Tom rode south out of Davenport, Iowa toward Muscatine, Iowa—we knew the first 7 miles were bikeable and the rest uncertain,

plus the weather forecast showed a storm system moving in, so we knew we might have to be on foot for most of the miles. However, the rain stayed away, and the Sunday traffic was minimal, so Tom stayed on bike for several more miles before making the transfer to me. I rode in all the way to Muscatine, landing us an hour early at the River Center.

We took the opportunity to fill up the van with gas, get some ice for the cooler, and most importantly, reorganize our cargo. As we took over the parking lot there by the river, up walks Greg Jenkins, director of the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce & Industry and our host. Thankfully my mother, who was with us and helping with this madcap reorganization, intercepted him and gave him the lowdown on what we were up to. Eventually we got everything re-stowed in the back of the van, and got ourselves together for the community gathering here in Muscatine.

Greg warned us that he wasn’t sure of the turnout, but the Mayor would be coming for sure. We, of course, were happy to listen to whomever might join us. In the end, the group was small but lively—the Mayor (Diana Broderson), Greg of course, Terry and Madeline Eagle of McKee Button and the National Pearl Button Museum at the History & Industry Center, and as a late arrival, in his encore appearance, Raymond Leader of Coal Valley joined us as well!

Tom, myself, and my parents were also in attendance, of course, and the conversation moved back and forth between the economic development in Muscatine to the history AND the future of the mussel in Muscatine to individual recollections of growing up in this community where you could walk a few blocks and find a grocery store, but now there’s only HyVee and Walmart.

Later that evening we landed at Greg and his wife Kristi’s home, settled into the back deck and the vast wilderness that is their back yard—amazing! Over wine and some snacks, we all got to know each other a little better. Pizza topped off the night, and a tired lot went to sleep in the upstairs bedroom. Very grateful for so much learned and so much felt.

More to come on Muscatine in the aftermath. We are several days behind and playing catch up….