Adventures in the Heartland

If you’re a consistent reader of this blog, or listener of my podcast, Off The Beaten Podcast, you know that I love Chicago. I love Chicago like a fat kid loves cake.

However, I find an immense amount of joy getting out of the city.  It’s simply a piece of my eclectic nature. As much as I love the city, it’s inherent nature is a grind; the hustle and bustle, the noise, the inherent stress of the environment.  I always say that it’s not for everyone, but it’s a lifestyle that I embrace.  But periodically, I like to get to a new environment, and bask in that for a while.

This weekend, I ventured out to Moline, IL.  If you don’t know where Moline is, I encourage you to Google map it.  I am both walking distance to the Mississippi River, and Iowa.

So why Moline?  Well, it so happens that the other member of the Off The Beaten Podcast lives here, and we decided to have a podcast retreat.

Moline is a part of the Quad Cities.  According to Wikipedia:

The Quad Cities is a region of five cities in the U.S. states of Iowa and Illinois: Davenport and Bettendorf in southeastern Iowa, and Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline in northwestern Illinois.

The population of the region is approximately 384K, and 90.6% white.

Moline is definitely a perfect setting for a work retreat. It has minimal distractions, but isn’t completely dead. I actually got out Saturday night with a friend from college (I actually know a larger number of people in this part of the world than I thought) and got a taste of the Quad Cities night life.  We went to a cute little watering hole named the Bier Stube, then to an even cuter watering hole (with super cute bartenders) named Bent River Brewing Company.  From there, we ventured over the Mississippi into Davenport, Iowa to Analog, a video game bar. Not quite Mr. International, but my interstate game is strong.

I can say that over the past 3 days, we got an immense amount of work done.  Since starting Off The Beaten Podcast about 3 months ago, we’ve gotten an immense response.  It’s been great to hear so many peoples feedback on the show and it’s guests.  While far from perfect, the show is a definite work in progress that has a lot to offer not only in the podcast medium, but to the city of Chicago as a whole…with each new episode, I feel we offer another positive narrative into the world from a city that is so often misaligned in the media…even by our own President of the United States.

In addition to all of the work we got done, I took some time to get out and check out Moline…in the daylight! I encouraged my Art Director, not to take time off of work, but she decided to only work a half day yesterday and today.

Yesterday, I was becoming stir crazy, so I did some research on Google Maps, and set off for a local cafe.  If you’ll recall from my visit to South Shore Brew, I love cafes.

I was chatting with a friend while walking the 1.4 miles to my destination, Dead Poets Espresso. I mentioned to her that I was walking to a local cafe. Sitting in the same place for too long is the antithesis of my soul. She then asked,

“Are you pretty familiar with the QC, or you’re just such a free spirit, you’ll wander and find places to chill?”

As I told her, I know nothing about the QC, but I’m a firm believer that to get to know a place, you have to set out, outside of a motor vehicle to get a feel for the spirit and character of a place.  You have to taste the air, and hear the sounds.  On foot, or on bike, or even public transportation, is in my humble opinion, the best ways to “discover” a place.  Being in a car puts too much distance between you and your surroundings.

While walking a few blocks away from my destination, a man approached up ahead on my right, while looking at me quite intently.

When we got within reasonable distance I nodded and said “good morning,” his gaze loosened and he smiled and said “good morning! You look really familiar.”

I’m just in town visiting.

Where from?

Chicago? Ever been in Chicago?

I was locked up in Chicago. You ever spend time in camp.


Oh, my bad. You look just like a dude I knew.

We both laughed, wished each other a great day, and I reached my destination.

You can’t have those types of interactions while cruising down the boulevard.

Dead Poets Espresso was one of the cutest cafes I’ve ever been in, and I’ve been in quite a few cafes in my day.  I had a breakfast wrap with sausage (so yummy) and a Cinnamon Bun Latte (tasty).  I would love to make it back over there today for another breakfast wrap and to try their Eggnog Latte.  We’ll see if I make it.  Additionally, yesterday we made our way to both  Fresh Blends and Guitar Center in Davenport, IA, and I had the yummiest dinner at the Lemongrass Cafe here in Moline.  Big ups to those fabulous establishments.

I’m super excited to see what 2020 will bring for the Off The Beaten Podcast team.  We’re hustling hard out here, learning as we go.  We hope you’ll all continue on this adventure with us.  Holla!

Have you ever been to Moline or the Quad Cities?  What’s a place I must check out next time I’m here?  Let me know down in the comments. 

Also, have you checked out my podcast? The show is Off The Beaten Podcast. You can find this week’s show on Apple Podcast, on StitcherSpotify, or on our website. Also, follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter to see the sights of the city and what’s going down.

Also, if you’re so inclined, Sign up to get Off The Beaten Podcast in your inbox.


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