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Richard Reiff 12-21-2016 06:05 PM

Report from onboard the AQ (well, after the trip)
3 Attachment(s)
Just a few notes and some photos from the recent Memphis to New Orleans Christmas Markets trip.

1. Nothing really went wrong on our trip. The northbound trip, however, was reported to have issues at Nottoway where about 300 guests had to wait several hours for their off-boat dinner. Apparently the Nottoway staffed their facility with only 5 people to serve 300, while during our trip the AQ staff went over and really showed them how to do it. A very good job indeed.

2. Due to very low water the AQ used the landing about 2 miles north of the Pyramid on Mud Island. A minor one hour delay in departing Memphis due to having to wait for the water to be topped off. Apparently the fire hydrant used to refill the boat was dry (lucky for all those fancy homes on North Mud Island that there was no fire to test out a dry hydrant).

I was a bit surprised that with all the money Memphis spent on building that spiral dock they did not design it for very low water levels. The river was a +5 for our landing, the previous week it was a -3.

Attached a few photos from our departure out of Memphis, including Phil playing the Calliope.

Richard Reiff 12-21-2016 06:18 PM

A few more photos and notes
3 Attachment(s)
A half day stop in Greenville allowed us to take a ride on their restored Carousel and observe the large number of closed shops in town.

The next stop was Vicksburg, the town where their Transportation Museum Curator had all the wrong facts about the DQ (refer to the DQ threads).

Then it was off to Natchez. We were just barely ahead of the big mid western cold front, so gloves and hats were the norm. At Nachez the AQ organized a Christmas Market in front of Rosalie Mansion.

At Natchez we took the premium tour to Ragina's house for a light lunch. Photos show her signature biscuits ready for baking. Also seen is perhaps the last time she will be taking off her AQ apron, as Ragina announced that she will no longer have boat tours of the house.

Then it was off to Nottoway, were the landing featured bonfire "tepees" ready to be lit for that night.

Richard Reiff 12-21-2016 06:23 PM

A few more from Nottoway
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We spent almost two days at Nottoway, a bit much. A view of the stacks barely peaking over the levee shows how low the water was during this visit. As can be seen on the sign, the AQ sponsored the Christmas market here, along with someone blowing fake "snow" to help make things more festive. I wonder how the lottery went as to which employee got to run the snow machine that day.

BTW, day one was warm, almost mid 70, the next day the cold front caught up again and it was much colder.

Richard Reiff 12-21-2016 06:27 PM

Nottoway and the AQ at night
3 Attachment(s)
After Phil sang some Christmas songs, it was off the boat for the evening meal, which was served at Nottoway Plantation. After the meal the path back to the boat was lined with hundreds of luminaries, making for a very festive view. The night was capped by some fireworks, here seen with the AQ stacks in the foreground.

Richard Reiff 12-21-2016 06:38 PM

Last post, some interior views
3 Attachment(s)
On the DQ post there was a question regarding boat decorations.

The AQ was decked out with lots of green garlands, many wreathes and Christmas Trees. To get folks in the spirit, the AQ supplied a batch of materials for making ornaments and door decorations. During Saturday's evening "Sock Hop" prizes were awarded for best door and ornament. A special tree (photo) was set aside for designers and artists to display their work.

The last stop was Oak Alley, where it rained hard and very cold most of the day, a good time for bingo, catching up with reading, and packing for the early Monday departure.

Overall a great trip, a bit colder than I had anticipated. The only problem (other than internet that blocked our Comcast email server) was that there were no "problems". Everything went smooth, on time, so no stories to tell during future trips.

One last note: The traditional Steamboatin Society meeting was held , and the two winners of the most trips (which this time included earlier trips on the DQ and other boats) was 18 and 20. Finally, we beat Ms. Ruth!, but only because she was not on board this time. Kind of weird not to have steamboaters on board with 60-80 trips.

R. Dale Flick 12-22-2016 09:54 AM

*WOW! Richard's AQ Christmas*
Steamboating colleagues:
Richard, you really made mine--and no doubt--others day with your 'AQ cruise report' with excellent photos. Long time since we've had a report as you did for us. Great photo work, great words short, concise. Wish we could have been aboard with you. Sounds like the AQ managment has a great program on board and not only for Christmas. The AQ lends herself for the traditional Christmas decorations. Has anybody now any doubts that great steamboating is to be enjoyed? Cheers!

R. Dale Flick
Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.

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