USA 48, 15th October 2006

I've been sent some really good photos of Canada, much better than mine. They are in a PowerPoint presentation in a file of 3.20 Mb. So in deference to those of you running with slow connections I'm not sending it by email, I've put it on my web site, address below. Go to Canada trip, then more, then there is a link to the pictures.

It rained and rained during the night. Nonetheless I drove up to Eagle Point Park to get some stunning views. Here's a lock.

I like crossing the bridges over the Mississippi. Dubuque has two so I decided to go out on one and back on the other.

(Does anybody actually read this stuff, or do you just look at the pictures?)

Anyway, I called in at the Wisconsin Visitor Center. Whilst there I was persuaded to visit the mining museum at Platteville. It was a worthwhile diversion. There was a regular small town museum, plus a display of some of the items collected by a local "collector. Then a tour of a real lead mine and a make up of a zinc mine. I was given a personal conducted tour by a charming lady who didn't stop talking. I couldn't get a word in edgeways. In this respect she reminded me of my ex-wife. Except at the end of the tour she paused to ask, did I have any questions? Of course I did, but by then, I'd forgotten what they were..............

I don't know what happened to the rest of the day - I do remember it was bitterly cold - but by the time I got back to Dubuque it was almost night so pulled in to Walmart. It snowed during the night, not heavily, but enough to confirm that I was late in heading south.

In the morning the Mines of Spain recreational area gave a nice view of Dubuque.

Further down the river the state park at Belleview gave a good view, as you might expect from the name.

Further down still, near Sabula there was a visitor center with some amazingly beautiful metal sculptures on the wall. This one was about 4 feet long.

The photo does not do it justice, not by any means. Below is an enlargement. The white is wall, the rest is metal. It looked to me like the metal was bronze, brazed together. To see it in it's original state was really beautiful. The two ladies who made the sculptures, nearly 40 years ago, have moved out of the area. If you are near, call and admire.

I reached Clinton and parked in the town RV site on the riverside. Clinton is particularly memorable for me because it has traffic lights on almost every road junction, I have never seen so many in such a small area. Clinton is not all bad - the chamber of commerce broadcast a free public wireless access point, and the RV park was also free. Although the park was in process of being upgraded to include electric hook-ups, maybe the free system may change.

I crossed the river to Fulton to visit the Heritage Canyon and looked at the Dutch made windmill. There was lots of sway on the swinging bridge at the canyon, much more fun than that $30 rip off in Vancouver.

There's a Pioneer Village there too, that was OK.

Back in Clinton I visited the museum, that was OK too. Then I moved to Le Claire for the Buffalo Bill Museum. He was actually born here, although he moved away when he was 11. Another OK museum. There were some stunning exhibits, such as this hand made boot jack. Wow!

There was a section to a local unsung here, a man called Ryan, who amongst other things invented a shock absorbing car bumper when the major manufacturers said it couldn't be done. His most famous invention though was the black box used as a data recorder in all aircraft. That's serious stuff.

I was too late for the Putnam museum in the Quad cities but not too late to meet up with Stan Pasley, a local balloonist I had corresponded with some years ago. He had a stroke a year or so back and had decided it was a good reason to retire from flying passengers, although he was now recovered except for losing some sense of balance. Stan, myself, and Stan's wife Beth passed a very pleasant evening in a local tavern. I received permission to stay in their car park for the night so immediately was able to order another beer!

This is Muscatine, on the Mississippi.

I crossed the river to watch a barge train negotiating the lock.

And later................

I made a call on Deb's parents - they had been at the (non) balloon meet last weekend - they have a bicycle store in the town, then continued to inspect some Indian mounds. In Burlington I discovered that there was a nonlisted Walmart and parked for the night. Well, actually it was listed, but under West Burlington. I didn't think of that.

Best regards

David Barker

Just about into Missouri
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