07/04/2006 04:03:45 by Administrator
From: Clare, Michigan
To: Manitowoc, Wisconsin
OUR FIRST CENTURY, now that's how cyclists celebrate the 4th of July! We have been giving our rides numbers with 10 being the best. We have to give today's ride an eleven. The temperature was into the high seventies, the wind was mostly a cross wind, and the route needs to be ridden again!
The ferry, that crosses Lake Michigan, departs Ludington Michigan only twice daily at 8:00 a.m. or 7:55 p.m. We both started the day with a "let's see" attitude, with an eye on the evening ferry ride. From Clare to Luther we rode through the Michigan evergreen forest. We diverted from the Adventure Cycling maps from Farwell and rode route 115. Because it was early morning and a holiday, there was less traffic but it was still a busy road. It had two climbs, that started our day's ride. If it wasn't for the holiday, we would recommend avoiding 115 because of the high traffic. We exited 115 outside of Temple, and the rest of the ride into Luther (about 30 miles) was more up than down BUT very quiet. If this route was near our home, we would put it in our rotation of rides.
We had lunch at the Logger's Bar and Grill in beautiful downtown Luther (population 339, maybe). We were both feeling very good so we kept riding towards Free Soil (population 177, maybe). This part of the ride was level to down hill, and we rode by lakes and national forests. This section of Michigan was very unexpected for both Mary and I, we never realized that there was any part of Michigan that was this rural. In Free Soil, we had an ice cream and asked SeeMore if he was interested running free? Up to this point, we were riding along at our normal 10 to 11 mph. What a champ SeeMore is, we must have averaged 18 mph for the last 22 miles because we arrived at the ferry at about 6:45 pm (just over an hour). We were just in time to purchase tickets and board the ferry seamlessly.
We went up to the top deck (bow), got a couple of lounge chairs and rested until the ship departed. The ride across Lake Michigan takes four hours, and we stood watching the other ships, the water, the setting sun; and towards the end, the fireworks from the bow.
During the cruise we met John Devlin, who kindly took our photo as we watched the setting sun. You can visit his website WeLoveBirds.net by clicking the link. He is a retired 7th grade computer teacher from Minnesota. THANKS JOHN!
Sometimes I wish that words I type could do a better job of describing the scenery that surrounds us; I just can't do justice to this early dusk lake crossing. I understand why people are attracted to sailing, there is something mesmerizing about the experience and the realization that we are truly such small beings on this big planet.
We got off the ferry, and had a three mile night ride through the city of Manitowoc. Another surreal experience, to be cycling through a city in the middle of the night. Everyone was till up and at almost every block people were still setting of fireworks as we rode past. If felt as though the city of Manitowoc was welcoming SeeMore like an important celebrity!
07/05/2006 04:05:18 by Administrator
From: Manitowoc, Wisconsin
To: Wrightstown, Wisconsin
To celebrate our first century ride, we slept in! We did not get going until 9:30, which is Central Standard Time (our bodies thought it was 10:30!). We rode to the Wal-Mart and picked up some supplies, then off to breakfast (at 11:00?). The Rear Admiral and I consumed large quantities of food.
Wisconsin, here we come; which she greeted us with very rolling terrain. It seemed like we rode more up more hills then we rode down today (or that is what our bodies were saying). All day long, dairy farms, and farms that supply the dairy cows with food painted our landscape. And*. just a footnote here, with all of those cows and dairy going on we had lots and lots of "country fresh air" as grandma calls it. Sometimes the wind is a blessing in disguise! Despite all of the great odors, by the time we climbed into Wrightstown, we were starving and DONE!
I am trying real hard not to eat at any restaurant chain, but there was only a Subway on this side of the Fox River in Wrightstown, and looking down road there was a huge hill to climb (which we just sailed down), AND WE WERE STARVING. Yucky pooh, it was Subway or that hill. . Subway or that hill . . . . The Rear Admiral doesn't mind Subway, but she was NOT going to go back and ride up that hill! So Subway won, and I lost. Tomorrow we are going to get back to our NO restaurant chain food policy, which will be pretty easy because these next few miles look extremely rural!
The Adventure Cyclist maps did an excellent job with the route today. We only had two roads (one heading out of Manitowoc which was a four lane highway and no shoulder and the other heading out of Wrightstown was a very busy county road with no shoulder. Other than those two, we had the roads to ourselves.
07/06/2006 04:06:56 by Administrator
From: Wrightstown, Wisconsin
To: Tilleda, Wisconsin
Mary- transitioning from RV camping to tent camping is a bit of an adjustment for me. Oh lets face it this whole trip has put me squarely out of my comfort zone. I'm hanging in there though and having a great time. Tonight the campground/bar we're at has quieted down, the revelers just departed via a giant hay wagon pulled by a tractor. I've seen hay wagon rides in campgrounds before but generally they are for the kids. This wagon ride was full of very "happy" middle-aged folks (one of whom mooned us as he rode by???) Wisconsin is a very unique place so far, but I've only seen the woods. Noel has promised me a city tomorrow with flushing toilets and beds.
We had breakfast at the We Cook diner in beautiful downtown Shiocton (population 954, maybe). From Shiocton we picked up route 187 which turned into county road K then county road CCC then county road CC into Shawano. This was a GORGIOUS ride with the highlight for today, a bald eagle sighting!
Noel - We were riding along when I looked over into a small field. I could see this very mature and very large bald eagle in the field not more than 25 yards from SeeMore. Mary and I both thought it was someone's lawn ornament. He was just too perfect. Seeing his yellow beak, I finally couldn't contain myself any longer and pointed my finger and yes, shouted, "Look at THAT!" as the Rear Admiral was reaching for the camera, but it was too late, I had spoiled the Kodak moment.
That excitement wisked us into Shiocton where we had a picnic lunch in the park. After lunch we rode the Mountain Bay State Recreation Trail. Hard packed gravel, the trail was a pleasure to ride on.
Tonight we are at the Tileda Falls Campground, and our tent is set up next to the falls. Hopefully we will have a quieter night (but see Mary's note above). Tomorrow we are going to divert from the Adventure Cycling map. We want to finish the Mountain Bay State trail into Wausau; from there we will try to plot ourselves across Wisconsin.
07/07/2006 04:09:03 by Administrator
From: Tilleda, Wisconsin
To: Wausau, Wisconsin
We're in the Big City, living large. We have a hotel room, Internet, laundry, cable, air conditioning, food stores, and Wal-Mart like shopping right next door. Just like the pioneers had, when they went west in their covered wagons!
We both had an excellent night sleep; we didn't get out of our tent until 9:00. We had breakfast at the campground and started riding. After 5 miles, got back on the Mountain Bay Rail Trail and rode it all the way to Weston, which is a suburb of Wausau. Not only did we see our second bald eagle, but also running straight at us down the trail was a badger. The Rear Admiral wanted to know what we should do. She didn't expect SeeMore to start charging at the badger! Now you youngsters out there, don't you go messing around with badgers!; but SeeMore had enough room to make a hasty retreat, so I let SeeMore forge ahead. Mr. Badger didn't know what to think, but made his own hasty retreat into the cover of the woods.
After Weston, we rode around downtown Wausau with all the cars, and SeeMore was respected. Wausau is built on hills, and from our hotel room we can see Granite Peak Ski area. We don't think Aspen or Mount Snow have too much to worry about.
07/08/2006 04:34:41 by Administrator
From: Wausau, Wisconsin
To: Cornell, Wisconsin
Another Century? We were driven because there was virtually nothing on our planned route from Wausau to Cornell for lodging (that perked our interest). We are here in Cornell at Brunet Islands State Park with a waterfront tent site, hot showers, and tired legs. Thank goodness the showers were a 1/2 mile from our tent site (to and from), so we could officially cycle a true century. Any other time we would have left SeeMore to protect the homeland and walk.
We started our day with a big breakfast at a restaurant next to the hotel in Wausau, then proceeded to climb three very large hills on our escaped route out of Wausau. On the second hill we met Bob Dennee who was just completing his 40-mile ride to have breakfast with his Dad. He had an 8:00 am appointment, but had time to talk to us as we climbed. He was in a Red Rim trike (three wheeled recumbent), which he designed and built. The trike's steering, shifting, and braking is done from either handle bar, which they have three patents for. He was making these hills look easy, even after 40 miles!
Our route today featured a northwestern direction and our first 40 miles were hills, hills and more hills. When we pulled into Stetsonville, we had serious reservations that we could make it to Cornell that night.
About 3 miles from Stetsonville, we had our second liquid sunshine of the trip. It was such a perfect day, weather wise, for riding because it was overcast. We put on our rain gear just in time for the heavens to open up, then rode until Stetsonville.
Stetsonville (population 466, maybe) has only 5 streets, two churches and two bars. We rode around those streets looking for some place to eat and get SeeMore out of the rain. Failing to find anything inviting, we parked SeeMore under the American Legion pavilion and sat down to plan our options. The time was either 12:00 noon or 11:59:50 depending on which side of the street you were on, because the church on the left corner began it's chimes and 10 seconds later the church on the right corner began the same chimes, just using a different key.
We left SeeMore to guard our picnic table under the American Legion pavilion and walked downtown to the gas station/mini store and was greeted by the cashier with the words "Are you those two people on that funny looking tandem that's been riding around town!" Seems we are quite a sight, and probably the strangest thing to arrive in town in a while.
We got some bread and cookies for our PB and J sandwich picnic at the American Legion pavilion, and I sat down while Mary decided to ask the people in the American Legion if she could use the little admiral's room. Sitting, making lunch, an elderly Wisconsin lady walked up to me and asked, "Do you think they will be playing baseball on this field today?" I mentioned to her (while dressed in cycling clothes, with helmet and SeeMore next to me) that I was just cycling through and I was not from Stetsonville. Even though we were just two feet away from each other she then said, "If it's going to rain some more, then they probably won't play a game". I simply replied that I believe she was right. Next thing I know, she directing people to park their cars blocking entrance to the baseball field by saying, "The guy in the pavilion said there will be no baseball game today, so it' s ok to park our cars here"
We escaped from Stetsonville without rain and without people yelling at me for giving the command to block the baseball field and decided that Medford (5 miles up the road) was two short of a day, and we went for it. We were rewarded with a gentler ride through woods and forests of middle Wisconsin AND an excellent camping site!
07/09/2006 04:43:06 by Administrator
From: Cornell, Wisconsin
To: Amery, Wisconsin
Sing with us, "The hills are alive with the sound of music". We climbed, we sped downhill, and we climbed, and then sped downhill over and over and over again. You can NOT develop much of a pedaling rhythm riding like this. Also, look for us in the Guinness World Record Book under "most corn seen in one day by two people riding a recumbent tandem". Today's ride also allowed us to see some HUGE turkey farms.
Last night we found out that our bear jar works, at least with raccoons. Some people hang their food from tree limbs with food bags, we decided to use a bear vault from www.bearvault.com. It's a little bit heavier than using a food bag and tying it to a tree limb, but it works! In the middle of the night, we heard a crash and two raccoons yelling at each other to find something easier to get into.
We started out with an excellent breakfast at Turks Tap and Grill in beautiful downtown Cornell. After last night's meal (yikes fried food) at the only"restaurant" in Cornell, we were a little bit leery stepping into a bar at 8:00 in the morning. We sat on stools at this long bar with locals who were smoking and drinking bloody marys. Being from New Hampshire where cigarette smoking is a rare sight (while having meals), is like stepping back in time 20 years. But everyone at Turks was very friendly especially the two gals who waited on us, and grilled us with questions as we ate our breakfast.
We stopped a lot more today, eating from our supplies at roadside rest areas. The Rear Admiral cannot believe the lack of towns and retail shopping in Wisconsin. We must not be in Kansas anymore Toto. We are realizing how much we just take for granted, we don't think about the 3 grocery stores (all within 4 miles of our house, or the Wal-Mart and shopping choices all within 10 miles, while we are at home. Yesterday we traveled 80 miles and during that time we went through one town that had a small grocery store. Luckily we purchased lunch fixin's there because the next "big" town on the map with a population of approximately 80 only had two bars. Although you won't find a gas station or convenience store in any of these towns you will find at least one bar in every town and the folks inside are friendly.
07/10/2006 04:45:02 by Administrator
From: Amery, Wisconsin
To: St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin
Happy Birthday Aunt Lynn!
Thank you all who been writing to us, and sharing our travels!! We really enjoy reading your comments, and encouragements.
Also we read Mandy and Mikes website (the young couple riding from Boston to Montana), we are glad you are safe and happy, try to stay out of Polk county Wisconsin or put an extra pillow on your bicycle seats while riding through!
Today was a short day, on purpose. We have arrived at the St Croix River, and are bridge away from Minnesota. Question: If you see ski slopes in you're travels, does that mean that you're riding in hilly country? Answer: Yes and it is time for a break!!
We finally started pedaling at 10:30 today. We stopped to have lunch in Dresser and made a command decision to ride to St. Croix Falls (off the Adventure Cycling map). After lunch and a pretty steep climb, we stopped at the St. Croix Fall's information booth and asked where we could find the biggest, baddest, steepest hill that St. Croix Falls had to offer, and the answer was Maple Street. So for pure enjoyment we rode our fully loaded tandem up this incredible, ridiculously steep hill in search of some retail shopping for the Rear Admiral. I think I lost part of a left lung some where along the way. . . Truthfully, we asked how to bike safely to this area and town, and the nice Wisconsin lady said to take Maple Street. Either the nice lady has never biked a day in her life or she was getting back at me for complaining about Polk County roads! Mary is sure she sent us this way on purpose as a result of the few roadway improvement "suggestions" I made.
After the near death experience and the retail-shopping fix, SeeMore wanted a night in a hotel room, with a pool. SeeMore is part of the team, and gets to vote along with the rest of us. So now we are living large in St. Croix Falls.