Monday, July 31, 2006

River Barging 101

My in-laws 50th wedding anniversary was last month and when we were trying to figure out what to get them for a gift, they said that they would like a trip and for us to plan it for them...and they would like us to go with them...and they would like to pay for the whole thing. We, of course, objected, but they are always sincere on things like that and then it is all over when Daniel's mom states that if I don't accept I will be "stealing her joy". She knows that I can't leave with the crime of "joy-stealer" on my record, so that is always the end. So, they decided that they would like to go on a River Barge and we went and I loved it!!!

We boarded the Barge in Nashville, TN and were on the river for 3 days heading down the Cumberland River & Tennessee rivers.

Things that I loved:

*Our adorable rooms with Organizer Closets
*Opening our curtains in the morning to see beautiful scenery going by
*The trip being all-inclusive so that the only thing that we needed cash for was alcohol...not surprisingly, I didn't need much cash!
*Seeing all of the different people sharing the ride with us (200 passengers, plus staff) - mostly seniors (surprise, surprise), but some couples our age and a handful of children.
*Getting to know the layout of the Barge and being able to roam freely 24 hours a day.
*Heading down to the Dining Room when it was quiet to check out the Guest refrigerator that was always stocked with fun sandwiches, desserts, etc. just for the taking.
*Stopping in one of the little halls to chat with the exotic birds that are residents on the Barge. Annakin the talking parrot finally spoke to me on our last day there. He asked if my name was Polly and if I could talk.
*Indulging in a cookie from the Perpetual Cookie Jar that was kept full at all times
*Talking with the staff that were exceedingly pleasant
*Playing "Barge Bingo"
*Not having to rush off to somewhere all the time and actually just having moments of sitting and doing nothing
*Sitting in the Pilot's House watching the world pass by
*Hearing some of the Crew say "Roger, roger, Cap'n" on the radio
*Seeing Alan Jackson's beautiful homestead
*Enjoying a hilarious concert by Dan, the Banjo Man. Daniel and I decided that we should learn how to play the banjo

Things that I didn't Love as Much:

*The heat - it was incredibly hot. I don't mean the "Oh, I am a bit uncomfortable" kind of hot, but the "I actually may die from this" kind of hot. So, being up on the Open Deck was not something that we did for long periods of time which canceled out Shuffleboard and lounging on the deck chairs. Even being up there for short periods of time made me sweat like a man!!!!
*Losing every game of Barge Bingo
*Not being able to meet the owner (who was a passenger and likes to blend in and was pointed out to me by another sociable passenger). I hoped that I would do something charming that would cause him to say that my family and I could take barge trips free for life.
*Realizing that I will probably never learn how to play the banjo.
*Alan Jackson not being out in the yard when we went by.
*Realizing that Alan Jackson will probably never invite me and my family over to his homestead.
*Arriving back in Nashville and knowing that our Barge trip was over.

Misc. Tidbits

We had quite the excitement one night (most of the people slept through this, but not us). Apparently a passenger became injured and needed to go to the hospital which is not as easy as usual being on a barge and all. They had to send a Motor Boat over to the shore and meet some paramedics who came back to the Barge and stabilized the woman. Then, the Captain decided that it would be better to try and get the woman off of the Barge directly onto land instead of transporting her in the motorboat, so he expertly maneuvered the huge barge as close to the shore as possible and all of the crew were able to extend a gangplank and get the woman up the steep embankment to the waiting ambulance. She ended up needing stitches in her head, and had a broken arm. Guess how it happened....she was 87 years old and after she went to bed, she saw some bugs on her ceiling so she stood on her bed to kill them and fell off. She was with a Tour Group and I heard the Tour Guide giving his other members a new rule the next morning..."no standing on your beds!"

Daniel and I decided that we should work on the River Barge for a year or so. How much fun would that be! However, we couldn't take the cats, so I guess we won't


middle aged blogger said...

I'm happy to see you blogging again - fun as ever I see!

love Ma B

Scott said...

Sounds like a very enjoyable adventure! I think it's neat that you and Daniel can spend quality time like that with your family.