Summer Vacation 2023: The Finale


Okay, it's time to wrap up this long-overdue vacation series from 2023, so let's get going!

As I mentioned in the first post of the series, the kids and I spent four nights camping on the banks of the Mississippi. This was our setup. We stayed at Rock Creek Marina & Campground, which was perfectly located for all the activities we had planned. But, they also have an eco boat tour every Thursday that's completely free - you just have to make a reservation and can only do it beginning the week prior.

Of course, I booked it the week before so we got to enjoy that our first night there after we got set up and settled. Here we are leaving the little "fingers" of the river that snake into the land.

After we got out of those, we were on the mighty Mississippi itself.

This was the best I could do to get a photo showing the true size of the Mississippi. It's massive!

The tour guide - who doubled as the captain - talked to us about the native species of plants and animals that live on the river. She also pointed out examples of these when they were present and pointed out interesting landmarks and structures that dot the shores.

I love a good sunset photo!


How cool is it that during this vacation I got to take a boat ride on the Missouri River as well as the Mississippi River? Much like on that Missouri River ride, I took a photo of the wake.

That evening, and every subsequent evening of this trip, was spent around a roaring fire. Nothing better than that!

A few days later, after our time at Wildcat Den State Park, we made the drive to Davenport. While there's not a lot going on there, we wanted to check out their Skybridge. Its spans a road and connects a riverside park with a parking garage.

Once you climb the stairs to the top, you can walk to the end that overlooks the river.

You can also walk down to the other end, which we did. The color of the glass gave everything inside a greenish hue.

After checking out the Skybridge, we went back down and walked along the riverfront.

After this, we headed back north on Highway 67 to our campsite.

In the small river town of Le Claire, we discovered Oleatha Creek Winery, so we stopped.

It was scorching outside, but we wanted to take in the views so we sat on their covered porch. My son and I had wine, and my daughter had a soda. As you know, this was the year I started doing the Iowa Wine, Iowa Distilleries, and Iowa Breweries Passports. I visited enough Iowa wineries with our stop here that I scored a free Iowa Wine t-shirt.

After a glass of wine, we drove into Le Claire and stopped at the Mississippi River Distilling Company.

First up, I had a Bloody Mary - one of my favorites! I rarely drink one, but when traveling or at ladies' brunch, I like to get one. This was one of the better ones I've had.

Again, we sat outside in the shade and we got another view of the Mississippi River.

I had a second drink that included pineapple juice, but I cannot remember the name of it. I remember it was delicious, though.

Right next door is Green Tree Brewery, so we popped in there for one last drink.

Yet another river view with a drink. It really was a perfect vacation. I believe this was one of their seltzers. This stop also earned me another t-shirt, this time for the Iowa Beer Passport. After this, we headed to our campsite and our last fire of the trip. 

The next day we packed up and headed for home. It was a really fun trip and overall, I had a fantastic vacation. I got to see and do a lot in the 18 days I was off work. Makes me wish I was on vacation now. Soon....soon.


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