Yesterday was may last day of work in, uh, beautiful downtown Charleston WV. On the drive home to Huntington, I stayed off the interstate where half the drivers want to get from here to there yesterday and instead took U.S. 60, in part because part of it follows the Kanawha River. There are only a few places to get decent views of boats on the Kanawha, and fewer still to pull over and get a photo or two of one.
That was what happened when I saw the Juanita coming toward me. Up the river a bit, I wondered where she was, as she was not docked at the place I normally see her. But as I neared the strip plaza section of St. Albans, I saw her coming. With traffic the way it was and with how the road was designed there, I couldn't pull off until we had passed one another.
I first encountered the Juanita when she was still a workboat for AEP at Lakin, WV. They still used here there to push around a barge or two and do other work suited for a dinner bucket boat, as they called here. The pilothouse was heated by a potbellied stove. The deckhand was a man by the name of Worthy Love, I think. I was there doing a story on working sternwheelers for the Huntington newspaper, and the photographer gave me a photo of Mr. Love posing on his boat. I may have that photo still in my big storage bin of river stuff, buried deep in my basement.
A few years ago I got to step aboard the Juanita again at the river festival they have each year in Point Pleasant WV on Labor Day weekend. He owner, Tom Cook, gave me a tour of the boat and talked about this and that and the other thing. And I got a few good pictures of her, too.
Here's one. Here's another.
If I'm lucky, I'll see her again this summer, when the hills are green and provide a much better background. Or before. You never know.