July 11, 2000
Day 4 starts with us in our campground, and Laura trying to figure out where the hell we are...
And one of the best things about tooling around in an RV, is that (if you're clever enough to bring your espresso maker) you can make your very own espressos in the morning! This is important when in Middle America, as sometimes it's as much as two or even three miles between espresso stands!
After a leisurely latte, we pack up and head out, and immediately get lost! We're looking for the Discovery Museum in Rockford, but we can't find it. By complete confusion (or telekinetic manipulation) we end up at The Old Dolls' House Museum that Laura didn't know about, but was happy to visit!
This museum had "rooms from around the world," including an "Itialian villa" house. Laura says they all looked like they were done by the same person. If so, that person was very busy!
After looking through the miniature museum, we ask Mr. Map Quest (using Laura's Palm VII wireless connection) how to get to the Discovery Museum (which is where we initially wanted to go, remember?). Mr. Map Quest says, "You already passed it once, you dummies!" After smacking Mr. Map Quest in the head, we turn around and head for the center.
Basically, it's a Kid Oriented science museum. The exhibits were pretty fun, although some of them were the worse for wear.
By crossing through a tunnel, we got to The Burpee Museum of Natural History, which is (apparently) brand new. At least all the exhibits are nice and neat, and there's still lots of room for more stuff. They had a T. Rex (replica, but life size) skeleton right in the center!
When we finish looking at museums in Rockford, we saddle up and launch the SS Creaks and Groans on a course to Iowa (the second "I" state). Iowa is on the other side of the Mississippi from Illinois, so we can't just zip over there when we feel like it. We have to find a "crossing" with a "bridge" on it.
And the bridge we found barely qualified. It was a centuries old steel span (well, maybe not centuries old, but it sure felt like it). It was barely large enough for the SS Creaks and Groans, and we were very happy there was no oncoming traffic.
The Mississippi is pretty amazing. It doesn't so much flow as it oozes everywhere. The bridge crossed part of it, but we kept crossing parts of it, and swampy areas, and muddy areas for the next couple of miles. It was sort of like driving in the middle of the river.
Eventually, we reached enough dry land that they could build something, so they put in a Visitor Center, which we visited. We think we were probably the first people there all day (open 8 am to 5 pm). The lady there was very nice, so we went downstairs to the gift shop and bought some homemade jam (very tasty) and some Amish toffee.
After a little while more, we headed for Clinton, Iowa and found a nice Corps of Engineers campsite (no electricity or water, but a gorgeous view). It was pretty deserted and cheap ($4), and was right on the Mississippi.
And then Robert cooks up an All-American meal in the middle of America!