A Day for Tractors and Trombones

If you read yesterday’s post, you know I didn’t sleep well last night.  I was worried about the truck being parked so far out of my sight.  I shouldn’t have worried so much (typically the right thing but hard for me).  I got up and checked the vehicles.  All was as we left it.  Thank you Moline.


Since we were parked in the center of Moline and 30 feet from the Mississippi River, I thought it was time to take a quick look.  It was such a beautiful morning that even the “Big Muddy” looked great.


I was a little curious about one thing regarding the river.  Is it higher than normal or is there a good reason that the sidewalk goes into the river?


Across the street was the John Deere Museum (and of course the John Deere gift shop).  They opened at 9:00 so we shuffled over there and checked it out.  This is only one of many John Deere’s sites where you can learn about their machines and people.  We got to climb on some pretty expensive gear.  I’m not sure that Spencer isn’t considering a career in the logging business.


In order to hit all of our planned activities for the day, we had to scurry along.  So we waved goodbye for now to John Deere and headed west to I-80.  We needed to hit our next two stops by 4:00 and there were many miles to cover between them.  Interstates are usually good for covering the miles but today wasn’t a good day on I-80.  Shortly after passing the Worlds Largest Truck stop, we encountered a traffic stoppage.  We sat just beyond the entrance to a rest stop, not moving for 30 minutes.  As we finally got rolling the source of the delay became apparent.  A semi tractor had burned to the ground.  A bad day for that driver for sure.

The goal was to make it to Mason City, Iowa to the Music Man Museum followed by a visit to the Winnebago Museum in Forest City, Iowa.  If we played our cards exactly right, we could just squeeze it in.  The above mentioned 30 minute delay could blow up the plan.  We were relieved when we were able to pull right up to the front of the Music Man Museum around 2:00.  Our elation quickly turned upside down as we saw the sign on the entry door that said that the facility was closed.  (Look closely, you can see the announcement of closure.)  We have trouble right here in River City.



Crazy circumstances or just blind luck were with us as a paid tour group had managed a private tour of the museum.  One of the office staff saw us through her window and took pity on us.  She agreed to let us in (if we payed the admission price) and we could stay until the official tour group left.  Wow!  We’re in.

We enjoyed spending a little time in the museum without having to deal with the any other tourists.  If you enjoy the Music Man, this place is worth a look.  Check out the picture on the right below to see the room with 76 trombones on the ceiling.



This opportunity left us just enough time to get to Winnebago and see their museum.  We rolled in at 3:06 PM with a stated closing time of 4:00.  It appeared that the staff was already deep in their weekend planning when we walked in the door.  Winnebago is a long standing, well respected company that should do a better job with their museum.  It really is just a 1967 motor home and several placards that highlight the company over the years.  I didn’t find anything that was picture worthy.

We were only a 40 miles from our hotel but once again needed truck and human fuel.  Both of these needs were filled at Algona, Iowa.  Dinner was some great sandwiches at Miller’s Bar and Grill.  The best part was the laughter we shared about one of the servers.  There was only one server on duty.  When the kitchen would present some food ready to take to the table they would call out “22, your food is ready”.  The server (obviously employee 22) would take it to the appropriate table.  We heard this repeated multiple times and commented on her name being 22.  The kitchen suddenly called out “11, your food is ready”.  I commented that this must be 22’s half sister (OK, it’s math joke).  We were all tired enough that we actually laughed out loud.

Diesel fuel was available right down the street so the truck was also now well fed.

We rolled the last few miles to our night’s destination, the Brookstone Lodge at Emmetsburg, Iowa.  It feels good to get a chance to relax after a short night last night.  It also feels good to have family that can laugh at stupid jokes and appreciate the good fortune of successful completion of a day planned nearly a year ago.  Tractors, trombones, and tanks (Winnebago’s) – check.  Tomorrow it’s Indians and cowboys.



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