There are many ways to see the beauty of our state on two motorized wheels. Iowa is fantastic with promoting their scenic byways but I want to take a minute and point out a few other fantastic rides across our great state, Hwy 9 across the northern edge of the state and Hwy 2 across the southern edge of the state! They both go all the way across the state and they both allow you to see all of the different types of topography that Iowa has to offer!
Starting on the northern route of Hwy 9 you will have the pleasure of seeing Iowa’s Great Lakes in Okoboji and just to the east of there in Superior you will find a great place to take a load off and grab a bit to eat called the Softail Saloon. They are not only rider-owned but a women-owned restaurant!
Along Hwy 9 you will see flats, straightaways, hills and curves. After the glaciers flattened out most of the prairie and left us with rolling plains you can stop at Pilot Knob State park, it is the second highest geographical point in the state. There is a great lookout tower and you can see for miles!
Further on down the road towards the end of Hwy 9 you will come into Cresco. Things start getting hilly and curvy, as you are getting closer to the Mississippi river. Cresco has a ton of things to see and do. You should stop into one of the best chambers in the state; Spiff Slifka can guide you through the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame, tell you about the World Food Prize and Dr. Norman Bourlaug or guide you to how many of the forty three bronze statues in her county are actually on Hwy 9!
Dropping down to the southern side of the state you will find Hwy 2. It stretches from the Missouri to the Mississippi. The first 100 miles are going to be a bit flat out but you will enjoy any stop you make, if rodeo is your thing you can catch one in Sidney or Decatur.
Once you get east of I35 you will come upon Centerville and their town square is worth a look. It is the largest town square in Iowa. Plenty to see eat and do. Don’t forget Pancake Day September 27, 2014, FREE pancakes all day!
While you keep on keeping on you realize that you are on the Mormon Trail, around Farmington it becomes a Scenic Byway. Plenty of dips, turns, curves and views to get you through the end of your ride. You will wind up in Fort Madison and if your bike needs any attention you should stop at Don’s Speed Shop, he can take care of you.
The State Highways in Iowa are well maintained and offer some great riding. Take a little time this riding season to get out and enjoy what Iowa highways have to offer, you won’t be disappointed!
Darcy Ring, Thunder Roads Magazine