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Old 09-28-2011, 04:36 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,544 posts, read 22,748,427 times
Reputation: 6067

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One that you might consider i Il Rt 29. Bring your camera. Take I-80 West to Princeton and turn South onto IL 26 south and follow it to IL 29. You will pass through rolling hills, heavily foliaged areas, small towns, a few farms to follow the course of the Illinois River through Peoria [1] and thence through Pekin and South Pekin where you will stop at US 136 [2]. I believe you turn LEFT to continue on IL 29 south to Springfield[3]. The route ends in Pana which about 20 miles SW of Springfield.

[1] In Peoria you can view the Illinois River Valley from the high cliffs at Peoria Heights on a street called Grandview Drive. Pres. Teddy Roosevelt called it the "world's most beautiful drive". If you want a better view the 187' tower in Peoria height. You can't miss the enormous woodpecker on the side. It does have a very nice observation deck and there is an elevator. If you want to spend a little more time the Peoria zoo is a couple of miles south of Grandview Driver. If you like zoological parks it is well worth the extra time.

[2] US 136 is where IL 29 is divided. If you turn right and drive about 20 miles you will enter the area of [A] America's largest Inland Wetlands refuge, and [b] Spoon River Drive. The two areas are seperated by one small bridge. One of the lesser used back entrances to SRD is in the middle of the Wetlands on IL 97 N. If you go south on IL 97 it will also take to Springfield, but the drive will be much more interesting if you are looking for foliage.

[3] Springfield is Lincoln's land. He was circuit rider in central Illinois. He shared an office in Metamora - which is not too far from Eureka and the Reagan museum.

As a whole the state of Illinois has pretty good food. Most every restaurant in the area features catfish or walleye on the menu Friday from lunch to 9pm. If you don't like hand-breaded and fried fish, Friday is a lousy day to be hungry.

On the other hand, Octoberfest is a bad day to try to find a motel within 50 miles in any direction. Leave Chicago early, stay late and book your room in Springfield. The Sheridan downtown is very nice. The one thing to remember is IL 29 is two routes in Springfield (N and S) N will take you back to the airport and US 136 or you can pick up I-55 in Springrield. Also when you return to US 136 you can also turn west to I-39; it crosses the IKE. US 136 west splts at Havana and joins 97/78 and US 24 West when it crosses the bridge. It is not as complicated as it sounds. It temporally ends at Circle K gas statton; you cannot get lost.

I just remembered another side trip you might like that is a bit more pastoral but still offers some interesting foliage, interesting architecture and some unusual facts. Take I-55 to Chenoa and turn WEST onto US 24. Follow it to Mount Sterling (Not Mt. Sterling). You will pass through portions of McLean, Tazewell, Peoria, Fulton and Brown Counties before you reach Mount Sterling. And you may join IL29 and/or IL 9 for a few short miles. Assuming you are going in a westerly direction when you reach Mount Sterling look for IL 99. It is a 3-way light just past McDonald's. It is on your left and you will turn LEFT. Your destination is Pittsfield and US 54. The route is SSW. One of the towns you pass through is the Purple Martin bird town. The town is filled with the martin bird houses. Continue west.

Pittsfield in Pike County is an interesting little farm town that has some nice fall events at the courthouse. It is also the start of US 54. You can find all the comforts of home in this little burg. The end goal is Louisiana - a very old historic town on the Mississippi River in Missouri. But, before you get there US 54 splits. If you take the detour you can visit Mark Twain's Hannibal.

You can also get to Pittsfield from Sprinfield by following the 4-lane to Quincy. I think it is called 136. It's boring and passes Jacksonville. I believe it is Exit 5 perhaps route 5 that goes to Pittsfield. If you are correct you will pass State Police District headquarters outside of Pittsfield.

This is one way to explore a corner of central Illinois in a weekend.

Last edited by linicx; 09-28-2011 at 09:38 PM..
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Old 09-28-2011, 07:55 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL SouthWest Suburbs
3,528 posts, read 4,513,630 times
Reputation: 6101
Quote:
Originally Posted by linicx View Post
One that you might consider i Il Rt 29. Bring your camera. Take I-80 West to Princeton and turn South onto IL 26 south and follow it to IL 29. You will pass through rolling hills, heavily foliaged areas, small towns, a few farms to follow the course of the Illinois River through Peoria [1] and thence through Pekin and South Pekin where you will stop at US 136 [2]. I believe you turn LEFT to continue on IL 29 south to Springfield[3]. The route ends in Pana which about 20 miles SW of Springfield.

[1] In Peoria you can view the Illinois River Valley from the high cliffs at Peoria Heights on a street called Grandview Drive. Pres. Teddy Roosevelt called it the "world's most beautiful drive". If you want a better view the 187' tower in Peoria height. You can't miss the enormous woodpecker on the side. It does have a very nice observation deck and there is an elevator. If you want to spend a little more time the Peoria zoo is a couple of miles south of Grandview Driver. If you like zoological parks it is well worth the extra time.

[2] US 136 is where IL 29 is divided. If you turn right and drive about 20 miles you will enter the area of [A] America's largest Inland Wetlands refuge, and [b] Spoon River Drive. The two areas are seperated by one small bridge. One of the lesser used back entrances to SRD is in the middle of the Wetlands on IL 97 N. If you go south on IL 97 it will also take to Springfield, but the drive will be much more interesting if you are looking for foliage.

[3] Springfield is Lincoln's land. He was circuit rider in central Illinois. He shared an office in Metamora - which is not too far from Eureka and the Reagan museum.

As a whole the state of Illinois has pretty good food. Most every restaurant in the area features catfish or walleye on the menu Friday from lunch to 9pm. If you don't like hand-breaded and fried fish, Friday is a lousy day to be hungry.

On the other hand, Octoberfest is a bad day to try to find a motel within 50 miles in any direction. Leave Chicago early, stay late and book your room in Springfield. The Sheridan downtown is very nice. The one thing to remember is IL 29 is two routes in Springfield (N and S) N will take you back to the airport and US 136 or you can pick up I-55 in Springrield. Also when you return to US 136 you can also turn west to I-39; it crosses the IKE. US 136 west splts at Havana and joins 97/78 and US 24 West when it crosses the bridge. It is not as complicated as it sounds. It temporally ends at Circle K gas statton; you cannot get lost.
So Roosevelt liked this drive? That is an interesting bit of trivia
This is exactly what fall is about.
Small towns scenic river drives and cliffs to view the foilage.
All right here in Illinois.
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Old 09-28-2011, 09:49 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,544 posts, read 22,748,427 times
Reputation: 6067
I added some more to the above while you were writing.

Yes, it really is quite pretty. Grandview drive follows the course of the river in the cliffs above it. You can also enjoy a short cruise on the Spirit of Peoria, take a carriage ride, learn Peoria on one of nine historic trolley tours, unwind in the olympic size pool at the state-of-art fitness center, sleep in a feather bed, test drive a segway, taste a chocolate martini, check out the aritist lofts or make your own brew and not wander more than four blocks from the hotel.
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Old 09-28-2011, 09:59 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,544 posts, read 22,748,427 times
Reputation: 6067
You made a comment about advertising. The state tourism promotes Chicago and Lincoln and not much else. I don't know why we need two tourism offices. Each County Farm Bureau does a much better job of promoting their county than the state; at least it has a vested interest in its members and the county it represents.
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