Mid-summer 2011, with The Spirit of West Virginia slated for a local charter and Captain Dick looking to document some of the improvements and visual changes made to the sternwheeler, a video team tracked an upriver trip with camera mounted in a flat-bottom pursuit boat.
The Spirit departed from Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston and meandered up the Kanawha River past the capitol building as far as the Interstate Bridge. The passenger group was just one of many during the season who chartered the craft for a birthday, an office party, an anniversary or to just cruise – leisurely – through the Kanawha Valley.
The first edited version of the video was accompanied by Frederic Chopin – an Etude – which cast the pictures in a solemn light – like something from an Ingmar Bergman movie. “Were we on the same trip?” Captain Dick gently inquired, “the Spirit is a happy boat. How about some Dixieland?”
So – here it is, the revised version of the video with Kermit Ruffins supplying the music track accompanied by some snazzy water-level shots of The Spirit of West Virginia paddling up-stream, showing off its new Texas Deck roof and a crowd of happy passengers.
Captain Dick was correct – the video is better with Dixieland.