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.
07/11/2006 04:46:43 by Administrator
From: St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin
To: Milaca, Minnesota
Guess what, there is another big hill on the other side of the St. Croix River that you get to climb! I know it was not as bad as yesterday's Maple Road because my lungs remained in tact. The bottom photo is for the people in Polk county Wisconsin. This is the worst road in the 84 miles we have ridden by bike in Minnesota. Please study it carefully, and then use it as a blueprint. Even the worst road in Minnesota, is 5 times better than any Polk County road!
Remember that nice lady at the Information Booth in St. Croix Falls, who sent us up Maple Road yesterday; well she gave us GREAT information about route 37 out of Taylor Falls Minn. (THANK YOU).
We had breakfast at the Chisago Restaurant (downtown Taylor Falls Minn) in the non-smoking section, with the bible study group. After a lumberjack special breakfast for the Rear Admiral, my 3 pancakes (with peanut butter) breakfast and a little bit of religion, we climbed the hill next to the Restaurant (unmarked route 37), which lead straight up and out of town.
Today was an easy ride. Flat and SMOOTH roads, great weather, great scenery, and a tailwind put us here in Milaca at 3:00 pm. Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, and as we rode we saw lots of trees, small farms, lakes and streams, and wildlife.
We also ran into 2 groups of cyclist, both going from Seattle to Bar Harbor. We were able to talk to both groups and share information. The second group consisted of 2 men and 3 women, who shared a picnic table with us in Grandy Minnesota (population 100, maybe). They started out on June 5th, and we are the first westbound touring cyclists they have seen. One of the gentlemen was a doctor from Anchorage Alaska! Both groups did not get to ride through Glacier National Park because they were too early; the "Road to the Sun" was closed. Both groups told us of being pushed across Montana because of tailwinds.
What a great enjoyable ride today!
07/12/2006 04:48:15 by Administrator
From: Milaca, Minnesota
To: Long Prairie, Minnesota
It was HOT; today it reached 93 degrees when we were having ice cream treats in downtown Swanville Minnesota. We had a south wind, which when it blew, kept us cool. We also traveled north a great deal today, so we had a tailwind during some of today's riding.
While riding we were debating on what current items we needed to toss out so we could bring new items with us like: wild life, flowers, plants, and bird books; also a pair of binoculars, but the Rear Admiral told me I can't use them when steering SeeMore.
Our opinion of Minnesota has not changed, is an excellent place to cycle. Mostly flat smooth roads, great scenery, courteous drivers and lots of wild life to keep you looking in all directions. Today the photographer captured an osprey but missed a red fox.
Our semi big event today was crossing the Mississippi River, we say semi big because we did not realize until about 1/2 mile down the road, that we crossed it. There was no sign telling us it was the Mississippi, and it wasn't any bigger than the Nashua River.
We met another couple riding the Northern Tier of the Adventure Cycling route. Two years ago they rode the Southern Tier (from California to Florida). They are in their late sixties and look fit and fresh. We spoke with them for a while, we met the nicest people riding on SeeMore!
New twist on lunch today, fresh tomatoes for our bologna sandwiches and desert was fresh blueberries!
07/13/2006 04:49:47 by Administrator
From: Long Prairie, Minnesota
To: Battle Lake, Minnesota
Off to an early start this morning in hopes of beating the heat. We were up and at the restaurant by 6:45 am. While waiting for our breakfast to arrive, the former owner of Mikey's Downtown Restaurant (downtown Long Prairie) came over to chat. He sold the restaurant that he owned and operated for over 25 years, last year. Now he comes in and "harasses" everyone (his words not ours he was really a nice friendly guy). Seems a lot of cross-country cyclist have stopped by this restaurant over the years and he told us about a few. When our breakfasts arrived, he excused himself, and we could hear him "harassing" other customers.
We are going to call Minnesota the tailwind state. The wind was blowing today from the southeast at 15 mph, and we were traveling northwest! Not much to report, it was a GREAT ride today, lots of things to look at and we had some views of what North Dakota will look like, with rolling plains. Lot more lakes and marshes, which means more birds (storks, cranes, egrets, kingfishers, bluebirds, and loons).
We are about 100 miles from Fargo, and it is forecasted to reach 102 on Saturday (in two days). So for the next few days it will be early starts and shorter days.