Blaines own Steamboat Willie
youve been hearing a steam whistle when youve
been driving down Peace Portal, rest easy. Amtraks
current budget woes havent forced a return to steam
locomotives. If you look a little further past the railroad
tracks, you might catch a glimpse of Mike Bowman, captaining
his 19-foot long steam launch, Feeble. With a beam of just
42 inches, the launch was built in the 1960s, modeled after
a steam launch dating back to 1890. The actual steam engine
dates to the turn of the century and once drove a supply
fan on a steamship stoker. Bowman, a sheet metal contractor
from Custer, has long held a fascination with steam power.
He says the launch can do six knots under full power and,
while its a little tippy, can handle moderate waves.
The steam engine runs on propane, holds 15 gallons of water
and is rated at a nominal two horsepower.