Tractor lineup at the John Deere Pavilion in Davenport (c) Quad Cities CVB


… certainly is not the typical touristy thing to do. But while you are in the area it gives you a deep insight into the real life in North America. When I found a letter from the Quad Cities in my mailbox recently, I remembered a story I wrote in 1994 for soccer-fans traveling to Illinois. Chicago was the place to play first round for the German team in the World Championships then – and I tried to point out some places nearby worth a visit.

Right on the Mississippi

The Quad Cities, about 170 miles west ot Chicago definetely are such a place. They consist of Moline and Rock Island on the Illinois side of the Mississippi and Davenport and Bettendorf on the western banks of the river. Farming and agriculture are big topics there, with John Deere as the poster child of the industry. Nevertheless watching the big boats on the river, being loaded with thousands of tons of grain attracts your interest as well as the small traditional farms and the traces of the early settlers.

Home of great music

I liked Davenport a lot for being the place where the great musician Bix Beiderbecke grew up and lived – as well as for the German American Heritage Center, located in a 150 year old hotel bulit for German immigrants then. I also remember very well a nightly cruise on the mighty river aboard the „Celebration Belle„, which is still departing from Moline. And I had really hearty food for dinner in The Machine Shed, for which I noted in my travel log: „You can see the difference on the table, when farmers serve to farmers.“

Liquid treasures from grain

As I learned from the letter now, some microbreweries and distilleries are added to the gourmet offer from the area, which certainly enhances the traveler’s enjoyment. What I will put on my schedule for the next visit is some more tours through the agricultural sights in the region. The concept sounds convincing and probably is a favourable offer to the experienced traveler. I will keep you updated in a later post about similar places in Illinois worth a visit, too. (Video is courtesy of Quad Cities CVB)