The Quad Cities on the Mississippi River


The Quad City Sucks

The Quad Cities suck! I think most people from the Quad Cities would agree with that. I was in the Kinko’s in Davenport Xeroxing my resume and I met a young lady who could do nothing but bitch about how life in Iowa sucked. I told her to go either to Phoenix where I came from or to Los Angeles. Both places are warm, and there is lots of stuff to do in both places.

Population wise the Quad Cities has about as many people as Tucson. But still it sucks. It is very cold, at least very cold for a boy from Phoenix.

The name comes from the four cities that are close by. Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Moline and Rock Island in Illinois. Really there are a few more cities in the area but it probably wouldn’t sound good if they called them the Hex Cities or the Octal Cities. They are separated by the Mississippi River which here runs flows from the east to the west, and right after Rock Island it turns south again. In the middle of the Mississippi River there is an island called Rock Island. It is a military base.

While the buildings in Downtown Davenport and Downtown Moline are about as big or bigger as the buildings in Downtown Phoenix the Quad Cities doesn’t really have a “center point” like Phoenix or Tucson. There isn’t any major universities in the area either for you to hang out at. While Phoenix has a gas station on every street corner, and San Francisco has a bank on every street corner the Quad Cities has a church on every street corner. And to an atheist seeing a concentration of superstition that high is scary.

In Arizona we stole the land the Indians owned and put them in jails called Indian Reservations. In this part of the country it was far worse. They just stole the land from the Indians and then murdered the Indians. The Black Hawk Indians used to live here, or maybe it was an Indian named Black Hawk that used to live here. I get these things mixed up sometimes after a few years.

The area is mostly white people. I was going to rent a house in the tiny area where the few Blacks that do live here but I decided to go back to Phoenix. In that area the rents are cheaper then other parts of town. Plus it was close to John Deere where I worked.

The Quad Cities is due east of Chicago. It is about 160 miles but on the western border of Illinois. In this area the border runs east and west.

The closest universities are in Peoria, Illinois and Iowa City, Iowa which are both 40 and 50 miles from the Quad Cities. They have a community college on the Illinois side. I think it is called Black Hawk Community College. They also have one community college on the Iowa side. I don’t remember its name.

For a person from the west this place is amazing it is perfectly flat. No mountains, nothing nada. They have a tiny here and there but that is it. Where do those people hang there radio antennas was my question.

The Mississippi River is all dammed up. But it’s not to save water like we do in the west. It is to make the river deep enough so boats can float up and down the river. At each dam there are locks that are used to either raise boats that are going upstream or lower boats that are going downstream. I used to ride my bike along the Mississippi River. They have a bike path I rode on. I think the bike path was on a “levee”.

These people are clueless to what chili is. The Taco Bells don’t even have the wimpy “Fire Sauce” they have in other parts of the country. At the Chinese food places I tell them to give me lots of chili and they give me a microscopic amount. I ended up bringing a bunch of chili from Arizona because there ain’t no chili in the Quad Cities.

I met a guy who was selling chili at the fairgrounds. He was only selling chili and he had a huge selection of it. Too bad for me it was only the wimpy bland worthless stuff. I told him that he wasn’t going to sell any of his products here because these people are clueless to what chili peppers are. When I mentioned that I was from Phoenix, he freaked out and said that was the chili capital of the USA.

The people here are real meat eaters too. They have at least twice the selection of salamis and processed meat in the grocery stores, then what is in Phoenix or Los Angeles supermarkets. I guess that is the Midwest eating habits.

I lived in an apartment on 8th Street in East Moline about a half a mile from the John Deere World Headquarters where I worked. Looking at the map I can’t remember exactly where I lived. It seems that I was between 42nd Avenue and 34th Avenue. I often would ride my bike to work which was half to three quarters of a mile away.

They have several John Deere plants in the Quad Cities. The one I worked at was John Deere’s world head quarters. The locals called it the Rusty Crystal Palace. It is in the middle of a big forest that is about a mile long by a half a mile wide. The building is made out of iron beams and huge glass windows. I think it is three floors high. It looks pretty cool. It is between the John Deere Highway on the south, Colona Road and 42nd Avenue on the north, Archer Drive and 80th Street on the west, and 10th Street on the east side.

I used to tell the people that we would never build a beautiful building like this in Phoenix because with all the glass it would get too hot in the summers. That was before the idiots in the Federal Government build the Sandra Day O’Conner Courthouse which is a very ugly version of the John Deere Rusty Crystal Palace. And it also roasts in the summer because of the heat generated by the windows.

At John Deere I wrote both business and engineering software in C and SQL which runs on UNIX computers at a bunch of John Deere manufacturing sites in the mid-west, Canada and in Monterrey, Mexico.

The people I worked with were Siva Ganesh and John who are both Indians from India. John is a woman, who is the only Christian I know from India. I am probably the only American she knows that is an atheist. They both have eating habits like me. We like hot, hot, spicy food which can’t be found in the Quad Cities.

There is not much to do in Moline so after work I would usually go back to work and learn computer languages I didn’t know or play on the internet which was just taking off at that time.

My boss was Keith Hammer. He probably got his job there thru family connections. His dad worked there for many years. He was my boss just after graduating from college. Man family connections will help you climb the corporate ladder quickly. I kind of though he was an atheist but I never asked him.

When you work at John Deere the showroom at the east end of the place is an interesting place to go. It is open to the public. It has all the heavy farm and construction equipment in it that John Deere sells. And you are allowed to climb into it and pretend you’re driving or operating it. They also have a lot of antique farm and construction equipment that John Deere and other vendors used to manufacture and sell. They let you climb around on the antique stuff too.

And man the stuff is expensive. You can’t touch anything for less then $50,000, which is what a dinky tractor with no tools will cost you. A bare bones combine will set you back $100,000. But you will never get by with that. You will have to add a bunch of tools on to it which will bring the price up to anywhere between $300,000 and a half million before you have a combine that will actually do any work on your farm. The same thing goes for backhoes and other construction equipment. A the low end stuff starts at $50,000, but once you add enough tools to do some real work the price gets to a third or half million bucks. A basic grader will cost you $100,000.

And on the south side of the building they have a huge lake with some swans. The swans swim around in the lake when it is freezing cold. And in the summer don’t get new the swans because they will attack you.

Illinois is the first place in the world that I saw real snow! On the Greyhound bus I took from Chicago to Moline I saw weird white stuff in the air that I though was snow. I asked some of the passengers if it was really snow. They probably though I was on drugs but they assured me that it indeed was snow.

Another time I was at a Lowe’s in Davenport and this white junk was falling out of the sky. I asked some of the locals who were nearby if it was snow. They told me it was snow. They were kind of surprised when I told them I was from Phoenix and I had never seen snow before.

Man I froze my ass off here. I had my down jacket which has always kept me warm thru the cold winter weather in Phoenix. I came here in April, after winter was over. But despite that I froze my ass off even with my down jacket on.

In the summers it can get worse then Phoenix. One day it was 98°F with 98 percent humidity. That is worse then 115°F in Phoenix with no humidity. In Phoenix when it is hot you just go sit in the shade and you’re cool. Here with all the humidity it is just as hot in the shade as it is in the sun. And when night comes it stays hot, while in Phoenix when the night comes it cools down.

I never saw firefly’s before I came here. Fireflies are pretty cool bugs that emit light during the night. They are also really dumb bugs that are easy to catch. I used to catch them on my way home from work in the summer.

Firecrackers are legal here. I bought a bunch of them. They are not legal in Arizona where I live most of the time.

And the forests are cool too. It is amazing I saw forests so dense that you could not even walk thru. These were the forests around the John Deere plant I worked at.

Two engineers I worked with were Mike and another guy who I can’t remember his name. His mom moved to Tucson to get out of the cold weather. They were mechanical engineers who became software engineers. Instead of flying to the other John Deere plants they would rent cars and drive there. They would then take apart the cars for something to make the trip interesting. These guys also pointed out that Doctor Spock of Star Trek fame will be born nearby in Iowa sometime in the future.

Normally it rains a whole bunch in Illinois and I was hoping to see what real rain looks like. Well when I was here it never rained, except for once or twice so I didn’t get to see what real rain looked like. I didn’t get to see real snow either. I only saw snowflakes in the sky twice. I did see patches of snow on the ground that was there before I came.

Also they had some problems with ice in the rivers while I was here. I think some ice in the Rock River which flows into the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities caused some problems.

And the bugs will kill you. I went to the Rock River by South Park Mall and by the Quad Cities Airport and the so many mosquitoes bite me that I had to leave the area.