On Tuesday and Wednesday, September 20 and 21, the Polish National Alliance (PNA) hosted a wonderful two-day motor coach excursion to Moline, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa, the Quad Cities area. Fifty-seven guests left from Chicago's Northwest Side and Southwest Side to journey on this sold-out trip. The first stop was the Lavender Crest Winery in Colona, Illinois, where they enjoyed a winery tour, winetasting, and luncheon. The group then travelled to the studio of Isabelle Bloom Sculptures in East Davenport to view USA handmade Isabelle Bloom inspired sculptures. The final destination was the Isle of Capri Hotel and Casino, situated on the Mississippi River in Bettendorf, Iowa. The evening was reserved for relaxation, dining, and casino action. The following morning the PNA travelers boarded the Celebration Belle, a classic wheel paddle riverboat, and set out for a four-hour scenic cruise on "Old Man River."
The Mississippi River provided everyone the opportunity to view the wonderful sights of the Illinois and Iowa shores of its banks. Of particular interest was the Government Bridge, a rail/auto bridge that links Davenport, Iowa, with Rock Island, Illinois. This was the first bridge designed by Polish-born American structural bridge designer extraordinaire, Ralph Modjeski. It became officially operational in 1896.
A second bridge in that same area created by Modjeski is the Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge, a twin-suspension bridge connecting Moline, Illinois, and Bettendorf, Iowa (Interstate 74) that became operational in 1935 and 1939. Interestingly, Modjeski is considered America's greatest bridge designer and builder and was, incidentally, the son of the renowned Polish Shakespearean actress, Helena Modrzejewska (Modjeska).
During the cruise, the guests were treated to a buffet luncheon along with live music of the Big Band era. The two-day excursion ended with a scenic drive back to Chicago.
Special thanks to Mary Srodon, the PNA's Fraternal Activities Coordinator, and Charles Komosa, PNA National Secretary and its Fraternal Activities Chair. They travelled with the group and made sure that schedules were kept and excursion guests' needs were met. Also, "Dziękuję bardzo" to Mirek, the motor coach driver, who safely drove the PNA group to Iowa and back.