Exploring Byways and Trails

Exploring Byways and Trails

In this podcast, we chat about exploring byways and trails. If you’re a regular Midwest Wanderer reader, you know we do a lot of road trips. Some of our favorite trips are along scenic or historic byways. And then there are trails. What’s the difference? You’ll find out in this podcast. Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Days 9-13

Podcast: Great River Road Days 9-13

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

Podcast: Great River Road Days 5-8

Podcast: Great River Road Days 5-8

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

Podcast: Great River Road Days 1-4

Podcast: Great River Road Days 1-4

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

Podcast: Great River Road Day 13

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. Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Day 12

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. Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Days 11

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. Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Day 10

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. Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Day 9

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. Read more

Podcast: Great River Road Day 8

Day 8: Fountain City, Wisconsin, to Dubuque, Iowa

Back on the road, we again crossed back and forth between Wisconsin and Minnesota, stopping for Mass at the Shrine of our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse and brunch at the shrine’s restaurant, Culina Mariana Café. Coming into scenic Iowa, we hiked at Effigy Mounds before finishing our day in Dubuque, at the hotel named for the city’s founder, Hotel Julien Dubuque. Read more