Day 20, cheese and tunnels

Today started off with a bang. By bang I mean a delicious breakfast at my Airbnb. The host made a special omelette with international award winning Wisconsin cheese. In fact, she works in the cheese industry, for one of the largest cheese makers in the country. At lunch in Madison the other day I had looked up Wisconsin cheese making. It really is number one beating California by a good margin. I am not surprised with all of the dairy country that I have gone through in the last couple of days. There is a reason why they’re called Cheeseheads. Cheese, beer, and brats are the things here and apparently you can get them all in the soup.

Pet bait anyone?

Typical small-town Wisconsin

Only my Spanish-speaking amigos will get this joke.

Look really closely at the number. Congrats on the birth of your child!

The first part of the day I did some sections of what is called the 400 Trail. Apparently this was a line that ran from Chicago to someplace in Wisconsin. It was 400 miles long and took approximately 400 minutes to complete. As you have seen in the blog, I have been marveling at the bike infrastructure in the state.Apparently this is the cradle of the rails to trails movement. This particular trail below was the very first one in the United States.

It is also curious to me that nearly every town along the way tries to out bicycle itself in its promotion. One town is the heart of the trail while another is the best bicycle town in the US etc. It is also curious to me that nearly every town along the way tries to out bicycle itself and its promotion. One town is the heart of the trail another town is the best bicycle town in the US etc. ironically the trail was closed in many of these towns as bad weather and storms had destroyed bridges and washed out trails last summer. That’s OK for me because you realize that often the trails are actually slower than the road. The gravel probably takes about 20% of your power and they were more bugs on the trails too.

Another very distinctive feature of the trails I was on today was that there are a number of very long tunnels. These tunnels are so long that in the middle of them you cannot see light in either direction. There is water coursing through them and a thin mist is present in the air at all times. I even had to turn my flashlight down like highbeams against fog so that I could see. One of the tunnels was nearly 3/4 of a mile long. You could feel the cool air pouring out of them from hundreds of feet away. The chill is what I imagine that the dementors produce in the Harry Potter series.

The scenery today was more of the same kind of pastoral iconic dairy images. There are also a lot of Amish in this part of the state. I saw A team of horses pulling a cart who seem to be spooked by the big trucks going by. Me too.

I’ve pulled into Keith and Michelle’s place around 4 o’clock for a delicious shower and a wonderful meal. They are super gregarious folks who have done a lot of interesting things including bike touring, hang gliding, and homeschooling children. There is even a very friendly dog that they are taking care of right now. We became good friends right away. I miss my dog, Memphis.

I have some exciting bicycle related news to share as well. I have been lusting after electric bicycles for at least three or four years now and today I finally pulled the trigger. The company lowered their price and added in some extra goodies enticing me to finally make it happen. It sure would be a lot easier if I had the electric bike now. I am hoping this will help encourage my kids to bake with me. They may even want to bike to school on it. if I like it well enough I am considering selling my road bike. Gasp!

Tomorrow I go to Sweden… er at least Stockholm , Wi. I will be staying on a farm after riding through the beautiful Bluffs along the Mississippi River. I hear it is really something! Now I am just a few days away from my final destination. It is amazing how quickly it has gone. What adventure it has been. Thanks to everyone who has helped make it possible.

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