I was raised on Kellogg cereal. Is there any other type of cereal? Looking at the map, I see Battle Creek, ancestral home of Kellogg's. How cool would it be to do a factory tour? I must say, I'm rather disappointed that there are no factory tours to be had. I did find something called Kellogg's Discovery Center which was interesting in it's own way. Back in the olden days (1800s) people thought fresh air and sunshine would make you sick. Fresh vegetables would kill you. In NYC, a guy on a street corner ate three tomatoes. People thought he was trying to commit suicide. Dr. Kellogg was all about health and exercise. He created a sanitarium where he could put his ideas into practice. He invented many machines that are still in use today in many gyms.
|Discovery Center parking lot - evidently this was Not the hottest ticket in town|
|Some of Dr. Kellogg's inventions|
Some of the machines we could try for ourselves.
This foot vibrator was very relaxing although I could feel it all the way up to my fillings
One day, one of his patients at the sanitarium came to him and said “Dr. Kellogg, you owe me $10. I was eating this dry hard toast that you gave me and I broke my false teeth”. Dr. Kellogg immediately started working on an alternative to the toast and came up corn flakes. Ta-da!!!!
Dr. Kellogg also was a 7th Day Adventist and Battle Creek is where this religion came to be. I spent maybe a half hour in the Discovery Center and then I got a tour of the Historical Adventist Village which took about an hour and a half. I was really curious about what the religion was about and asked my personal tour guide to give me a quick run-down on their basic beliefs. They believe in good health practices, the trinity and when you die, you just go on mouldering in the grave until the second coming when all true believers will rise up out of the grave. I must have asked a lot of questions about the Adventists because my tour guide gave me a book all about the Adventists which should answer any other questions I might have.
Spent a few days in Indiana at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. I spent time last year here, but I stayed in the Indiana Dunes State Park where there were hookups. This time I'm in the National Lakeshore where there are no hookups at all. That would be fine because I am pretty self-sufficient, but it has been raining for the last couple of days and my solar is having a hard time keeping up. Miko and I just sort of vegged out – did a couple of hikes, found some ice cream but basically just putzed around.
|Sometimes lily pads aren't all that pretty|
My next big challenge was getting from Indiana around Chicago. I absolutely will not drive through Chicago which means I always end up going the long way around . I was hoping to stay at Starved Rock State Park where I had stayed at previously. The problem was that it was Sunday of a three day weekend and all the weekend warriors had taken every available camping spot. I ended up in the Quad Cities – Davenport, Rock Island, Moline and maybe East Moline? I had decided to stay at the Illiniwek Forest Preserve and as I drove up – it was packed. Not with campers but with a Renaissance Festival – jousting, flute playing, much hilarity. Illiniwek was a lovely park. On one side was the mighty Mississippi and on the other side was a huge bluff with some beautiful hiking/mountain biking trails. Miko and I would go hiking every morning up on these trails for a couple of hours.
|Miko in a gnarly tree trunk|
Moline is the home of John Deere. I, again wanted to do a factory tour, but you had to reserve a spot 48 hours in advance which was not going to happen, given my tendency to not commit to a plan. I did the second best thing though which was to go visit the John Deere Pavilion. I learned how John Deere got his start – he was a failed blacksmith who came to this Midwest area from Vermont to try to find work to pay off his creditors. New England soil is hard and rocky while Midwest soil is rich and damp. Farmers in the Midwest would have to stop every few feet to clean the muddy mess off of their iron plows. Mr. Deere fashioned a polished steel blade that cut like butter through the dirt and thus, the John Deere company was born.
While that was interesting, the great thing about the Pavilion was that there was so many interactive displays. I got to go into a simulator and operate a back hoe. I couldn't quite get the hang of driving a bulldozer. I built gears that twirled. I hand cranked videos (although some little kid butted in and wanted to play also – I guess I was in the children's area, but still....). I also got to climb into a few cabs of various John Deere machines.
|If you squint real hard, you can see me driving me a big honkin' machine. So big it doesn't fit all the way in the picture|
Davenport is also the birthplace of Bix Beiderbecke , a famous jazz cornetist. He came up in the late twenties/early thirties. I knew nothing about him except his name, but some of my friends in the music biz thought he was the bee's knees. I really dislike the type of jazz where everybody seems to be playing a different melody at the same time, but Bix seemed to be more of the big band type of jazz which is way cool.
|Pretty prolific guy|
|They wanted you to feel like you were actually listening to Bix as he played at Hudson Lake|
I also tried to go on a chocolate factory tour, but even though the building's operating hours stated they were open, all was dark – so no factory tour. I guess factory tours were not to be for me.
|Wisconsin has a bar on every corner - Davenport has a chiropractic office on every corner|
I spent four days in the Quad Cities. I am learning to slow down. I am learning that I don't have to be doing something touristy every single moment. I still have a long way to go, on this slowing down stuff, but I think I am beginning to get a glimmer of how this works. My time on the road is winding down - I'm sad that I have to go back. My time was way too short but I'm also thrilled to head home and reconnect with all that is near and dear to me.