The Faded Glory of the River – Overland Expo West 2016 Part Seven


We checked out after cool showers and just before our late check out time. The sun was bright and hot as we got our gear on and headed out of Hannibal, north. The Great River Road wandered a little, but it’s well marked with white signs and a green emblem. With the late start we didn’t know how far we would get, and we didn’t want to push to hard, even though we needed to be back in Milwaukee the next day.

We reached the town of Keokuk in Iowa (it’s fun name to say – go ahead and try it), which had a massive lock and dam across the river. Lock and Dam 19 is on the historic register, and at one time was the largest on the Mississippi (back when it was built in 1910). There was also an old paddle boat called the Geo M Verity, not quite beached, which claimed to be open for tours. We parked there and walked over to the neighboring park for a large snack before the tour.

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During the snack it rained again, a sudden severe downpour that stopped and started like someone hitting a switch. The we walked back to boat and up the ramp. There was an older man at the counter, who seemed glad to see us. He explained that most of the tour was self-guided, but he would walk us through the first deck to explain all the things. Most of things had labels, but neither of us felt like telling him we’d be okay and let him guide us around, which him taking the occasional break to check the counter for additional admissions.

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He was full of information and stories, and I think he was really glad to show people around. He was also entertaining to listen to – though we were feeling like we needed to get further than Keokuk on our first day and he definitely added a couple hours to the tour. Good hours, but we would pay for them later.

Once we were done with the engine deck, we had the run of the rest of the ship. Few of the staterooms had survived being converted into some sort of display.

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There were somethings left over from when the Verity was inservice as well, or at least related to when it was.

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After the tour, we went to check out the other “Thing To See” in Keokuk – Lock and Dam 19. It used to be a lot of things, largest in the USA, largest on the river, most power from the hydro plant. It was still in service, and had recently been partly remodeled and modernized, but it was now also a tourist stop. An old road had been partly torn down and converted into a viewing platform.

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It is really, really big.

From Keokuk we started back for Milwaukee. I’d like to say it was a scenic route with lots of stops that took us 2 weeks, but we had to get back and northern Illinois held no wonders for us. We rode late into our last night and got a hotel and bad Chinese.

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And the next day we were home.

But the next adventure was already on the way.

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