River Travels


eventually becoming “River World”,
Virginia travels fromĀ Alton, IL to Lake Charles, LA and back on a working towboat, 1956


Virginia on the Rivers

“I stand by the river and I know that it has been here yesterday and will be here tomorrow and that therefore, since I am part of its pattern today, I also belong to all its yesterdays and will be part of all its tomorrows. This is a kind of earthly immortality, a kinship with rivers and hills and rocks, with all things and all creatures that have ever lived or ever will live or have their being on the earth. It is my assurance of an orderly continuity in the great design of the universe.”
Virginia S. Eifert


Completely in love with all things having to do with rivers, Virginia traveled over 5,000 miles aboard steamboats, towboats and other craft not meant for a woman of her era. She thought nothing of driving through the night to board a working towboat at some remote grain elevator as it waited for the fog to lift. With her work, she helped keep the Delta Queen going when the government demanded it stop (since it wasn’t built to modern safety standards), and therefore several more generations of Americans experienced steamboat travel until it’s final demise in 2008 – fifty years after it’s first threatened death.

Delta Queen reference report by the National Park Service

Log of the Delta Queen – Cinnicinnati to New Orleans

Onboard travel log with photos, maps and illustrations by Virginia. Published in the early 1960’s.

As onboard naturalist, Virginia interpreted the river as it passed by. These guides are chock-full of interesting history and nature, making them far more valuable than the original $1.00 price tag the Greene Line charged for them.


Cape Zepher towboat – Spring 1954

Virginia talks herself aboard her first towboat for research – photos and notes

River World and the towboat

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