Road Tripping to Rockford, Illinois

Take your motorcycle on a tour to the land of Lincoln

Touring to Rockford Illinois
Take your Harley to the land of its dealing ancestors, the Kegel Harley-Davidson in Rockford, Illinois.Cruiser

Yep, the Land of Lincoln and the Fightin' Illini is also home to Kegel Harley-Davidson, America's oldest Harley dealership. Kegel is based in Illinois' second largest city, Rockford, and stocks a deep selection of bikes and accessories, as well as a Harley diner and motorcycle rental services within.

Rockford has a good number of the routes go right through town. That’s all well and good, say a few locals we spoke with recently, but for epic scenery and a unique destination, they recommend heading west to Galena, near the Mississippi River. U.S. 20 west from Rockford shunts you through Freeport, site of the famous second Lincoln-Douglas debate, and if you continue west to Rte. 73 into the town of Lena, you’ll want to reward yourself with the best soft-serve ice cream west of the Rockies at the Lena Drive Inn.

West again, out of Lena, is the historic Stagecoach Trail, one of the most scenic 40 miles of road in the state. The normally flat topography of Illinois morphs into green hills, with farmhouses and barns that look like a scene out of the 1850s. You’ll roll through small, sleepy towns with names like Waddams Grove, Apple River and Scales Mound. The winding two-laner, with its tight turns and switchbacks, should be about perfect for a day cruise or even a weekend rumble.

The end of the trail takes you to the top of Main Street in Galena, where 85 percent of the town is on the national Register of Historic Places. Tour President Ulysses S. Grant’s abode or browse the quaint Main Street shops.

Another option? Start in Rockford along South Main Street and ride along the ultra-scenic Rock River, down through Byron, on to Oregon and then Dixon. During the fall you can stop in on Byron’s annual, uh, Turkey Testicle Festival. Hey, you asked…

The Goods:
Starting Point: Rockford, IL
Distance: 87 miles
Eats: Lena Drive Inn 304 N. Freedom St., Lena, IL 61048
Best Time of the Year: Spring to Fall
Points of Interest: Home of President Ulysses S. Grant
Resources: kegelmotorcycles.com and gorockford.com