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SPIRIT OF PEORIA Starved Rock trip

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Old 07-29-2014, 09:04 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Rock Island, Illinois mile 480 UMR
Posts: 3,869
Default SPIRIT OF PEORIA Starved Rock trip

I have posted about my recent trips on the TWILIGHT, and now I'll share some shots taken on this 3 day round trip Peoria/Starved Rock State Park on the SPIRIT OF PEORIA. We are indeed fortunate to have these two wonderful options available for those of us priced out of the AQ, or who like more boaty-oriented trips, or who just want a shorter trip. I'm posting this in the lobby of the lodge, where we are staying two nights. Our trip upriver from Peoria was in glorious sunshine, but also into a strong northerly wind, so it was certainly cool for July, but fine with a light jacket. This trip covers about 66 miles of upper Illinois River territory, which features many wide expanses of water and past the first 30 miles or so, pretty much uninterrupted nature. It includes the area where the TV show Life on the Mississippi was filmed back in 1980 - yes LotM was filmed on the Illinois River - and also the resting, rusting place of the Rock Island casino 4 boat complex. We were shuttled from the landing to the lodge by the two 'trolleys' and will again take them today back to the SoP for a short lock trip and then over to ride the canal boat powered by mules. We'll return to Peoria Wednesday.
Meals aboard are all buffet style, plentiful, and often. You are welcome to take your meal out on deck, which is obviously my choice. This morning's breakfast at the lodge was included of course.
If you like calliope, Ted gave a lengthy boarding concert and then appeared almost every time we passed a town or went under a bridge. That was greatly appreciated by those of us seated in the vicinity. Ted also plays old time piano music. Barry Cloyd entertains with vocals, banjo and guitar and Brian Fox Ellis spins his stories, all these occurring in the boiler deck salon.
Both the TWILIGHT and SPIRIT OF PEORIA have long time crew members, and both are captained by their owners, which shows in the meticulous details and caring atmosphere throughout the trip. Both are top notch in my book, and if you can't decide between the two, do what three passengers are doing this trip: ride the SoP M-T-W and take the 90 minute drive over to LeClaire and catch the TWILIGHT for her Th-F trip. (I suspect many of you would recognize these three: Jo Ann Schoen, Barb Hameister and Carol Roth.) But this double down can be done by less intrepid river rats also!
1) The SPIRIT OF PEORIA at her downtown dock, just off exit 93 on I-74. She is a sternwheeler powered diesel electrically.
2) The SoP ground support crew loads the overnight bags into their trailer. Bags are in your hotel room when you arrive.
3) Ted Lemen plays the lengthy boarding calliope concert.
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