An Iowa Quickie

I had new tires placed on SB this past Friday morning and, on impulse, decided I needed a short test drive before putting her on the road for a more extended trip. So I decided to do a quickie trip to Le Claire, Iowa, a 130-mile trip that is almost a straight drive down I-80 East. My destination was for my third trip on the Riverboat Twilight, a 1 1/2-hour excursion up the Mississippi River.

I admit that, as my anticipated departure nears, I am looking for last opportunities to see parts of the state that has been home for the last eighteen years.

From the Le Claire exit, there’s a good view of the bridge that crosses the Mississippi River connecting Iowa to Illinois. The river isn’t quite so mighty this far north, but there still seems to be something special one can sense about it even here. The area is also part of the Iowa side of the Great River Road.

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By the time I arrived, the temps had reached a comfortable (at least for me) 85 degrees. The town was holding a festival in the parking lot near the boat dock, so I was able to take advantage of my very early arrival to get a brisket sandwich, chips and fresh-squeezed lemonade, and enjoy a leisurely lunch while listening to some local musicians perform Beatles and other 60s and 70s Rock hits.

As usual, when I don’t know what the walking and/or the seating situation is going to be, I brought my walker plus one of my walking sticks. I knew enough that the better seating was going to be on the upper two decks of the boat, and I guessed (correctly) that the steps would be narrow and steep, making for a difficult climb for me. So when I boarded, I planned an early arrival so that I would have the most choices for a location where I could sit comfortably and have a good view during the tour. I found the perfect spot at the bow of the boat and settled in for the trip. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get my own pictures of the riverboat, but I found these two on the Web:

A white building near the dock got my attention when I noticed that there was a full-sized boat INSIDE the building! It’s an exhibit in the Buffalo Bill Museum (more information available on the museum’s website).


Other than interesting houses and the different water craft sharing the river with us, I guess one could find oneself thinking that the scenery didn’t change much along the 45 minutes up the Mississippi and 45 minutes back down the river, but I enjoyed the moments of quiet. The captain occasionally gave some historical information or comments about nature of the river itself and the meaning of the green and red buoys we passed along the journey, but for the most part, he just let us enjoy the sites as we would. A few of the pictures I took are below:

As usual, all of the pictures from this trip are posted at

I was surprised how many built their homes, even a town or two, right on the river, considering the Mississippi’s reputation for flooding. However, the crewperson I asked about this said that flooding is infrequent this far upriver.

I was sitting to port on the riverboat, so I was facing the Iowa side of the river on the trip North and towards Illinois during our return. I was again surprised, this time that the Illinois side had far less permanent housing or businesses in sight of the river for a considerable distance. However, there was one eye-catching sight, a 30-foot-tall statue of a man on a bicycle! One never knows what one is going to see, I guess.

When we returned, I had hoped that the vendors would have closed down, but alas, most were still open and selling their wares. I escaped with only a new jewelry set and a water container in hand. Thank goodness no one was selling books or music!

The drive back was as uneventful as the one to Le Claire. SB handles even better with the new tires, and I’m looking forward to our next excursion.

July 5, 2023, Update

One thing I didn’t mention previously was that a reporter for the local paper stopped by while I was eating and asked me for my impressions about the festival. It seems that my reply made the paper:

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