Nexion Escape Spring 2020 - Page 22

THREE RIVERLORIANS Tell me about a favorite or memorable experience. Bobby: A memorable experience for me was a few years ago when we were cruising up to Memphis from New Orleans. It was the middle of afternoon, and we had just passed the Arkansas, which was flooded, at the confluence of the Mississippi. The water slamming into the Mississippi created a vortex or whirlpool — it was very cool. Laurence: When guests see this rather professorial kind of character — me, in my mid-60s — suddenly playing a tie-shaped frottoir Cajun washboard, Appalachian clog dancing or dancing up a storm with guests at our Saturday night dance party, I think I surprise and shock some of them, and I know I gain additional credibility and respect in their eyes. It’s kind of fun! In a similar fashion, when I present my story of Lewis & Clark, with a great deal of material taken directly from the diaries or journals, in the voices and characters of not only the co-captains but also other key members of the Corps of Discovery, I know I am delivering the kind of program that most have never experienced before. Likewise, without visuals, I deliver a dramatic reading taken from the diaries of the Oregon Trail “emigrants” — adults, children, men, women, the elderly — and bringing the ordeals, challenges and triumphs of the Oregon Trail as pioneers experienced it alive for that audience. I see eyes open and sometimes tears. It is moving for me to see the audience’s reaction and of course, it is nice to receive enthusiastic applause, too. Jerry: Anytime we have a deviated schedule, usually due to Mother Nature, I see the passengers’ disappointment at first, but the alternate schedules are well planned, and the entire crew kicks in to see that the passengers have a great time. My favorite experience is to hear the positive comments from the passengers about a cruise that did not go as planned. Laurence: Another one is when guests return from excursions off the boat that can be awe-inspiring: the jet boat trip into Hells Canyon or the customized Hanford Nuclear Site visit, now part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park complex, or the Lewis & Clark themed excursion in and around Astoria, Ore., are truly eye-opening. I see bright eyes, enlivened spirits and stimulated minds. Likewise, when we lock through the John Day Dam, at 113 feet, the second-highest single- lift lock in the world, it is breathtaking – the entire experience and the engineering entailed to build and operate such a massive lock! American Duchess™ What are a few fun facts you love to share with cruisers? Jerry: In frontier times, there were never gambling boats on the rivers. That was made up by Hollywood. Also, on the American Queen, some are surprised to discover that it is a real steamboat with a working paddlewheel. Bobby: A lot of people are surprised that locks and dams are not for flood control but serve a navigation and traffic control purpose. There are also no tolls to go through the locks. Another fun fact is that the American Duchess used to be a casino river boat in Bettendorf, Iowa, and was built without a paddle wheel, so it had to be added on. Laurence: Astoria is the oldest permanent American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. Until the Californian Gold Rush and great wealth came into San Francisco, Astoria was the wealthiest town in the American West. 20 · escape · SPRING 2020 Mississippi River, St. Louis, Missouri