Grandkids along the Mississippi

Last week we tried it once again. The whole family, all thirteen of us gathered in the Quad Cities. This time we camped together without incident. Well sort of. We gathered at Fisherman’s Corner Campground. Let me begin with a review of the campground.

We stayed here from Saturday June 22 to Friday June 28. It really is a nice campground. It is in a good location to do the many things there are to do in the Quad Cities. We did a lot and had a great time while there.

It is located just a little way from I-80 along the Mississippi River and is an Army Corps of Engineers’ campground. It is just upriver from dam and locks # 14. The sites are plenty big and there are lots of shade. Most sites have 30 amp electric and water spigots are plentiful. There is a shower house which is centrally located in the park and pit toilets around the campground. Showers and pit toilets were reasonably clean. All RV sites are paved and have a gravel pad with a picnic table and fire ring. There is also a nice playground where children can play.

I do have a couple of negatives. While this park is conveniently located off the interstate and for getting around the Quad Cities, it is not well located from a noise standpoint. There is a railroad that runs the entire length of the campground. We only saw the train once each day and every time it was in the morning as we were beginning our day. But it was very noisy. But worse there is another railroad on the opposite side of the river and it was quite busy and surprisingly loud given that it was so far away. But worse than the railroads was the road that ran along side of the railroad along side of the campground. It was constantly noisy.

My other negative has to do with the guy who is onsite and does registration and other duties in the campground. We were leaving the campground one afternoon and came upon him in a small group of people and he and another man we chest to chest in a very heated argument which looked as though it was about to become violent. They were beside the road in front of the bath house. We stopped and my daughter and I began to talk to the men and diffuse the situation. Fortunately we were successful. The problem was that had this become violent, those camping could have been in danger.

On Sunday we crossed the river and went to La Claire, Iowa to visit Antique Archeology, the home of the American Pickers. It is smaller than one might imagine, but it was great fun. While in La Claire we visited the Buffalo Bill Museum. Turns out La Claire is the birthplace of William Cody. I loved the museum. The largest feature of the museum was the last steam powered paddle boat that sailed the Mississippi.

That evening we went to Ben Williamson Park on the Rock River in Rock Island, Illinois to see the Backwater Gamblers Water Ski Show.  This was great fun and free!  The Backwater Gamblers perform every Sunday and Wednesday evenings between Memorial Day and Labor. The show features National and World champion skiers and boat drivers.

Backwater Gamblers

Monday, we went to the Putnam Museum in Davenport, Iowa.  This is a very nice museum which appeals to the whole family. There are a large number of hands on displays which can keep children’s attention for hours. But there are plenty of exhibits to keep the adults interested as well.

Putnam Museum

One of my bucket list items was accomplished on Tuesday. I am quite interested in my genealogy. One of my discoveries is that one of my third great-grandfathers was a Confederate soldier and was captured and imprisoned at the Union Rock Island Prison. He died there and is buried in the Confederate Cemetery which is  located in what is now the Rock Island Armory.  This Army base also has a national cemetery, museum, and other historical buildings which can be visited and toured.  The Confederate Cemetery has a list of southern solders buried there and it was quite easy to find my 3rd great-grandfather’s grave. This cemetery has the look of any National Cemetery. It is quite beautiful there. I was surprised by the emotion I felt while when visiting the grave.

While at the Armory we went to the museum. One of the first exhibits was about the Civil War Prison. There was a computer there where you could put in the name of a prisoner and find information about them. It was not working so I asked a Docent about it and he suggested I go downstairs to the archives. This I did and was I ever glad. The archivist was so helpful. He was able to find a newspaper article from the Rock Island Argosy which listed the death of my ancestor as well as the official prison record. They were so friendly and helpful and saw to it that I left with all the copies I needed. For me, this was one of the highlights of the trip.

Wednesday, we took the kids to the waterpark. We went to the Whitewater Junction located in Rock Island. The kids had a great time but I’m pretty sure one of the sons-in-law enjoyed it most of all. There were two tall and long waterslides, one a rafting slide, the other a body  slide as well as two other slides which were smaller but plunged into the deep end of the pool. The park is built into the side of a hill and is quite pretty.  It is very well staffed and well kept.

That night we returned to the Backwater Gamblers Ski Show and the second time it was better than the first. It was another great time.

Thursday morning we went down river a couple of miles to a county park and me and my seven grandchildren did a little fishing. Three fish were caught and great fun was had.

That afternoon we went into Moline, Illinois to the John Deere Pavilion.  Here the story of the man John Deere and the company he inspired is told. Several of their tractors and other machinery are on display. The modern equipment, including the second largest piece of farm machinery they make are not only on display but are totally accessible. You can climb on them get is the cab and play with the controls and imagine the power under your  control. They also have simulators where you can drive the equipment. It has something for the whole family and is totally free.

Nearby is the Mississippi River Visitor Center. Operated by the Army Corps of Engineers this visitor center is located at dam and locks number fifteen. This facility provided a viewing area where you could watch vessels pass through the locks. You can learn much about the river here and I highly recommend it. The Ranger, who was on duty, loved to talk about the river.  The grandchildren began to ask questions and he answered them every one, with great enthusiasm and in an easily understood way.

Also nearby we picked up the Channel Cat River Taxi and took a ride on the river. This was an inexpensive way to take a ride on the Mississippi.

We did not scratch the surface of all there was to do and see in the Quad Cities. But we had great fun and made a lot of memories. And apparently the “curse” has been broken. I wonder what will we do next?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s