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Judy Patsch 08-29-2009 12:00 PM

The return trip
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11 of our original group of 32 opted to make the do-it-yourself return trip, consisting of the two single day trips and our own lodging arrangements.
1) 9 of us rattled around the almost empty Millenium Hotel and returned to the wharf rather early on Tuesday. That's our support vehicles and crew ready to load our luggage before the tour busses arrive.
2) The Ruebel Hotel in Grafton. This is an old rivermens hotel which has been remodeled. Its on the main street and only 2 blocks from the landing. I had a nice view of the boat from my room. The rooms are named for river landmarks, one of which is the James V. Swift room (21).
3) The bar in the Ruebel is from a pavillion in the 1904 Worlds Fair in St. Louis. It wasn't empty for long after we checked in.

Judy Patsch 08-29-2009 12:21 PM

The End, literally
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1) Here is the boat ramp in Florence, which was the end of the second Day Trip, and the end of our 5 day adventure.
I'll add a few pix of our motley group now...
2) If you were a crew member and saw this gang approaching for an extended trip, what would your thoughts be??? Carol and John Mullen, Deb and Bruno Krause boarding in Peoria
3) We took over the top deck stern: JoAnn Schoen, her sister(in-law?), mother and father, Alice Lundholm, Ken Buel, Ralph Rhynders, Barb Hameister, Jim Herron, and an interloper in yellow....

Judy Patsch 08-29-2009 12:27 PM

People pix
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1) From the top: Jim Herron, 2 interlopers, Bill Steinike, Jahn and Esther Tinglum, Bobbi Steinike.
2) There were no chairs out by the paddlewheel, but that didn't stop us.
Bobbi Steinike, Matt Dow, Alice Lundholm, Richard and Suzanne Martinez
3) Bruno and Deb Krause, Mrs. Withers(JoAnn's mother), JoAnn Schoen, Pat Traynor

Judy Patsch 08-29-2009 12:32 PM

More people pix
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We kept our same area on the return trip as we had on the 3 dayer, on the Boiler Deck:
1)Richard and Suzanne Martinez, Ralph and Ginny Rhynders, Bruno Krause, and Barb Hameister. This was taken before the 'regular' passengers boarded, and that's master storyteller Brian Fox Ellis talking with Bruno.
2) Barb Hameister and Pat Traynor
3) Ralph and Ginny Rhynders pose at Grafton before starting our last day on the SoP.

Judy Patsch 08-29-2009 12:41 PM

And a final note...
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This is Capt. Alex Grieves, who along with his father owns the SPIRIT OF PEORIA. This picture was taken as we passed Kampsville on the downbound, where his parents were on the landing watching the boat pass by. The SPIRIT is truly a family operation, as so many of the crew/staff are related: the ground support team, a woman in the office, and a woman on the dining room crew are family, as well as the father/son ownership. Many of the crew have been with the boat for several years. They are family, and they make passengers feel likewise. When I approached the gangplank one day to give our names to check off, the crew member replied: "Not necessary. You're family now." So a final THANK YOU to the entire G&G Packet Company for a most funfilled, enjoyable, and worthwhile experience. WE WILL BE BACK!!!

Mark the date: July 24, 2010 - a 5 day roundtrip Peoria/St. Louis.

Bruno Krause 08-29-2009 05:10 PM

Thrilling, wonderful, relaxing, weight gaining, beer tasting, brown water seeing, eagle sighting, old friends hugging, the best smells in the land, great music, wonderful conversation, lots o' laughs, friggin' [B][I]WAY[/I][/B] too short...can you imagine standing on the bow underway and seeing Asian carp jumping 5 feet away with the two stages swaying gently?

What more can I say, we're still talking about it three days after it ended...

Thanks Judy, really...It wouldn't have happened without your insight...The Krauses will be there, in spades, next July, [B][I]you betcha![/I][/B] And I may add a few pictures later, but quite honestly yours are better than mine...

And to the crew of the SoP, [B][I]you guys go beyond OK, you're primo[/I][/B], thanks from Deb and me...and Barry and Brian...? Great CD's my friends...

Now if we could only entice some DQ/AQ/MQ/E of the N crew to join us next year...we promise not to make you perform...

Ginnie Rhynders 08-29-2009 05:50 PM

Well, Bruno's said it all. It was indeed a great experience and one we hope to repeat. Judy, thanks for making the initial contact and thanks to the Spirit people for making it happen.
We had a grand time.
Ginnie and Ralph Rhynders

Bruno Krause 08-29-2009 08:56 PM

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A few of mine...

The boat at Grafton...My favorite view about 0.nothing feet above the water line...[B][I]gingerbread![/I][/B]...

Bruno Krause 08-29-2009 09:03 PM

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some of the cabins at Pere Marquette, great place, great breakfast, deer within 25 feet of me, cold Sam's, river view, does it get any better than this?...and my rendition of a paddlewheel...

David Dewey 08-30-2009 01:59 AM

I can see we were missed--no kite flying pics!! We wanted to go, but it just isn't in the budget cards now a days. Good to see pics of y'all--and Bruno, you're looking really healthy too! Congrats!
David & Linda D.

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