It's Haibun/Haiku Monday, and we're asked
to write about a memorable summer vacation.
Submitted to dVerse
August 21, 2017
One of my favorite trips was a cruise on the mighty Mississippi with friends. We drove from Indianapolis to LeClaire, Illinois, where we boarded the little Riverboat Starlight for our two-day cruise. Along the way we saw the huge barge trains of 15 (3 abreast and 5 long) pushed along by the powerful little tugs. Northbound trains carried coal to the nuclear power plant, southbound trains carried grain. We learned an empty barge sits 12 feet above water level, but, when loaded, 9 feet submerge. Who knew? We passed what was left of the little village of Comanche which was destroyed in a powerful tornado in 1908, said to be the greatest natural disaster in the states. Debris from this storm was found 90 miles away in the city of Peoria, Illinois, and 232 perished, many never found and presumed to be swept away in the Mississippi.
The Starlight followed a circuitous route marked by red buoys on the right and green on the left. We went through the locks, which are a fascinating process of changing water levels. The Mississippi is majestic, at times so wide it seemed to be a lake. We were entertained along the way by a folk singer and a calliopist and arrived at our destination of Galena, Illinois, ready for a day shopping in that historic little town, once a busy lead mining center. It is said to be possible to drive underground from Galena to Wisconsin, so extensive are the tunnels that remain. After a wonderful day of shopping and restful evening at the Chestnut Resort, we reboarded the Starlight for our return trip to LeClaire. On our return trip, we passed the largest river cruise ship, American Queen, which dwarfed our little Starlight. She greeted us with a mighty blast of her foghorn, and our little Starlight responded with its calliope. We arrived safely back at LeClaire, with a new appreciation for the Mississippi, which rises from northern Minnesota and meanders southward to the Gulf of Mexico at New Orleans. It was a memorable trip.
A summer magic byway
With stories to tell