The GRR (US-52) returns to the Mississippi valley at Bellevue, with its lengthy State Street and Riverview Park beside Lock and Dam No. 12. Bellevue earns its name when you sit on the porch of the restored Mont Rest Inn (300 Spring St., 563/872-4220, $150 and up) and take in the sweeping 270-degree panorama over the Mississippi.

Continuing south, the GRR stays in sparsely populated wooded lowlands through Sabula, an island of a town created by the Corps of Engineers when the pool above Lock and Dam No. 13, about 16 miles downstream, flooded out the surrounding plains. Sabula takes its name from the Latin sabulum (sand). The river here is nearly four miles wide. Sabula’s encompassing levees provide fine wetlands bird-watching, especially for bald eagles.