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Mike Wolfe says...

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Last updated 01/13/2016

Copyright Mike Wolfe 2005

"River Queen Refit"

(On a shoestring budget).


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





    Hello... We invite you to bookmark now and follow our trials and tribulations as we try 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 whole project as of late. Return often and read of our progress.



"This is a living document" (It keeps growing)

Currently on The River Queen Refit...

Jan 2010

Wow...  Man I am sorry... I have been neglecting my responsibilities to my fellow RQ boaters by not up-dating this web site. By not posting new registry information and... Not writing new stories. I feel bad. Work has me busy and in today's economy I have had most my focus on work. I changed my computer a couple of times and that doesn't help ether...

If you have sent me registry information and pictures rest assured they are still safe with me. They are still archived in a file marked "future postings" and I will be doing my best to start getting them up there.

I'm starting to feel my writing block wither.  If I start chipping away at it maybe I be able to start to getting some more chapters written and posted. A lot has happened in the last few years of boating and there some things that need to be said and done. One important thing that needs to be said is thank you to my readers and the senders of e-mails. I still (though I don't deserve it) get wonderful e-mails from fellow boaters far and wide. telling there stories and giving me credit for helping them dive into there own projects. After what must be hundreds e-mails I have not received one piece of hate mail. This also tells me the boaters are fundamentally great people!

In that same vane Id like to tell you the friends I have met on the water and in my Squadron are the best in the world! I tell you what... If you are lonely or lost or feel you haven't any friends... Buy a boat. Any kind of boat, and join a club. Therein you will meet the best people on the planet. 

More to follow...   mnw : )


About our RQ...

I still haven't completed the install of number 2 engine. The short block with the new manifolds are in place and have been for some time now. I still need to plumb it with all the cooling hoses, run the gas lines to the new gas tank and get her wired up. I don't know why I don't finish the job? Number 1 runs so well. I'm so used to crabbing down the river I don't think I could drive a straight line with two engines.

I would like to do a new chapter about the club we belong too "The United States Power Squadrons" (USPS). Actually we belong to "San Joaquin Delta Power Squadron" (SJDPS). You know I can't think of a better group of people to be associated with. USPS is one of the longest lived boating clubs in America today. There are squadrons in every state.  The core purpose of this organization is to provide boating safety education to the public, provide continued and elevated boating education to its members as well as fellowship at our meetings and cruise outs. I have made many new friends at SJDPS all good and caring people.  All of us sharing a common goal. To have fun and come back safely.  Our National web page is  www.usps.org  and our local web page for our local squadron is www.sjdps.org (My wife Deborah Wolfe is the web master.) Please go see the web pages and give some thought to joining up.  You will be hearing more from me about United States Power Squadrons.


About the "River Queen Registry" (RQR)

Again, Sorry for the neglect. I have been receiving and saving all the e-mails and pictures sent to me for the RQR. I must have over 50 new entry's to log along with many web up-dates from fellow RQ owners. I do think the whole River Queen Registry thing is a good idea. I like to see the contrast in design from year to year. That and all the amazing refits. Seems we are all in the same boat. Please keep the registry's coming in.  Up-dates as well, and stories you would like to share. Your e-mails and pictures mean a lot to me. They keep me motivated.  I promise to find time to start up-dating the RQR.


In other unrelated topics, I finished my first novel. A fiction. It was going to be a three-parter, but I decided to merge book 1 and 2 together for one bigger book. I have read the story over and over during editing and I still like it every time I read it. Of course it’s a story about man and his boat. A small ship really and plans to escape civilization. He is driven by his secret premonitions that the world is falling apart. The first part is mostly all about the trials and tribulations of his haul out and refit and the interesting people that help him along his troubled way.  Part two is about half done. You should see what happens!

Anyone know a good publisher?


As always, 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 registered your River Queen with us?

Come see the...

"River Queen Registry" (RQR)
STOP!  Please note...

 Registry forms submitted between October 2008 and December 2009 were lost and un-retrievable. I'm so sorry! I still have all the e-mails and pictures sent directly to me.

If you will, Please re-register your boat and I will endeavor to get it all posted...

We all want to see all surviving River Queen's!

 Just link below to our "River Queen Registry Form" Fill in the blanks with your information.

Also e-mail us 2or 3 pictures of your boat. 

Go see the River Queen Registry Form.

  View the  The River Queen Registry.    

Please do it soon! We'd all like to see you're RQ

Thanks for participating!



I was looking for information on this photo? Where? When?

  From a reader...

 The picture was taken directly across from the Riverqueen "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.

Our last 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!

It's continually updated!  Send me your link for review and posting.


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