Moving on

The campground in Colona had no sewer connection so we practiced the art of RV water conservation, which also meant using the bathroom/shower house every time it was even remotely possible. We were here for SIX days of possible bike rides. Because of so many rain showers, we were only able to ride TWO of those days. Which meant many more trips to the bathroom/shower house per day and mostly when it was raining. It was a short walk but we drove it many times. So many times that Versie – that’s the name of the Nissan Versa that we drive when the RV is parked – LEARNED the route herself. I wish you could see this little video of Versie navigating all the way by herself:

I backed her out of this space, then she took off on her own.

Final destination:

Just when a valuable skill was learned, it was time to move on. It was a relatively short drive to Kieler Wisconsin and we couldn’t arrive before 2 pm. It’s always exciting to move on to a new destination and Rustic Barn Campground turned out to be quite special from the moment we arrived.

After setting up, finishing errands, and having dinner, we took our chairs to sit in front of this tiny chapel.

The sunset wasn’t as good as we’d hoped, but the views were great.

Hennepin Canal Parkway

We started at Lock 29, the final lock on this 104.5-mile long trail, which empties into the Rock River.

Note the small green sign. Lock 26, Mile 54.7

Aqueduct 7, Mile 50.3. Geneseo Creek runs perpendicular to the canal under the aqueduct.

We were going to ride 1/10th of a mile farther, then turn around. Instead we listened to Mother Nature when she gave us this sign:

Only 15 miles out of 104.5 available. I would come back here and ride more. Great weather and ride. 30 miles.

Great River Trail

From Rock Island to Rapids City Illinois and back. We actually started in the middle and rode out and back in each direction until we’d ridden the number of miles that felt good.

Some of the trail was on top of a levee, the Mississippi River to the left:

Behind a John Deere manufacturing plant:

In the village of Hampton IL:

We turned around in Rapids City and rode back and then beyond our starting point. Beautiful little pocket parks with benches and shade in the city of Moline.

The bridge across the Mississippi River to Davenport Iowa:

Excellent ride, two out-and-backs, 28 miles. Beautiful trail.

Lucky me

Both Billie and I think we’re pretty good cooks. But, honestly, Billie outdoes herself considering her kitchen is in an RV.

I’ve always thought “grits” sounded like an awful food and never chose it from a menu. You also don’t find it on California menus. When we were in Chattanooga on a food tour, a small tasting was served at one of the stops … very good. Billie’s been casually searching for a good recipe online ever since, then lining up the best place to buy the ingredients, then finding the right day to go through all the steps. Monday was the perfect day. OMG – this is the best thing Billie has ever made:

In order to keep track of what meals are available, I made a list and taped it to a cabinet:

We had (excellent) pork chops on Sunday, swordfish with fresh corn and tomatoes on Tuesday:

A few other great dinners from recent weeks. Scallops with broccoli:

Salmon filet with Tom’s Salsa:

Viviano’s sausage ravioli and pancetta sauce with balsamic braised Brussels sprouts:

I’m lucky, right? Such good food. Every night!

The art of conversation

We’re staying at Colona’s Scott Family Campground, near Moline IL, across the river from Davenport IA. The Scott family donated their land as a campground to the city of Colona, but if the property is ever used for something other than a campground, it reverts to the Scott family.

When we arrived on Friday, we had the choice of sewer hookup or shade. We’ve spent too many recent weeks in unshaded hot/humid campgrounds so we chose shade. No sewer hookup … this will requite some adaptation. There is a shower house/bathroom which we need to use as much as possible.

Billie can talk to anyone. This guy started his barbecue at his campsite across the road while Billie and I were outside enjoying the early evening. I came in to refill our wine glasses … meanwhile they struck up a conversation. Eventually he meandered over, the conversation expanded …

Pretty soon, he sat down at the table, they went back and forth, each telling bits of their life stories. He knows a lot about this RV park and the goings on. A good guy to know for the week we’ll be here. Thanks Billie, you have a skill for conversation that can come in quite handy sometimes.

No riding Saturday – it rained all day. That was ok – a day to rest, relax, shop, cook, catch up, and even take a nap.

Your bike rides this week

Tuesday July 6. Dani, Kathy and Cheryl:

Wednesday July 7. Dani, Jonathan, Kathy, Cheryl, Leo, and Jane (unaware of upcoming wetness):

Barbara:

Thursday July 8. Dani, Kathy, Leo with a stick, and Cheryl:

Barbara and Lee:

Saturday July 10. Cheryl took this picture of Cindy, Jane, Leo, Barbara, and Art:

Sweet Corn, Fri @ 8 am

Mike asked if we could be gone by 8 am because of the sign he’d posted at the road. But we were able to move out of the way and stay a bit longer to see what happened when the sweet corn was ready at 8 am. It actually started the previous afternoon: cars drove in, someone got out to see what was available inside the barn. Corn? Tomatoes? In the morning, there were many who arrived early to find ! corn ready for purchase.

A constant stream of customers.

Another wonderful Harvest Host experience. Thanks Mill Creek Farms!!

Mill Creek Farms

An overnight stop at a Harvest Host farm.

Mike and his wife retired from teaching at the University of Illinois, bought 14 acres and started their business.

We shopped inside the barn as soon as we’d set up. Exciting: the first locally-raised tomatoes of the year. OMG! Incredible. And corn picked that day and more:

Paid via the Honesty Box, the wooden box was full of coins to make change:

I stood in front of Sallie and rotated to the left to take the following pictures of the farm:

Inside the greenhouses:

Down the road was a pumpkin patch

and beyond an asparagus field after the season was over:

The best part: the weather had cooled, we were in a quiet place by ourselves in a beautiful location where we could open the windows and enjoy sleeping without the AC turning on occasionally.

Goodbye St Louis

After Laumeier Sculpture Park, we headed to The Hill. We had specific stops we wanted to make including lunch when Guido’s opened at 11 am.

Followed by dessert at Gelato Di Riso. The doors to St Ambrose Catholic Church were open, so we quietly stepped inside to take a look:

We spent TWO weeks in the St Louis area and it was quite worthwhile. Lots of great bike trails and parks with good trails and roads. Plus other fun places to explore in and around the city. The MCT bike trail system across the river in Illinois was great. Next time, we’d try to find an RV park in the Edwardsville IL area. Thursday morning, we hooked up Versie to Sallie in front of the RV park office – with gorgeous hibiscus blooming nearby- and drove to our next destination.

Laumeier Sculpture Park

Today we finished up those final places we wanted to see or go back to. It was hot and humid even early in the morning as we walked around Laumeier Sculpture Park.

Sitting in the arms of a cat:

Many of the sculptures are huge.

Some of the art is gently interactive like this Treetent, big enough for 3 adults:

This was a solar-powered sound installation with about 7 different boxes that made various beeps, clicks, and rings:

Eighteen salvaged steel oil tanks:

This commissioned piece called Heritage Schooner was a narrative about a beloved employee who loved to play the piano, had a faithful dog. The people sitting in pairs behind the dog were important co-workers or family members each holding something significant. The boat was helmed by her parents.

Landscaping art, 7 different trees in a mounded circle, a well in the center: