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kimzx1000r 05-30-2012 07:45 AM

Illinois Back Road Trail
I recently finished a route through Illinois. We have done Iowa, Wisconsin, and felt it was time to see our own state. The route takes in some of Bigdogs river to river ride, as well as some of Rhino's bridges. We rode a good deal of the Mississippi levee from just south of East St Louis to Cairo, Ill. We did this over 8 days. I know slow pace but the goal was to enjoy the scenery and see the sights. I am cleaning up the routes and will post up soon along with what will be a weak ride report since I do not have the skills that cannonshot or bigdog have when it comes to reports. Here is a video that will offer up some flavor to the ride.

Strangely as it is, Illinois was not as boring as we thought!

more to follow

Routes are located further in. you can also find routes that were compiled by Big Dog. (thanks for that) If you have any questions PM me and I will help you sort them out.

kimzx1000r 05-30-2012 07:47 AM

Thanks to Rhino for the bridges and thanks to BigDog for the Shawnee contributions!

rustynut2 05-30-2012 09:21 AM

I hope you have tracks for us. Nice video.

kimzx1000r 05-30-2012 09:38 AM

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The route begins in Northern Illinois. We picked the Pierce Town Hall to gather.
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As we headed out we rode through some farm land which Illinois is obviously full of. I grew up in this environment so I still have a great appreciation for it. The route was headed SW and took us through a wind farm. Seeing one of these up close gives you a sense of how really big they are.

kimzx1000r 05-30-2012 09:39 AM

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We rode roughly 120 miles total that day because one of us had 100 in before we started. Frank lives the furthest out. We camped at the Hennepin Canal.

The Hennepin canal was first conceived in 1834 as a connection between the Illinois and Mississippi River, but financial problems in the state delayed many public works projects. Pressure for transportation that was cheaper than rail convinced Congress to authorize preliminary surveys on the project in 1871. Construction began in 1892 and the first boat went through in 1907, reducing the distance from Chicago to Rock Island by 419 miles (674 km). While the canal was under construction, however, the Corps of Engineers undertook a widening of the locks on both the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. The new locks on those rivers were twenty and forty feet wider than the canal locks, making them obsolete before their initial use. In the 1930s the Hennepin Canal was used primarily for recreational traffic. The Hennepin Canal, which at one time was known as the Illinois and Mississippi Canal, was open to boat traffic until 1951 at no cost. Ice made from the canal's frozen waters was sold during the winters to help pay the canal's maintenance costs. The Hennepin was the first American canal built of concrete without stone cut facings. Although the Hennepin enjoyed only limited success as a waterway, engineering innovations used in its construction were a bonus to the construction industry. The canal was used as a training ground for engineers that later worked on the Panama Canal.[2] Both the Hennepin and Panama Canals used concrete lock chambers and both used a feeder canal from a man made lake to water the canals because both needed water to flow ‘uphill.’

We camped at Lock 21. I chose this because of the unique bridge there. This lock has a draw bridge that was used to allow farmers access as well as local traffic.
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The camping was primitive but very nice. Wyanet is a town right near the lock and we had a nice dinner there at Main St. BBQ.

kimzx1000r 05-30-2012 09:46 AM

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Before arriving at the Hennepin canal and Lock 21. We went through Princeton, Ill. We encountered two covered bridges there on the route. One I did not document because it was built sometime around 2006. But this one on the other hand, was built in 1863 and worthy of a picture. Although my photography of it has a lot to be desired.
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kimzx1000r 05-30-2012 09:48 AM


Originally Posted by rustynut2 (Post 18798528)
I hope you have tracks for us. Nice video.

I have a route which is very easy to follow and I have tracks as well although I am not sure how to clean those up so I may have to work on that. I had to take out an overnite at my parents unless any of you would like to camp in their yard as we did, I am sure they would enjoy the company. And I took out my home where our route actually started. I will have the route soon.

kimzx1000r 05-30-2012 12:17 PM

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We left Hennepin Canal area and continued SW to Nauvoo Ill. where we camped at the Nauvoo State Park in town. Nauvoo is a Mormon town. There is a great deal of history there and some well preserved architecture. Hand hewn logs are a unique sight. Before arriving in Nauvoo we took in the Henderson County covered bridge. When we created the Trans Iowa Trail (TIT) we went to the bridges of Madison County. While there we met an older couple traveling through looking at the bridges. The man we met in Iowa, his grandfather built this bridge. He had the original blue prints for it and the tooling used to build it. It was an interesting story so we had to see this bridge.

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kimzx1000r 05-30-2012 12:18 PM

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kimzx1000r 05-30-2012 12:20 PM

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A sample of the well preserved homes of Nauvoo.
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kimzx1000r 05-30-2012 12:22 PM

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The blacksmith shop in Nauvoo, seems this was a very important place in its time. Since they were all preparing for the journey west the Black Smith was one of the most important people in town.

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kimzx1000r 05-30-2012 12:26 PM

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Life in Nauvoo is a flashback in time. Well kinda :D
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kimzx1000r 05-30-2012 12:32 PM

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And of course no Mormon community would be without a temple and grounds.
Best to talk to Elders and stay clear of brothers and sisters, unless of course you want to be recruited. Seems elders don't recruit so much and are happy to share the Mormon history from their perspective.

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The Nauvoo State park is a very nice facility for camping. Don't expect to find a beer and burger joint in this town though. We had to go outside town for that!

kimzx1000r 05-30-2012 01:10 PM

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Leaving Nauvoo in the morning we head out towards Calhoun County. Very pretty area to ride through. In the morning riding along the river was beautiful and we encountered practically no traffic. This barge filling station along the route.
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kimzx1000r 05-30-2012 01:14 PM

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As we headed inland away from the river and south we went through some nice country areas. Starting to get away from some of the wide open farms and more hills and woods. Here is Frank doing a Tick check!
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