Valley Gem Introduces ‘Lockapalooza’ Cruise

Valley Gem Inc., which operates the sternwheel vessels Valley Gem and Major, has introduced a brand new trip it calls “Lockapalooza.”

The cruise takes passengers through two radically different types of locks on two different rivers in the same day. The first is a lock at Devol’s Dam on the Muskingum River that is still hand-operated. Valley Gem General Manager Heather Sands said there has been a hand-operated lock at the site since 1841.

“I don’t know of anyone else offering a cruise like this,” she said. “The Valley Gem is the largest vessel that can fit through this lock, and it was designed for that purpose.” While the lock-through can take as little as 20 minutes, the boat usually allows an hour.

After locking up and down river, the boat heads to the Ohio River, where lunch will be served as passengers travel up the Ohio to Willow Island Lock and Dam where they will experience a modern lock system.

The idea for the lock cruise was suggested to the company by deckhand Evan Cavalier, who has been with the company for about six years, according to Sands.

The first Lockapalooza cruise was scheduled for August 26, but a second one is planned for October 21. The cruise runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost of $75 per person includes breakfast and lunch.

The Valley Gem is homeported in Marietta, Ohio. For more information visit the Valley Gem website, www.valleygemsternwheeler.com.