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SPIRIT OF PEORIA Starved Rock trip

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    SPIRIT OF PEORIA Starved Rock trip

    I have posted about my recent trips on the TWILIGHT, and now I'll share some shots taken on this 3 day round trip Peoria/Starved Rock State Park on the SPIRIT OF PEORIA. We are indeed fortunate to have these two wonderful options available for those of us priced out of the AQ, or who like more boaty-oriented trips, or who just want a shorter trip. I'm posting this in the lobby of the lodge, where we are staying two nights. Our trip upriver from Peoria was in glorious sunshine, but also into a strong northerly wind, so it was certainly cool for July, but fine with a light jacket. This trip covers about 66 miles of upper Illinois River territory, which features many wide expanses of water and past the first 30 miles or so, pretty much uninterrupted nature. It includes the area where the TV show Life on the Mississippi was filmed back in 1980 - yes LotM was filmed on the Illinois River - and also the resting, rusting place of the Rock Island casino 4 boat complex. We were shuttled from the landing to the lodge by the two 'trolleys' and will again take them today back to the SoP for a short lock trip and then over to ride the canal boat powered by mules. We'll return to Peoria Wednesday.
    Meals aboard are all buffet style, plentiful, and often. You are welcome to take your meal out on deck, which is obviously my choice. This morning's breakfast at the lodge was included of course.
    If you like calliope, Ted gave a lengthy boarding concert and then appeared almost every time we passed a town or went under a bridge. That was greatly appreciated by those of us seated in the vicinity. Ted also plays old time piano music. Barry Cloyd entertains with vocals, banjo and guitar and Brian Fox Ellis spins his stories, all these occurring in the boiler deck salon.
    Both the TWILIGHT and SPIRIT OF PEORIA have long time crew members, and both are captained by their owners, which shows in the meticulous details and caring atmosphere throughout the trip. Both are top notch in my book, and if you can't decide between the two, do what three passengers are doing this trip: ride the SoP M-T-W and take the 90 minute drive over to LeClaire and catch the TWILIGHT for her Th-F trip. (I suspect many of you would recognize these three: Jo Ann Schoen, Barb Hameister and Carol Roth.) But this double down can be done by less intrepid river rats also!
    1) The SPIRIT OF PEORIA at her downtown dock, just off exit 93 on I-74. She is a sternwheeler powered diesel electrically.
    2) The SoP ground support crew loads the overnight bags into their trailer. Bags are in your hotel room when you arrive.
    3) Ted Lemen plays the lengthy boarding calliope concert.
    Attached Files

    #2
    Underway!

    1) Before leaving, Capt. Alex Grieves gives his welcome aboard greeting as the passengers devour the breakfast buffet on the main deck
    2) the wide expanse of Peoria Lake is right at the beginning of the trip
    3) It didn't take long for Barb and Carol to warm the lazy bench and bend Capt. Alex's ear.
    Attached Files

    Comment


      #3
      Onward...

      1) The real thing - no z-drives or other propulsion.
      2) A beautiful but breezy day. For the first 30 miles or so, there are homes almost continuously on the port side and total wildlife across the river.
      3) Just as we approached the first railroad bridge, A BNSF train roared overhead.
      Attached Files

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        #4
        CASINO RI boats - MATEUR, OCKERSON, T.G.GEROW

        The one sad scene was the sight of the four boats in the old CASINO ROCK ISLAND complex fleeted at Hamm's Holiday Harbor, mile 179, below Chillecothe. The actual casino boat and the dredge OCKERSON which was her landing barge, are back off the main river and are afloat. Just upstream and beached are the restaurant boat EFFIE AFTON, which was the former MATEUR(Capt. Buddy Muirhead served on her), and the T.G.GEROW which was the office for the operation. So, here they are:
        1) CASINO ROCK ISLAND (which is a sister boat to the SoP) and behind her the dredge OCKERSON. They had wonderful huge b/w photos of the AVALON (Doc on the bow) and our ferry WJ QUINLAN in the O. I wonder whatever happened to those?
        2) the MATEUR and T.G.GEROW beached.
        3) MATEUR(EFFIE AFTON) and T.G.GEROW
        Attached Files

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          #5
          Moving on...

          1) lounging on the stern as Ted seranades the town. You'll note we aren't wearing typical summer attire...

          2) The Illinois is a very commercial river. Here we are approaching a tow being made up midstream, and there were barges fleeted abreast of this, so it was a tight squeeze.

          3) The tow being made.
          Attached Files

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            #6
            I've seen this pose before...

            Back in 2009 when the Rambling River Rats took their first cruise on the SoP, the five day St. Louis roundtrip, I posted a picture of Jo Ann Schoen at ease on board. Well, time has passed but her ability to relax on board hasn't. She was asleep before Ted arrived to play the calliope, which was directly above her, but as you can see, it didn't disturb her.

            1 & 2) zzzzzz.
            3) The SoP has beautiful sheer.
            Attached Files

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              #7
              Nearing Starved Rock

              1) My 'artsy' effort
              2) The brightest painted bridge enroute, I-39 near LaSalle-Peru
              3) While there was an occasional eagle to spot and other wildlife, it wasn't as prevalent on this stretch as on the LeClaire-Dubuque route. (there goes my UMR bias...)
              Attached Files

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                #8
                at the Starved Rock landing

                1) Here is the support team at this end of the trip, just as at Peoria..
                2,3) The SoP at the landing, as we walked to the trolleys which took us UP to the lodge
                Attached Files

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                  #9
                  Starved Rock

                  1) part of the Lodge/hotel complex - very 'woodsy' but modern.
                  2) As I was taking my walk around the building last night, I saw one of the possibilities for a hike - no thanks! A group went hiking this morning, as I was posting these pix. There are several trails closed due to storm damage, but there are still a lot of hiking areas for those so inclined, of which I am not one!
                  3) And how better to end a day on the river than to be entertained by Mark Twain. Many of you know this gentleman: Capt. Bob Anton from Peoria. Bob is a retired schoolteacher and was pilot on the JULIA BELLE SWAIN for many years. He was one of the pilots who brought the SoP on her delivery trip from the shipyard in Paducah to her home in Peoria.

                  When looking at the schedule before booking this 3 day, I thought: now how will I spend that extra day at the lodge? Well, here it is, almost time to catch the trolley down to the boat for the lock cruise and then the canal boat ride. And I haven't even taken my short 'hike' on level ground yet... but I did find the fudge in the cafe, just what I needed!!!!!
                  Attached Files

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                    #10
                    Thanks, Judy, for the virtual tour. Almost as good as being there - NOT - but a vicarious pleasure nonetheless.
                    Love the pictures.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Yeah, Judy. Thanks for the fine input! Grounded here for a bit with my steamer in dry dock for shaft repairs (sound familiar?). Also dealing with the passing of close friend and brother in hospital. Cap'n Walnut

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Day 2

                        Some of the passengers took a hike under the direction of Barry Cloyd this morning. I hiked to the dining room and once around the lodge exterior...
                        We boarded the SoP at noon for a 2 hour cruise upriver through the lock, a new experience for many passengers. I got to thinking about how many lockages I've made over the years, must be at least 800 or so...we had 60+ passengers from the Rockford area join us for this short cruise, and after we returned to the landing, a catering crew was loading goodies for a charter tonight. So the SoP is being used to the max this trip. After our SoP trip, we were taken by the trolleys to LaSalle and the canal boat ride. This was quite a different experience for me and for most of the passengers. We were pulled by a 29 year old mule, Mo - or was it Larry - for about a mile on the I & M Canal. Volunteers told us about mules and the history of the canal during the 'cruise'. Since we were running a bit late, we opted out of going to the museum to see the movie on the canal. Dinner was served in the Great Hall of the lodge, and now most of us are in our rooms digesting our food and the day's activities. We head back to the SoP about 9 AM to start our return trip to Peoria.
                        1) The SPIRIT awaits us.
                        2) The little park boat that paddles around for an hour tour.
                        3) Look, a nighthawk!
                        Attached Files

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                          #13
                          LaSalle Canal Boat

                          She's called the VOLUNTEER and is crewed by just that, volunteers.
                          1) Arriving at the canal boat dock.
                          2) Looking up the I & M Canal (Illinois and Michigan)
                          3) Our sole means of propulsion
                          Attached Files

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Headed for Salvage Yard?

                            A couple of weeks ago I had an inquiry from a salvage yard wanting to know if I knew what each of these boats weighed, as well as the towboat MR. TOAD that burned at Hamm's a year or so ago. I presume they were working on a bid to scrap them all. I told them I had no idea what the weighed.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              CASINO RI boats - MATEUR, OCKERSON, T.G.GEROW fate

                              Sad to say, I suspect that is their fate - at least for the MATEUR and GEROW, since they are beached. The CRI looks pretty good on the exterior, but who knows what the interior and mechanicals are like.

                              Comment

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