Today was a short days cycling into Milwaukee. We stopped of in a park on the edge of town for lunch there were loads of picnic benches there, we had lunch in picnic area 3b.
Navigating our way into Milwaukee was not to bad as we just stuck on one road that took us to Lake Michigan. We arranged the ferry crossing for tomorrow, it was pretty expensive, but hopefully it will be a good crossing and save us some miles.
We headed to our warmshowers host an eco focused community spread across two next door houses. We had pizza at Chill on the Hill which was free music in the park it was really good and a great community atmosphere. It was good to learn about the eco community before heading to bed. It really has been a long time since we have camped it is going to be a shock.
I forgot to say that we tried our hosts recumbent bikes this morning before we left it was very different but I could see how it could become comfortable, it just didn’t seem to stable at first and it was like I had never ridden a bike before. I also forgot to say that as we were riding from the ferry office to the house were we are staying there was like a exhibition which comprised of signs of all the famous things in Milwaukee.
Yesterday we had a rest day in Madison, we had a good breakfast with some of our hosts friends who were interested in cycling and cycle. It was interesting to met them all. After this we did a bit of admin washing looking into the ferry and a bit of route planning.
Then we went to the ethics discussion group, were they were discussing immigration into the USA. It was an interesting discussion and most of the people there cycle.
Back to cycling! We headed out of Madison with one of our hosts, this made navigation much easier as we didn’t have to navigate at all. We cycled about 10 miles out of Madison to a trail head. We stayed on this trail for the rest of the day. Stopping of for lunch in Lake Mills. It was a good trail with a few pot holes and quite a lot of chipmunks.
We arrived in Wales, named as such because people from Wales first settled here. We stayed with our Warmshowers hosts and it was fascinating hearing about all the things they had done in their lives.
After breakfast we left our host and headed up and down some hills passing a lot of farms. I think most of these were dairy. We stopped of at Orchard something cheese factory and brought some cheese, the factory did offer tours but they weren’t making any cheese today so the tours were off.
The next stop was at a trap and at Sauk Prairie Trap and Skeet Club. Normally you need your own gun to shot but somebody lent us one and taught us how to shoot. It was pretty loud and pretty hard but I managed to hit one or two of the flying clay disc things.
We cycled into Madison which was not too bad although some of the roads had quite a few cracks in them. We were met by our host, a family friend of Cliffs girlfriend and cycle back to their house via a festival that was going on in a park near there house. There were a lot of stalls and a stage with different bands playing on it.
After a great dinner we headed out to the Madison University Union Terrace this was open to anyone and bands were playing on a stage in front of one of the lakes. You could see the boats in the background watching too, although I am not sure how much they would have heard. We were both feeling pretty tired and sleepy so after we saw a bit of VO5 we headed back to the house for some sleep. The slogan of the university union was “experiences for a lifetime” it was much nicer than any union I have ever been to before.
I didn’t take any picture in the city today so the one attached is just one of the farm land we cycled through in the morning.
Most of the day was spent cycling on the trail. There were three tunnels on the trail. They were very dark inside and cycling/walking through them was pretty tricky. We spoke to a ranger and he told us the tunnels have doors on to keep the snow out. When the trail used to be a railway the doors were kept closed in winter unless the trains were going through. Cycling ended when we arrived at our hosts. After a good meal we got taken on a drive of the local area. It seemed like we were going really fast but we were only doing 40mph. The landscape looked so different from the window of a car than from a bike. I think it is because you are travelling so much fast that it changes much quicker. We stopped at the elephant trunk rock on our drive as well as passing by an apple orchard. We are now watching a bit of tv before bed.
After a good breakfast we said goodbye to our hosts and headed off to the bike trail, there are 4 bike trails that connect to form about 100 miles of trails, from former railways.
The riding on the trails was good, but gets a bit hypnotic at times as it is all pretty similar.
We saw a few touring cyclists and cycled with a couple of them for a little bit.
Our day ended in Sparta, which claims to be bicycling capital of the world on one side of a leaflet and bicycling capital of America on the other side. When we asked in the tourist information why it was so named they said because of the rails to trails that run through the town and a big statue of a guy riding a penny farthing.
We went to the Deke Slayton Memorial Space and Bicycle Museum that “offers an intriguing look at both” it was a fairly strange museum with bikes around the outside of the room and Space related stuff in the middle. In the same building there is also the Monroe County Local History Museum. This museum had a lot of information in it most of which I did not read or look at too closely.
Tonight we are camping in a state park I think we are the only people here tonight it is pretty basic but alright.
Today was the day we parted with Jesse. I am not sure how long we have been cycling with him about threeish weeks I think. But it seemed funny to turn our separate ways at a junction. Hopefully we will all be able to meet up when he comes over for the Olympics.
We passed through Lake City the birthplace of water skiing there was not much evidence of the water skiing but who am I to argue about that.
The cycling was good today with a tail wind and flat terrain making it fairly quick going. We cycled into Winona where I brought a new cycle computer which we fitted in the shop there was a good sofa to sit on.
We carried on to our warm showers host were we had a great dinner in the garden before doing a bit more route planning.
I forgot to say that the sunrise this morning was pretty good.
Cycling out of a city is never fun and it wasn’t that fun today. But before we did this we had breakfast with one of the cyclists we met last night in a diner, it was a pretty upmarket one and was good I had this mexican breakfast thing.
After this we headed out of the city navigation was fairly hard and traffic was pretty loud in some places.
We made our way back onto the Adventure cyclists route near hastings, had a little swim in the Mississippi and carried on cycling to a campsite.
Its so humid today and there are lots of Mosquitoes not very nice I am going to go into my lovely hot tent now and try and sleep.
We cycled away from the bunk house and into a city of about 300,000 people it was pretty overwhelming and navigating the trails and bike paths was pretty hard.
We saw the Mississippi it was a pretty big river, we crossed it on a dam, the water was following a lot.
We got to our warmshowers host and had a good shower, and then got fed some hot dogs, before a friend and a friend of a friend came over with ice cream. It was good chatting but now it is time to go to bed.
I think my blog post are getting less and less exciting.
We woke up in the barn, in the night there was a small storm which made us happy to be sleeping inside, even though it didn’t last long.
Coffee eggs and bacon for breakfast followed by a climb of a corn silo was what happened next! It was a great view from the top but a little scary climbing so high.
We set of fairly late and cycled about 45 miles a short day until we got to a bicycle bunk house, a bit like a youth hostel for cyclists. Its really nice and there is a solar power shower which cleaned us up nicely.
I forgot to mention that as we were cycling a long earlier in the day we saw a lot of parked cars and saw that a farm auction sale was going on. We stopped in but as there were a lot of tractors and other farm equipment felt there wasn’t anything there for us and headed on.
As we finished nice and early we did a bit of bike cleaning and general maintenance. So far my bike has been working really well, with very few problems apart from the odd puncture and my chain snapping which was easy fix if a little oily.
The owner of the bunk house chatted with us for a bit and help us plan our onward journey, and gave us lots of maps. He used to be a helicopter pilot and he said that he once fly home and landed behind the house.
Today we cycled along the trail for most of the day we saw four other touring cyclists, and chatted to a few of them. Most of them were doing a similar route to us but in the opposite direction.
The trail was good to ride on, nice and flat and a very smooth surface. We turned off the trail to do a bit of shopping and then to carry on along county road 24 this road was good due to the nice tail wind.
We carried on cycling until we got to our stopping point for the night. Alice’s Attic this is a farm which mostly rented out but one bar has been converted into a venue and antique shop.
We all showered using a hose and Alice kindly feed before taking us on a tour of the farms in the nearby area. We saw some cows in stalls being milked, it was really interesting to see how milk is produced. The farmer had a stole attached to him so he could just sit down wherever and attach the milking machine.
After this farm we went to another with a milking parlour. The parlour looked a lot more advanced with the cows coming and going very quickly, this farm had 400 cows. We went round a few more farms, two which had elk, these were like stronger looking deer.
The farms mainly grow all the food for the cows, a lot of it is corn/maize and hay. The cows mainly stay inside but come out sometimes.
It was good to see these farms and kind of the farmers and Alice to show us around. Farming seems like a pretty intense job working pretty much all the time 7 days a week, a bit different from cycle touring.