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Oakdale Memorial Gardens
2501 Eastern Avenue
Davenport Iowa
563-324-5121

Orion Collision Inc.
13684 U.S. Highway 150
Orion IL
309-526-8232

Pekin Insurance
2505 Court Street
Pekin IL
309-346-1161
Website

Pete Peterson's Bird Shop
1108 Jersey Ridge Rd.
Davenport IA
563-323-2520

Piehl Motors
1402 N. Main St
Website

QC Rebath
530 West 1st St. Hwy 67
309-756-2284

QC Suzuki
QC Toyota
Quad City International Airport
2200 69th Avenue P. O. Box 9009
Moline IL
(309) 764-9621
Website

Quad City Sports Center
700 West River Drive
Davenport Iowa
563-322-5220
Website

Quality Inn & Suites
6920 27th Street
Moline IL
309-762-1711

Radisson John Deere Expressway
Radisson QC Plaza
1415 River Drive
Moline IL
309-764-1000
Website

Ramada Inn
3020 Utica Ridge Road
Bettendorf IA
563-355-7575
Website

Go rollin' on the river

More than 170 years ago, when settlers first began arriving in what is now the Quad-Cities, there were no roads, only rough trails.

There was one good way to travel: on the broad Mississippi River, which was like an interstate highway for pioneers and Native Americans.

Many kinds of boats have been used on the river. Before the first steamboats, about 175 years ago, Indians were paddling canoes made of logs or bark.

When the pioneers came, they floated downriver on flatboats or pushed their boats along with poles. Early farmers and businessmen would put items they wanted to sell on these boats, then float down the river for hundreds of miles. When they got where they were going, they would sell their flour or corn. Sometimes they'd sell the boat, too.

The invention of the steamboat made travel on the river a lot easier. Many of the old steamboats were huge; one was longer than a football field and higher than a four-story building,

But steamboats were dangerous as well. Hundreds blew up or sank, and parts of them still lie on the bottom of the Mississippi.

Steamboats survived the incursion of railroads, but the riverboat era ended in the early 20th century as highways and bridges took over much of the nation's commerce.

Excursion boats began reappearing in the Quad-Cities in the 1980s as the area turned its eyes toward recreation on the Mississippi riverfronts; and the big boats returned with the legalization of riverboat gambling in the 1990s.

Can I just watch the scenery float by?

The Quad-Cities area features four seasonal non-gaming excursion boats.

Celebration Belle

This 800-passenger luxury excursion boat, operated by Celebration River Cruises, made its maiden voyage in 1998. The four-deck riverboat is the largest non-gaming luxury excursion vessel on the Upper Mississippi River.

The Celebration Belle offers lunch, dinner, prime-rib dinner, and specialty cruises featuring live entertainment. A big-band cruise is offered on Wednesdays, April through October. It is also available for private banquets, proms, and business events. Day cruises are offered, including bus transportation back to Moline. The boat remains open for dockside dining throughout the winter and is available for holiday and private parties year-round. 2501 River Drive, Moline; (309) 764-1952 or (800) 297-0034; www.celebrationbelle.com

Channel Cat Water Taxis

The two Channel Cats, 48-passenger ferries, connect the Moline, Bettendorf, Davenport, and East Moline riverfronts. All-day passes are available for $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 2 to 10, and free for those younger than 2 accompanied by an adult.

The Channel Cat offers hourly service Tuesday-Wednesday and half-hour service Thursday-Monday, Memorial Day through Labor Day; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. weekends. (309) 788-3360; www.qcmetrolink.com/services/channelcat.php

The Twilight

The Twilight cruise offers a two-day, round-trip cruise from LeClaire, Iowa, up the Mississippi River to Dubuque. Round-trip cruises leave every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Rates include all meals, accommodations, sightseeing and activities.

Advance reservations are required. Cruising begins on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend and ends in mid-October. (800) 331-1467; e-mail info@riverboattwilight.com

Riversong

Captain John Vize offers 45-minute sightseeing trips from the LeClaire levee. The 37-foot former Erie Canal tour boat Lola G., rebuilt and enclosed in 1997 and redubbed the Riversong in 2003, offers 16 window seats. The $10 tours (prices are subject to change monthly due to gas prices) run on the hour, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday with charters anytime. The boat can be rented for $100 per hour. Contact at (309) 792-5388; e-mail greatriverone@aol.com or visit www.greatrivertours.com



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