Monday, July 28, 2014

Into Illinois

Like our time in Nebraska, we were also in Iowa for nine days.  That seems to be our normal speed for passing through a state.  In fact, I just checked (since I'm still way behind on the blog) and we also spent nine days in Illinois!

Our first stop in Illinois was at Fisherman's Corner near Moline.  This and one other were the only Corps of Engineer campgrounds not closed due to flooding along the Illinois section of the Mississippi River.  We could see dam number 14 from the campground.  I wanted to get a close up of one of the pretty lotus flowers in the foreground, but it would have involved getting wet.  Ron did offer me the use of his fishing waders, but I declined.

The pelicans were very interested in what came over the dam along with the water.

As you might know, Moline, IL, is the home of John Deere.  I reluctantly joined Ron to visit the John Deere Pavilion - ho hum.  But wait!  They let you climb on them.  I guess that's to keep the kids like me interested.

And Ron debated if he could tow this giant combine behind the RV.

But there was something there that grabbed the interest and imagination of both of us.  This logging machine walked!

There was a video that showed it in operation.  It seems it isn't widely used because, although it works well on uneven or soft ground, it is much slower that a standard crawler under normal circumstances.

Next we went to the Mississippi River Visitor Center in Rock Island.  I love locks.  From their viewing platform we could watch the whole process.  Here the gates are opening so the tug can push the barges in.

But the really cool thing at this lock is the swing bridge which rotates open

So the barges and tug can pass through.

The current bridge was completed in 1896 and, like its predecessor, is two tiered with the railroad utilizing the top tier and vehicular traffic on the lower.  Of course back then it was horse and wagon traffic on the lower.  The swing section is 365 feet and the entire bridge is 1608 feet.

It was interesting to me that the bridge was in place long before the lock and dam.  This lock and dam (number 15) was built in 1934, the first of 29 built between Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Granite City, Illinois.  They keep the channel at least 9-feet deep to allow for the barge traffic.  Conversely, the river can get too deep for safe navigation.  We were there on the first day that it was open after being shut down for 10 days due to flooding.


  1. I'm sure glad you're taking your time to get through these states because when we finally head east we will be whipping through them. I can point at things and tell Jim, I know about that because Barbara told me all about it.

  2. Oh you're almost to the humid east welcome home!! Get ready to shower twice daily..
    I am always amazed by locks, canals and all this water related...Its amazing how well things were built back in the day!

  3. Wow, you sure got those pelicans in line!

  4. So, this time you were close to where my family comes from--Mobile and Rock Island.
    We have stayed in a great corps park on the other side of the river near Muscatine, Iowa. Bet it was flooded, too.

  5. Huh ... interesting that the bridge swings aside. I don't think I've seen one of those in action.

  6. Tell me your secret for posing those pelicans! Hee hee!