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TWILIGHT trip Aug. 19/20

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Old 08-21-2008, 03:22 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Rock Island, Illinois mile 480 UMR
Posts: 3,869
Default TWILIGHT trip Aug. 19/20

I see Franz has already posted a couple of pix and JoAnn has asked about it under another title. I wanted to have the word TWILIGHT in the title in hopes that others might run across the thread and develop an interest in taking this trip. It is impossible to put this whole experience into words - just when you thought it couldn't be any better, it got better. We had so much lagniappe besides the scheduled trip, it was, well, WOW!
First, the TWILIGHT trip itself. I had taken this trip a couple of times under Dennis Trone's magnificent ownership and so I was curious to see if his longtime friends and crew members who are now the owners had changed much. Happy to say, I didn't see any noticeable changes unless things have gotten even better. Kevin and Carrie Stier are carrying the torch quite well. We had a full boat, which would be 149 passengers(the AQ had 178 that same day in Dubuque). Our group numbered 21, most of the time. While the boat was obviously full, there was still plenty of room to sit or stand and gather, both inside and out. You might not have gotten THE chair you wanted, but there was always a chair available. The trip went like clockwork: an 8:30AM departure from LeClaire and a 6:45PM arrival in Dubuque. We even made a surprise landing at Sabula Iowa to let off a passenger who needed some medical attention, and still made the planned time frame. The food was delicious and in the right quantity and was quite healthful too - well, if you don't count the many 'snacks' provided. After we grabbed our room cards and breakfast passes as we entered the Grand Harbour Hotel, we found our suitcases awaiting us in our rooms. No greater efficiency possible!
Wednesday morning started with the included hot breakfast buffet at the hotel. Departure was at 11:30, so we had several hours to tour the fantastic Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium or to do several other sites, all of which were serviced by a new shuttle provided by the boat. Departure was at 11:30 promptly and arrival in LeClaire was at 7:20 PM. The weather was just fantastic, warm/sunny/breezy both days. Bob Anton, a former JBS crew member and now retired teacher from Peoria, gave his Mark Twain performance the first day, and a folk singer, whose name I didn't hear, was the entertainment on Wednesday. Of course there were bingo games too...This trip covers 87 miles each way and goes through Locks 13 and 12. Just above 13 is the widest section of the entire Mississippi: the stump fields, which are 3.5 miles wide. Just below 12 are the old Diamond Jo warehouses. All along the route is beautiful scenery. The all inclusive cost per person for this 2 day trip is $330, and well worth it.
A couple of observations of 'lagniappe' provided by the boat crew: because they run this route 6 days a week, they know the area intimately. Several times we slowed up so a bald eagle's nest or an eagle itself, or cormorants or pelicans could be pointed out. The famous "Little Sir Echo" was played(on tape) on the calliope at just the right place - the cliffs of the Mississippi Palisades - for the maximum effect. Our David Tschiggfrie was invited to ride to provide live calliope music several times during the trip. I'm going to go into the 'River Rat Ramblers' group and the lagniappe in the next postings...
1) TWILIGHT reloading at Dubuque
2) AQ landing below TWILIGHT - note boarded pilothouse window when docked, its open air underway
3) CELEBRATION BELLE nee MISSISSIPPI BELLE II, 800 pax based in Moline
TWILIGHT and AQ coming in for landing
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