On the Mighty Mississippi

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve updated this thing! Sorry about that.

Actually, I’m not sure who I’m saying sorry to. I don’t think anyone actually reads this thing. (–_–;

I’ve been pretty busy with work, which is actually a blessing in my line of work. I kind of depend on being able to travel so that I can make some more monies (other than what I make of course). The last time I was on site was when I was sent to Bryan, OH back in January. So it’s definitely been a while.

A lot has happened since then (which, I’ll need to write about at some point. I’m actually working on this huge thing, but having some writers block. Hate that.), but it’s finally nice to be on the road. Well, sort of. I love being on the road, but I miss my loves like crazy. I’m so lucky to have them in my life, so when I’m away from them, it’s such a crime. True story.

This time around, I’ve been sent to Burlington, IA which is right on the Mississippi River. Although my time here is coming to a close (my last day is tomorrow), it hasn’t been a completely horrible experience. It’s a neat little town, but doesn’t have a lot to offer. Situated about 1 1/2 hours southwest of Moline, IL (where I flew into),  Burlington is basically known for trains and the rail yard. Ever heard of a little line called the Burlington North Santa Fe (BNSF) railway? It’s only the biggest freight rail in the entire country and runs all over the Midwest-to-West regions.

The rail yard just so happens to be situated directly behind the newspaper I’ve been working at for the past two weeks. I don’t know how people here can be so used to having to stop at the railroad every few hours! These trains are 100+ cars and they go at a snails pace through the city since there are so many curves on the tracks. You could be sitting and waiting for up to 20 minutes!

Regardless, I’ve been able to see some really pretty and interesting things while I’ve been here. I mean, I figure I need to make the most of any place I go – I’m stuck there for two weeks, which includes a weekend.

This is the Great River Bridge. In case you didn’t know, this mighty river separates the Illinois and Iowa. I love bridges though. I love all kinds of architecture and structures. It makes me wonder why I didn’t go into engineering.

…oh yeah. I hate math.

Have I mentioned I like night photography? I was determined to get a shot of the bridge at night because I love when structures are all lit up. It’s just fascinating. On top of that, anyone who frequents my Flickr account knows my whole thing with reflections (thanks to my amazing photographer uncle). This was a no brainer.

Front St. is right along the river and has a few restaurants, a walking area and really nice views of the river and this bridge. It’s definitively an area a lot of locals go to for evening walks. Or so I could see.

Over the weekend I wasn’t sure what I should do. Someone at the paper suggested I make a visit to Snake Alley. It’s apparently the country’s most crooked street. However, the one in San Francisco gets more credit and tourism probably because 1). it’s longer and 2). it’s a more notable city than Burlington, IA (or so the same person at the paper said to me).

Make a trip out to this road though. Incidentally, it’s still being used! I figured it was a historical marker or something, since it was all “old-looking” [translation: I think anything brick or cobblestone means unusable apparently]. However, I saw a truck with extended cab make their way down this road. Crazy!

Remember how I said love structures? I mean, look at this! For one thing, I love Cam because he was able to capture this for me, but I also just love how raised parts of the road are. It just shows how old it is and how sturdy it still is.

See what I mean? I found this street so interesting.

The unfortunate thing about Burlington is that there aren’t that many good places to eat. There was one place, ritzy Martini bar on the fourth floor of some corporate building and it overlooked the Mississippi River. It’s a good place with a LOT of martinis ranging from $8-12. Not bad actually, considering I’ve had martinis that were more than that (and not worth it mind you). It also has decent food. Lots of expensive entrees, but their appetizers are where it is at!

The other place I went to that was pretty good was a local Italian restaurant called La Travola.

The restaurant is super tiny. I counted a total of 7 tables. This is probably why the front desk at the hotel told me to call ahead to make a reservation (o_O) But in any case, it was a very small place with huge portions and friendly service. It wasn’t horribly priced either. The seafood dishes with mussels and all that stuff were over $20, but I think the most expensive thing on the menu was about $25. The average price was between $10-12.

I have a third of this amazing dish left in my hotel fridge. It was one of the biggest portions of pasta I’ve ever had! It’s the Cavatelli with broccoli and it’s in this amazing white wine sauce. A little on the oily side, but very flavorful nonetheless. And like I said, it was clearly enough for 3 or 4 people.

So yeah, overall, this place isn’t HORRIBLE, but I probably wouldn’t come here on a family vacation or anything. It’s a neat little town with a lot of local history and a very active railroad.

I have met some really nice people though. I run into all kinds of people with this job. Up-tight-nose-for-news type newsies and super fun, laid back newsies (mostly in the sports department).

I know these past two weeks haven’t been easy for them, and I know a lot of them really hate that I came in and told them “Yeah, your current system is going to change. Sorry ’bout that.”, but they worked through it and they’re using it and I’m satisfied with how I’m leaving things.

Burlington may be a neat little town, but I’m very anxious to get home to my loves. Like that one chick once said: there’s no place like home! …And I can’t wait to get there.

3 thoughts on “On the Mighty Mississippi

  1. Joanna

    Hey, take heart! I read this thing. Not every day, for the same reason you don’t updated it every day, but hey, it’s cool!

  2. Katie Kruth

    I read this! :)
    Love all of these photos (especially the bridge shots)…I think it’s great that you document your travels through photography.
    Keep it up!


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