The Steel Steeds

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Monday, July 19, 2010


We entered the state on Tuesday 7/13 from Cedar Springs, MI. As mentioned in an earlier post Bob and Jill were the quintessential hosts. Bob has promised to send his photos of our fording a flooded trail that resulted in a temporary loss of telecommunications. Passing underneath power lines on part of the trail I quipped, " We cyclists are a wired bunch, but we have little tension". Having traversed this state, nothing has changed.

The first day in WI took us to Lake Mills via trails and roads. We first encountered deer flies on the Glacial Trail causing Rosie to pickup her pass considerably. I was not far behind, shooing the beasts from her back as we rode. The trail was paved to the 32 mile point then turning to pee gravel. The trail appeared to have a clay foundation with a pea gravel aggregate. Much nicer than the NYS Erie Canal which has a crushed limestone foundation. Less dust in WI means less damage to the bike. We got back on the road at 38 miles and rode into Helenville for vittles. The Kodak photos will show you construction on the trail. It was off road riding at this point. We intended to stay at Aztalan Park, but learned from a drunken couple at Aztalan Bar that overnight services were not provided at the park. We did get directions to America's Best Value Hotel run by a couple from Punjab, India. Seems everybody I meet from India is from Punjab.

The second day we headed for Merrimac via Waterloo, the home of Trek; Marshall, that has a dairy farm in the middle of town and where Rosie lost one of her flip flops; and continued on Route 19 until we encountered too much traffic where interstates intersected. We took a parallel road and those in the know will not believe this, it was Easy St. We truly were on Easy St. until a dog took pursuit followed by its owner, a teenage boy. Rosie was frantic. I tried barking back. The young boy said keep riding my dog likes to run. I growled, "I don't want to run your GD dog so handle  it or I will!" The boy stopped dead in his tracks. If only the dog responded in kind. It was a hot and windy day with more uphill than down, but the down came soon enough to take us the last five miles to the free ferry into Merrimac. Had a bite to eat at the Ferry X-ing and found the Merry Mac Campground a few miles in the direction we wanted to go. More food and drink was had provided by our camping neighbors.  Chad, a Septic Engineer, his botherinlaw Chad and the sisters that married the Chads treated us into the evening.

Day three took us to Wilton via a two mile climb from our campground (see Rosie climbing on Kodak), breakfast at  Jen's Alpine Rest. in Baraboo the home of the Circus Museum where the Ringling Bros. got their start.  Failing to realize the 400 State Trail began there we took country roads (Terrytown, Hogsback, Ableman and Beth... this I wrote not for your benefit but Rosie's because she insisted taking these roads.. all uphill). I suggested otherwise, of course.. We picked up the 400 State Trail in Reedsburg and continued to Elroy finding no acceptable lodging continued to Wilton where we rented a three bedroom house for $80.00. Our hosts were Larry and Lori Beaver. Suggest all fellow riders heading through this area to seek out the Beavers. Nice digs.

We were on the Elroy Sparta Trail that took us through one of three tunnels the first day. See Kodak.

Day four started at Riley's Rest. for breakfast. We leisurely prepared for a short day. I cleaned and lubed the beasts. We passed through two more tunnels on our way to Sparta. We saw a lack Bear about 4 miles from Sparta. I had both rear wheels re-trued. Milt took care of us. We met a customer originally from Rochester, NY. Once again, it's a small world.  Lunch in Sparta at Rudy's was disappointing. Rosie longed for a hot dog thinking about Heids. Well it was nothing like the Syracuse Dogs. Rudy gets a 3.  Met a few Harley bikers at Rudy's. We compared bikes. When I told them I was riding a two-stroke 240 HORSE steel steed they thought it was a 260 horse. All this riding and I'm more of a horse than I thought.

We arrived in La Crosse, WI surviving another week. The trail riding has it's advantages including shade and gradual grades, but we didn't see much of WI while shrouded by tree cover most of the way.

Today we are heading for Trempealeau where we plan to meet Carol Ann, Jenna and Joshua, her niece and kids, who will be sagging us for a week or two. Rosie is already returning to Mommy Mode....

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