houses of both the MQ and DQ more than once because of bridge clearamce. They used to make us use a pole to guage it and a few times it was a bit too close for comfort. I've probably touched the underside of about every bridge on the UMR.


                    The Chattanooga Times Free Press today has a great slide show of the DELTA QUEEN, which includes a dandy photo of our own Jo Ann Schoen polishing brass on a cabin door.

                    Go to to see the QUEEN in all her resplendent glory!


                      Here is the link to the excellent pictures at Chattanooga Times Free Press.

                      If you hover your mouse over the picture you will be able to read the caption on the photos. Click the "2 vertical bars" in the bottom right to stop the slideshow so you can get a longer look at the photos and have time to read the captions.

                      Chattanooga Times Free Press |

                      The last picture is worthy of an award.


                        DQ arrives in Chattanooga right now

                        The DQ is just arriving in Chattanooga. I caught her on a webcam.

                        Attached Files


                          I went to Chattanooga and photographed the DQ on her approach to the city. You can see these photos at There were to be photos taken from the "Fat Cat" owned by Harry Phillips who, as you know, is responsible for the DQ going to Chattanooga. Alas, as you steamboaters know, things don't always go as planned. After loading as many guests as the Coast Guard would allow, there were tornado warnings in the area and Eric's and my plans to circle the DQ and shoot from the Fat Cat were cancelled. At the suggestion of the weather channel, I headed for cover, at the nearest bar of course, and waited for the storm to blow over. When I returned to the riverfront, the sun was shining. I couldn't see any passengers thru the windows, so I assumed their trip had been cancelled. I did manage to capture photos of the DQ leaving the riverfront and eventually tying up to her new home in front of Coolidge Park. She looks good there and I really feel that she will be well taken care of.