Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Here begins our adventure in blogging. If you know me from the Fray, or from some other context, you pretty much know what to expect. I've nothing more to say for now, except thanks for looking in, and please check in again soon. Any suggested topics for discussion are welcome.

I hope to be posting some stuff for the Fray writers' group here soon. That will be clearly marked as such. Your comments are also eagerly awaited on anything else I post here.


  1. Congratulations on your new blog, Claude. I'll be checking in regularly.

  2. Thanks! Hope to see you and Ms. P.J. at the Fray Gathering on the weekend of October 2nd.

  3. Nice blog, Claude. Congratulations.

  4. HI CLAUDE...

    Welcome to the World of Blogging. You ought to stop over and say HI to Bluto, who has been running his own Blog for years. Glad to know where I can find you both these days.



  5. Scary Picture!

    Looks like someone I could be related to.

    Railroads huh--more into steamboats myself. I guess that comes from living on the Ohio. 0h well steam locomotives still have pitman arms and McCoy oilers in common with steamboats.


  6. To Vox/Denny:

    Thanks! Do you know Bluto's blog address? Do you have one, too?

    To Rap:

    Bet you they don't have Belpaire fireboxes.

    I've not had many occasions to see real steam-powered stern or sidewheelers in action. I am, however, a fan of the rapidly-disappearing oceangoing steamship (there may be a few still chuffing around the Mediterranean, in Asian waters, and perhaps in South America). Indeed, I was lucky enough to cross the Atlantic four times by steamship.

    The picture looks scary because my daughter took it, and I always look scary to her.

  7. Riverboat, like railroad reciprocating steam, engines is single expansion. The major change is that fireboxes of today’s engines are equipped to burn fuel oil instead of the mountains of red oak that the boats of yesteryear. Nevertheless, even then, efficiency and range were just not that important. When a riverboat ran out of fuel, the bank still makes an acceptable emergency port and fuel supply.

    A stern wheeler is a more utile river design than the side wheeler. If a boat gets caught on a shoal, reversing the wheel can form a temporary artificial swell that might just lift the bow enough to clear the obstruction and the river is large enough not to require the added maneuverability of the side wheeler..

    Cincinnati, every four years, hosts Tall Stacks. The last one had about 20 of the last of the traditional steamers. The race, as usual, had the Belle of Louisville beating the Delta Queen. I've never taken a tour on the either boat (my mother has ridden the Queen from Paducah to New Orleans), but in the pre-homeland security days I've been given a tour of both of their engine rooms. Their walking beam engines still bear the hallmarks of designs that are almost 200 years old.

    John Hartford, in a river song, once described a riverboat as an engine surrounded by someone with a fetish for a scroll saw. He was right. It isn’t unusual to see a new hull built around 75 year old engines. A hull with these beautiful Victorian filigreed scroll sawn gussets on all three decks.

    Wish I could be there Oct 2nd, Claude. You are one frayster among few that I would walk a mile to meet. Unfortunately other commitments preside.