29.08.2011 - 29.08.2011 83 °F
We tried to get an early start today, but once again were unsuccessful. We ended up leaving the hotel in Dubuque at 10am. We had a light day planned as far as activities, but got to do a few very cool things. We started at the Fenelon Elevator in Dubuque about 5 minutes from our hotel. The Fenelon Elevator is kind of like a train car that climbs up tracks to the top of the hill. They have a similar system in Pittsburgh as well. The ride was about 2-3 minutes from top to bottom which is a 650+ feet steep grade. We were told by the lady that ran the elevator that once we got to the bottom that there were tons of quaint little shops and we had to stop at the Calico Bean. She would not tell us why, but told Mia that she would love it. We walked into the shop and it was full of all types of organic stuff. There was a full wall of all different types of candy from swedish fish to chocolate covered pretzels and much more. There was also homemade spices, soup mixes, rubs, jams and peanut butter made right there. This place was a great find and the prices were really good. Teri Connely is the owner and she was very nice. We bought some assorted candies and got back on the elevator to go back to the top of the hill. From there we got great panoramic pictures of the city.
Our next stop was the Dubuque Museum of Art. Unfortunately it was closed. We were bummed because it was a free attraction. However, we got a great picture of the enormous American Gothic statue. We were pretty pumped as we didn't know it was there until we looked in our local guide, that we had just picked up, at the last second.
We then drove down to the river in Dubuque to see the National Mississippi River Museum. We spent about 2hrs there learning about the animals and fish that live in the Mississippi river. We also got to see many of them, which was pretty cool. Mia also got a good lesson on boat building and got to whittle down a birch stick that would be used as one of the ribs in a birch canoe. We also got a chance to see a lot of history about the steamboats that travel on the Mississippi. Many of them were built at this location, as it used to be a steamship building factory. It was funny, we just couldn't get out of Dubuque today. We finally left town at around 3pm as we kept getting turned around by the GPS.
We headed back north and over the Mississippi on a large bridge to Dickeyville, WI. We were on the hunt for Dickeyville Grottoes. There are several shrines built by Father Matthias Wernerus, who was a Catholic Priest and a past Pastor of the Parish from 1925 to 1930. It is built from stone and mortar and bright colored objects from all over the world including glass, stones, shells etc. It was a spiritual experience, even if you aren't religious.
After about 30 minutes we headed towards Galena, IL to see the Ulysses S. Grant Home. Unfortunately once again we reached another place that was closed. We still walked the grounds and enjoyed the home and it's surroundings. It must have been a pretty impressive place to live as it was up on a hill overlooking many other houses down below. The street it is on is very cool, because there many old houses. There are also a lot of trees and American flags all up and down the street.
We finally decided to get serious and get to Davenport. We noticed that for almost the entire day the river was absent. It was an eerie feeling after seeing the river regularly over the last two days. We arrived in Davenport around 6:30, which I think is the earliest arrival to any hotel we have had! We enjoyed a nice swim in the pool and a nice dinner at the Front Street Brewery. Got to taste a locally brewed Hefeweizen, which was delicious! We finished our night with a walk over to the Davenport Skywalk.
Tomorrow we make the drive to Mark Twain's hometown of Hannibal, MO.