Surface: 1 is going to be just a bit better then a gravel road, lots of loose stuff, holes, bumps. 5 is brand new asphalt.
Traffic: 1 means you’ll probably see a few cars on this road, but they’ll be few and far apart, 5 means a steady stream of non stop traffic.
Hills: Roads rated 1 have little to no elevation, rated 5 will have the maximum climbing you can find in Southern Illinois which is of course relative to where you live. Some folks will think they are huge, others will see them as bumps.
Shawnee Forest Road: The Shawnee Forest travels from Equality IL and through the Shawnee Hills and by Glenn-O-Jones lake and Garden of the God’s. Both of these areas have campgrounds and make nice stops along a ride. The road is right in the forest, but you’ll see the occasional house and farm. Non climbers will need granny gears for the climbs, especially if you go North the climb to Garden of the Gods is a beast. Near Equality the surface is smooth oil and chip, but becomes very nice pavement after Glenn-O-Jones
Gape Hollow Road: This little gem of a road goes from the Shawnee Forest Road to Herod IL. for a distance of 6 miles. It runs directly behind a large range of hills and offers some impressive views. For some stretches of this road you might be fooled into thinking you were in mountains somewhere. The surface is painted and in excellent condition. You’ll find some challenging hills as you get closer to Herod but they are of the short and steep variety. There is an operational coal mine on this road but its very small and you’re not likely to see a coal truck.
IL Route 147: This stetch of highway runs about 12 Miles from near Vienna to near Glendale. It is part of USBR 76 the transamerica route so you’ll actually see bike route signs on the road. It passes through the small town of Simpson but is otherwise very country. The shoulder is almost wide enough for two riders and as smooth as the road. Lots of rolling hills but nothing very challenging.
Gilead Church Road: This short section of road is painted and goes from rotue 147 to meet with 45 and Tunnel Hill Road. If you travel North its alot of climbing if you travel South its alot of downhill.