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The BELLE OF LOUISVILLE'S 2016 Madison trip

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Old 10-20-2016, 09:50 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Rock Island, Illinois mile 480 UMR
Posts: 3,865
Default The BELLE OF LOUISVILLE'S 2016 Madison trip

I just got back from a wonderful weekend of steamboating reminiscent of the days of the early 1980s when the BELLE went up to Madison in late September for her Saturday evening charter trip. Back then Mary Bill Bauer organized us steamboaters and had box lunches for us on that 46 mile upriver trip. Many of us stayed overnight at the then President Madison Hotel and watched the BELLE pass by on her charter. Then on Sunday afternoon we took the public excursion up to Carrollton, and up the Kentucky River to Lock 1. A few of us, including Keith and me, got to deadhead back that evening to Louisville, and then I'd hop in my car, drive home and arrive at my teaching job with minutes to spare...
Well, in the 33 years since that last trip, some things have changed, like having to stop enroute for a night's sleep instead of driving straight through! But the wonderful experience on the BELLE and at the hotel, now the Riverboat Inn, was just as great.
On Sunday prior to the Monday morning departure, there was a Riverlodeon presentation at the Howard by Travis Vasconcelos. He showed a selection of Ann V. Zeiger's river slides, most of which were from her DQ trips. Afterwards 13 of us ate at Kingfish and had the added attraction of a 'comedy show' with our meal..
We departed Louisville at 10:30AM and had a gorgeous cruising day with temps in the 80s. They limited the capacity to what would fit into the ballroom in case of bad weather, but the only need for that was to stuff ourselves with the great buffet provided by Halls...Approximately 20 of us inveterate steamboaters did the round trip and stayed at the renovated Riverboat Inn, where you couldn't ask for better service and hospitality! That evening David and Jonathan Tschiggfrie presented their epic history show of the IDLEWILD/AVALON to some 13 of us. This was after a 'normal' seafood dinner at the Key West Shrimp House, usually closed on Mondays but Kadie Engstrom got them to open for us. I believe it was a mutually satisfactory arrangement.
Tuesday's return trip, with 4 different tour bus groups, was another great day but seemed to be traveling in a wind tunnel, not on the calm Ohio River. One person had the wind snatch his Belle 100th anniversary cap and saw it deposited in the beautiful Ohio... another filling buffet and calliope concerts by Jonathan Tschiggfrie and Travis highlighted this downbound day.
The entire BELLE crew and office staff is to be complimented for their efforts in organizing this 'return to yesteryear' experience, but special thanks to Kadie Engstrom and Capt. John Boyle for all their work and expertise.
There are 2 trips scheduled for next fall, so if you want to join in the fun, book it before the bus tours sell them out!
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