I will never wear shoes

There is only one thing better than walking barefoot in damp grass – that’s walking barefoot in water.

I have kvetched more than once during this trip about my burning feet. You can buy chemical foot warmers to slip into your shoes, why not foot coolers?

I’ve heard lots of comments from other riders about the fact that my shoes come off as soon as I get off my bike.

Bill Camplin understands. Sorry I can’t find a link to the whole song. Today is the closest we’ll get to his place, so today is the day for this song.

Tonight is the full moon (and a total eclipse for much of the world – not here, as it occurs in daylight for us). That calls for another of my favorite songs:

Dear Trauma Team: I hope Tyler is doing great, but not so well that you won’t want me back in a month.

Thursday – Baraboo to Beaver Dam, WI

My boss picked me up after our meeting Wednesday night and took me out for beers. It was great to re-connect and hear some work news. Hey fifth floor! – I hear you are reading these over lunch. Are you reading them aloud?

At breakfast I was met by half-fast friends Rosebud and Tim and my son Mikko. We rode off to Devil’s Lake. As I introduced Mikko to folks on the first climb, they wanted to know how it was we could talk on this climb, when they could barely breathe. Since Mikko is not an experienced distance cyclist (but a very experienced commuter), I explained that he didn’t know any better. It might also help that he’s 40 years younger than we are.

The ferry crossing of Lake Wisconsin (which takes about 8 minutes) was a treat for folks who hadn’t done it before and is always a high point for me on rides in this area.

We headed off (again on mostly town roads, a few county highways, and only brief stretches on state highways) moving east with a strong tailwind. The prevailing westerlies have finally arrived in the sixth week.

I was having too much fun to stop for pictures. Quiet roads and chatting with friends as we rode made the miles fly by. The tailwind helped.

Mikko bailed out at lunch (with a play to go to tonight about 100 miles in the other direction and a busy schedule for the next week, riding all day was not a viable option).

The rest of us rode on to Beaver Dam, stopping for root beer floats on the way in. We found a  bar with good beers on tap (Badger Club from Wisconsin Brewing for me), then strolled around Beaver Dam before dinner in a Mexican restaurant, Palenque. A flock of pelicans were hanging out just above the dam. We also saw a statue of Frank Lloyd Wright as a beaver, and life-sized stone lions guarding a house.

Tomorrow on to Plymouth, where I hope to be met by my friend Jeremy. Saturday it is on to our next ferry, this time crossing Lake Michigan. That will take a bit longer than 8 minutes.

Are we there yet?

Since this is the closest we get to my house, it’s time for another local favorite, and a question I have asked many times already:

We started our morning with a great breakfast at Ginny’s Cupboard in Sparta. The route quickly left the streets and entered the Sparta to Elroy Trail, where we would spend most of the morning. The trail includes 3 tunnels, one of them over 3800 feet long. Water drips from the ceiling and runs down drainage ditches along the walls. In some parts of the tunnel there is a steady rain. Even with a good light, the tunnels require walking. Photos: tunnel entrance, the light at the end of the tunnel, rock cairn outside of the tunnel

 

 

The surface is “crushed limestone”, mostly hard-packed dirt. Even so, the surface was better than a lot of the chip-sealed highways out west, and there are no trucks flying by at 80 mph.

Still, it was good to get back on roads for the afternoon. We started on state highway 33, which could have been any highway anywhere. We soon turned off onto town roads and I started grinning. Now this is Wisconsin riding!

We rode up and down ridges with short, steep climbs, big vistas at the top, fast descents, no traffic. After our afternoon water stop we were on flatter roads, but still no traffic and iconic Wisconsin farmland. Saving the best ‘til last, we turned onto Terrytown Road. If my instruments are correct, we climbed 50 feet in 0.05 mile, which would translate to a 19% grade. It continues steeply, though not quite that steep, for a bit farther before returning to rolling hills and on into Baraboo. Photos: Terrytown Road vista, Terrytown Road (not the steep part)

 

 

 

 

Photos from Tuesday: Sunrise over Twin Bluffs, Nelson, WI; Viking statue, Buffalo City, WI.

 

 

Final photos: Rock-in-house (viewed from back yard and through bedroom door) Yes, the bedroom is completely filled by the rock.

Graeme met someone else from Melbourne on the trail and said, “Five weeks I’ve been here and she’s the first one who understands me.”

Tomorrow (today as you read this), if I guess right, we will ride through Devil’s Lake State Park (called Devil’s Lake by the white folks because the real name, which translates more closely as “Spirit Lake”, or “Sacred Lake” must have referred to the Devil since it didn’t refer to Jesus) and ride the Merrimac Ferry.

I expect to be joined by two friends and my son; all half-fast, if you ask me.