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milwaukee to the mother river

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 423 miles / 680.8 km
  • Ride Time: 1 day
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $32.15
  • States Visited: Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa
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keep your camera handy. this ride is close to 500 miles but it's a lot of fun and you'll travel thru a much varied terrain. we're starting north of milwaukee in grafton, wi route 60 at lake michigan. or you can pick up 60 off highway 43. we're going to travel across wisconsin on rt 60 to prarie du chien (on the mississippi). there are a lot of cool little towns along this trip. you'll also pass (or be within spittin distance) of 5 harley dealers. there are a couple of nifty side trips (j&p cycles, a very biker friendly town, a very historic town. and if you like camping an easy (and cheap) way to make the trip a 2 day er. more about that stuff later.other than gas or a break nothin special till sauk city. sauk prarie harley, 836 phillips blvd (hwy 12, north off 60). as you get back on 60 the next 70+ miles will be along the wisconsin river. this is a very scenic road, lots of twisties and photo ops. you'll wind up in prarie du chien, wi. at the mississippi river. allow a little time and head north on 35 out of town. 35 is another great scenic road. cliff on your right and mississippi river on your left. plenty of places to pull over and eagle watch (yes good chance you'll see some). if your a river buff lock and dam #9 is about 10 miles north. when you want to get back to the trip just turn around head south. 35 s. to 133 s. to s 'H' to 151 s. before you cross the bridge into iowa stop at the welcome center. if you ask you can get FREE iowa, illinois & wisconsin maps. (this is where you could change routes if you want to go to J & P, savanah (biker friendly town or galena historic town, we'll discuss that later) exit welcome center going east on rt 11 to rt 'W'. next stop new diggens this 1800's lead mine town has everything you need. a dozen or so homes, 1 church and 2 bars. i prefer antons on the north side of the rd. wed nites and weekends they have a piano player (rag time, sing alongs, blues and requests) burgers are good too. ez parking, and a nice beer garden.continue on w untill 'o' left to rt 11 right (east) on 11 kutters harley is first monroe exit. (129 w. 6th). monroe is a nice little burg. if you have the time it's worth exploring. if you do stop at baumgardners se corner of the square. frosted mug of home brewed root beer with a hard salami and swiss, raw onions and mustard on rye. also the phillips 66 station up the hill from the square usually has the cheapest gas in the area. back on 11 east. just outside of orfordville is a bar on left - stables. biker friendly. ABATE meets there 1st sun of the month 10 am. also any sunday free wings or smelt with purchase til noon. (what's smelt you ask, it's a nasty bottom feeding great lakes fish. but what do i know). you're going to continue on 11 until you hit 67 in elkhorn. you'll go thru janesville there are a number of motorcycle dealers inc. honda, kaw, yam, suz, triumph and kutters harley(3223 n pontiac dr).just like 60 on the way west 11 has quite a few interesting small towns. 20 or so miles north of elkhorn in eagle you might want to stop at knuckheads. warm beer, cold women - was that rite???? from eagle your going to continue n on 67 to rt 60 then east back to grafton, or wherever you started from. but before you get there - just north of eagle you'll enter the kettle moraine state forest. 67 thru the forest is a fun road, but there are plenty of other fun roads in the park also, don't be afraid to take the road less traveled. ok now it's time to talk about side trips:J & P cycles, savana, galena: when exiting the welcome center on 151, continue towards dubuque across the bridge. follow 151 thru town and up the hill out of town. continue on 151 (it gets a little trickie as 151 looks like an exit to the right). nows the time to switch places with the ol lady cause your facin about an hour of flat iowa corn fields. (it's a good time for you to ride b--ch and take a nap) as your approching anamosa J & P will be on the right. you can't miss it. downtown anamosa also features a nicely appointed motorcycle museum. after leaving J & P go west to 1st exit (anamosa) rt for downtown left on 64 to continue on route. 64 quickly becomes a fun road, you'll stay on 64 till sabula iowa. make a left at the only stopsign in town (may be a flashing light don't remember) towards savana, illinois. you'll cross the miss river again. (i hate that damn bridge) make a right towards town. in downtown area you'll find several biker bars including the iron horse social club. cold beer small museum and they sponser several music festivals over the summer. continue south just out of town make a right on rt 84 poopies (our prices are cheaper than shit) a couple miles on left. pub, grub, tee's hats etc, tatoos, parts and repair, live entertainment and free tent north out of savana on rt 84 it will butt into rt 20 make a left to galena. galena was famous as a major stage coach stop to the west. lots of specialty shops, restaurants, bars, hotels, b&b's, ond some of the coolest turn of the century homes you'll find anywhere. continue n on 20 out of town, top of hill is wilwert's harley (939 galena sq. dr.) continue on 20 to 84 splits off (stay on 84) when you get to 'w' turn right to new here's the side trip part 'dos'. if you don't want to go to anamosa but you do want to go to poopies. after you cross the bridge into dubuque follow the signs to rt 52. it splits off just after town go left. follow it along the river to sabula and then across to savana etc. poopys www.poopys.comiron horse social club www.thehorserally.comif you have any questions or need more info:bill 585

This is a motorcycle ride in the states Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa. This motorcycle route has 12 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by hdbill in April. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by hdbill

Rider Photos:

  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 1 for milwaukee to the mother river
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 2 for milwaukee to the mother river
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 3 for milwaukee to the mother river
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 4 for milwaukee to the mother river
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 5 for milwaukee to the mother river

Ride Scenery:

Historic SitesBeachesUrban/ResidentialParksFall ColorsLakesForestMountainsRuralRiverFarm LandPlains

Best Time to Go

Spring, Summer, Fall

Road Characteristics:

Sweeping Curves RoadTwisty RoadRolling HillsLight TrafficAverageAdequate Gas StationsAdequate

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Previous Comments from other Riders:

Anonymous_Motorcyclist says:

We did this route (for the most part) on Oct. 9-10-10. A few side notes: Stop at the Bat Cave in Gotham, WI, for a drink. It’s right on Hwy. 60, on the left. Hwy. 60 turns real fun after you leave Sauk City with lots of tight curves and pretty scenery. This part of the trip really makes it great. Didn’t go to J&P, but did go down to Savanna to eat at Poopy’s. Great food! We road back up to New Diggings and spent the night at the New Diggings General Store & Inn. They have a few rooms for rent above the tavern. The room was clean and each room had its one bathroom. Really poor water pressure though, so do not count on a shower. I would personally make this at least a 2 day trip, just so you have time to see everything. If you are planning on 2 days, check lodging before you go. Everything from Prairie Du Chain down past Savanna, IL was booked solid. Over all, it was a great ride with a lot of great scenery, really cool small towns and we met a few really nice people along the way. We would do this route again, and thank you for posting it!
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM

biskitdg says:

Love the pictures (especially the saloon). I marked this route as a favorite so I remember to try it next time I'm in your the area!
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM


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