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Not quite as seen on TV

It’s so true ... the older we get, the faster time seems to fly by. Summer is waning and I can’t say it saddens me too terribly much. It’s fair to say summer ranks fourth amongst the seasons for me.

We did enjoy several extended weekends away from home over the course of the summer months though.

Mick is a fan of the “American Pickers” program and decided a trip to the eastern side of the state was in order to visit the home base of the pickers. I’ve pretty much always left vacation planning to Mick ... he likes that kind of stuff. Me? I just want to relax. It doesn’t matter to me if we decide to hang out at home or, as in this case, head to La Claire.

We did some Googling (today’s version of a travel agent) and decided on a campground right on the Mississippi River in Illinois. Arrangements were made for our daughter, Avery, to take care of Belle the Bloodhound while we were away.

The day finally arrived for us to begin our adventure. We had our travel trailer hooked up to the truck, packed with everything we’d need for an extended weekend and plenty of toys and treats for Cricket and Willow, who would be traveling with us.

After an uneventful, two-and-a-half-hour trip, we crossed the Mississippi and made our way to the Illiniwek Forest Preserve where we would call home for the next several days. It was a well-kept, spacious area with a grand view of the river and a lock and dam.

We made camp and spent our first day appreciating the peacefulness of our surroundings. We took our fur girls for a walk along the shoreline and enjoyed watching Willow as she played, rolled and swam in the shallows of the river. It was a little tricky with her being on a leash, so I ended up nearly as wet as Willow.

The following day we chose to do our sightseeing.

We made our way back to the Iowa side of the river to visit the intended Le Claire location of our trip, Antique Archeology.

As we pulled in to Le Claire, we found ourselves in the middle of its 33rd annual Tug Fest, a celebration centered around a tug-of-war with teams of 20, using a 2,700 foot, 680-pound rope spanning the width across the Mississippi River between LeClaire and Port Byron, Ill.

Can you even imagine?

So anyway ...

We did make our way to the antique shop and took the obligatory touristy photos, browsed through the two very small buildings on the property, purchased a few overpriced souvenirs and left — all totaled about a 20-minute stop.

Once back in our vehicle, we agreed it wasn’t what we expected and we were a bit disappointed. We aren’t antique collectors, but we can spend hours looking through relics and artifacts, reminiscing about our childhoods, spending time at our grandparents’ as kids, and that place just didn’t lend itself to many memories.

Don’t get me wrong ... there were some interesting items and it was a fun way to spend 20 minutes ... but for us, that was about it. It just wasn’t what we expected.

No harm though. We still enjoyed a wonderful weekend.

Now, if you really want to get lost in memories, spend some time roaming through West End Architectural Salvage, a huge multiple-story warehouse in Des Moines full of everything from a nostalgic dentist’s chair to lamp posts and decanter sets to steamer trunks. If you think you need it, or even if you don’t need it, you can probably find it.

Contact Dana King at

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