Friday, July 02, 2010
Buffalo Bill Museum
After leaving the Illinois state rally, we continued to move west slowly. The quad City area lies along the Mississippi River with the four cities being Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline and Rock Island, IL. We have settled into a membership park in the area with lots of facilities for family activities. We have learned that on major holidays, it is important to find a place early to stay. The fourth of July is one of the biggest for campgrounds and even with several weeks advance planning we got one of the last sites that would hold our coach. The park is filling up fast and there are lots of campers, in all kinds of equipment from pup tents to large motorhomes. This evening I helped our new neighbor park his brand new fifth wheel-his first. He picked it up at the dealer today and drove straight to the campground.
We have been keeping busy exploring the area. One of the first things that caught my eye was a Buffalo Bill museum in a small town called LeClaire, Iowa just north of Davenport. This proved to be another of those small town museums with records of high school classes and local folks made good. It seems that Buffalo Bill grew up near here and I guess they thought that was the best way to bring folks in. They do have some Buffalo Bill items, but nothing to get excited about. The museum was never-the-less very interesting. A local inventor named James Ryan was responsible for coming up with the black box that is now a fixture in every commercial aircraft. The most interesting thing here was the building attached to the museum, which houses the longest serving wooden steamboat on the Mississippi, The Lone Star, which was also the last stern-wheeler tug boat on the river. She worked the river until 1967 completing 98 years of service. I could not help but notice the prominently displayed placard that her service ended when the U S Coast Guard would no longer allow her to operate.