The night was beautiful, cool and clear, and the river running full from recent rains, but thankfully all the debris from a recent bad storm in the air had cleared so we had a smooth ride.
Our start was a little delayed--first, a barge had to pass by, and then the ferry captain graciously went back to get two ladies who missed the launch on the West Virginia side of the Ohio River. They were a little embarrassed, but such nice ladies, sisters raised in Sistersville but now living elsewhere.
|We weren't the only ones waiting for the barge to pass. A whole flotilla of water birds waited too.|
The cruise featured a simple dinner of hot dogs and hamburgers, macaroni salad and baked beans along with cold drinks, and a DJ playing requests.
People brought their own chairs, and there were several groups who seemed to be having a blast, as well as families and two couples celebrating over 50 years of marriage.
|Nearly a sellout crowd for this year's cruise, with about 55 people on board, plus the crew.|
I had a long and interesting conversation with two brothers who were full of stories and history about West Virginia. Their family had connections to much of the state's history--from Indian wars to oil and gas, coal, railroads, farming, and politics, their ancestors had their part in all of it. And ghost stories! Lots of them. I will be back in touch with them in future for more details, for sure. I was thinking as I listened that the river on which we were floating also has its fair share in history and stores too.
The ferry takes a leisurely pace on this cruise, passing Crab Island and then circling Wells Island, if I am reading the map of river islands correctly. There are numerous islands of all sizes scattered in the river, many of the them formerly privately owned but now within the Ohio River Islands National Refuge.
|The barge ahead of us passes Wells Island|
The annual Sistersville fireworks were the climax of the cruise. We watched from the Ohio side of the river where the view was the best. Since we missed the firework's for our town's big celebration over July 4th, I was happy to get to see these. They were beautiful, and satisfyingly booming.
As we began the return journey, the moon peeped out over Sistersville.
Then, oddly, the ferry began turning around. It seems a few Ohioans had forgotten to get off while we were on their side of the river, so back we went! I can imagine that Bo, the ferry captain, wasn't too thrilled, but how kind to make the return trip.
It was a long drive home late at night, but so worth the trip. I feel now like I've truly celebrated the 4th in style.
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.