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Wife and I are planning a 10 day ride this July up the Great River Road; probably will hit it in Memphis and ride up to MN to headwaters of the MS River. Has anybody done this trip, and what are some recommended stops and sights to see along the way?
 

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Well, that's on my list too. This isn't very ride related, but several years ago we camped at Itaska State Park, where Lake Itaska is the headwaters. There was a cafe there, and you can eat or drink coffee and watch the humming birds come and go at the feeders outside the windows. I wish I could give you more ride related stuff, but they are fun to watch, if you like humming birds.
 

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Take in the old river towns. Hannibal, MO, Burlington, IA, McGregor, IA, LaCrosse, WI, there's lot's of them you can spend hours in. Look for the local cafe's. Ask the locals where the local cafe is at. They'll send you to where they like to eat. Google "great river road" and you will find all kinds of info on places to stop.

There's some great county roads in North East Iowa around Decorah, that follow the Upper Iowa River valley. Pretty country.

That's a lot of country to cover in 10 days.
 

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Wisconsin side is the best when you get far up!
 

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fast Eddies bar & grill Alton Il.

Make sure you check this place out. Great lunch stop. Bike friendly, great cheap food. Coldest beer in town. Alton Il. Landmark. Also The Loading Dock in Grafton Il. both motorcycle destinations that folks around St louis area frequent. Have fun !
 

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there are many great areas and places to hit on this route. some of our favorites in southeastern Iowa is the Bonaparte, bentonsport, farmington area. with the Milton creamery being a nice cheese stop. north of I80 on the iowa side all the way to red wing Minnesota is a great ride. jp cycle is nearby if you are into getting some bike goodies, with the motorcycle museum just down the street. savanna Illinois and poopies is a "biker" must hit. galena Illinois is a very scenic town to stop in. we like spending a little time in prairie du chien. I like riding on the Iowa side north of I80 although both sides are nice.
 

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We like riding up the Iowa side from Dubuque to La Crosse then over to the Wi side but the Mn side is good also. If you want to take some time and ride around NE Ia or SE Mn there are a lot of good roads,Red Wing, Mn, Lanesboro Mn area is good. Galena IL is interesting. Some places to stop, National Eagle Center in Wabasha Mn, The Creamery in Nelson, Wi. Pikes Peak State Park, Eckers Apple Ochard near Trempeuleau, Wi if open. If you have the time get DOT maps from each of the states and then just pick a county paved road and do some back road riding, you won't be disappointed
 

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Find these signs and you made it!

At the top and at the bottom.... You can't go any farther!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the info. Can't wait to go. Riding down to Key West next week with a couple of buddies. Warmer down there than Alabama.
 

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We rode the Great River roads in '10 from Venice LA all the way up to Lake Itasca, had a great time. I plotted our route so we crossed the river as many times as possible either by bridge or ferry. Only missed two ferry crossing, one because it was down that day and the other, well it just didn't look safe to me, river was pretty high at that time and the ferry landing wasn't even a good boat ramp with a hand painted sign nailed to a tree that read ring for service. No thanks.
 

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I road the river road in Iowa, MN and Missouri and it was really disappointment not a good view of the river and bad roads. A ride I enjoyed better was riding along the gulf in La. The trace that runs up to Nashville was also disappointment, too many trees and nothing else, Indian mounds were ok but I enjoy riding more then doing touristy things.
 

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I road the river road in Iowa, MN and Missouri and it was really disappointment not a good view of the river and bad roads. A ride I enjoyed better was riding along the gulf in La. The trace that runs up to Nashville was also disappointment, too many trees and nothing else, Indian mounds were ok but I enjoy riding more then doing touristy things.
While you don't get a continuous view of the river, you still see quite a bit of it on WI 35 from LaCrosse to Prescott, WI, and on the MN side on US 61 from Lake City to La Crescent, MN. You will not see much of the river at all from Hastings, MN to the headwaters in Itasca State Park.

The roads are are in good shape on sections I mentioned above last year. That may change this year with the frost coming out from record setting depths.:doorag:
 

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Iowa and Wisconsin GRR

Coming up from Hannibal, MO there are not great views until you get to Clinton, IA. From there stay on Iowa side through Bellevue, Dubuque and stop at Breitbach's in Sherrill, IA. Oldest continuously operated bar in Iowa. They have a great buffet and lots of history. After you eat take a stroll up the sidewalk (north) to the scenic overlook where you can see three states. Follow the GRR north to Guttenberg (hometown) and walk along the mile-long river front park. Next head up to Pikes Peak state park, south of McGregor. Antique in McGregor or gamble at the riverboat casino. Prairie Du Chien is across the river or head up to Effigy Mounds national park just north. Take Highway 76 up to Lansing then cross over to the Wisconsin side to Lacrosse. At Lacrosse switch back to the Minnesota side through LaCresent and Winona up through Red Wing to the headwaters. North of Red Wing I cannot tell you which is best.
 
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