We are rolling out of Moline, IL at about 9 AM and there’s not a cloud in the sky, its 65 degrees and a beautiful sunny day. We covered 371 miles yesterday. Life is good! We wearing coats, hats and gloves, but I’m wondering if we needed too. As you would expect the Great River Road through Moline, Illinois is in the older industrial area of the City. A lot of it is run down and not very scenic to put it nicely. You probably wouldn’t want to pull in here to look for a room at ten o’clock at night.
As you get into Moline you find the JohnDeereMuseum, and the whole JohnDeereCenter is very attractive. The Great River Road Paddlewheel signs have been hard to follow to this point. Once you get past this part of Moline it becomes nearly impossible to follow the Great River Road. Whatever monies they had for the road signs got spent on something else. After driving around and around in decades old run down industrial areas we finally make our way out of Moline, Illinois. At the first stop light I holler at Brian “what did you think of Moline”? And he says something “inaudible”. So I holler over to Mike “what did you think of Moline, Illinois?” He yells back “SHIT HOLE” and we all laughed. From then on it became the silence breaker “hey Mike what did you think of Moline, Illinois?” Now you all know the answer.
We make our way south to Heathburg, Illinois and onto Oquawka, Illinois whose claim to fame is Norma Jean the elephant. Apparently, during a circus performance in 1972 Norma Jean was struck by lightning and they buried her where she fell in the town square. So we have a stretch and a little photo opportunity and roll down the road.
Next stop is Nauvoo, Illinois. We park on main street and have lunch at Grandpa Joe’s. This is the home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Well at least it was until the opponents’ murdered leader Joseph Smith and forced them to leave. The views here are spectacular overlooking the Mississippi River, and the pie at Joe’s was delicious.
We wait in Harden, Illinois to cross the Illinois River while the lift bridge lets a string of barges pass. Everywhere we stop all the talk is about how high the water is along the GreatRiver. Even though we never cross the Mississippi you cross lots and lots of bridges feeding into the big stream. All the rivers flow into the Mississippi. We on the other hand follow the Great River Road south through East St. Louis in Illinois to Columbia, Illinois and call it a day. We did some night riding thinking it better to start the day on the south side of East St. Louis.
Copyright 2012 by Owen L. Riess. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the author.