Monday, May 19, 2008

Moving day…….

Saturday, May 3rd, was Hank’s birthday – 69 years old! We were going to get him a $69.00 bottle of scotch, but Ron told us to just get him a bottle of “Two Buck Chuck” and keep the remaining $67.00 for ourselves. So that’s what we did! We gave Hank a bottle of Two Buck Chuck and a picture of a $69.00 bottle of scotch with an appropriate explanation. Too bad nobody captured that on film!

Saturday was windier than all get out but Sunday couldn’t have been a more perfect day for boating. We pulled out of Smugglers about 11:00 and waved goodbye to our friends that were there to see us off – notice Hank is not there….

Chris, Dan and Haley came back from Pier 99 (they had moved Friday) to see us off.

Ellen, Jim and Wes wave good-bye...............

Nancy Allen waved from the parking lot..........

Aqua Therapy pulled out ahead of us...........

as we left Dan's/Smuggler's - our home for the last 16 years!

These are the only pictures I took. Instead of taking pictures, we just enjoyed the heck out of the ride to Lighthouse on our new boat. It ran soooooooooooo good and we couldn’t believe how smoothly it went from 9 mph to 16 mph – awesome! I’m thinking the price of gas will keep us travelling at about 9 mph for awhile. When we arrived at Lighthouse some folks asked for a tour of our new Gibson. They loved it! One woman commented that she and her husband had looked at some Gibsons before buying their Jefferson and “never saw any Gibson’s with a galley like that”! They were really impressed. That made me smile because when Keith and I were looking at boats before we bought our Gibson, we looked at a Jefferson we said that if we couldn’t get a Gibson, we would settle for a Jefferson. No offense intended to all the Jefferson owners, we were just kidding, but we really do love our Gibsons!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Flowers on the Gibson…

I received these flowers this past week from some of my co-workers and thought it would be nice to have them on the boat for the weekend rather than leaving them at home with the kids – who would just munch on them (our kids/our cats).

The last time we had flowers on the Gibson we ended up with our picture in the Cincinnati Enquirer. It was Sunday, the last day of the Tall Stacks celebration in 1999 and we had been at the Mike Fink for the week enjoying the festivities. Our neighbors came to our boat Saturday evening for dinner and to watch the boat parade. I remember the boat parade was incredible with many of the boats decorated to celebrate the new millennium. Anyway, our neighbor brought us the most beautiful flowers cut from her own garden. They really were striking and Sunday afternoon they caught the eye of a reporter from the Cincinnati Enquirer. He wanted to take a picture of Keith and me on the front of the boat with the flowers. Keith and I really didn’t want our picture taken. Well, he took the picture without us knowing and the picture ended up having a lot more to it than just some flowers and Keith and I – we weren’t even on the boat! Luckily it was in black and white so unless you knew what we were up to, you couldn’t make out the bright red gas cans Keith was carrying. Nonetheless, Dan and Marsha put the picture up in the marina store and even though it was never our practice to bring fuel to our boat vs. stopping at the gas dock, we sure caught a lot of grief over that picture. So since then, anytime I had flowers for the boat, I put them inside!

This past Saturday the weather was beautiful. It seems that we haven’t been able to get the sunny, dry weather to last beyond Thursday/Friday each week. So even though it was quite breezy, we took Cotton Jenny III out for a ride to the end-of –the world (Sugar Bay).

Used to be when the Gibson started up, people on the dock could hear it and knew it was time for a ride. This one’s a little quieter so I had to go round everyone up when we were ready to go. Hank, Sally and Wes had found a shady spot to sit while waiting for me to come and get them.

Wes, Sally, Lee and Alex found spots to sit on the front of the boat.

Hank was on the bridge with Keith.

Cathy “Steg” says “HI”

You can see that the river has really cleared up nicely after all the rain and near flooding we had a couple of weeks ago.

Alex showed Wes how to use the digital camera -

- we weren't going to include any of the shots with his finger over the lens, but then decided, what the heck.

When we turned around to head back to the marina – boy oh boy was it windy. Everybody went inside, except for me and the captain (Keith). The swells were about 2 -3 feet, but the new boat took them beautifully.
Keith looks pretty comfortable running the new boat.

I’m not really sure how this happened - usually I’m the one running the boat……… Judging by how comfortable he looks, it looks like this Mate’s going to have to over-throw the Captain. Arrrrrgh – I’ll use me good eye!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Don’t worry, Scott!

This is going to be a brief blog entry, but wanted to make sure to get something posted so that Scott wouldn’t worry about us. At the Louisville Houseboat Show this past weekend, Scott Bachman (Wahoo Marine) told me he had been seeing our frequent blog entries and then noticed how they rather abruptly stopped when we had that really heavy snow/blizzard last weekend. They (Wahoo) actually called us to see if we (Keith, Cotton Jenny III and I) were ok. Very thoughtful of them – so thought I’d better keep the postings going!

Speaking of the Houseboat Show……

Could this be the Lefty Loosey II?

Chris sure looks happy… and Dan sure looks poor… sorry, Dan, there’ll be no more beer money for you!

Chris told us that the Lefty Loosey was a boatshow boat – so was our Cotton Jenny II.

Actually Scott told us that this brand new 59’ Gibson was custom built for a couple planning to take the next two years living on the boat and travelling the loop – yes, Ron, more crazy loopers! The boat is awesome – far too many details to mention here – a few: stainless steel rails, the hard top over the back deck, a super roomy engine room, Yanmar diesels, and many many more that I just can’t remember. Oh, Dan Hamblin did point out that it had the same storage compartments that we have on our boat (the washer and dryer). That Dan is HILARIOUS! Anyway, we had a nice time at the boat show. The Gibson folks and Wahoo folks were soooooooo nice and Scott’s dad took quite a bit of time to go over things about our boat and answer a lot of Keith’s questions.

It’s baaaaaack!

Well, for months the ladies on our dock have been squabbling and arguing about who would get to keep Ron’s picture – even though Ron had said he really didn’t like us fighting over him.

As you can see…. I LOST!!!! Sunday morning, I think Lee told Henry to have the car running and ready to go, then she snuck down to our boat and deposited the picture on our front deck, then sprinted off the dock and made her quick escape back to Indy.

Oh well, when Ron gave me the picture he told me that whenever I was feeling bad from the chemotherapy that I should just look at that picture and say, “at least I’m not feeling or looking that bad!” – and that’s what I did. Then when I was done with my chemo, we put the picture in the front window of the Cotton Jenny II, where it served us well as a cheap security system – not once was our boat bothered by any ne’re do wells. So I guess the picture has found a permanent home on Cotton Jenny III next to the bottle of Makers – somehow seems appropriate.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Bye Bye BirdandI

Well here’s the BirdandI in her slip where she’s been the toast of 4 Seasons for almost ten years

Is that crazy? It’s hard to believe that it was almost ten years ago when Keith and I had such a great time bringing this magnificent boat up from Louisville when Roy and Carolyn bought her. We still are amazed at how quick we made that trip – I think we had to wait to lock through at Markland longer than it took to get there from Louisville! This past Sunday, 3/2/08, we set off for another trip with them – going back to Pluckebaum/Louisville to turn BirdandI over to her new owners. Anyone who has enjoyed Roy and Carolyn’s hospitality on this boat – and they really are the king and queen of hospitality – will miss it’s beautiful, spacious, welcoming atmosphere. It may be necessary for someone else to pick up the “hospitality” slack while Roy and Carolyn look for another boat. Does anyone know anyone with a good sized boat – maybe 50’?? Hmmmmmmmm. Well, I know we all hope Roy and Carolyn find something quickly!

The new owners are the McBrides – Wayne and Gail. They made the trip with us back to Louisville. That is Wayne standing on the dock admiring his new boat and that is Jamie Donahue (Pluckebaum) taking one of the lines off the boat. The McBrides are very nice – if you’ve seen the McBride towboats at Louisville, i.e. the Susan McBride, these are the same McBrides. Gail told me that yes, there is a Gail McBride tow.

Hi, Wes and Sally! They have a birds-eye view of anything happening on the river from just about Covington to Coney Island. We chatted with Wes when we pulled out of Four Seasons.

We wanted to take a picture of the Mike Fink, but it’s not there! The riverboat left Saturday, 2/23/08, to be pushed up the Ohio River – I believe by the Belle of Cincinnati and the Shirley B – 162 miles to the town of South Point. I think it was supposed to leave earlier, but they had to wait for the river to go down so the stacks would go under the bridges. Keith and I had hoped to catch a glimpse of the flotilla going up river but must have just missed it. However, nothing gets past Wesley and I believe he got some pictures that maybe he will share with us. I read a report that the crew had at least one little complication on the way when a tree floating in the river busted through the dining barge’s window and then up through the roof! The report said that the crew stopped and quickly got the situation under control. This crew (me) would have taken a Xanax, grabbed her purse and life jacket and made ready for a quick swim to shore! We all know about my nerves of steel.

A few facts about the Mike Fink: the 72-year-old, 200’ riverboat was christened the John W. Hubbard and started its career as a tow boat on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, pushing coal and oil barges. It was sold in 1947 to the Ohio River Co. and 3 years later took the name Charles Dorrance. Three owners later, the late Capt. John L. Beatty, in 1960, renamed it the Mike Fink – for hard-drinking, brawling riverboaters – and it has been in Covington since the mid-1960s. All of us that have spent Labor Day weekend there have certainly seen our share of hard-drinking – and sometimes brawling – riverboaters! Bernsteins took over the boat in 1977 and have operated the restaurant since then. The Mike Fink no longer has its steam engine and has had the same hull since 1965.

Anyway, the riverboat is supposed to be back in Covington in about a month or two, then get renovated inside and outside, and hopefully be open in time for the Labor Day fireworks!

This is PBS – Paul Brown Stadium – home to my beloved Bengals! Well, part time home – they also are known to spend time at the Hamilton County Justice Center! All my Bengals – I still love ‘em! WHO DEY!!! I took my Bengal slippers along with me to wear on the boat ride to Louisville.

The batteries died on the camera so we weren’t able to take any pictures for awhile. Then Carolyn found some batteries in her “junk” drawer on the boat and Keith was able to snap the picture (below) of me as we were getting ready to lock thru. This was after I had some chocolate cake….. locking thru makes me a little nervous and there was a small problem with the throttles on the boat at Warsaw, so while Keith took the helm, and Roy and Wayne went to the engine room to troubleshoot, and Carolyn was getting her lines ready, I went and got myself a big piece of chocolate cake. Later on I asked Keith if he saw me eat that cake and he said yes he saw me wolf it down and thought to himself that his baby wasn’t going over the dam with an empty belly! Anyway, while in the picture below it may look like I’m going to do something important as we lock thru, I was just getting ready to hand the boat hook off to Keith before I took a seat on the couch while everyone else did all the work.

When we left Four Seasons, we had to break through a skim of ice in the marina. When we got to Louisville as the sun was setting, we were sitting on the bow – it was that nice outside! It was a really BEAUTIFUL trip and it was so nice boating with Roy and Carolyn again.

It was after dark when we got the BirdandI tied up and got ready to head back to Cincinnati. We went on up to the car and left Roy and Carolyn to wish Wayne and Gail as much happiness on the BirdandI as they had had over the years. Keith snapped this shot of the BirdandI in the slip at Rose Island as we were leaving, unfortunately, because it was so dark, the picture isn’t the best. But you can see enough to make out what a beautiful boat it is. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, another worthy vessel recently turned over to new owners/new adventures.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Have you seen her

For those of you who have not yet seen our new boat, we’ve included some pictures below.

One Saturday around Christmas, Keith made a trip to the boat without me and snapped some pictures. Now, anyone who knows Keith knows that he can take a picture with an automatic camera, of a cat sound asleep and still manage to blur it! But he didn’t do too bad. But the pics were winter shots so we had heaters around, things in the sink that normally would be in put away, towels keeping the refrigerator propped open, and throw rugs scattered around. My nephew, Aaron, saw the picture of the messy galley and made a comment that it reminded him a little of some foreclosed property he had looked at! THAT HURT! He was just kidding.

Anyway, we did a little straightening up and took some new pictures of the inside – the outside is a little dirty right now and I think we’ll wait for a little warmer weather to get those shots.

Here’s some shots of the Cotton Jenny III for those who have not seen her.

Starting at the front: the lower head:

This is the cuddy – aka Joe and Ellen’s room. We always loved the cuddy on the old boat, this one is even nicer – a little bigger and a lot brighter! Joe and Ellen will love it – I just need to show them how to make up the beds…..

This is the front salon – very comfortable. The Maker’s was my idea - sweet.

See that lamp on the front console? Well, one afternoon I was saying I couldn’t decide whether or not to put a lamp there – didn’t want it to be too cluttered. Lee suggested that we try one from her boat there for awhile before going out and buying one. Well, it was unanimous – not only did we need a lamp there, but we needed Lee’s lamp there. After everyone kept saying how perfectly that lamp matched the shades, etc., Lee graciously offered it up to us as a boat warming gift. We’re really going to miss Lee when we move to Lighthouse.

This is our nice big galley….

and dining area complete with our Tall Stacks/American Queen picture!

Here’s our stateroom – Keith has his closet and I have mine – excellent!

And our head – it has a tub!!!! Hank says Lee is going to want to come down and take a bubble bath – I think we will let her because it’s the least we can do after she gave us that great lamp!

So that’s the nickel/blog tour of the inside of our new boat. I don’t think the pictures really do her justice, though, so you probably just need to come visit and see for yourself!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Winter weekends on the boat:

On February 1st we received a call from Larry Kerkhoff at Smugglers to tell us not to be alarmed when we came down to our boat for the weekend - there had been some ice and wind damage to the docks. In spite of the warning, we were actually very surprised when we saw the damage. Spud poles on our dock were leaned over …..

and many of the fingers on that side of the dock were buckled…….

A lot of the boaters on our dock came down that weekend to check things out and there was a lot of talk about whether or not our boats should be moved, etc. But the lake was frozen and the insurance company was coming that Monday and Larry was going to start making some immediate repairs, so everyone decided to let their boats stay put for the time.

Keith and I and Hank and Lee again spent that weekend on our boats. We had dinner together on our boat and enjoyed the evening – but the whole damaged dock thing, had us a little stressed out as you can see.

Ok, I guess we weren’t really that stressed! Hank was able to take a phone call from Ron and Teana and Lee and I were able to balance drinks on our heads! I couldn’t decide whether to put my glass or the Maker’s bottle on my head – I was afraid people would get me confused with Lori on Ron and Teana’s blog – but I did the bottle anyway. I think Lee just missed her mouth and that’s why her glass ended up on her head – just kidding!

The really cold temperatures, ice and snow that we’ve had the last couple of weeks have kept us from spending a couple of weekends on the boat – but we’ll be back as soon as there is a break.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Let’s get it started:

Well, it started in June 2007. Keith and I took a Saturday to go to St. Louis/Wahoo Marine to look at a 47’ Gibson. I fell in love with the boat and I think I even rather boldly told another couple that came on board to look at it that “it was mine.” Anyway, things happened and that boat got away from us. In the mean time, a couple from Cincinnati, Jim and Denise, expressed interest in buying the Cotton Jenny II. Well, I think it was again love at first sight, because when Jim went to look at the engines with Keith, Denise told me – “Do not sell this boat to anyone else – we’re buying it.” And buy it, they did. On July 31st , up the river the Cotton Jenny II went without us!

So for the first time in 23 years, Keith and I were houseboatless – we didn’t know how to act or what to do with ourselves! So we did what anyone else would do, we went shopping! I remember when some fellow boaters from Four Seasons asked us what kind of boat we now wanted, we said another Gibson of course, and they said, “Gibson people are like that.” We ordered a brand new boat from the good people at Wahoo Marine and lo and behold, at around 5:00 PM, on cold and rainy, November 26th, our brand spanking new, beautiful 50’ Gibson Classic arrived!!!!

Woo hoo!!! Wa hoo hoo!

The weather cleared up and even warmed up some on Tuesday and we were able to load a lot of things on her while the delivery guys worked outside assembling the bridge, etc.

At about 4:00 PM, she was launched in Craig’s Creek Lake and on her way to her new home, Slip 319 at Smuggler’s Cove.

I tried to take a picture of her coming off the launching ramp, but was too excited to put my glasses on and couldn’t see what I was shooting! But, when Keith brought her around by the island, I was pretty sure if I just pointed the camera in the right direction, I would get a pretty good shot –

I’d say I nailed it!

Because it was after 7:00 when everyone left the boat - delivery guys and Gibson folks - and there wasn’t much room to move around all the “stuff” that we had been loading on all day, we went ahead and grabbed some dinner at Sunset Grill and spent the night at the motel instead of on our boat.

The next day, it was still sunny but had gotten a lot colder. Nonetheless, we started up our new boat, took her over to fill the fuel tanks and then headed out for a little ride on the river. In all of our boating years, we had never taken one of our boats out at the end of November! But it was a beautiful day and a beautiful river and we were all by ourselves – except for one tow boat. I was out on the bow and told Keith not to go too fast – but, from my mouth to his ear – we cleared the creek and I’m not sure just how fast we were going, all I know is I WAS FREEZING!!!!! Inspite of the cold, it was a great feeling to finally be out for a boat ride on our own boat – we had certainly become two boat bums spending time on everyone else’s boats.

Unfortunately Keith and I both got pretty sick – possibly from being out in the cold and rain so much - so we went home and didn’t come back until Friday, November 30th. – that’s when we spent our first night on our new boat! Even without running water, several portable heaters, and a port-a-potty, we felt like we had the most luxurious accommodations one could ever hope for. Our new boat is not only beautiful, but oh so comfortable.

We had to take a break from our boat to get through Christmas, but right after new years, we were back and have been spending almost every weekend on her and enjoying the good company of Hank and Lee Dein, who have been enjoying the winter weekends on their Harbor Master “Oddessey”.
When our boat was finished and before we had a chance to see it, Scott Bachman, Owner – Wahoo Marine, told us it was a beautiful vessel – he wasn’t kidding! WE ARE LOVING THE COTTON JENNY III!

Good times on our Gibson!

Mary Jane And Keith