We had a normal service stop scheduled at Moscow, Iowa for Monday, 4/28. So looking about we found an Army Corps of Engineers Campground on the Mississippi River near Moiline, IL. Our experience with these campgrounds has been very good, clean, with good services, bathrooms and showers. And they are usually pretty inexpensive. With our Senior Pass this spot was $8/night.
In Hastings we live just upstream from Lock and Dam #2. This campground is just upstream from Lock and Dam #14. Only 8 miles downstream is Lock and Dam #15. The water is high and fast flowing and very turbulent.
There is always something to see everywhere and this area is no different.
The John Deere Pavilion contains historical exhibits about what else, the John Deere company. It started out making horse and ox drawn plows. Today it builds agricultural equipment for almost every situation in countries all over the world. In India, they make a simple affordable multi-fueled tractor for that market and for export to other markets. In Germany they build very sophisticated tractors with digital everything. Also for the European market and for export. In China they build specialized rice harvesting equipment for smaller hillside rice paddys.
It also builds construction equipment. Again all over the world specialized for local markets. And they are the world’s largest manufacturer of logging equipment.
And a farm tractor for kids to try out.
Pretty cool! All electronic.
And a bug-like walking logging machine!
And then on to the the Rock Island Arsenal.
This was established shortly after the Civil War not only as an arsenal to store weapons and ammunition but a manufacturing and testing center. It is huge, dozens of giant buildings, many private engineering and production partners. They specialize in rapid response manufacturing. When HumVees were found to be under armored in Iraq and Afganistan against improvised explosive devises, the Rock Island Arsenal designed, tested and built add on armor in a very short time. Their mission is supporting troops in the field. Rows and rows of old stone building. An impressive row of officers homes as well.
A big museum of course.
More guns than you can shake a stick at. And cannons, rocket launchers, tanks and all sorts of army machines.
Lock and Dam #15 is attached to the island. They had a nice visitor’s center, a barge going through and a Boy Scout Troop of active, noisey youngsters.
And a giant swing bridge that the barge has to go through to get into the lock.
The kids got a big charge out of this. They had never been here before. We had a good time too.
We had a small campfire when we returned to the campground. We toasted the last of our marshmallows and burned a bunch of pine cones that I collected at Hunting Island, SC. A pleasant end to this day as we get closer to home.
Our last stop was Moscow, IA about 60 miles west. In the morning it was windy and the forecast was for higher winds from the east and storms at night. We set out for Moscow with a 30-40 mph tail wind. Pretty neat actually. We got 2-3 mpg extra due to the wind.
As we exited the freeway there was a scene RVers never want to see.
SOB (some ither brand) burned to the ground, being loaded on a flatbed trailer. The skid loader ready to clean up all that was left, almost nothing. Those are the front seat frames stucking up in the front. A wood and aluminum framed coach won’t last long. Ours is welded steel.
The Highway Patrol Officer told me the just retired owner had just bought it used in Arizona and was driving it back to Davenport. 60 miles from home. Ouch. Never owned an RV before. Probably had no idea what to look for, what to do, what to check. Pay money, buy insurance and hope. Not a good plan.
We drove into the parking lot at the HWH service center, parked with the back end facing the wind and waited for the storm. It rained all evening and all night. Another coach pulled in next to us. We were up early and at the service entrance by 7. By early afternoon they were done, everything tickety-boo, all present and correct and we debated … A 300 mile run north in the 30-40 mph cross wind or wait it out or get half way and finish in the morning. Would we make it by dark?
Go for it. A challenging drive but steady as she goes. Made it home before dark, just barely. Backed into the driveway and 400 ft later with all the lights on right into the barn. Plugged the coach in, left the refrigerator on, grabbed what we needed, dashed into the house in the rain, turned on the water, the heat, the water heater, the fireplace, got something to eat and went to bed. Home always feels good.
Warm in the morning, coffee made, house warm, water warm still clean and tidy as we left it. Lots of room to spread out and get lost in. A familiar space to get reacquainted with.
Our adventures continue here. Busy weeks ahead. A list of places to go at the ready. Then where ever we are.
More to come.
Roger and Susan.