You don't forget the first time you drove a car, the first time someone let you take the controls of a single-engine airplane, and you don't forget your first towboat ride.
In my case, the first drive was when I was 16. The guy who owned the small Cessna let me take the controls as we taxied down the runway toward takeoff for a trip over the Ohio River from Portsmouth OH to Huntington WV and back, and the first towboat ride was about the mv. Tri-State, then of Ashland Oil, now of Marathon Petroleum, in May 1980.
After that, I always enjoyed seeing the Tri-State on the Ohio, and nowadays I look for it on the Internet when I'm checking boat locations.
As I said in an earlier post, these are not the "best" boats on the Ohio River. They're my favorites.
Top photo: The Tri-State as it heads up the Ohio River, with Lawrence County OH in the background.
Here, the Tri-State has picked up some loads and heads down river past Kenova WV.
Any picture worth using once is worth using twice. This is the Tri-State in the rain passing under the Silver Memorial Bridge at Point Pleasant WV, with Gallipolis OH in the background.
As best I remember from that 1980 trip, the captain was Jack Allen and the relief pilot was Junior Sizemore, who later moved on to the mv. Ashland. An Ashland Oil p.r. guy (Jim Butler, I think) and I joined the boat that chilly, foggy morning at Neale Island near Parkersburg WV. We locked through Belleville that morning and Racine in the afternoon.
We got to Gallipolis in late afternoon. Those were the days of the old, small locks right there in the bend of the river. The lockmaster was putting through boats in the order of three up and one down. I think we were second in line downbound, so we didn't get into the locks until around midnight, I think.
We made it to South Point OH around 8 or 9 a.m., I think.
That was almost 30 years ago. Wow.