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This July (next month) I'm planning a ride from San Francisco, CA to Chicago, IL. My plan is to take 80 East out of SF and go where I need to in order to get the most out of the ride. I'm looking to take about two weeks at the most. I'd love to hear any recommendations for roads to take along the way. Any MUST sees? Any MUST avoids? Any warnings, recommendations, tips, etc. are welcome.
 

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Are you sticking with the I-80 slab mosto of the way or are you willing to take some side roads that are just a few miles off of the slab?:confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Honsetly...

I'd like to stay off of I-80 as much as possible but I do something of a time/money limit so I can't spend too much time riding around the country. Like I mentioned, if there is a ride worth riding I'll get off the expressway.
 

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Is this going to be a round trip or one way? Makes the time more critical if it is round trip in 2 weeks. Lots of miles in hot weather.
Do as many of the passes in Colorado as you can. Fantastic riding.
 

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I was born and raised in Iowa and have done that trip in a car a few times. I-80 pretty much sux. Especially across Wyoming, Nebraska and Iowa. That is one boring drive. Wyoming on I-80 is nice if you enjoy wind. There's a giant arsed truck stop along there somewhere. Might want to try US 20 and see Yellowstone. The Black Hills of SD are kinda cool. Go north.

If you find yourself closer to I-90 once you get to the midwest try a trip along the Mississippi River from LaCrosse, WI to Dubuque, IA. Very pretty.

Look out for Bambi and have fun!

Rod
07 Vee
Riverview, FL
 

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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!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks

This is a one way trip as I am moving to Chicago so taking a little time and checking out historical spots is just what I'm looking for.
 

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Surfer, if historical stuff is in your plans, another route across the Iowa prairies would be to cross into Iowa at Nebraska City and follow Iowa Hwy 2 across the very southern tier of Iowa counties. You will be backtracking the route the Mormons took when they crossed into Iowa across the frozen Mississippi the winter of 1846 from Nauvoo, IL, and crossed the hills and prairies with oxcarts to Council Bluffs that summer of 1846. From Council Bluffs, they crossed over the Missouri in the spring of 1847 then headed out to Utah with Brigham Young as their leader. We here in Ioway call Hwy 2 the "Mormon Trail."

As a native Iowan, I'm sorry our state has no mountains, beaches, whitewater rafting, sand dunes or much in the way of national history to offer. Just a nice place where people can raise their kids in a safe, secure place and neighbors are pretty willing to help each other when help is needed. Oh, and lots of corn, too!:D

But people are always amazed at the amount of hills there are in Iowa. If you follow Hwy 2 across southern Iowa, you'll encounter plenty of hills and a few twisty, scenic roads as well.

Here's a link I found from which you can get some info:

http://www.americanwest.com/trails/pages/mormtrl.htm
 

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I'd highly recommend avoiding I80, especially once you get into Utah. It's deathly dull through Nebraska & Iowa & Illinois. I'd recommend heading north through Idaho or western Wyoming, hit Montana, and cut across to South Dakota. Then you're stuck with dullness, so hit 90 and buzz across to LaCrosse, WI then down the Great River Road to Iowa, then cross into Illinois for the last little bit into Chicago.

Things I'd recommend seeing along the way: Jackson, WY; the Grand Tetons & Yellowstone NP; Flathead lake region and Glacier NP in MT; Devil's Tower, WY; the Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore monuments in the Black Hills, SD; and of course Wall Drug!

I did the I80 drive several times in college (Walnut Creek to Evanston) - about 44 hours if I remember correctly. We'd drive from Chicago to Salt Lake City in about 30 hours, sleep in a motel until we'd wake up, then do the last 15 hours to the Bay Area. There aren't too many continuous stretches of road more boring than I80, virtually all the way across the country.

The Harley Road atlas by Rand McNally has a lot of scenic roads marked - it's a good reference tool.

Enjoy your trip, and if you happen to swing by the Twin Cities, PM!

Mike
 

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Check out the NPS website as an alternate way to think about your travels. Most of the National Parks have cancellation stamps available for their "passport" book.

Any more when I do intestate travel I get out the state map and mark the location of the parks, historic sites, etc and see if I can route my way through as many as possible.

Puts me in areas I would have never thought to see.

Just a thought.
 
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