In this podcast, we wrap up our Great River Road adventure. We start in Dubuque, Iowa, and travel south through Fulton, Illinois, and Clinton, Iowa. Then we move on to our last stop, the Quad Cities.
Day 9: Exploring Dubuque, Iowa
We try to seek out unique attractions on our travels, so we couldn’t miss the Fenelon Place Elevator in Dubuque, the world’s steepest, shortest scenic railway. We then spent the rest of the day at the riverfront, first on a stroll along the Mississippi Riverfront, followed by a visit to the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium.
Accommodations Nights 8 and 9: Hotel Julien Dubuque, Dubuque, Iowa Check rates and reviews on TripAdvisor
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Day 10: Dubuque, Iowa, to Fulton, Illinois
Our first stop after breakfast was the Julien Dubuque Memorial. The memorial overlooks the Mississippi River—gorgeous views—in the Mines of Spain State Park. Afterward, since I can’t resist a cave, we toured Crystal Lake Cave before continuing our drive down the Great River Road. We crossed into Illinois at Fulton and arrived at de Immigrant Windmill just before closing time. We were in luck, though. The adjacent Windmill Cultural Center was staying open later that night because of an area special event.
Accommodation Nights 10: Country Inn and Suites, Clinton, Iowa Check rates and reviews on TripAdvisor
Day 11: Fulton, Illinois, to Quad Cities
Following a breakfast treat at Krumpet’s Bakery in Fulton, we crossed back into Iowa to visit the Sawmill Museum in Clinton. The museum is much larger than we expected it to be, and it was both educational and entertaining. We continued then down to the Quad Cities, where our first stop was the Rock Island Arsenal Museum and the arsenal visitor’s center. After checking into our hotel at the Rhythm City Casino Resort, we headed to Woodmen Park in Davenport to watch the Quad Cities River Bandits take on the South Bend Cubs.
Accommodation Nights 11 and 12: Rhythm City Casino Resort Check rates and reviews on TripAdvisor
Day 12: Quad Cities, Illinois and Iowa
Day 12 was museum day for us. We started out at the German American Heritage Center and Museum in Davenport. We went there specifically to see the temporary Steam Circus exhibit, but found the rest of the museum interesting, as well. Afterward, we visited the new Bix Beiderbecke Museum. Bix Beiderbecke, a Davenport native, was a popular jazz cornet player in the Roaring 20s. We finished our museum day with the Figge Art Museum, the major art museum in the Quad Cities. Later we treated ourselves to a Maid Rite loose meat sandwich.
Day 13: Quad Cities to home
The weather on the last day of our trip was rather gloomy. Since the skies looked like they could open at any time, we skipped traveling on the Channel Cat Water Taxi. Instead, we started out at the John Deere Pavilion, where we checked out John Deere equipment, both modern and from the past. Afterward we enjoyed an early dessert at Lagomarcino’s, a family-owned ice cream and candy shop that has been open since 1908. Then back to the Rock Island Arsenal, to see the veteran and Confederate cemeteries, followed by a tour of Colonel Davenport’s home.
From the Mississippi River headwaters near Bemidji, Minnesota, down to the Quad Cities, our two weeks were packed with adventure. We’re looking forward to exploring the rest of the Great River Road in the future.
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