It is the end of the Memorial Day weekend and we have been tucked away in a city park in Jefferson City which is Missouri’s state capitol. We try to stay off the roads during the Memorial weekend.
This leg of our trip has found us visiting a couple of the old cities along both the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.
In Hampton, Illinois we parked at a COE right on the Mississippi River. We watched barges go by but couldn’t spend too much time sitting outdoors. The gnats were out and the mayflies, an aquatic flying insect, were just starting to emerge from the river. We heard horror stories from the locals about their 24 hour swarm. Luckily, we left before that happened but check out this article and the accompanying picture to see what we missed. The Bane of Mayflies
The campground location was an excellent one for us. The paved Mississippi River Trail ran right by the campground so we were able to take a couple of bike rides.
Knowing that many of the cities along the Mississippi are very industrialize, we really did not know what to expect. We weaved in and out of various neighborhoods, through industrial areas, revitalized waterfront parks and along railroad tracks. For the most part the bike trails were an interesting way to view a city.
One trip took us to downtown Moline which is the headquarters for the John Deere Company. We stopped by the company’s visitor center where we not only learned more about the company but could climb up into the cab of a combine or play with a simulator for a backhoe. With the simulator, each time you smashed into the dump truck it recorded how much money it will cost to repair it! Poor Art, he practically bought the truck!
Check out the picture of city-slickers Art and Connie on a John Deere. That is the closest we’ll ever get to farm equipment!
Besides the visitor center, we also took a factory tour of its Harvester Works division which manufactures combines and attachments. It was a fun visit.
John Deere’s presence has really revitalized downtown Moline and the waterfront. However, the same cannot be said for downtown Davenport, Iowa, located on the other side of the Mississippi. Except for the riverfront park and the Figge Art Museum, there was nothing much else for the visitor. Luckily, we got another view of the area when we cycled the Duck Creek Greenway from Bettendorf to Davenport. The trail paralleled Duck Creek and ran through a number of neighborhood parks so we walked away with a better impression of the area.
We then moved on to Jefferson City, Missouri which sits on the Missouri River. Our wooded campground on the outskirts of the city was one of only two places to stay. I guess the city isn’t on the tourist route but we played tourists anyway. We toured the capitol building, governor’s mansion, and state museum. We learned how hilly the city is by cycling the city’s greenbelt and, as in Davenport, saw another view of the city. When we first got here, it rained heavily for three days and now the Missouri River is flooding in a number of places. Boy, does it rain and thunder here!
Our next stop is Sedalia, Missouri. We’re going there specifically for a four-day Scott Joplin ragtime festival. This will be our first ragtime festival, so it will be interesting to see if we enjoy this type of music. The famous Katy bike trailhead is also in Sedalia. It runs for over 230 miles within Missouri. It is also on our list but it just has to stop raining!
We’ll let you know our opinion of ragtime music in out next blog.