Greetings once again from the Hawkeye State. We sure are enjoying our time in this gem of a camp ground in Scott County Park, IA. We seem to have gotten ourselves back in bicycling shape somewhat, with all of the hiking and biking trails they have in this area. The Scott County, IA park that we are in just keeps delivering great surprises as far as things to do. At the north end of the park, we stumbled upon the Walnut Grove Pioneer Village. This was a Scott County cross-roads settlement and stage-coach stop of the 1860s. The Village includes 18 historic buildings, some relocated from rural Scott County. It was only $2 per person to tour all of the buildings. They will have period area actors on site over the holiday weekend. We were glad to be able to tour it with no one else around on Monday.
It was a great tour. On our bike ride back, we got a shot of the pool which opens this weekend.
Later Monday afternoon we headed to downtown Moline, IL where the John Deere HQ and Pavilion are located. Much more on John Deere later on. I didn’t get too many pictures inside the pavilion as the lighting was terrible. They have a lot of their large equipment inside and outside, and you can climb on and in most of them. They also have interactive displays and simulators of many of their large industrial products. That was a blast! Terri had to drag me away. In fact, the simulators are the same type that the company produces to train the operators. It just so happens that we met a couple in the camp ground that are farmers in the area. The young man offered an opportunity for me to ride along with him during harvesting season in one of the huge pieces of harvesting equipment they have if we are in the area in the fall. I may just have to make a drive over here later in the year…that would be a blast! We learned later in the week that John Deere passed away before seeing the first tractor carrying his name was produced.
Tuesday was spent mostly bike riding, stocking up on groceries again, and reading the instructions on how to replace the springs in our living room slide awning when it shows up.
Found this picture which reminds us of how our kids spent much of their youth, and now Jason and Meghan’s kids are doing the same.
After more bike rides Wednesday morning, we took a walk on some of the nicely mowed hiking trails.
About the time we got done with our hike, the RV dealer that ordered the awning spring for us called and said it had arrived, so I went and picked it up. It was threatening to rain when I got back, so I didn’t get any pictures of the installation. It took longer than it should have, since the spring was broken in two places, and we had to figure out how to get something inside of the awning tube to pull the pieces out. The back end of the spring frame had broken off as well, and it was a bear to get that piece past the internal rivets that hold the fabric on the awning tube. Zip-Dee technical support is really good at providing assistance over the phone if you ever need to replace parts of their awnings.
Below is a picture of the awning with the new spring in it. The tube you see is what contains the spring. The arms have to come off, then there are three rivets that have to be drilled out of the end cap to get the old spring out. Slide the new spring in, put new rivets in, attach the arms, wind the spring up and you are done!
I was awoken about 0600 on Thursday morning by thunder and lightning. Terri was already up, as usual. After that storm passed, we enjoyed some of the 5 dozen farm fresh eggs that our neighbor brought us the day before. Then we decided to head toward Grand Detour, IL and the John Deere Historical Site. This area has a lot of significance for Terri, as it is where her great, great-grandfather worked as a blacksmith. We have yet to determine if he or her great-grandfather worked for, or apprenticed under John Deere.
From our friends at Wiki: The John Deere House and Shop is located in the unincorporated village of Grand Detour, Illinois, near the Lee County city of Dixon. The site is known as the location where the first steel plow was invented by John Deere in 1837. The site includes Deere’s house, a replica of his original blacksmith shop, a gift shop, and an archaeological exhibit showing the excavation site of his original blacksmith shop. The Deere House and Shop is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; it joined that list in 1966, the year the Register was established. Prior to that, it was designated a National Historic Landmark on July 19, 1964.
In 1836, native Vermonter John Deere set out from Rutland, Vermont to Grand Detour, Illinois, founded by his friend and fellow Vermont native Leonard Andrus. The town lacked a local blacksmith, Deere’s trade, and within two days Deere had a forge and new business established. In Vermont, Deere produced plows made from cast-iron and when he first arrived in Illinois he produced the same plows. Soil conditions in Illinois differ from those in Vermont. In Vermont the soil is sandy and falls easily away from the plow blade but in Illinois the soil is thicker and wetter; it stuck to the plow and had to be scraped off by the farmer as he plowed.
There are varying tales as to the inspiration for Deere to create the invention he is famed for, the steel plow. In one version he recalled the way the polished steel pitchfork tines moved through hay and soil and thought that the same effect could be obtained for a plow. By early 1838, Deere completed his first steel plow and sold it to a local farmer, Lewis Crandall. Crandall spread word of his success with Deere’s plow quickly, and two neighbors soon placed orders with Deere. By 1841 he was manufacturing 75 plows per year, and 100 plows per year in 1876.
John moved to Moline, IL in 1847 to take advantage of being located on the Mississippi River and the trade opportunities that brought. If you are ever in the area, this is well worth the $5 per person!
What an awesome tour! After a quick lunch, we headed to the local cemetery, where Terri was able to locate the grave of her great, great-grandmother! We also stopped in the county courthouse, but they didn’t have records on hand for the early 1800’s.
After that bit of history, we took a nice drive through the countryside on the way back to the park…and stopped for ice cream of course! What a great day!!
Today has been overcast, and off and on thunder storms, which is predicted to continue through most of the day Sunday. On Monday, we will head over to Wisconsin to be near Ashley and family, and to attend our grand-daughter Emma’s high school graduation.
That all for now folks! As always, we hope this finds you Happy, Healthy and Living your Dreams!!