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Tall Stacks Day 1

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Old 10-10-2006, 09:13 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Rock Island, Illinois mile 480 UMR
Posts: 3,869
Default Days 6 and 7 Tall Stacks

Thanks for your thanks - the only thing I did beside work and sleep was post each night. It helped me summarize things for myself too. These last two days are being reported belatedly from my homeport at mile 480 UMR....If we broke the record on Saturday for number of passengers carried in one day, it was shortlived! We outdid it on Sunday with only 4 trips. We carried 3123 pax on the 4 cruises because two were unlimited capacity, the harbor and the parade trips. Our meal trips were limited to 500 and we had more of those during the 5 trip day Saturday. Sunday started out bittersweet because we had to say farewell to Bubba Dow, who had to fly home to resume his in-class schooling. He had taken 2 weeks off to work on the NATCHEZ and was enrolled in Steamboating 102. He had worked on her previously and the crew had nothing but great things to say about him. They were absolutely correct! What a fine young man, so attentive to his duties and so curious to learn every aspect of steamboating. He was working as watchman/deckhand this go around, but I understand he's been grimy in the Engine Room in previous sessions. I wonder how mundane his classes seemed Monday. He's a senior in high school and is planning to attend Maine Maritime Academy next year. He'll be a worthy successor to his grandfather Wilbur and his father William as owner of New Orleans Steamboat, should that come to pass. The highlight of the cruises Sunday was the Parade Lap - we all went upstream and paraded down single file through the harbor. I know in past years that Doc narrated that for a local radio station, but I don't know if that was done this year in his absence. The parade leader was none other than the Cincinnati-homeported DELTA QUEEN. She was followed by the venerable BELLE of LOUISVILLE and the NATCHEZ was third. I would have thought the MQ would have been right behind us to keep all the steamboats together, but she brought up the rear of the procession. An hour or so of whistles blowing, calliopes playing, and passengers waving, and gift shop registers ringing! The NATCHEZ' day ended at 9PM, and our gift shop crew, the 'A team' as Dan called us: Ken, Suzi, Shannon, Dan and I, lifted a toast to the occasion. I believe Shannon joined the rest of the crew at their hotel for further toasting, but we old folks dispersed to our respective beds. As I was leaving the boat, the BELLE was boarding for a moonlight cruise. The thought entered my mind to hop on, but common sense prevailed for once. I needed some serious sleep for my Monday drive home. Monday - I was going to entitle this entry 'After the Ball Is Over', but I see Keith beat me to the punch. But that's what I really was humming as Suzi and I came back to the NATCHEZ at 8AM to break down the temporary outside gift shop. It was a dark and gloomy day - actually just foggy and it burned off by 9:30. The SPIRIT OF JEFFERSON was delayed in her departure for a run to Rabbit Hash. I did not see the mayor on board so I presume he was there to greet them on their arrival home. As soon as she left, the BELLE did also, with a former BELLE deckhand, our Capt. Steve, letting her last line go. What a wonderful situation to be docked next to her all week. Our crews went back and forth probably more than any others. I was able to get shots of her arrival and of her departure, something finally that Franz didn't get in his thousands! I'll email them to him soon. On the levee were garbage bags(so efficiently picked up many times a day by a little garbage scow which nestled up to us between trips), serving dishes, tables, etc. which had to be returned to the rental place. As usual, Capt. Steve Nicoulin was out doing deckhand duties or whatever needed to be done, and Chief Scotty was loading the rental stuff. Mate Bobby Heyn, a few deckhands, F&B Manager Homer Ellis, and Ken, Suzi, and I were pretty much the only other crew around at that hour. A walk around the boat, over air mattress beds, showed a different atmosphere than 12 hours earlier. Capt. Bill Ray of the BELLE brought a friend over for a few final souvenirs, and Capt. Eddie Mattingly of the BELLE made a similar visit. After a couple hours of hauling and storing the remaining goods, it was time to get Suzi back to the hotel to meet the airport shuttle. The women and non-navigation crew had two different flights, while the 18 navigation men were heading home via boat. Going downstream, they expect to eclipse their 7.5 day journey upriver and have hopes of getting back to Toulouse Street by Saturday night. Since their departure time was unknown, only that it would be sometime after noon, I again opted for common sense and did not wait around to watch her leave. As Suzi and I were driving away, the DQ began rounding to into the BELLE's former spot below the NATCHEZ. As I was tooling along I-74, the thought hit me: when in my life have I ever driven AWAY as the DQ was arriving???? Never! But the 423 mile drive was going to be taxing after 7 days of steamboating, so I had to get underway. The beautiful colored hillsides on the northwest side of Cincinnati reflected my spirits and hopefully reflect a bright future for the NATCHEZ and her crew. River 3 over and out......

Last edited by Judy Patsch; 10-14-2006 at 06:01 PM.
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