Picnic today featured guacamole and chips along with quesadillas. That, of course, brought to mind the Texas Tornados.

the Texas Tornados included Augie Meyer, Doug Sahm, Flaco Jimenez, and Freddy Fender

I tried to sleep in, since I had no tent to pack up. Didn’t work – I was still up at 5:15, but I read the paper before getting out of bed. We’re now in the glaciated eastern side of Wisconsin, with more flat land, fewer and gentler hills. We headed northeast and through the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge (in which the sky becomes invisible with migrating geese in spring and fall), then turned more easterly. The “flat” ride included Breakneck Road with a short but steep climb – one switchback, so I didn’t know how long it would be until it was nearly over. I almost wanted to go back and do it again. Later was a series of four straight climbs – no surprises, but they always look more daunting on the approach.

I do not recommend riding like the person on the left. If a car comes over that summit, he and the next two riders will look like bowling pins. He was doing what folks call “paper boying”, meaning weaving back and forth to make the hill less steep (like a paper boy going back and forth across the street making deliveries).

We rode the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive. “Kettles” are created when a melting or retreating glacier leaves behind a block of ice which becomes covered by debris. When it melts, a depression is left behind. “Moraines” are created when the glacier pushes rock and debris ahead of it, then retreats, leaving a ridge of rock behind.

Being a short day, we were in Plymouth before noon. Some headed to a bar. Those of us whose drinking before noon involves coffee headed to a coffee shop converted from a bank. The vault is a little private room. This is the same shop where I met my friend J for a cortado four years ago after a failed attempt to ride the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive together – he couldn’t get out of work early enough. After a couple of cortados, a bagel and cream cheese, and a coconut gelato with chocolate shavings, I headed to the nearest credit union for some cash before arriving at the school. We are camped on a wooded knoll.

Plymouth claims to be the Cheese Capital of the World. There may be other towns that would dispute that.

Tomorrow is a 40 mile ride to Manitowoc, the home port of the SS Badger, a coal-fired steamship that will take us across Lake Michigan. The boat is chartered on Saturday. As a result, we will have a long afternoon and evening in Manitowoc as well as a long morning Sunday before boarding the ferry. A laundromat will be in the plan somewhere in there. We’ll arrive in Ludington, MI at 7 PM with barely time to eat dinner and set up camp before it gets dark. It will be a short night before we start across Michigan Monday morning. We will cross Michigan and Ontario next week.

As usual, I have invited Jef Mallet and Frazz to join us in Michigan. Since Frazz is two-dimensional, he may have joined us last time and I just missed him because he was turned the wrong way.

Horicon Marsh/Kettle Moraine

Today we rode through the Horicon Wildlife Preserve, a major flyway for geese. At non-migratory season, it is much quieter. When I was there during the fall migration, a flock came in overhead blackening the sky. Nothing like that today. Here is some arrowroot. If you find yourself stranded in a marsh, the root is edible. If you want to get really fancy, you could catch and stew a muskrat, dry and powder the root, and use it to thicken the stew.c508f9a1-d470-45eb-838d-dc167a1074e1.jpegWe rode north to the marsh and it was breezier than anticipated for that early in the morning. The wind was from the northwest. From there we alternated north and east so the wind was on our shoulder one way or another – seldom directly in our face, but seldom directly behind us.

It stayed cool and cloudy all day. It felt more like September than July.

We meandered through the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive.7B0A13BC-5525-4F99-9034-90DC8F8B89D3For those with a geological interest, our first couple of days this week were in the driftless area, the part of Wisconsin never touched by glaciers. Terrain tends to be craggy. The glaciers smoothed things out, so the glaciated parts of the state are more rolling. The area we are in today is where the last glacier stopped, so there are glacial features like kettles (what they sound like), moraines (hills made of glacial debris deposited when the glacier melted), and eskers (ridges of material left behind).

We had several short and steep climbs and descents, so you could be forgiven if this didn’t seem all that different. A bonus was a stretch of new and smooth asphalt that immediately turned into a double digit climb with a sharp switchback. Scenic Road was just that, with lots of rolling hills, of the roller coaster variety. Great views at the tops.

Arriving in Plymouth I stopped into a cafe  to use the bathroom and get a shot of espresso with a morning bun. I was going to text my friend Jeremy to tell him where I was when I got out of the bathroom. I didn’t have to. He had spotted my bike and was waiting for me.

Jeremy started a biking group at work last summer (?). We had a couple of rides together and he moved away. Some of the others in the group did things like move away or get pregnant, so we didn’t ride together this year.

Jeremy was not able to get off work in time to ride with me (though his new bike was in the back of the car), but we hung out in the coffee shop until it closed.

Google Maps told me there was a hardware store a block away and I needed a battery, so I walked down there. It is no longer a hardware store.

My bike computer was getting erratic and didn’t respond to moving the sensor closer to the magnet, so I assumed the sensor/transmitter battery was low. I replaced it with a new one and quickly got a “low battery” signal. It is now completely dormant. My new battery was apparently not so new, though I bought it just before the trip. According to my computer, we rode less about 7.5 miles, though it was closer to 75.

Saturday is a short day of riding but a long day due to the ferry. We’re supposed to arrive in Ludington, MI around 7 PM.