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Scrapbook for River Barge the Ohio River Tour

October 23 - 30, 2003

The River Barge the Ohio River Tour, October 23 - 30, 2003, is now complete.  Enjoy the picture journey and the WOW experience of tour members. 

The riverbarge offers its passengers (bargemates) the chance to see America differently - from the inside.  The R/B River Explorer travels America's rivers and inland waterways, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the culture and heritage of nearby towns and cities in a safe, relaxed and comfortable setting.  A family atmosphere prevails during the excursion as travelers are welcomed aboard as guests and depart as part of the River Barge Family.

R/B River Explorer Description:

Built:  1998

Size:  made of 2 Barges (each 295 feet long and 50 feet wide) tied
           together and propelled by towboat M/V Miss Navi with 3,000
           horsepower -- total length 730 feet.

Staterooms:  maximum 198 guests in 98 staterooms each 200 sq. ft.
           in size, included is heat/AC, twin or superqueen beds, full tub
           and shower, satellite TV and VCR, phone, refrigerator,
           hair dryer, binoculars, large windows.

Other Guest Services:  2 story multi-purpose entertainment facility
           for public meetings, concerts, film, story telling/lectures; a
           lobby for lounging and tables for reading and game activity;
           Pursers Desk for information services; library with books,
           newspapers, videos, and table games; small gift shop;
           Guest Pilot House showing river charts, radar and radio
           transmissions; Fitness Room with workout equipment, two
           whirlpool tubs and a jogging/walking track; the Galley
           serving homestyle cooking featuring full buffet breakfast
           and lunch and off-the-menu dinner in a single, casual open-
           seating atmosphere.  Guests can "Raid the 'fridge" on a
           24-hour basis.

This was our setting as we began our 540 river mile tour on the Ohio and Kanawha River (WV).  Our tour began at the waterfront, public landing, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Lots of interesting activity on the river and its never far away.  The banks of the river still held a touch of fall color.




The Lock sequence was very interesting and educational to watch.  We were so close, we felt involved in the operation.


Entering the lock at river level, the lock gate begins closing.


We are in the lock, the gates are closed behind us and the gates are still closed in front of us.  Soon the waters begin to churn under us and the lock begins to empty out, lowering the barge.


The water inside the lock is now equal level to the river water in front of us.  The gates ahead begin opening until they have completely opened and we can progress down river.  Amazing!!

Periodic port stops allowed us to learn the local culture and story.  Ripley, OH, situated along the Ohio River across from Kentucky, became the first stop for many run-away slaves, the first stop toward freedom, the first stop on the Underground Railroad.







Main Street of Ripley (OH) along the river where residents often took in run-away slaves.


Many Ripley residents risked their lives to become a way-station along the Underground Railroad route.  Such was the John Parker House, home of a black freeman, and the Rankin House on the hill with its lantern in the windows each night.



We learned of the beauty and natural resources on shore visits.  The crystal clear water, the New River arch bridge across the gorge among the fall colors, the grist mill of yesteryear, the West Virginia capital and resource of coal reminded us of both the past and a peek into the future.

Beside transiting the locks and beside the sights and learnings of the port stops, activities abounded onboard --



...time for eating, a luncheon or mid-afternoon ice cream party out on the open upper deck or eating evening dinner with friends...

... hear actress "Eliza" tell her story of runaway, meet the author, listen to local mountain music with guitar, fiddle and tub, and a few group meetings for our group to learn to know each other better...

...meet the Captain...

...walk the upper deck...

...relax in the lounge...


...visit the library/game room...

...relax on the open upper deck...

...relax in your stateroom, "work" on your hobbies...

...do a little business or keep in touch with the family as the scenery passes by.

We return to Cincinnati
after 540 river miles ...


We leave behind our bedroom, dining room, activities room - our home...

Our happy tour family...


We've said our Good Byes and yet take with us new learnings, new friendships, good memories, and new strength for the journey ahead.

Following is a portion of a poem written by Rhoda Mellinger in response to this tour:

   River Barging Days

We set off for river barging
One October day,
It was a first time offer
From Mennonite Your Way.

We boarded the River Explorer
Had time to settle in,
With all the joys ahead
There seemed so much to win!

We found our rooms delightful
The food especially great,
the crew extremely friendly
So we voted all first rate.

We shared in times of worship
Heard mountain music, too,
Enjoyed relaxing moments
Which all were glad to do.

The days passed by too quickly
And we finished our great tour,
But we cherished all the memories
That will bless us o'er and o'er.

by Rhoda Mellinger
October 2003


"There were more activities than I had anticipated, but that was good...I didn't feel obligated to participate, although I don't think I missed much.  It was nice mingling with "outsiders" on the barge, but I truly enjoyed those who were part of our group and our times of sharing together."
            Kay (PA)

"These tours are very educational.  Also liked the relaxation of staying in the same room.  The men enjoyed the mechanical aspects of the barge.  A wonderful way to celebrate our anniversary."
            George & Ave Lee (PA)

"Can't imagine any other vacation trip that could offer the friendship we experienced here.  It seemed like we were all home-town folks coming together for a great experience on the river."
            Myrna (CO)

"It was just super start to finish."
            Betty (VA)

"The scenery was great, the service outstanding."
            Melvin (DE)

"A relaxing time for us - no cooking, no cleaning up.  Informative and pleasurable, but too short."
            Vi & Roy (PA)

"The church service was very meaningful. Thank you for making us welcome into the MYW tour since we joined the tour in Cincinnati.  We would do it again."
            Herb & Carol (OH)

"From the Pilot House, I felt like I was piloting the barge.  Very scenic, loved the beautiful leaves.  The Barge ride exceded my expectation.  The rooms were nice with big windows.  I loved the freedom we had to just relax or talk with others on the barge."
            Edna (MD)

"We had a great balance between free time and planned activities, especially enjoyed the history of the area."
            Willie & Rhoda (PA)

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