Left the house early (7:00am) on Saturday morning for a 300 mile trip to Illinois from Springfield Missouri; via 'the back roads of Missouri", just north of I-44. The temperature required heated grips for the first few hours! Quite a change from 3 days ago when riding was like sitting in a convection oven!
We took I-44 for about 60 miles to exit 145; Missouri State Highway 133 north. (There are lots of interesting roads to take from Springfield that would avoid I-44, but we have rode them all before and wanted to hurry to some 'new' roads)
133 was awsome! Fairly new blacktop for the most part, fresh stripes, and plenty of curves and hills to keep each mile new and interesting! Not so winding and hilly as to make you have to brake and shift all day, but the kind of bends that just flow along at 50-60mph. The traffic was zero! We pretty much had the road to ourselves!
133 winds its way towards the south-east area of Jefferson City, but stays far enough away that you don't get any of the Capitol Traffic. The towns are far and few between, so we had to pay attention to fuel mileage too. The 'ol K only gets 140 miles to a tankful!
Once we got near Jefferson City, we met up with Missouri 100 west. This road is mostly flat and in in the Missouri River basin. There are plenty curves though. Corn, corn and more corn with some soy beans every now and then was the view on both sides of the road. It was a very pretty ride, and quite a nice change from the hills and dry/dead trees I normally see in the Ozarks.
It was a strange feeling to ride through what seemed like a 'corn maze', because the corn was tall and grows to within 3 feet of the road on either side!
100 east takes us into Hermann (yes, two n's!) Misssouri, which is the beginning of Missouri's Wine country. We ate a late breakfast at Lyndee's just inside of town. I recommend the biscuits and gravy! The biscuits are made from scratch and are the size of hamburger buns, and the gravy is FULL of sausage chunks!
We went north on Missouri 19 out of Hermann, across the Missouri River, and went east on Missouri 94, all the way to West Alton Missouri. More corn and soy beans, and lots and lots of vineyards, but by no means boring. Lots and LOTS of small towns, set up for tourists, and lots of wineries to be seen. (next time, we will take some tours and see some of these).
These towns also sit on the Katy Trail, which is a cross state bicycle trail. It gets quite a bit of bike traffic, so the towns welcome visitors!
Missouri 94 takes us to U.S.67 east, into Alton Illinois, my home town. No time for visiting today though, so we scooted up the Great River road, a National Scenic By-Way. It is Illinois 100. Rode the 20 or so miles to Grafton , an old dirty river town that realy turned itself around in the last 15 years. Its quite the destination now.
Funny, I must have past 3 or 4 police cars so far, and everytime doing at least 10mph over, but not even a second look. I think it is the HiViz coats, qaulity helmets, and clean quiet bike that lets me get by..?
We stayed the night in Alton at some chain hotel, no big news for that.
The return trip was the same back to Hermann, but then went south on 19 all the way to Missouri 28 west. We try to ride a different way home each time. Then the rain came! We played 'drive around the storms' all the way south west until we met I-44 in Rolla, which is about 110 miles from home. Well, the interstate was dry, and traffic was light, so we hopped on the slab and cruised on home.
Summary is this, Missouri 133, 42, 100, 94, and 28, all north of I-44 and south of I-70, just to the east of Jefferson City, really made for some great riding. I had never rode that section of Missouri, but we are planning another trip to that area soon.
Side note, we experienced our first ever 'cruiser parade', a line of cruiser bikes going anywhere from 5-10 mph BELOW posted speed limits, on a double yellow lined highway for about 20 miles. The first few miles I was aggravated, but then the girlfriend, as usual, said some common sense. "Just slow down and enjoy the views to the side of the road today, we're in no hurry" I guess there are lots of reasons I keep her around, but I wonder why she keeps me?