pawnee
I have an evil scheme to bike tour across the US on mostly gravel/dirt roads. The west coast to Iowa is fairly easy and I have that mapped out for the most part. But when I go to google ground-level, everything in IL, IN, OH, is paved. 

Anyone now of gravel routes across northern Illinois, Indiana, Ohio?

I'd like to stay fairly northern but I could go a bit south if need be.

I would be connecting with the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O once I get to Pittsburgh.

Thanks,
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genefruit
Here's a route that'll take you across Illinois on the Hennepin and I&M trails which are gravel -  https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29037342
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pawnee
Yes, thank you. I noticed that trail system on google maps. I was hoping to take mostly gravel roads but the trail looks like the next best thing.

Iowa is basically a grid of gravel roads, but apparently northern Illinois and Indiana are paved... 
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chas

Michigan has a sh*t ton of gravel.   There are

  • bike routes across the state from Detroit to South Haven (ending up with the calhaven trail),
  • a route used by the coast to coast race https://micoasttocoast.com/210-mile-race/210-race-route/ If doing that one, I would take the ferry across lake MI to Milwaukee, and even
  • a bike route going from Detroit to northern Wisconsin

Have you played with this:  https://gravelmap.com

Not much in the areas you mentioned, but Michigan is covered…

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chas
gravel map.jpg 
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Greenhil
Ohio’s a tough one. My experience is the rural farm roads are mostly paved. You might check with these folks and see what advice they have:  https://www.ohiogravelgrinders.com/

Love to see the details of your country gravel route once you put it together!
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pawnee
Wow, Michigan is loaded with gravel. So I guess option #2 is: from northern Iowa, through Wisconsin, take the ferry across Lake Michigan, gravel through Michigan, skim the top of Lake Erie and hit the coast somewhere in New England. But New York and New England look paved as well.

Anyone know of a gravel route from northern IA to Madison to Milwaukee? I'm not seeing much.

I may end up just taking those long rail trails south of the Great Lakes to Pittsburgh and then Great Allegheny to C&O to DC.

Greenhil, yes, it's coming together pretty easily from the Pacific to the Mississippi. 
http://www.bikepacking.com/routes/cross-washington-xwa/
- Then either gravel or that long rail trail across Idaho.
-  From Missoula, join the GDMBR all the down down by Rawlins, WY.
-  Working on a route from north of Rawlins, over the Laramie Mnts and this through    northwest Nebraska  http://www.bikepacking.com/routes/bikepacking-nebraska/
-  Then gravel or the Cowboy Trail through much of Nebraska.
-  Then Iowa, which mostly gravel roads.  https://iowagravelroads.com/
-  Now east of the Mississippi is another section to figure out. I knew the northeast coast states had a lot of pavement, but I'm surprised how paved IL, IN,and OH are. Looks like it may be a lot of rail trail, which isn't that bad.


              
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jfranci3
There is a Ride Across Wisconsin route. It's not gravel, but country roads. Most of WI is worn asplaht. https://www.anythingwisconsin.com/findatrail.htm Tip- Look for snowmobile trails.

Illinois and Indiana are all paved aside from some rail-to-trials and towpaths. There are plenty of long country roads to ride on though.
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pawnee
Thanks for the WI beta. Yes, I must say, those quiet paved roads in IL and IN look pretty good for paved touring.  
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Greenhil
There’s more gravel than pavement in northern New England (VT, NH, ME). That’s why mud season is a thing.
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chas
pawnee wrote:
Thanks for the WI beta. Yes, I must say, those quiet paved roads in IL and IN look pretty good for paved touring.  


Well, on the bright side, northern IN is Amish country which is pretty cool.  I like fueling at their farm stands. Its fairly flat too - oddly just going north a little bit into MI is fairly hilly (rolling hills).
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heybrady
I dont know you will find fun gravel along the southern shore of Lake Erie in Ohio, but you will find tons of poorly paved dirt-ish farm roads.  The land is mostly flat and rural west of Cleveland, so I am sure you can find older farm roads.  A Bike MS route used to go up to Sandusky and there were alot of roads that I wish I had a gravel bike for at the time.  Somewhere less-paved but smoother than old chip-seal. 

Once you get east of CLE, it becomes much hillier and there are some good gravel roads.  Someone above linked to the Ohio Gravel page.  They likely have a bunch of routes on there too.
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pawnee
I'm looking forward to Indiana Amish country and eastern Ohio. I'll have to contact the Ohio Gravel riders next. Thanks!
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heybrady
Those eastern Ohio routes I mentioned contain alot of Amish areas as well.
Watch out for those road apples
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dangle
pawnee wrote:
Anyone know of a gravel route from northern IA to Madison to Milwaukee? I'm not seeing much.

-  Now east of the Mississippi is another section to figure out. I knew the northeast coast states had a lot of pavement, but I'm surprised how paved IL, IN,and OH are. Looks like it may be a lot of rail trail, which isn't that bad.


Pure gravel is going to be hard to find in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. Gravel Map shows a lot of pieces that could be strung together.
grav.png
It's pretty easy to find some great (and hilly) gravel riding in NE Iowa over to Freeport, IL. There's a great shop there called Freeport Bicycle Co that is the gravel grandmaster shop of northern IL. There's rails-to-trails unpaved routes from Freeport most of the way to downtown Madison. It becomes paved at some point in WI, but I don't remember where. There's another similar trail that goes most of the way to Milwaukee. Very little gravel around MKE if you still want to go through there.
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