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Seeking route across central Illinois

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Seeking route across central Illinois

Old 04-05-09, 09:20 PM
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Seeking route across central Illinois

I'm putting together a solo tour, and need a route across south-central Illinois, from Vincinnes IN to Chester MO. Has anyone done this?

I prefer to avoid state highways except where absolutely necessary, but also don't want gravel.
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Old 04-05-09, 10:03 PM
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I've biked a great back route from St Louis to Mount Carmel a number of times.
You could use a large portion of it.

On a map - find Centralia, Illinois and Highway 161 running west from there. Highway 161 runs east to I-57, but then becomes a county road all the way to the Indiana border. You can either head south to Mt Carmel as I did or north to Vincennes.

There is an old, one-lane toll bridge across the Wabash -
https://bridgehunter.com/il/lawrence/st-francisville/

Or you can use Old US 50 out of Vincennes to

Here's a link to Illinois DOT bike maps -
https://www.dot.state.il.us/bikemap/STATE.html
(Their map program is sometimes offline and usually lousy.)

You can also download county maps - (just change county name)
https://www.dot.state.il.us/maps/county/lawrence.pdf

As you can see, you can wind your way down to St. Francisville on county roads on the west side of the Wabash after crossing on the Old US 50 bridge. Then six miles due west and three miles west to Mt Erie Road - the straight road across Illinois to Centralia.

Unless you REALLY want to see the Popeye monument in Chester - I would suggest crossing the Mississippi on the Ste Genevieve ferry and enjoying this historic French colonial town.
https://www.greatriverroad.com/Second...es/ferries.htm

Crossing a major river like the Mississippi on a ferry puts you more in touch with the fact that it really is a BIG river - not to mention that the Chester bridge really sucks.
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Old 04-06-09, 08:24 PM
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Thanks, that's great information.
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Old 04-07-09, 04:51 AM
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Jamawani, have you biked everywhere in the US?
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Old 04-07-09, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by sneekyjesus
Jamawani, have you biked everywhere in the US?
No.
I haven't biked much in New England.

Except for a single winter trip across Texas, I haven't biked there much -
and given the heat of summertime, I don't expect I will.

And I haven't toured AT ALL in Hawaii.
;-( ;-( ;-(

The Illinois route was on my first x-country back in 1987.
I think I did it again in 1988 as part of a fundraiser.
Then in 1991 again.
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Old 04-07-09, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by jamawani
No.
I haven't biked much in New England.

Except for a single winter trip across Texas, I haven't biked there much -
and given the heat of summertime, I don't expect I will.

And I haven't toured AT ALL in Hawaii.
;-( ;-( ;-(

The Illinois route was on my first x-country back in 1987.
I think I did it again in 1988 as part of a fundraiser.
Then in 1991 again.
So many roads, so little time.

I have been fortunate enough to do a bit of cycling in New Zealand and India - two very different experiences. Not touring, just day trips.

Crossing Illinois is bit less exotic, but will fulfill a childhood dream of riding my bike to grandma's house.
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Old 04-07-09, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by downtube42
Crossing Illinois is bit less exotic, but will fulfill a childhood dream of riding my bike to grandma's house.
It's not New Zealand or Glacier National Park - but it really is quite pleasant.
The little towns every 10 or 20 miles have tiny parks, corner stores, maybe a cafe.
Traffic is light, people wave going by, it is very peaceful.
What more could you ask for?
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Old 04-07-09, 06:01 PM
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across ILL

Pick a blacktop road that goes the right way and follow it until it turns to hardpack gravel (then you have a choice, 1. take the gravel road a mile or two until it turns to blacktop or divert left or right one mile to the blacktop that goes the right way. Ill is a quiet road heaven. Enjoy, but save your strength for the big hill in Chester. Enjoy. A central Illinois native refugee that escaped 40 years ago. tom
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Old 04-07-09, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Peruano
Pick a blacktop road that goes the right way and follow it until it turns to hardpack gravel (then you have a choice, 1. take the gravel road a mile or two until it turns to blacktop or divert left or right one mile to the blacktop that goes the right way. Ill is a quiet road heaven. Enjoy, but save your strength for the big hill in Chester. Enjoy. A central Illinois native refugee that escaped 40 years ago. tom
That's how I rode around central Indiana in my late teens and 20s. No tools, no pump, no patches or spare tube, little money, and no worries.

Originally Posted by jamawani
...The little towns every 10 or 20 miles have tiny parks, corner stores, maybe a cafe. Traffic is light, people wave going by, it is very peaceful....
Sounds like the intro to a horror movie.

Seriously though, it sounds terrific. I did part of the Underground Railroad Route in northern Kentucky a couple years ago, and found it similarly pleasant. I've heard horror stories of unfriendly locals and dogs in Kentucky, but my experience could not have been better. Illinois will be (mostly) flatter.
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