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Thread: Illinois Rt 51

  1. #1

    Illinois Rt 51

    I'm planning to ride from Crossville, TN to Nashville then up I-24 to I-57 and then take Rt 51 North through Illinois to Bloomington. Has anyone traveled Rt 51? Thought it might be a good way to avoid some slab riding.

  2. #2
    "Enthusiast" King's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Hudson, IL
    From the Wisconsin border to Bloomington, Rt 51 has been replaced by I-39. From Bloomington to Decatur, Rt 51 is a divided four-lane and traffic moves briskly. South of Decatur, Rt 51 is two-lane highway. It runs through most of the small towns. It is an unremarkable ride through farm country... flat and straight (welcome to Illinois). There is certainly nothing wrong with it, especially if you want a break from the slab. The heavy truck traffic was reduced by the construction of I-57 and I-39.

    Rt. 127 is more scenic until you get to Murphysboro. Then you could hop over to RT 51 and continue north.

    The license plate motto for Illinois is "Land of Lincoln." For motocyclists it might as well be, "Illinois... get over it!"
    Don Braasch # 9049
    2003 K1200RS 1981 R100RS
    1974 R75 "S" 1977 R60/7

  3. #3
    North of Bloomington Il., the 2 lane surface road that used to be known as Rt.51 is now known as Illinois 251.

  4. #4
    NJN EAR njnear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Southern Illinois
    All the "decent" riding in IL will be south of I-64. The area south of Carbondale IL on US 51 is scenic. The roads off the beaten path through the Shawnee Forest are much better. It's good riding w/ hills and some curves, but let's be clear, it ain't eastern Tennessee.

    A path I would consider taking would exit I-24 near Eddyville, KY and run up US 641 to KY 91 on your way to entering IL at Cave-in-Rock, IL. You'll cross the Ohio River on the free ferry. A nice little detour (in my opinion some of the best riding in IL) would be ride by Garden of the Gods (near Karbers Ridge) about 10 miles north then west of Cave-In -Rock. Plenty of good signage on IL 1. The roads are county but in great shape. Stop and take some pictures at the Garden. Continuing north from Garden of the Gods will dump you in Equality, IL. From there you can head back to IL 1.

    At Norris City, the direct north route switches to US 45. Take that to Fairfield, IL. Take IL 15 east in Fairfield a couple of blocks to where the 4 lane begins to neck down to 2 lanes and make a left (north). This leads to the Clay City blacktop and is a straight shot all the way to Mattoon, IL. This is a great road and no traffic (flat). When you get in the Mattoon area, there are many opportunities to head west over to US 51.

    Again, no matter which route you take, when you get north of I-64, it won't matter! You'll be in the heart of corn country.
    Last edited by donelson; 02-09-2007 at 02:46 AM.

  5. #5
    Thanks for the input and the suggestions. I'll take another look at the map and see about some route changes.

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