On June 17 -- we assembled at Camp Dan Beard in Wheeling Illinois for our pre-shake down inspection. We split up into crews to make plans for our get acquainted campout. Our crew voted unanimously for a trip to the upper Mississippi wildlife and fish refuse, which included a towboat ride on the
Then we checked ourselves out on what to bring and how to pack our gear. The pre-inspection shakedown ended promptly at 12:00 noon.
On July 7th, we assembled at Mr. Drake's house at 7:00 a.m. and left promptly at 7:30 a.m. for Moline, Illinois. The crew members who went on the trip were Bruce Lowie, Larry Visk, Peter Lundberg - Crew Leader, Jeff Cloninger -Assistant Crew Leader, David Springer, Rob Watson - Executive Chef, Mike Kammerer - Chaplain and myself - Quartermaster. At 11:30 am we arrived at the huge Rock Island Arsenal near Moline, Illinois. We ate lunch at the Army Weapons Command Cafeteria. Lieutenant Blessing, officer of the day gave us half price off our meal. Boy was it good. You should have seen us go after the desserts. At 1:00 pm we visited a serenely beautiful National Cemetery, where Mike Kammerer placed our crew's memorial wreath on the grave of one of 47 Unknown soldiers interred here. From here we went to the well kept Confederate cemetery, little did we know that there was one so far north. More than 1000 lie here. Next we visited the Browning Museum, where we saw many weapons, pieces of artillery, Civil war guns, etc. We left the Browning Museum on our way to the boat dock of the Moline Consumers Company and boarded the James P Pearson diesel tow-boat piloted by a veteran master pilot on the Mississippi river for 37 years. Captain Truman Hedrick told some stories of his steamboat days on the Mississippi. We pushed 6 barges up stream, ate dinner on board the tow-boat which lifted 12 feet in 10 minutes in lock #14 at La Claire, Iowa. After dropping his barges at Albany, Illinois, Captain Hedrick nosed the Pearson gently into shore at our campsite at 8:30 pm what service! We gathered our gear and thanked the crew and jumped off the bow of the boat to set up camp for the night.