Thursday, August 4, 2016

Antique Archeology

Today the official Lincoln Highway, roughly the route I was following, pretty much follows US 30 and crosses the Mississippi from Illinois into Iowa at the town of Clinton.

I didn't do that.

I was more interested in Le Claire Iowa, some 25 miles further south.

The river is divided into two sections, first from the mouth to Cairo Illinois and then from Cairo to the headwaters. Le Claire is on the second section, 497 river miles north of Cairo.

I can't speak for Clinton, since I never made it there, but Le Claire is a pretty little river town.

Cody Rd, pretty much main street, sits down near river level, shimying along between the river and the bluffs, and is lined with shops, generous sidewalks, trees, and speakers.

Yep, speakers. The electronic kind, not the blow-hard proselytizing kind.

If you look close at the near tree (OK, treelet.) in the photo above you will see an all-weather speaker hanging on the protective iron-work around the tree. These were located all up and down the street and were playing some sort of non-offensive muzak at a nice background level. City wide music to sooth the beast I guess. . . (OK, question. If I'm soothed does that automatically mean I was a beast??  Seems kind of harsh on my mellow. . .)

And it turns out Le Claire is a bit of a happening town with more going on than I expected. Though my primary reason for being there was not listed on this sign, but I'm sure some of you have already figured out why I'm here anyway.

Here's a clue. Recognize it??

Also, as long as we're here, braced mountain-goat style, notice the angle of the street.

Let me tell you, when going from east to west, or west to east for that matter, Le Clair is a steep place!! This building is only one lot west of the main drag of Cody, but it's a climb to get there. In fact, if you're driving a rig of any size you might want to plan on staying down on Cody and Front streets because even Wisconsin St., the closest thing Le Claire has to a major east-west route, climbs nearly 100 feet in the first four blocks and the streets up there are narrow residential lanes, not highways.

OK, another hint.

Now I'll bet you know where I am!

 And why I came. (Why, to see Danielle of course!!!).

Yep, it's the little compound of The American Pickers at 115 1/2 Davenport St. And it is - well - smaller than I expected. (It's true, the camera does add girth!)

There was this building, which seemed to be more of a work-area, business office jammed up against the hillside.

And this one, the actual retail space. (The front of that first building is just off the right side of this photo.)

In this photo you can also see how far above the river the shop sits. The back of the building on the far left is a gas station  that sits right on Cody, the main drag, which is only one street and a railroad from the river. This town is hard on overworked transmissions!!

The road down the left side of the building here is little more than an alley, it actually squeezes down even tighter there behind my left shoulder and a building looms on one side and parking for employees of the medical building on Cody is squeezed in on the other, and as you can see, the parking lot in front of me is small; just saying in case you want to go there and visit someday.

After circling a couple of random blocks, a couple of times, on narrow streets, and getting altitude sickness in the process, I decided the best bet was to just park down here on Front Street, only feet from the river.

You are looking at the backs of building there behind The Van that actually front on Cody St. so clearly it's not that far out of the way to park here.

To get here, at the intersection of Cody and Wisconsin, which has a traffic light, turn east,(Or downhill.) towards the river, cross the tracks then turn right on Front St. which is more parking lot than street. From there it was only a couple block walk back to Antique Archeology.

 A couple blocks I walked with an extra spring in my step because I had visions of walking in the shop, having Danielle spot me, whereupon she would take such a shine to my irresistible looks and manly allure she'd wrap me up in her arms and snuggle me against those - ummm - tattoos, for a selfie.

OK - Didn't happen. . . Probably a good thing too, otherwise I'd have had a meltdown, concurrent with some sort of unhealthy cardiac event as I attempted to run from the shop screaming in terror.

 One of the clerks manning the store did have green hair, but that was about as close as I got to Danielle; and I made sure to keep the counter between me and green-hair, you know, just in case my iresistableness broke out all over. . .

There were some of the treasures American Pickers is famous for finding there in the shop, but in reality most of the place is devoted to souvenir type items. You know, T-shirts, beer koozies, caps and the like.

In fact, I came, I saw, and all I got was these three lousy shop rags!  Something to wipe my oily hands on, throw in a corner, and hope they don't explode into flames!!!

But actually it was pretty cool to go see the place I've seen on TV so many times. And Le Claire, in addition to Antique Archeology and Main Street style shopping, also houses the Buffalo Bill Museum, is the jumping off point for river tours,

and was the home of the original Rambo!!

No! Really!

Before the river was tamed, (Tamed so much they now run regular dinner cruises without spilling a drop of the boxed wine.) Le Claire was home to a special breed of river pilot, The Rapid's Pilots, and J.W. Rambo was among them!

Not J. W. Rambo, but I still wouldn't mess with him!

But while you're hanging around town, just pay attention around the tracks!!  As you can see there's pretty much nothing separating you from them!

And while I was down at The Van getting ready to leave I heard this guy coming, grabbed my camera, jumped out, and managed to get these two photos, and only these two photos, because this guy was bookin' it!! He blew through town like he was out in the middle of cornfields and not within feet of cars and pedestrians.(I wonder if they carry a supply of toothpicks for cleaning bits of the unwary out from between the engine's teeth??)

Speaking of out in the middle of corn fields, on the map Le Clair looks like a suburb of Davenport Iowa, but as I was leaving, within blocks of heading west from the river front, I was in farm country on gravel roads.

According to the map, Davenport was just off there to the left, but you'd never know it from here.

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