I have to admit I was expecting the boat to be a bit on the Disney side of camp with cardboard decor and dusty fake flowers. I am pleasantly surprised. Built in 1995 the American Queen is apparently the largest steam boat ever built. The paddle is impressive and churns at a mighty fast rate. Our room has enviable ‘Arts & Crafts’ wallpaper and the gentleman’s lounge is stocked with handsome boar and bear taxidermy.
I think the dining room is my favorite. It is so very Harmonia Gardens! I’m waiting for Dolly Levy to order a turkey dinner any evening. There is also a calliope on the top floor. If you are not familiar, it is a horrid invention of the Victorian’s birthed from whistles and steam. If you have ever heard the nightmarish music of a merry-go-round, you have heard a calliope.
After settling in we trotted off to dinner at 5:15. Yes, you read correctly. We booked in for the early bird dinner and since everyone on this thing is 90+, dinner is either at 5:15 or 7:15. We figured we should take the earlier seating so we can start drinking at a decent hour. You know.
After dinner we went to the floor show where two couples sang every riverboat song in the book. They started the show in 1880’s clothes and made their way through the 20s, 40s and ended with 60s sequins and some seriously jacked wigs. Oh and their band was called ‘The Steamboat Syncopators’. I am so stealing that one.
After the show we headed to the engine room to hear Ms. Jackie (previously known as Paula Deen) belt them out. This is where I lost the plot. Mother and Dotty went to bed and Rod and I ordered about 1000 glasses of wine. We sang, I danced, I twirled that sweet little lady around the dance floor multiple times and we gazed out onto the silent Mississippi and up at the dazzling sky above. I nearly cried with pleas for the banjo player to help me find one on this trip. He told me there is a store in port today with decent ones so I gave him my card. Get ready for my Christmas show!
I woke this morning around 7:30 still pleasantly buzzed and did morning stretches on the balcony as we pulled into a foggy Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Sadly the town has decided to jack hammer the dock at 8am so my head is about to explode. The boat apparently has tried to wipe out the noise with more noise- a rag time band! So I think I will end this epistle and try to get some shut eye in the bathroom, or just get up with the grannies and get going.