Sunday, August 26, 2012

Squeaky Cheese and Fresh Legs (a.k.a. We <3 Wisconsin)

When I last wrote, we had just biked a half day into Luddington and were about to enjoy a full day of rest. The next morning, we boarded the S.S. Badger for a 5 hour crossing of 60 miles across Lake Michigan. By the time we docked, we had 48 hours of rest in our legs, giving us just enough of an itch to ride to convince us to decide to take on the 45 mile trek to the nearest campsite despite our late start.

Wow, what a difference rest can make! We cranked out the first 45 in no time, conquering a slight uphill grade with a 15.5 mph average without a second thought! I kept checking to make sure our trailer was still attached, because I couldn't believe we were going that fast (about 3-5 mph faster than usual). We opted to skip our first camping option and easily made it an extra 11 miles to another with time for a dip in the swimming pool before dinner.

Oh, and everywhere smells like cows :) I like to imagine their moos are how they cheer "goooooo!" to us, lol.

Saturday was another solid day, and with an early start we were able to get in 85 miles. I actually kept a food photo journal of the day which I hope to make into a separate post on how much we eat. One highlight was finally finding cheese curds at a Farmer's Market in Shawano! Growing up, my family would visit Tillamook and we LOVED eating "squeaky cheese." Cheese curds are only good fresh from the dairy, and ours were from cows milked late the previous night. The cheese is delicious and it makes a satisfying squeak on your teeth, which is kinda fun.

I also bought an amazing $3 pie from girls wearing bonnets and dresses. We see them all over, crossing paths with us in their horse and buggies or on their farms where their barefoot children wave enthusiastically at us. Are they Amish? I've never seen them in the West, so I'm a little naive but they make great pies!

We crossed with another unique culture group when we arrived at our campground. Our first warning might have been the directions to the "camp office and bar." Our second could have been the rows and rows of motorcycles parked out front. We parked our bike alongside all the other "bikes" and waded into the bar. Turns out a group of 80 motorcycles was doing a tour of Wisconsin for charity, and we had stumbled into their second to last stop of the day. After about 20 minutes of pushing our way to the bar, meanwhile mingling with a few fellow "bikers" (don't forget we're wearing spandex shorts and helmets here), we caught the attention of a bar tender and she gave us quick instructions to our camp site, with a warning that there was a wedding reception going on nearby too.

And now here we are, in our tent, showered, fed, and ready for bed by 9, listening to Katy Perry and Sir Mixalot while drunk bar patrons make their way to their trucks/golf carts/atv's (seriously, David helped a man up off the ground who then got in his truck and drove away... at 7pm). We also overheard a 12 year old boy and girl compare guns and hunting stories. Oh Wisconsin! Well, we wouldn't change a thing, cuz when you can't bike another mile more, you take what you can get!

Anyway, the chicken dance is on and I think it might make a good lullaby :)


It's morning now and we got hit by a pretty persistent rain late last night. We're sheltering in the bar, eating breakfast and drinking oj with half the local populace it seems. Somehow, they already know us as the two crazy kids who biked here (on the wrong kind of bikes) cuz they keep asking us what we'll do about the rain, lol. Well, it appears to have let up a little so we should be on the road soon!

Oh, but I almost forgot to thank our sponsors. We owe our gratitude to Joyce Jones, Doug Eisenbrandt, Matthew and April Young and family, and Michele Winkels and Ted Miller for our last few miles in Michigan and our most recent adventures in Wisconsin. Thanks again for sponsoring miles and supporting our efforts to provide clean water to those who need it!

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