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Judy Patsch 10-25-2016 09:59 AM

This could also go under River Cruises, but since she's a real steamboat: booking is now available for next year's BELLE's Madison trips. She is doing two: Oct. 16/17 and Oct. 23/24 Monday/Tuesday. One way is $97.20 which includes a huge lunch buffet. This year we left at 10:30AM and arrived about 5:30 PM. They will be opening these trips to tour bus operators who will probably buy them out again as they did this year. So if it seems awfully early to book, it isn't if you want to make sure you get a reservation. Many of us stayed Monday night at the Riverboat Inn, just upriver 8 blocks from the landing. And we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the Key West Shrimp House next door which opened on a Monday for us. This is not posted on the Belle's website yet, but you can phone and make the reservation now. I booked the earlier one, the 16-17. I'm sure any of our .org members who took this trip will offer a testimonial to the great time we had! If you missed this year, don't miss out again next!

Judy Patsch 10-25-2016 09:48 PM

Not that anyone on .org cares, but
the Oct. 23 trip is sold out already...................

R. Dale Flick 10-26-2016 07:45 AM

*BELLE report/photos appreciated*
Morning, Steamboating colleagues:
Judy, many thanks for your report here and on FACEBOOK with photos RE: the recent BELLE OF LOUISVILLE fall trip. Wish I could have made it or part, but ground in here along with limping around. I did try to post the other day here but something happened and my post in reply went POOF! with the above frame empty. Great photos. Any idea how many booked for the trips? Day was when we had many reports from/about the BELLE. You only one keeping us posted also on the NATCHEZ. Cheers!

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

Bob Reynolds 10-26-2016 08:52 AM

Thanks for the info., Judy. It's not that we don't care, but to reply with at least 25 characters has become a bit of a chore, with FB "like" buttons and whatnot. That does not mean is irrelevant, just that many read and don't always reply...

Judy Patsch 10-26-2016 12:17 PM

Belle Madison capacity
They keep it at about 230 so that all fit into the dining/ballroom at once. That was good for the buffet but this year it wasn't a necessity to be inside otherwise with the great weather we had.
Yes, Bob, I too have migrated mostly to Facebook mainly because of the simplicity of posting multiple photos at once, and that is now where the audience is. Unfortunately though we don't get much depth in threads because so many don't bother to read the thread before posting already answered questions or reposting comments. This is still the place for serious? steamboat discussions, like Jim's spittoon thread ;-)

Jim Reising 10-27-2016 10:11 AM

You didn't like the spittoon thread????? Where else on the internet could you get into serious discussion of the expectorant habits of the 19th century? Only in depth subjects discussed here. Perhaps next time we'll have ask the question "are rotating paddlewheels an effective marine sanitation device?"

Judy Patsch 10-27-2016 03:33 PM

An unscientific answer
Every time I walk into the BELLE's luxurious ladies room with marine toilets and wooden stall doors, I think back to the 50s where behind a burlap curtain one could see the river through the toilet stool....when I rode the DQ and watched the boaters try to ride her wheelwash as close as possible, those AVALON open toilet images came to mind!!!

Keith Norrington 10-27-2016 07:19 PM

In 1988, I had the unique opportunity to roam all over the retired steam towboat MAMIE S. BARRETT (built at Howards in 1921), then being utilized as a restaurant at Vicksburg. At the stern of the boiler deck there were several cubicles with the toilets (then non-usable) piped right out over the sternwheel. Capt. Fred Way once said that anything dropped into said commodes when the boat was underway was automatically and forever a "goner"!

Frank X. Prudent 10-27-2016 07:37 PM

Cold days with snow and ice on the river could send shivers up some folks' spines. Any ideas of sultry moonlight nights, mint juleps and crinoline quickly disappeared if the boat had to start backing hard.

R. Dale Flick 10-28-2016 08:52 AM

*Steamboat 'facilities' or lack of*
Morning, Steamboating colleagues:
Got that right, Judy and Frank. Even the last ISLAND QUEEN had potties dumping direct into the river adjacent to the big sidewheels. To a little kid it was frightening looking way down that pottie pipe seeing daylight and water sloshing along. And mom or dad had to yank me in there with no complaints on my part. Judy right about the then facilities on the AVALON. Steamboats way back then not always noted for cleanliness as we knew it later along with innumerable foul odors, infestation with bed bugs, vermin from cargo hauled just below the passenger areas. Fred Way mentioned bed bug infestations on steamboats he knew with the passenger cabins opened, crew using live steam in a hose line to kill the nasty little bugs in the beds, tongue-and-groove wall panels, floors. Wire door and window screens didn't come in until much, much later if used at all. Washroom facilities even on the big brag boats late in development. Early boats had just simple communal wash basins with the pottie hole mentioned above. Even washroom towels were used in common along with hair brushes and even tooth brushes...YUK! They did have soaps and some cleaning agents but chlorine bleach for domestic use didn't come along until just before World War I. Intense disinfecting done with sulphur candles, cabolic acid sprayed around, strong soap to hand wash surfaces.

Passengers cabins, until installation of electrical power plants aboard, forbid candles, oil lamps in cabins due to threat of fire. Light for passenger cabins came through the outside deck transom and the transom windows inside with the daylight or light from the big chandeliers. Later boats did have piping for gas to lights from a central gas generator. One old steamboat record mentions "gas to the boat delivered in barrels." I wonder of the "barrels" weren't a kind of metal tank like propane today? Piping of gas on big boats subject to movement, heaving an issue keeping the pipe joints from separating or breaks in the line. Same also later for hot/cold water, steam heat in passenger cabins, public rooms, main cabin. Some cabins, if lucky, had a crockery wash basin with pitcher on request with hot--usually tepid--water on call by the cabin boys or chambermaid. People 'bird bathed' unless later steamboats had central bath areas with showers or possibly a tub. Forget any thought of having personal laundry done if aboard for a longer trip.

Again and again letters, diaries mention "Home from the boat to a clean bed, linen, clean bath." What's that tell you? Yeah, those old steamboat days really wonderful, romantic, beautiful with banjos, singing, dancing, top hats, crinoline, jolly old captains, weren't they? Yeah, right. Well, what do I know?

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

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