On August 2, the Delta Queen began this cruise in Pittsburgh, right at the beautiful point of land where the Allegheny and Monongehela Rivers join together to begin the Ohio River.

Yesterday evening about 7:45 p.m., we completed our journey down the entire 981 mile length of the Ohio River. It has been so wonderful to make the whole run in one cruise, watching the hillsides climb, roll, and drop away. The quaint towns glistening white in the afternoon sun. The endless rows of admirers gathering at the riverfront, glad to catch a glimpse of the Legendary Delta Queen as she struggles to survive the chokehold of politics and economics.

I couldn’t help thinking about Lydia and Nicholas Roosevelt who traveled from Pittsburgh to New Orleans on the first steamboat to traverse the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers back in 1811-12. Their incredible journey is one of the great adventure stories in American history. Their trip opened the west to steam travel and brought America westward.

Confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers
Confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers

Just before sunset, we reached the mouth of the Ohio River, rounded the point at Cairo, Illinois and turned upstream into the Mississippi River. It was a beautiful sight.

In the photo, the point of land is the southernmost piece of Illinois at Cairo. The river to the right side is the mouth of the Ohio and to the left of the point is the Upper Mississippi River flowing down from Minnesota.

We continued a longstanding tradition. As the boat meets the confluence of the two rivers, the steam whistle blows. Travelers then make a wish and toss a coin into the river. If the coin falls on that magical mingling of the waters, the wish will be fulfilled. I plinked a penny right on the line, so I feel certain that we will be able to Save the Delta Queen and keep her running for years to come.