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. Read more
Listen to our adventures as we drove the Great River Road from the Headwaters in northern Minnesota to the Quad Cities. On days 5 through 8 explored the area from St. Cloud, Minnesota, to Dubuque Iowa. Read more
Welcome to the inaugural Midwest Wanderer podcast! As we traveled the Great River Road from the Mississippi River headwaters in northern Minnesota to the Quad Cities, we summed up our daily activities each night in a podcast. We turned the first two recordings into videos while we traveled and posted them on Facebook. But that required late nights, and after two nights of five or fewer hours of sleep, we decided to record and wait until we got home to publish them. So here we are, with the first four days of our Quad Cities adventures. Rather than videos, we’re presenting them in podcast format. Read more
The Mississippi River, the third-largest watershed in the world, flows over 2,300 miles through the United States, from Lake Itasca in Minnesota south into the Gulf of Mexico. Traveling the Great River Road Scenic Byway, which follows the course of the river, is on my bucket list. However, lacking the time to do it “right,” seeing everything there is to see along the byway in one trip, I am doing it piecemeal. During a recent travel bloggers conference, TBEX, which was held in Minnesota at the Mall of America, we had an opportunity to explore part of Minnesota’s portion of the Great River Road, from Kellogg to Red Wing. Read more
I saw Fast Eddie’s Bon Air featured on TV when Food Network star Alton Brown stopped there on a motorcycle tour. Brown described it as a road house, a drinking establishment that offers cheap food, although roadhouses aren’t usually in town, and the food isn’t usually good. There’s the difference with Fast Eddie’s. It’s in downtown Alton, and the food is good.
The bar had been around as the Bon Air since 1921 when it was opened by Anheuser Busch and then sold ten years later when a law was passed prohibiting breweries from owning drinking establishments. It didn’t become Fast Eddie’s until 1981, and that’s when food was added. The menu isn’t big, only seven items: homemade brats, peel-and-eat shrimp, burgers, fries and three kinds of kebobs—Pork Kebob, Hot Chick on a Stick, and tenderloin and peppers called the Big Elwood on a Stick. However, people from all over the country have made a point of stopping there as they’ve passed through. A local told us of folks he knows who often drive 250 miles from Kansas City just to eat there.
Prices haven’t changed much since 1981. We found that the price for a burger had increased—not surprising with soaring beef prices—but still a big bargain with a half-pound burger only $1.99. Brats are only 99 cents, and shrimp 29 cents each. A generous basket of fries is $1.99.
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You won’t find fancy here. After all, it’s a bar, a bar that has quadrupled in size since it became Fast Eddie’s. We sat in the newer area, with a feel of the outdoors under a tent-type roof, heated and comfortable during our March visit.
Walk up to the counter to order and pay for your food, then sit back and relax with a drink (drinks are ordered and served at your table), while you wait for your meal. Watch the digital counter; when the number reaches your number or higher, your food is ready for you to pick up, add your condiments and take back to your table to enjoy.
Fast Eddie’s, located at 1530 E. 4th Street, is popular with bikers traveling the Great River Road, but it’s popular with seniors, too, sometimes with busloads stopping for a meal. If you visit on a weekday, plan on a later lunch, as they don’t open until 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday (11 a.m. Friday through Sunday). You’re in luck if you’re a late-night person, since they’re open until 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday and until 2 a.m. on the weekends. Hear live music Wednesdays through Sundays.
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It’s billed as the biggest biker destination in Illinois. And it’s no wonder, with its location along the Great River Road, a popular biker ride. Add to that lots of space, weekend entertainment, outdoor facilities, and generous servings of menu choices beyond ordinary pub grub, and you’ve got a recipe for success.
The inside is decorated with motorcycles and biker memorabilia, the atmosphere casual, very casual.
Step out the back door to get to the huge summertime entertainment venue.
And then there’s the menu, a bit tacky but all in fun, with menu items like the one-pound burger called The Big Poop. Portions are huge no matter what you order, the food fresh and tasty. Even my salad, with fresh greens, veggies, and chicken, was more than I could finish.
We were there for an early lunch and beat the crowd. It wasn’t long, though, before motorcycles started pulling into the parking lot, their riders coming in for a bite to eat and a beer. It isn’t unusual for Poopy’s to serve 800 to 1500 people in one day. By the time we left, the parking lot was filled with bikes.
And that’s just the back parking lot.
Poopy’s Pub n’ Grub is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Check their web site for exact hours and location.
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We found a great campground in Savanna, Illinois, in the northwest part of the state near the Mississippi River. In fact, a footpath leads from the Seven Eagles RV Resort and Campground right to the Great River Bike and Hike Trail that runs 62 miles from Savanna to the Quad Cities. You don’t even need an RV to stay at Seven Eagles because they have cabins and a really neat motel, too. Read more