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Driving from Denver to Chicago

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I'm going to make my first drive to Chicago the first of May. I would like to drive along the Mississippi River N of I80. Is it better to drive on the Illinois or Iowa side? Is there really anything to see along there?? I'm actually going to the NW Chicago 'burbs so thought I could go thru Rockford.

Any ideas along the river?? Or just shoot thru to my destination??

Thanks in advance.

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