Copyright Mike Wolfe 2017

"River Queen Refit"


This was our 1969 Fifty Foot River Queen....


 Time travel in pictures. 

Top: Me new owner 1998

Bottom: Dave new owner 2017



Last updated 07/03/2017 

Hello fellow boaters, readers and friends.

This project of so many years has brought with it more more great times and great memories than I could have ever thought. There were laughs and tears, pain and elation and lots of learning.  Quite the mixed bag of emotions really.

Of all, I found that what moved me most were the letters I received along the way.  You told your stories and rallied around mine. You all were my inspiration. The force that kept me going for so many years.

  Thank you, thank you, thank you. 



    When I tell people about this boat I start by telling them this is the only fifty foot River Queen on the West coast. Yes I try to impress people that the boat is rare.  Fact is, River Queen boats as a whole are becoming more rare as time moves on.  We have used this boat for many things.  For our club we have hauled great amounts of cement bags, cinder blocks, steel and wood. We once feed over 21 hungry people (in side) during a winter down pour. Don't even ask about the pizza doe event! I think she is a very good boat.  One heck of a platform. People that come to see her for the first time note that the boat is so solid in the water.  When you step aboard, the dock moves but the boat does not.

We never came up with a boat name. We had several we liked but nothing really fit?  When we started taking trips we needed a Call Sign to operate the VHF radio.  I came up with "RQR" for River Queen Refit just for the meantime. RQR stuck as the name implies. Like the Golden Gate bridge the RQR is a non stop process of paint.

Currently on The River Queen Refit...

May 2017

Yes sadly at long last we sold our River Queen houseboat.  I became guilty of the the very thing I would blame other boaters of.  Boat neglect.  Before I had my boat, I used to walk docks and see a boat coated in dirt and filth and say "How could they let this happen?"  Now I know.  Due to our lack of time and energy we (I) would let regular care go for way too long, then, have to bust butt to get her back into shape, just to let her go bad again.  We had a great run, almost 20 years. Our young boys are now men and everybody seems to be going in different directions? The poor old boat was way over due for a haul out and I had neither time, money or strength to get it done.  On the up side the new owner just loves the boat. He is able bodied and motivated. He plans to live aboard.  This will give him lots of time and opportunity to get all the work done that needs to be done. That, and the old girl deserves a new owner...

So I do plan to write a final chapter to close the book on this wonder adventure of 20 years. I'll probably spin a story or two, name names, post pictures and shed some tears. Look for it in the coming month.

As always, my many thanks to my readers for their continued support and e-mails. Their interest and words of encouragement mean all the difference in the world to me. Please continue to send letters and pictures and I’ll continue to respond in kind.

Boat safe, boat smart.

Take a safe boating course!

Mike Wolfe   “The River Queen Refit”

Have you seen my River Queen Registry Web site?

"River Queen Registry"

  View the  The River Queen Registry.  It's open!

I still have to compile and post old registry data. If you have sent data in the past and don't see your boat then please re submit. Sorry.

 Hello... We invite you to bookmark now and read the story of our trials and tribulations as we tried to whip this Poor old River Queen into shape and have a little fun while we do it. (And if we're not careful, we'll all learn a thing or two in the process). The following chapters are a running account of the River Queen Project.

  From a reader...

 The picture was taken directly across from the River Queen "factory" looking north back toward the facility.   

My best guess about your picture is that it was taken sometime between 1963 to perhaps 1966. The land just south of Atcheson Drive was used (possibly owned) by the Petersons and there were nearly always finished or partially finished RQ's stored there. 
The sloping line in the picture that runs above the RQ's is Route 12 going back down to grade after passing the overpass to clear Hobart Road.  If you look underneath the awning (I don't know what you call it covering the front deck) of the 1st boat in the picture you can see the straight line running from left to right..... that is part of the building where they built them.   Rich.

Thanks Rich.  If you have more information on the history, I (we) would love to hear it.  Type it out and send it in and I'll post it.  mnw : )

Here's a good old picture...  Who can tell me about this one?  These boats look like there hauling ass! Rough water too.


0ne to thirty-five.

Our Haul out November 2005  (coming out)




"The River Queen Registry" 
Come see our collection of surviving River Queen's

Chapter One.  Before/Requirements.

A 10 year search for just the right boat to fit our needs.

Chapter Two  Found it/Getting ready.

Found a Diamond in the Rough. Boy do we have our work cut out for us.

Chapter Three  Fire it up! and On our way

My account of our preparation and getting under way for haul out.

Chapter Four  Haul out/Life in the yard.

Oh god! 6 months of busting' butt and spending "boat" dollars.

Chapter Five  At the dock at last!

Hull & outdrives complete with a long way still to go!

Chapter Six  First run on the river.

Every skipper should read this so as not to make the same mistakes as I

Chapter Seven  First Trip. By David Cairns.

A delightful "Blood & Swash" story of our first overnighter.

Chapter Eight  Skin Job.

Blemish free skin care tips and tricks for a River Queen Refitter

Chapter Nine  Engines.

The known history of our two Chrysler 383's. They have a life of their own.

Chapter Ten Kohler power plant.

My winter project of a total, down to the ground floor rebuild.

Chapter Eleven Extraction action!

A short pictorial of the removal of #1 engine.

Chapter Twelve Engine Rebuild.

Not done yet with #1 engine, but I have a good start on this bad boy!

Chapter Thirteen  What is most important ?

Time teaches us many things.

Chapter Fourteen  Let's get Tanked!

Fuel tanked. Things you need to know?

Chapter Fifteen  To dress a Queen

Interior Remodeling Projects . . .past and present.

Chapter Sixteen  Number One Shop notes

How do you go about fixing one of these things?

Chapter Seventeen  Cooling System Overview.

Get comfortable. It's a long one.

Chapter Eighteen  Tender Behind?

Read about my small dinghy!?

Chapter Nineteen  Too Cool New Tool.

I want it. I got it.  

Chapter Twenty  Rust never sleeps?

It will when I'm done with it! (Wing & roof repair)

Chapter Twenty One  The power of Steering.

Ram tare down. Has to be done...

Chapter Twenty Two  Engine room electrical sub systems.

Redo everything in sight... Hold on, it's a long ride...

Chapter Twenty Three  Fresh water systems rebuild.

Without plenty of Fresh water your sunk!

Chapter Twenty Four  Helm controls 

A shifty subject...

Chapter Twenty Five  Mean screen scene

Keep out the blood suckers!

Chapter Twenty Six  Head's Up! Pictures! 1-9-10

From holding tank hell to Holding tank heaven.

Chapter Twenty Seven  A Nice thing that happened... 

Just sometimes a thing will happen that makes it all worth while.

Chapter Twenty Eight  Mariner's Wave  12-24-05 Looking for good example pictures! Send them!

A story? An observation? A way of life.

Chapter Twenty Nine  The Meadows. Pictures! 12-4-05

A popular destination or dumping ground.

Chapter Thirty  A BANG! of a story. Pictures! 12-3-05

An angel on my shoulder.

Chapter Thirty One   The pain of Stain. Pictures! 12-4-05

Re finishing all the wood in the helm area.  Boney fingers!

Chapter Thirty Two   Prop Me Up!  Pictures! 12-22-05

Propellers!  Without them you'd just be a stinking barge.

Chapter Thirty Three   Electronic Ignitions.

Change my points of view!

Chapter Thirty Four   New Throne for a Queen.1-9-10

How happy can a new toilet really make you?  I'm so happy I could just sh_t!

Chapter Thirty Five   River Queen Emblem story.1-10-10

A fanciful story as told by the famous Michael Haverty.


Our Links   Click Here!


At rest at the SJDPS island. Note the new green sun shades.


I'd like to say a very special thank you to all my regular readers out there. Without all your wonderful e-mails filled with words of encouragement, stories of your own, and all of your  beautiful boat pictures I wouldn't have the interest to go on maintaining this web page. Your e-mails keep me moving forward on this project. I thank you very much! 

Looking forward to hearing from each and every one of you.  mnw : ) 

Are you following our progress? 

Have you bookmarked our page?

We would love to hear from anyone passing by!

Please e-mail us and say "Hi"  Tell us your own boat story. 

Send Us Mail!


I am always in"Collect pictures"mode!

I'm sure that if you had a River Queen you will have already "Registered" it and sent me pictures. But! If you happen to have any pictures of any River Queen boats on hand please send them along too. I have received hundreds already. "Keep them coming!" send them today!

Actually, I'd love to receive any pictures of any boat that you would care to send. It does not need to be a RQ. Send me a picture of your boat! Or, your favorite boat for that matter. Hell, I love to look at anything that floats! (Is that a sickness?)

Thanks in advance! mnw : )




In retrospect

I found early on in this endeavor that it is easy to become overwhelmed with the multitude of details. My first bout of the 'Oh my gods" came about half-way through haul out. Oh, I tackled my job with a fury. Really busted my ass and started calling on my friends to please come help. Of course there was a big push to get back into the water. I found that the trick is to make a list. Then prioritize it. Don't let yourself deviate to other distracting sub-chores. Do not throw that list away until they are all done. Keep it with you all the time. Read it all the time. Dwell on it. And when it gets so messed up and torn you have a hard time seeing it, make a new list and move all the things that aren't done on the old list over. And when you get tired of moving that same item over from one to the other new list you get it done. After a while, things start getting complete!

Be careful. It will become shit hard work! Your hands will ache, you will ruin your clothes and people will start looking at you strangely and step back away from you in line at the store. Oh, and smell too!  I fell into the "I hate this" phase. Don't let this part suck you in. It gets better when you go back in the water. For some people it does not. Here's where I share the philosophy that works for me. I'm a hobbyist at heart. I like to take a thing, any thing, a motor, a machine, anything that tickles my fancy or something I want to learn more about, then I like to tear it down to it's smallest component. All apart! Paint this and polish that and put it all back together and make it work. I get tremendous gratification from this. Once you do this to a thing, like my genset last winter you see exactly how it works. This will give you the ability of x-ray vision! Well, for this unit only that is. What I'm saying in a long way is this. Take each subsystem on your boat, one at a time...take it apart, learn it, test it, know it. Then put it back together. Correctly. Re-install it in the boat with quality parts and fasteners. There ya go! Start the process over again with a different system. Never ever, ever, ever take everything all apart at once. It will flood your mind with too many details! mnw:)


If you have read every chapter... Thanks for hangin' in there! Send me a E-mail and simply say "AHOY! Every word!" Thanks! And safe boating to you! Mike Wolfe...