Saturday at the Sternwheel Rally began on a soggy note; heavy rain passed through the area during the night, and lingered during the day. The Fairgrounds were spongy and mushy, and a light rain popped in and out during the day putting just a bit of a damper on our agenda.
Recently, the Vatican elevated the Marietta St. Mary's Church with the designation of a minor basilica -- one of only 80 sites in the United States to have this papal honor. This called for a tour of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption.
The shield below was newly added to the Basilica by the Vatican just last year.
One more treat was in store for us, and we headed back to the Fairgrounds to regroup for a dinner cruise on the Sternwheeler The Valley Gem. The Valley Gem, a modern-day sternwheeler, is the largest passenger vessel that runs between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Our Airstream group had booked the whole open upper deck, where the dining tables were covered by an awning. As we boarded, it was still lightly spitting rain, but very quickly it cleared up and the sun made an appearance -- although the temperatures remained cool. A prime rib dinner and bar service, followed by entertainment, made the cruise up the Muskingum River, under the Washington Street Bridge, and joining the Ohio River a wonderful evening.
Here are pictures of the 20 NOVA and Mohican Unit WBCCI members that enjoyed the joint rally.
Leaving the Fairgrounds added to the fun for the weekend because the first Airstream to try bogged down in the muddy grass. With a little help from his friends he was pulled up to more solid ground and was on his way as we all were to follow him to our homes and the next adventure.
The Sternwheel Rally had been on the books for a long time and it grooved nicely with son Micah's need to move out of the house that he suddenly sold in Cincinnati! We simply added two more days onto the beginning agenda and camped just 4 miles from Micah at Winton Woods -- a Hamilton County Municipal Park. Micah had everything packed and ready for the move, and Tom and I showed up Tuesday morning just to supervise the delivery of the moving pod.
If you have never seen the delivery of a moving pod before -- it goes something like this:
By 8:30, our duties were done, and we headed out to enjoy the day at Winton Woods, before meeting up with Micah for supper. On Wednesday the professional movers showed up at 9:00, and there was very little for Micah, Tom and me to do as they wrapped and loaded everything in the pod. In fact -- because they were responsible for the arrival condition of everything, they did not want our "help." I passed the 5-hour move in a lawn chair, with a book, in the driveway! By 3:00, we left Micah's for a 3-hour drive to Marietta, Ohio, the scene of the 40th Annual Ohio Sternwheel Festival.
We arrived as a casual get-together-dinner was over, and quickly settled in for a little Airstream exchange before heading to bed. Friday began with a Breakfast served by Mohican -- pancakes, sausage links, mixed fruit, coffee, and OJ. We barely got breakfast finished before Mohican hauled out a lunch spread! In between was a lot of casual mixing of NOVA and Mohican unit members.
After lunch our group met at a downtown street corner where we boarded a trolley for a narrated tour of the town and the history of Marietta. There was a lot to see and learn: historic churches, catastrophic floods, Army forts, ancient ceremonial mounds, Indian wars, riverboats, runaway slaves, oil and gas booms, and more functioning brick streets than any other town!
After the trolley we walked down to the river-front of this two-river town, where the Muskingum River joins with the Ohio River. It was here that all of the grand old Sternwheel boats were lined up and docked for the 40th Ohio River Sternwheel Festival festival. Blue tarps reserved seating for the afternoon's sternwheel races and the fireworks display which would be the next night.
There was still a lot more to see and do at the Festival -- so be sure to come back for the rest of the details. I'll leave you with this pano picture taken by Tom of the Grand Old Ladies on the river.
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown