I live up in LaCrosse, WI, but am originally from Cedar Falls, IA..I LOVE this ride and usually do it 2 or 3 times a year.......
You start at Brownsville MN and head south on 26 you will go through Reno, MN and New Albin, IA. When you enter Lansing, IA head east on 82 over the river and try to look down on the open bridge in Lansing. You've then crossed over into Wisconsin and can head up on the other (eastern) shore of the river. Now travel along the river on WI 35 up into La Crosse where you can cross back over the river and into MN on US 61/14 and into La Crescent, MN. Here you can take Route 16 south and finish your loop in Brownsville, MN.
Good view of the Mississippi river and of the neighboring hills. The majority of the route, hugs the river and you'll be able to take in all that scenery from both the eastern and western shores.
Well use highway with good maintenance and the roads follow hills so you'll enjoy the turns and elevation changes.
There are good places to eat and stop to enjoy the view. The various towns offer gas and food and some of the larger towns like La Crosse have everything you would need/want. The route passes through/near countless parks and wildlife refuge areas like - Kains Lake Wildlife management area, Mounds Wildlife area, Mt Hosemer Park, Blackhawk Park, Bergen Bluff State Natural Area.