Friday, December 25, 2020

A new (?) boat joins my list of favorites


With more than a week since it left my area, I have to say the steamer Belle of Louisville is now among my favorite boats on the Ohio River.

It's the oldest remaining true steam-powered sternwheeler still in operation. If and when the Delta Queen returns to action, it, too, will be among my favorites, but when you get to see a boat like the Belle of Louisville up close, it changes things.

I was allowed to be at the Amherst Madison dock at Gallipolis, Ohio, last week to watch the Belle depart after about six weeks of inspections and repairs below the water line.

Here is the boat as seen about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

The weather that day was wet and cold. A few snowflakes mixed in with the rain, which at times was heavier than ideal for photography. But eventually the rain stopped, although the air was still cold.

Here she is five hours later with the M/V Reliant in the background, ready to assist the M/V Nell in taking the Belle a mile or so down the river to meet up with the M/V Buckeye State.

And here, the next morning after at stop at the mouth of the Big Sandy River, is the Buckeye State taking the Belle home to Louisville.

I had wanted to visit Louisville this past summer so I could walk across the Big Four Bridge and see the McAlpine Locks and Dam up close again. The coronavirus and the civil unrest in Louisville put an end to those plans. Maybe this coming summer I can get down there. If I do, I'll need to add a visit of some sort to the Belle of Louisville to my itinerary. She might be worth a trip just for her alone, you know?