I’ve never been on the Spirit of Peoria and every summer I tell myself I’m going to go and take one of their afternoon tours up and down the Illinois River. Then time flies by and before you know it I’m complaining about the snow and winter and it’s too late to hitch a ride on the Spirit of Peoria.
Well, this year I finally made plans and I bought a ticket online for an afternoon cruise. I wasn’t sure if they sold beer on there and asked a few people and no one knew. So I’m hoping that they do and the only way to find out is to head to downtown Peoria and get on Peoria’s very own paddlewheel boat!
You board the Spirit of Peoria down here at the riverfront dock. These two gentlemen were taking tickets and welcoming the passengers aboard the paddlewheel vessel.
Let’s go upstairs and check out the room up there, it might be a good sanctuary if the sunshine becomes too much for me!
It’s very nice in here and it’s cooler than the outside of the boat. There’s a bar in the back, but sadly no bartender on duty
Will this be a dry cruise? Let’s hope not because this Seinfeld memory is making me thirsty!
Before the boat took off I took a stroll around the outside decks. There’s a nice crowd along for the ride and I like the giant paddlewheel and the handprinted signage. Nice!
And now we’re taking off, Bon Jovi…I mean Bon Scott…godammit, I mean bon voyage!
I’ve always had a fear of driving over bridges and now as we approach this one a new anxiety overtakes me. I’m certain as we pass underneath it’s going to collapse and crush this boat. Thankfully we pass under it without it collapsing. Can I get a whew?
I walked upstairs and found the concession stand and gift shop. As you can see, it’s kind of close quarters in here and there’s a line. I got in line and looked at some of the souvenirs which were all pretty standard stuff until I got to the book section. I found this somewhat unsettling tome: The Hunting in the Nude Cookbook.
Once every couple of decades, words fail me. This is that time, let’s just move along here.
I finally made my way up to the counter and this pretty woman served me up a hot dog and was nice enough to take a minute and pose for the MBIP Camera, even though she was really busy. Her name is Rachel and later we had a nice chat about the boat and Peoria!
The hot dog was delicious by the way and I needed something to wash it down with, so it’s time for…
Beer Number One and the obligatory half a dozen photos from the deck of the boat!
I’m happy to announce that there is indeed beer on board so I thought that we’d take some inspiration from Gilligan’s Island and have a three beer tour! Here’s some photos I took while wandering around.
There’s a running commentary on the loudspeaker while the boat travels along the river telling facts and river stories.
Wide World of Waterskiing!
There was someone waterskiing nearby and I got some photos of the skier in action! All this activity is making me thirsty, time for…
Beer Number Two and the obligatory half a dozen more photos from the deck of the boat!
More photos and beer as we glide down the Illinois River. This is really fun, but I need a little break from the sunshine.
I love the Sanctuary Room! I went back to the bar and they had a fan going and I even got an obligatory mirror shot back there. I was enjoying the scenery until this couple came up and leaned against the window, blocking my view!
Love the Sanctuary Room but hate this couple! Hate, hate HATE them!
Oh well, I guess it’s a good excuse to go and get…
Beer Number Three and the obligatory half a dozen more photos from the deck of the boat!
The time of the cruise is perfect, it’s 90 minutes and it goes by fast! Now we’re headed back and that can only mean one thing…
We have to go back underneath that dreaded bridge! Once again I was certain it was going to collapse and crush us to death.
I did take refuge in the fact that it would make the front page of the paper and the blog would get a ton of hits the next day!
Well, we made it though and we’re headed back to the dock. No free publicity for me!
The boat docked and we’re back on dry land. Time to go get beer number four at a downtown bar and daydream about this headline: “Local Blogger Crushed in Freak Spirit of Peoria Bridge Accident!”
Cheers and we’ll see you tomorrow!
100 NE Water Street