A trip to Antique Archeology in Le Claire, Iowa proved that the American Pickers’ love of funky old motorcycle collectibles isn’t limited to your TV screen.
In Mississippi River town LeClaire, Antique Archeology stands by reason of its small size. The two-story former fabrication shop is home base for the “American Pickers” reality show on History Channel. The shop (actually shops, since the Pickers have added a new brick building to the original metal building at the tiny hillside location) is tucked behind a BP gas station on the way out of town to the south. The buildings are filled with both souvenir/gift items and actual antique “picks” from the TV show. And yes, the TV show picks do include a couple of motorcycles.
We had stopped at the shop twice before and no one was home. But this time was different. At 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon the small parking lot was packed with motorcycles, cars, vans, SUVs and people. Overflow vehicles (there were many) were parked on the steep hill and the street behind Antique Archeology. The hill is so steep that a rider coaxing a modern Indian upwards wisely had his lady partner vacate the buddy seat so he could safely pull away from a stop sign.
Inside the buildings, visitors with an interest in iron ponies could see or buy anything from a full-size Harley to a poster for a 1960s motorcycle flick. There were old motorcycle jackets, tires, engines and signs for sale. To see it all, you had to look everywhere—up, down, straight ahead and behind you. Motorcycle memorabilia was tucked into every nook and cranny.
If you’re planning a fun motorcycle ride along the river road and you want to see Antique Archeology, leave enough time to walk a few blocks and take in the sights and sounds of LeClaire as well. It’s a truly charming place with its small brick buildings, antique shops, outdoor cafes and excellent indoor eateries. It would be easy to spend an entire day there and not feel you’ve seen it all.