Mississippi River Meander MapWhen my mother was still living, we used to talk about taking a Mississippi cruise together. Jim and I wanted to travel on the Delta Queen, but she lacked elevators, so we set our sights on the Mississippi Queen, which did have such conveniences. What with one thing and another, we never made the trip. My mother died in 2001, the Delta Queen has been out of commission since 2008, and the Mississippi Queen was scrapped in 2011. As we started to come out of the COVID travel slump we decided it was now or never.

One of the sticking points in our earlier discussions was the lack of cruises of the Upper Mississippi. Faithful Road Scholar came to the rescue this year by offering a cruise from St. Paul, MN, to New Orleans, LA, on the American Duchess. We used the credits accrued from other delayed and cancelled trips to sign up. Then we fretted over the potential for sickness or accident to prevent the trip. If that weren't enough, not long before the time our trip was scheduled, we decided to relocate to the Kendal at Lexington retirement community, which meant we needed to sell our house and the majority of our possessions. By the time the cruise arrived, it was a welcome holiday.

The image on the right is Number 5 of the series of maps made by Howard Fisk for the Army Corps of Engineers. It depicts the history of the river between Memphis, TN, and Tunica County, MS, which is as far south as we were able to travel on the river. Our voyage coincided with historic low water that had literally "dried up" traffic on the lower Mississippi below Memphis.

There are a couple of ways to follow us on our trip. You can view an overview with limited pictures and commentary, or follow us day-by-day on our adventure.

As is often the case, we drove to Northern Virginia to spend the night before catching an early morning flight from Dulles airport. The free flight offered by Road Scholar was from Roanoke to Charlotte to Minneapolis/St. Paul with an equivalent hippity-hop back from New Orleans. We had no interest in such routings in this time of airline uncertainty, so we paid extra for a non-stop from Dulles to MSP, and a non-stop return from New Orleans.

I've tried to make the narrative a complete summary, but I've used many links to other web sites to provide additional details and sometimes pictures. You can either stick with the basic narrative or explore the various links. At the time this album was created the links were all valid, but the WWW is in constant flux and that can change. If you encounter broken links, please send us some email.


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