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Thread: Crossing the Midwest and Plains

  1. #1
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    Crossing the Midwest and Plains

    West to the Salem Rally and back home to Vermont again. From the Rockies to the coastline I have it all figured out, but oh the great flatness! Barley and I have taken 24/224 from Iowa to Ohio. It wasn't too bad. We made good time, there wasn't much to see but there also weren't many towns forcing us to slow down for a phalanx of stoplights. We also took 50 from WV to MO, but while the highway itself was okay it managed to get gobbled up by Interstate or passed right thru major cities, both of which I try to avoid.

    Two I have not yet tried are US 30 and 36. Am also looking at 24 as far as Peoria IL, then either 34 or 136 to the NE corner of Colorado. The goal is to get the flat stuff behind me as fast as possible without actually slabbing so we can maximize our time out West.

    Any recommendations for one route over the others?

    Pete
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
    '10 R1200GSA with Hannigan dual sport sidecar for rides with Barley

  2. #2
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    US 36 across Missouri and Kansas is a pleasant road. In Kansas it passes through several small towns, most of which have a nice city park with lots of shade, water, and are just a pleasant place to take a break not standing in a parking lot.

    If traveling from east coast I would tend to veer north into Wisconsin and Minnesota, and then take U.S. 2 across North Dakota and Montana. 200 across ND and MT is also a reasonable route.

    We tend to not stay on one numbered highway too long. We prefer to spot good locations and then route between them. An example would be: South Dakota Black Hills; Wyoming Bighorn Mountains; Yellowstone NP; Lolo Pass; on to Salem.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  3. #3
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    Thanks, Paul. I'd heard the oil workers made parts of ND pretty dicey with few places to camp and very few vacant motels (in case of heavy rain), so had written that state off for now. Did I get that wrong?

    This is actually the first time I've planned a direct route out. Coming back we can dither and I have an impressive bucket list of places to go and rides to experience on the return. The problem is past experience has proven that, for me, if I explore on the way out I have so much fun I sometimes never reach my destination. Barley is getting up there in dog years, and if he is to play in the Pacific 2013 will likely be the last year I can ask him to ride that far. Once he's semi-retired I'll limit our trips to 1000 miles from home, and there will probably be a year or two where my focus is on training yet another service dog so I can continue long distance adventuring.

    So the plan is to reach CO quickly, slow down for the Rockies, the Sawtooth Range, Crater Lake, the redwoods of Northern Cal, then up the coast to Salem. We'll enjoy the rally and meet old friends and new, then set out for home. Salem around Mt Hood, up to St Helens and Rainier, 12 to Lolo, south to Grand Teton and Yellowstone, over Beartooth and back roads to Devils Tower, the Black Hills, and Badlands...then skedaddle for home again.

    It's that great flat stretch I'm trying to figure out. Your description of 36 sounds ideal.

    Thanks!
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
    '10 R1200GSA with Hannigan dual sport sidecar for rides with Barley

  4. #4
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    34 in Iowa is ok in the fact that you can make good time because of very few stops. In Iowa I like 20 more than 30 for the same reason.
    30 will have a little more history because it's the Lincoln Highway.
    If you take 34, switch the Hwy 2 at Grand Island Ne. and run up through the Sand Hills.
    A lot of times when we would head out to NH and Vt. we would cross into Canada at Port Huron or Sault Ste Marie and take the north route. I like the Sault Ste Marie route because you can get in some good back road riding in NE Iowa, SE Minnesota, and SW Wis.
    SW Wis. will take you a little out of the way, but will line you up with the Black Hills, Yellowstone and good roads in Idaho.
    Lee 2011 K1300S
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    Past BMW Bikes, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  5. #5
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenfiddich View Post
    Thanks, Paul. I'd heard the oil workers made parts of ND pretty dicey with few places to camp and very few vacant motels (in case of heavy rain), so had written that state off for now. Did I get that wrong?

    Thanks!
    There is an area - about the western 1/3 of North Dakota, and into Montana as far as Sydney that is overrun with oil field workers, oil trucks, etc. Getting through there is a matter of timing. Stop for the night east of there, and then ride 250 miles right through it and overnight stops don't become an issue.

    On 2, Minot to Wolf Point, for example. That's 225 miles.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
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  6. #6
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    We prefer to spot good locations and then route between them. An example would be: South Dakota Black Hills; Wyoming Bighorn Mountains; Yellowstone NP; Lolo Pass; on to Salem.
    I'd highly recommend US 18 in South Dakota and 14A in Wyoming.

    Camp in Wind Caves.

  7. #7
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    I'd highly recommend US 18 in South Dakota and 14A in Wyoming.

    Camp in Wind Caves.
    14A was one of the backroads between Red Lodge and Devil's Tower I was thinking of. Thanks for the validation! Will have to look up US 18 in SD. Thanks!
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
    '10 R1200GSA with Hannigan dual sport sidecar for rides with Barley

  8. #8
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenfiddich View Post
    14A was one of the backroads between Red Lodge and Devil's Tower I was thinking of. Thanks for the validation! Will have to look up US 18 in SD. Thanks!
    14 and 14A go west our of Sheridan to Cody in Wyoming. Those, and 16 west from Buffalo through Ten Sleep Canyon are among our favorite roads. 212 goes west from Red Lodge over Bear Tooth Pass.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
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  9. #9
    Registered User arthurdent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    34 in Iowa is ok in the fact that you can make good time because of very few stops. In Iowa I like 20 more than 30 for the same reason.
    30 will have a little more history because it's the Lincoln Highway.
    If you take 34, switch the Hwy 2 at Grand Island Ne. and run up through the Sand Hills.

    SW Wis. will take you a little out of the way, but will line you up with the Black Hills, Yellowstone and good roads in Idaho.
    +1 on NE 2 through the sandhills - unique geology and one of the most recently added features on the planet. I live on NE 2 and will plan to travel west to WY and pick up US26 which I hope to use as the primary route to the rally (will be my first - time & $ get in the way, usually $). We plan to return on the northern route through WA, ID, MT, WY on a more leisurly run.

    As for "the great flatness" - you need to check out northern NE (US 20). Southern NE & KS are flat but nature's roller coaster cuts across the northern part of the state.

  10. #10
    Route 66 Missouri gstom's Avatar
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    Mo 136

    Missouri 136 is a very pleasant highway. It passes through or bypasses several small towns, has some curves and hills, not much more than local traffic, you can go as fast or as slow as you want and is not a boring grind of flatland straight riding. In fact most non interstate highways through the midwest are similar in that they are not boring, they offer some local color, the small towns you pass through are welcoming and friendly.

  11. #11
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    Thanks for all the input. I've plotted them out on my big wall map so as the snow begins accumulating (starting this Saturday, it looks like) I can ponder and dream about those far away places that tug at me so.

    Pete and Barley
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
    '10 R1200GSA with Hannigan dual sport sidecar for rides with Barley

  12. #12
    Marine By Choice #188306
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    Hells Canyon, Oregon to Idaho

    This is a fantastic ride. Please consider adding to your itinerary. http://www.motorcycleroads.com/75/19...vils-Tail.html

  13. #13
    Registered User rebake's Avatar
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    If you come through the Peoria,il area,we have room for Barley.You too if he will vouch for you.Ed
    Ed Baker

  14. #14
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebake View Post
    If you come through the Peoria,il area,we have room for Barley.You too if he will vouch for you.Ed
    Ed: I might take you up on that! Peoria seems to be pretty central to all the routes we would be taking, a natural splitting off point for either the Pony Express Route or angling up to the Badlands.

    Marine By Choice: I've checked out your link. Looks really interesting as an option on the return trip. Thanks for sharing, and for serving.

    Semper fi,
    Pete (9th Marines)
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
    '10 R1200GSA with Hannigan dual sport sidecar for rides with Barley

  15. #15
    Marine By Choice #188306
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    9th Marines

    I was in the 5th and 7th during my first tour in RVN. Then two tours on embassy duty in Saigon.

    You are always welcome at our home in SW Washington. Extra bedroom and bath, garage and camping.

    Semper Fi and Happy Thanksgiving.

    Keith

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