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.

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Mary Jane And Keith