|Fri, 06 Jun: Today marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day. It is difficult for us to appreciate the bravery of those who were the vanguard of Europe's liberation. This is especially true with today's political environment. One must ponder what would have been had today's "leaders" been in place during the early forties.
We visited Normandy and it is sobering to see those rows and rows of graves. If you ever have an opportunity to visit Normandy, do so.
Anyway, today was a travel day. We decided that we'd head to the Mississippi and spend some time being "river rats". One of our most enjoyable river visits was at Fisherman's Corner Corps of Army Engineers campground. We checked out the website and found some spots that might be available for the weekend, but we know these are strictly on a first come first serve basis, so we decided to get an early go at it.
We arose early and got Carpe's ready for the road. We rolled wheels a few minutes after seven and made good time. A fuel stop east of Iowa City and a quick lunch break at a rest stop near Moscow were our only breaks. Other than that Carpe's Cummins diesel kept us rolling along.
We arrived at Fisherman's Corner a bit after noon and found a perfect site. We got settled in and will be here thru the week. We're right on the Mississippi but the trees block any river view from our site. No problem, a short walk and we get all the river we can handle.
As the afternoon and evening progressed the campground became busier and busier with folks arriving in everything from tents (a Scout group), teardrop trailers, fifth wheelers, and other Class A motorhomes. We're not alone here, already we've met up with Chris & Jim Gould and Frank & Karen Fisher are here. We've know and met both couples back down the road
We headed to nearby East Moline for a very good Chinese dinner at Ming Wah restaurant. Very good food and we have enough left over for two more meals.
Today's run was 255 miles with an overall fuel consumption of 8.6 mpg. Our route from Forest City was via local roads to I 35 to IA 27 (Avenue of The Saints) to I 380 then I 80 across the Mississippi River to US 84 a few miles south to Fisherman's Corner. Despite some patchy fog early it turned out to be a beautiful road day.
Wed, 11 Jun: And the days just pass...
It has been a few days since our last post, but rest assured you haven't missed too much. As is our wont, we tend to stay close to home and enjoy our relaxing, retired lifestyle.
The park was busy during the weekend, as is often the case with these "destination" campgrounds. Every spot was taken and there were loads and loads of kids, including the aforementioned Scout Troop. It rained Saturday afternoon and evening, which helped keep the smokey campfires to a minimum. By midday Sunday most of the weekenders had departed and the campground quieted down.
Sunday morning we headed back into Iowa in the car to visit Sam's Club and Wal*Mart. The Sam's Club was a major disappointment, it was mobbed and very few checkouts were open. We eventually put our purchases down on an unattended checkout and walked out.
Wal*Mart was much better organized and we did manage to fulfill our shopping list, including the items we did not buy at Sam's. We even stopped at Lowe's for a few hardware items that were on the lists.
Monday and Tuesday were stay-at-home days. Tuesday (and today) are gloomy and rainy so staying at home is really nice. A major benefit of retirement is not having to do most things, especially those that take you outside when it isn't very nice out.
This morning we broke that rule, but it was for something we wanted to do. Bob made an appointment for us to tour the John Deere Harvester Factory in East Moline. We were on the 0800 tour, which meant we needed to be in the Visitor's Center by 0745. An alarm morning, but well worth it.
This factory is where John Deere manufactures those monstrous combines that cost up to $500,000 plus front end attachments (another $200,000). The tour took us from sheet metal coming in the door at one end to combines being driven off the assembly line at the other.
As we've often noted, we both lover taking factory tours and this was one of the best. We, the physicist and the engineer, loved every minute of the tour and can't wait to visit some of Deere's other plants when we next visit the area.
Following lunch we drove to the Rock Island Arsenal and visited the museum. They have an extensive collection of arms, both U.S. and foreign. It was impressive to see.
Back to the coach to clearer weather and a relaxing rest of the afternoon and Happy Hour.
We plan to leave tomorrow morning and continue east toward Elkhart. We're exploring several routing alternatives, but none seem to avoid Chicago in a practical (meaning, fewer than a fifty to one hundred mile detour) way. So, guess we'll have to brave the "belly of the beast" and hope for a comparatively quiet mid-day traffic flow.