Motorcycle Road Trip 2011 – Day 43

Highway 29, Missouri, Closure Due to Flooding

Highway 29 Closure Due to Flooding - Missouri

Day 43 of my motorcycle road trip, and I probably should have paid more attention to the news last night. I heard something about flooding and road closures, but was too busy posting photos to Facebook.

After leaving Cameron, I rode west along Highway 36, Interstate 72. I then took Highway 29 north at St. Joseph, Missouri, to work my way toward Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. I didn’t get very far before seeing signs about a detour. I still didn’t clued in. Eventually, the highway in front of me was completed closed. I could see lots of flooding. The rains I’d ridden through over the last several days had saturated the land in northern Missouri, western Iowa, and eastern Nebraska, resulting in considerable flooding. Since I didn’t watch the news, I had no idea how much of my route was closed.

After stopping in the middle of the highway for a minute, I took the detour onto Highway 136. It was a small country road. I was heading east through some very pretty rolling hills and corn fields. A much nicer ride than Highway 29, but I had no idea where I was going to end up. At Highway 59, the detour took me north through upper Missouri, then into Iowa. I stopped for gas in Shenandoah, Iowa. I had planned to take Highway 2 west through Nebraska, then come up on Mount Rushmore National Park from the south. According to the gas station owner, Highway 2 west was flooded. I’d need to continue north on Highway 59 until I reached Emerson. Then I could head west back to Highway 29. He didn’t know about any other road closures, so I still needed to figure out a new route.



I was only back on Highway 29 for a few minutes before seeing more detour and road closure signs. Fortunately, I also saw a Tourist Information sign at the exit to Council Bluffs, Iowa. The tourist information center turned out to be a Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. They had lots of interesting information and sculptures about Lewis and Clark exploring the American northwest. I asked the woman at the information desk about road closures. Unfortunately, she only had information about the road closures in Iowa. She didn’t know anything about road closures in Nebraska to the west. She suggested I take an alternate detour, riding the Old Lincoln Memorial Highway. This would take me to Missouri Valley, Iowa, where I would get back onto Highway 29 to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, then Highway 90 west to the South Dakota Badlands and Mount Rushmore. She believed these roads were open. I wasn’t up for any more road closures, so I followed her suggestion.

The Old Lincoln Highway was a great ride. A small two lane road through backcountry of Iowa. It passed parallel to Highway 29, and so at times got a good view of all the flooding. When I reached Missouri Valley, many buildings in the town had sandbags around them. They were still prepared for more flooding. I made a quick stop for lunch, and had a nice chat with two guys from Arkansas who were also heading to Mount Rushmore. They had explored alternate routes to get around the flooding, and concluded that the Highway 29 detour was the best option. That made me feel better about not knowing about the flooding, and checking for alternate routes.

Back on the road, my only decision at this point was where to stop for the night. I wanted to make it to Mount Rushmore tomorrow with enough time to tour some scenic side routes. So, I traded off a longer ride today to be closer to Mount Rushmore. Mitchell, South Dakota, seemed like the best choice. After a long day of riding, I reached Mitchell. In case you aren’t aware, and I wasn’t, Mitchell is home to the Corn Palace. Every year, the people of Mitchell decorate this large building with corn. And yes, it looks as strange as that sounds.

After touring the Corn Palace, I walked across the street to Wild Bill’s Saloon for dinner. They had a nice outdoor patio in the back. Everything about Will Bill’s Saloon said that I was definitely in Cowboy Country. After a quick look at the menu, I decided to order a Buffalo Burger with a Sarsaparilla. Apart from a few modern conveniences, Wild Bill’s Saloon made me feel like I was living back in the 1800’s. Dinner was great, and so was the atmosphere. After dinner, I headed back to the hotel to get ready for an early ride tomorrow.


Road Trip – Previous and Next Day Posts

Motorcycle Road Trip 2011 – Day 42

Motorcycle Road Trip 2011 – Day 44


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