|The Celebration Belle|
|Boarding in the rain|
Tuesday, September 29, 2015 Our itinerary called for a 7:30 am boarding, so we woke early, sadly to a dark and rainy morning. Even though the Celebration Belle was docked only a short distance from our hotel, we decided to drive and avoid spending the entire day in wet clothes. Luckily we has a large umbrella in the car and could make it from the car to the loading area quickly. We were given our table number immediately and ushered to its location where our waitress greeted us with hot coffee. As soon as all the guests were aboard and the boat had left shore, we were treated to breakfast.
All three meals were served buffet style and all the food was prepared right on the boat. Sticky buns, muffins, fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, and rope sausage were on the morning menu. A delightful couple, both retired school teachers, provided the day's entertainment, and they were busy entertaining almost the entire day. They played through each meal, plus more.
Passengers were able to walk the third and fourth decks, and could even sit with the captain for a smell and chat about the river. We spent some time on the third deck in the morning and wandered through the gift shop, but the wet weather kept us in the main second deck area for most of the morning. Russ did go up to the captain's area and he enjoyed talking with the two captains.
Our entertainers led a shipboard exercise group and we both took part in that. Really surprised me that Russ was willing, but it was good to be up and moving around. Then there was a trivia contest and we joined one of four teams. We won the first game of 20 questions and tied in the second game. We had some really good people on our team, and Russ was able to provide the correct answers to some golf questions. Me, I was sort of a dud. I knew the answers to questions that others also knew, but really didn't provide any answers to the tough ones. We saw quite a few barges and went through one lock in the morning. The captain filled us in on some of the sights along the shore, explained the mechanics and history of the lock system, and also talked about the importance of barges to our economy. Here is a link to a chart which shows just how efficient and huge barges are One barge carries the same as 15 railroad cars or 58 semi-loads. A tow ship can tow up to `5 barges at a time on the upper Mississippi, that is as much 870 large semis. Those of us who don't live along the river really don't understand how much our economy benefits from the river traffic.