I think of Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) every time I think of this river. Among the many hat's he wore in his lifetime, one was that of a river boat pilot.
Although I've never piloted a ship (well a few times in the Navy) I worked as a deck hand on the Kanawha River once. We pushed coal barges from the upper end of this river and along the wide Ohio River while dropping off and picking up coal barges along the waterway. I did get a sense of life on the river and found it an interesting occupation.
Samuel Clemems has been an inspiration to me.
In 1909, Twain is quoted as saying:
I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: 'Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.'
His prediction was accurate – Twain died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910, in Redding Connecticut, one day after the comet's closest approach to Earth.
He wrote his autobiography near the end of his life, with the requirement that it only be published 100 years after his death. I haven't read it yet, but hope to soon.