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Our late great SPRAGUE EXPEDITION 1980

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Old 01-22-2008, 10:10 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Rock Island, Illinois mile 480 UMR
Posts: 3,869
Default Our late great SPRAGUE EXPEDITION 1980

The pix of the week inspired me to search for the pictures I took when Lexie and I visited the SPRAGUE on a 1980 DQ trip. But where oh where in this mess - ah yes, in the photo album labeled "Models, Museums, and Displays". Dewey Decimal I ain't!!! Anyway, the story: Franz posted the pix I took a year or two earlier from the DQ and it was this sighting that got Lexie and I plotting a visit. This occurred in 1980, June I think. The DQ was docked about a mile below the SPRAGUE on the Yazoo. We got out the DQ workboat and rowed upriver well before any passengers were up and about. After floating around the remains, we tied off the rowboat and climbed aboard. I had never seen the SPRAGUE in operating or even museum condition, yet chills went through me as I stepped aboard... it was obvious that steamboat/treasure/memorabilia buffs had been there before us, as there was nothing 'loose' or in 'liberating' condition left. But to just walk about her was one of those steamboating moments. At this point she was no longer salvagable and she later broke in half when being pulled out, I believe. You'll notice the paddlewheel is several yards downstream. After walking wherever we felt it safe on the hulk, we rowed down to the wheel and noted 2 stirrups just waiting to be liberated. Knowing that the wheel's diameter was 44 feet, we 'liberated' very carefully as we figured we were in about 22 feet of water. Duh.. later that year Lexie sent me a pix in low water - the weight of the wheel had collapsed it, so we were really in just 2 or 3 feet of water! After the liberation, we paddled back toward the DQ. Lexie let me off a ways above it, I had the 2 stirrups in a plastic garbage bag and nonchalantly walked back on board the DQ( as nonchalantly as one can when carrying two heavy pieces of iron in one hand). I went back to my Skid Row room to watch Lexie and accomplice put the workboat back on the fantail. By this time, some passengers were up and about, and they puzzled as to how Lexie got so 'rusty' looking. I quickly slipped into my room to wash my rust off before being noticed. So went our DQ/SPRAGUE expedition in summer 1980. Pix 1) The SPRAGUE hulk and paddlewheel in the Yazoo as seen from the DQ. Pix 2) the hulk
Pix 3) floating along the starboard side in our workboat
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