Anyone know if Hwy 61 south of St. Looie is in bikeable form? it parallels the interstate pretty much the entire way, so perhaps it is of minimal traffic. How the hell would I know though. Then I was planning on crossing the river at Chester/Menard, IL, and riding to Murphysboro then Carbondale, as the AC transamerica dictates.
Thoughts? are there rad places to camp along the mississippi out there? secret roads i didn't see on google maps?
i'll be leaving saturday, rain or shine
your comments are appreciated. thanks!
I'm not a local, so I can't tell you about Hwy 61.
But ACA has the Great Rivers route that connects near St. Louis and goes south to intersect the TransAm (which goes into Chester). That might be a bit out of the way. But the ACA routes generally solve the problem of finding good cycling roads.
My choice (since I did it a couple months ago ) is to ride on the Illinois side: Bluff Rd (Hwy 6 then Hwy 7) along the Mississippi bottomland. It's totally completely entirely flat the whole way, if that sounds appealing. And a nice ride, hardly any traffic except for the St. Louis area. The 10 miles from St. Louis to the start of Bluff Rd (south of Dupo) is tough -- city traffic -- but past that it's perfect cycling. And getting through East St. Louis is not for faint of heart -- get advice from locals, or go in a group, or ride it early Sunday morning like we did.
There are some interesting sights along Bluff Rd: old settlements in Cahokia, Fort Chartres, the Pierre Menard Mansion, Fort Kaskaskia. Fort Kaskaskia State Park (a few miles north of Chester) has camping. There's no other place on that road to camp, except for Valmeyer, which has a city park on the route; it was deserted when we went through so camping was no problem. At Ellis Grove, stay on the old road to Fort Kaskaskia and Chester, don't ride on Hwy 3, it's murderous.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN, "MURDEROUS?!" It's the only way to get between Ellis Grove and Carbondale!
otherwise, thanks for this info about Bluff road. I'll deal with it i suppose.
Here's a link to google maps at Ellis Grove. Take the old highway (W. 1st Street/Hwy 6/Riley Lake Rd, turns into Kaskaskia St.) down along the river through Fort Kaskaskia State Park, instead of Hwy 3. Believe me, Hwy 3 isn't a good choice for cycling. (There's even a sidewalk in Ellis Grove that will keep you off Hwy 3 for the whole length of the town.)
thanks for the tips. however i was already using gmaps. what i was wondering was how to get from chester to carbondale without using hwy 3, and all you're telling me is to get to chester then somehow I'm supposed to just be happy with being in chester instead of my destination of carbondale. BUT after seeing the maps i guess i just gotta go to the north and take all those (confusing) roads thru Ava and Oraville.