Join Date: May 2007
Location: Grundy Center, IA
If I were doing the trip, I too would avoid I-80 at all costs.
If you're interested in history (as I am) I would follow the north side of the Platte River through Nebraska (US Hwy 30) which roughly parallels the route of the Mormon Trail. If you have time, check out the Gateway Arch Monument and Museum at Kearney, NE.
Following 30 across the Missouri River, take some time to stop at the DeSoto Bend National Wildlife Refuge (no charge) and check out the recovered sternwheeler steamboat, the "Bertrand." The Bertrand sank in the river in 1865 and was covered with mud which kept it from rotting until it was found again in 1968. The hull was raised and much of the artifacts inside were not damaged. The hull is on display in a museum on the grounds of the refuge.
I would then track my way SE somewhat and basically follow US Hwy 6 across SW Iowa to Des Moines to near Iowa City. You'll go past such things as the site of the first Jesse James train robbery in the west (near Adair) and the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge (near Prairie City, just SE of Des Moines) which is a 4000 acre restored tallgrass prairie complete with buffalo herd. The wildflowers should be really blooming at the time you'd come through here.
At Iowa City, take off on Iowa Hwy 1 to US Hwy 151 at Anamosa. Anamosa, IA is home to J & P Cycles, one of the country's largest motorcycle parts distributorship and also home to the National Motorcycle Museum. The museum caters to mostly Amercan-made V-Twins, but also has some great displays of Brit bikes, Italian, German and Japanese bikes as well along with a panhead-powered car that some guy built in the 60's.
After a trip through Anamosa, head east on IA Hwy 64 through the rolling dairy country of NE Iowa and you'll cross the Mississippi at Savanna, IL. From there, I'd follow IL Hwy 64 straight into ChiTown.:-D
Welcome to our Land Between the Rivers!
K6 DL1000 - GIVI V46, GIVI V35s and GIVI crash bars, Madstad, Murph's Brace, Pro-Taper ATV Hi bars
1981 GS650L (for sale)
1977 GS550 (first love)