Three Perfect Days on the River

Le Claire, Iowa
September 1, 2019

Dear Family & Friends:

August 30-Bellevue to Clinton

I overslept and was not back on the River until 11am. I locked through Lock No. 12 and hoped to reach Clinton, Iowa by the end of the day.

The conditions for paddling were perfect. A light layer of clouds provided relief from the sun. There was no wind. And, the surface of the water was glassy.

Given these conditions, I could not stop paddling. Who knows? Tomorrow, could bring back the wind, wakes and waves. I locked through Lock No. 13 at sunset and arrived in Clinton just before dark.

I secured my canoe in a marina and had dinner at the Candlelight Inn, a high-end restaurant in Clinton. At 10pm, I assembled my tent at a nearby park.

Despite the late start, this was a 38-mile day.

August 31-September 1-Clinton to Le Claire and a Zero Day.

I really enjoyed the August 31 trip from Clinton to Le Claire. At 11am, I stopped in front of a River home in Camanche and asked if the town had a cafe so I could order a cup of coffee. First, the owners of the home offered to make some coffee for me. I told them I needed a break from paddling and would like to walk to the nearest cafe. They allowed me to park my canoe on their beach and Bud drove me into town to the cafe. After enjoying a cup of coffee and a taco salad, the waitress drove me back to my canoe. This is the type of hospitality I have encountered the entire trip.

I arrived in Le Claire at 3:30pm and checked into the Holiday Inn motel, which is right on the River. I secured my canoe at a nearby marina. Just after checking in to the hotel, it started to rain hard. How is that for good fortune and providence?  This was a 22-mile day.

The highlight of my day was the visit from Pete, Gretchen and Michaela D’Amico. Pete is the son of Joe D’Amico, who is a dear friend I met several decades ago while practicing law. Pete and his family live in Woodbury, Illinois. They drove over two hours to meet with me. I am so grateful for the visit. We had a fabulous dinner at the Faithful Pilot restaurant on the main street in Le Claire. Pete, Gretchen and I love fine wine and food (in that order), so we were all in fine fettle. Our meals were great and the wine was fabulous.

Pete and Gretchen gave me the whole story on Le Claire. This beautiful little River town specializes in antiques. Le Claire is the home of “American Pickers,”featured on the History Channel. American Pickers travels around the country picking up antiques, which they sell at their store in Le Claire. Le Claire is also the home of the Buffalo Bill Museum and the Lone Star Steamer Display.

I decided to take a zero day on September 1 to explore this great city. In the morning, I walked a mile back into Le Claire and attended church. Then, I visited the American Pickers store and some other antique shops. I also toured the Buffalo Bill Museum and the Lone Star Steamer Display. I took the rest of the day off and watched some football games.

I have now traveled 823 miles.


Glassy water on August 30
Le Claire, Iowa
Gretchen, Michaela, Pete & Bill


American Pickers antique archaeology


5 thoughts on “Three Perfect Days on the River

  1. Le Claire is a great town. Melissa and I visited there a couple years ago we really enjoyed it. Sounds like you are having a wonderful trip. You are getting closer to our neck of the woods, Missouri is the next state. We enjoy your adventures!!

  2. Hi Bill-

    I am a friend of Lisa, Lori and Amy from the Port Streets. I have met you several times, and I have enjoyed following your blog over the years. I have been particularly interested in your journey down the Mississippi as I grew up just outside of Minneapolis, and many of the places that you visited at the beginning of your journey brought back some very special childhood memories! My mom grew up in Red Wing, MN, and I have many happy memories of Red Wing and the surrounding area. My grandparents had a boat, and I recall visiting the Harbor Bar numerous times with them. I am glad that you are finding the people of the Midwest as gracious and welcoming as I recall. I will keep you in my prayers as you continue your journey. Stay safe and enjoy!

    Warm regards-
    Jody Wright

  3. Bill, you will always remember the local,mid-western hospitality– something not experienced here in So Cal.

    Your 38 mile paddling day was huge–well done.

    In Switzerland for 2 weeks of hiking– hoping your posts follow me.



  4. Bill,
    I am a friend of Kim Boyer’s and so I have been happily following your mountaineering trips. This trip, however, is very special to me. I visited the headwaters as a toddler. I grew up in South St. Paul, Minnesota, which is just up the river from Inver Grove Heights where you camped. Your experience in St. Paul, Minnesota was just as I expected it to be, narrowing of the river and increased boat traffic (read ore boats!). I love that you are experiencing Midwestern hospitality (in Minnesota it’s called “Minnesota Nice”!) and it always seems to come along when you need it. God is good and I pray He continues to bless your journey.
    Julie Mullikin

  5. Bill, miracles never seem to amaze me. I thought for sure you’d stay in that American Pickers shop for the rest of your life. It fits you perfectly. Well I guess even antiques gotta keep rolling, rolling, rolling down the river. Congratulations on your sharing and being shared. It sounds like you are perfect for this adventure. Awaiting to read more and enjoy your photo selections.

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