Mississippi River Riding

Road trips are good.   Road trips on the bike are better.  And for our 5 year wedding anniversary, Clint and I decided to do just that.

Did you know that the first time Clint and I technically met was on a poker run?  In 2006, shortly after I moved to Omaha, specifically.  And our first time hanging out was also on a poker run?  I played REALLY hard to get for roughly four months after that too.  Had to make sure he could handle this independent woman, ya know.  I played my cards right. He respects my strong sense of independence, I respect his and we balance each other quite perfectly, if I do say so myself. 🙂




So on September 9th, Clint and I took off towards Rock Island, Illinois for a weekend of cabin life and riding the Mississippi River.  Heading straight East on Highway 92 we had an easy ride, a little rain and a stop at one of our favorite grub spots in Indianola, IA.    The Sports Page was always our pit-stop when traveling to the Conesville Rally, back when Conesville, IA knew how to throw a motorcycle rally.  Sadly, they stopped that crazy fun weekend a few years back, so our stops in Indianola are very few and far between nowadays.



The weather was only slightly temperamental, leaving us a little soggy just a couple times, but the wind and warmth always dried us off soon after.



Mid-afternoon we made our destination and settled in to our adorable cabin on the Rock Island KOA at Camelot grounds where we spent the rest of our Friday evening fishing, sitting around the campfire, drinking ice cold beers and enjoying the serenity outside of the city lights.






The only downfall were the mosquito’s.  Oh, the mosquito’s.  They love me, they find me, they are relentless.

More on that later.





Saturday we donned our Hawkeye gear and headed out for a day of riding up the Mississippi on the Iowa side and back down on the Illinois.



One of our stops landed us at Antique Archeology for what can only be summed up as a tourist trap and gift shop for the TV show enthusiasts.  Not nearly as impressive when everywhere you turn is another trinket enticing shoppers to spend money on.  Maybe I’d think differently about it if this place wasn’t basically in our backyard across the State, but I was feeling a little disappointed in the lack of cool things to see.

I was surprised, however, to see how close the location was to the Mississippi, considering the show only let’s you view the shop.  And St. Clair, IA is a pretty cute little town that left me feeling as if it could serve as the backdrop to a good book.





For lunch we actually met up with our friend Vern who was on location nearby for work.   He took us to a pretty cool restaurant/bar with incredible views of the river.  Oddly, I didn’t take a single photo except for the boys mapping out our next leg of the journey.



The rest of the day we cruised through various towns only stopping to take in the scenery or to have a few brews.  The weather was quite brisk, requiring leather jackets and gloves, but left us feeling incredibly refreshed.







Our journey back to our cabin led us directly to Poopy’s Pub N’ Grub, which is a must for any biker in the area.  I am sure it’s quite the place to party on the weekend nights, with it’s large dance floor and multiple levels for mingling and people watching. We headed up to the Squirrel’s Nest to view the entire grounds and I’ll admit it was quite impressive.





We stayed long enough to enjoy a cold beer before my bug bites decided to start making me absolutely miserable.  Remember the mosquito’s referenced earlier?


Oh, hello darlings.  It was like they began to multiply at this point.   I’ve always been a magnet for bug bites.  Massive amounts of bug bites.  I can remember as a kid mom taking me to Minnesota to visit family and I’d be miserbly covered in these darn bites.  I have yet in my 36 years to find a repellant that works.  I basically bathed myself in Deet the moment we unloaded at the cabin.  Oy…

Anyway, onward we went…



One last pit stop on the river front ensued before our final destination at a local Rock Island bar for dinner and the Iowa game.



We made ourselves a little fire to close out our Saturday evening while discussing our Sunday adventures of fishing and our plans for lunch at a restaurant on the Mississippi.


And, while Clint slept peacefully in our adorably cozy cabin, I lay awake for hours on end in complete misery while mosquito’s found their way through the covers and clothes to continue their torture on my body.

Pure hell.


These little guys I’m certain are chiggers, however, sparing you the photos of the rest of my body, trust me when I say the bites continued up my legs, covered my arms, back and belly.   I am positive these were worse then chicken pox as a kid.


After a middle of the night shower to wash off the multiple layers of anti-itch that only made me stick to my sheets, I finally threw in the towel around 7am.  By the time Clint got up I had my makeup on, fully dressed for the day, kitchen cleaned out and all our shit packed and ready to go.  With a confused look on his face, I pulled up my pant legs to show him the source of my misery and after stopping counting at 100 bites, he looked at me and said,

“let’s get you the hell out of here”

A quick pack of the bikes while I stood by with a constantly spraying can of Deet and we were soon our way back home, away from the open water and the little devil bugs from hell.



The open air was good for my head and kept me from itching my skin right off.   We made a stop in Oskaloosa, IA at a unique coffee house that provided us delicious sandwiches and scenery, before finishing our Highway 92 journey back to Omaha.



All in all, we had a GREAT trip and enjoyed each others company immensely.  It was nice to get away from the hustle of the city and wind down together on our bikes, doing what we love.

Next time, I vote staying somewhere far, far, far away from water and don’t blink an eye when you see me rocking a bee suit and wasp net for my attire.


Not. Even. Kidding.