8 Feet versus 9 Feet

Here is how our morning started:

You will recall that we began the day with a short but enjoyable visit to Villa Katherine on the Illinois side of The Great River Road. Our drive was going fine when a random sign pops up that says “No Vehicles Over 8 Feet”. That is it. An orange sign with no indication of where this restriction might apply. We take a turn and don’t see another sign so we figure it was the other direction. We drive another 10 minutes or so and then the sign appears again.  Once again – no detour info, no indication of how far ahead. We would detour if we had any idea of which way to go. There aren’t a lot of paved road options in the middle of corn fields in Illinois. Another 10 minutes of driving and we finally get the details! The restriction is in a 1/4 mile.  Do I have to remind you that we are towing a 25′ long trailer that does not turn on a dime? We were fortunate and a closed orchard stand was just up ahead and we were able to turn the rig around. 

Now we figure it is time to head to the other side of The Great River since The Great River Road runs both sides and we’ve been burned in Illinois now and are questioning their road crews attention to detail. The Great River Road brochure shows us a river crossing up ahead into Iowa and just as we make the left turn, we see the sign for the Ferry! This crossing wasn’t on a road.  Another u-turn in a parking lot.

We keep driving to the next crossing. Just before we have to commit we see a sign that says No Commercial Vehicles. This doesn’t apply to us, so we keep going. As we get on the bridge, after there is no choice but to drive forward or back up a one-lane road, there is a small, white sign that says No Legal Vehicles Over 8′ Wide. What does that mean??? Well, it means that there is a toll both in the middle of this bridge that limits the width of vehicles that can pass! For the record, we need 9′ to pass comfortably but are technically 8′-6″.

To make matters worse, as we approach the toll booth, there is a honking-big, crew cab pick-up marked with a Railroad logo parked for some unknown reason in the middle of the road on our side of the toll booth. There are at least three guys just sitting in the truck without a railroad anywhere in site. They were there long enough that they had retracted the mirrors on the truck. Maybe a good view for lunch? We weren’t getting past them but I guess they figured it wouldn’t really be that much fun to watch us back up on this bridge so they put out the mirrors and got on with their day. We were able to barely make it through the toll booth, which wasn’t in use any longer.

That was enough excitement for one day, so we stopped at the Toolesboro Mounds. There wasn’t much to see or learn since the small Museum was closed.  

Next to the Mounds, there was a beautiful, new, and elaborate Veterans Memorial. We were somewhat surprised to find that it was for four brothers that died in the Civil War.

We made it to the Quad Cities — Davenport & Bettendorf, IA and Rock Island & Moline, IL. We stayed on the Illinois side (after an uneventful bridge crossing) at a great campground – Illiniwek in the Rock Island County Forest Preserve District. Once again, we got to sit and watch barges go by from our campsite.

Next up: Walking Davenport or was it Bettendorf?