Day 21, Wisconsin wondering

Michelle said it best last night “if you’ve lost hope in the country, get out on a bike and see it” there are kind, interesting, and generous people all around. We just have to get out of your routine to find them. Today I was the beneficiary of multiple acts of kindness and a few of Providence. I think Becky was guiding my way today.

Awesome Michelle and Tyka

For those who do not know, that is my school mascot. Go Hilltoppers (it’s a goat)

this is my first glance of the big muddy. I have managed to bike to the Mississippi. Note the coal train going by. I think it took about five minutes for it to pass. Much of the morning I was down to great River State Trail which ran along the Mississippi

Is this what they mean when they say “gnataly” dressed?

I respect the Wisconsin candor about their drinking. No fine spirits here.

I had pretty much given up hope of replacing my drivetrain before I got back home. But I love to visit bike stores wherever I can, so when I saw this one I decided to make a U-turn and check it out, especially because it offered coffee and ice cream too.

So I entered just to take a quick look around and smell that bike shop aroma again. This is my favorite kind of adult candy shop. I asked if they might have an eight speed cassette available, which now is kind of an antiquated number of gears and can be harder to find. But not only did he have the cassette that I needed, he offered it to me at a very friendly price and had the job done in about five minutes. While I was there I had a pleasant talk with the father, who is the owner, and the son who is the mechanic and manager. I am sure that if I lived in the area I would go to them for all my cycling needs. The father was telling me about a detour just down the road off of 35. Apparently it went way up in the hills, but he thought the detour might be ending today. I think I was one of the first people to go through the cleared area.

It was stopping and having to repair done that allowed me to arrive late enough to be spared the hilly detour. This was all a lot of good luck.

Which kind of “bikers”- in Wisconsin could be either- home to mega bikrastructure AND Harley Davidson.

Climate changer

Eli, check this out. We need one for the lake! The locks of the mighty Mississippi91 degrees in Alma, WI

And then my luck ran out… I saw a black column of clouds come careening at me over the Mississippi. Within minutes the temperature had dropped 15° and I could see whitecaps on the Mississippi and a wall of water coming for me. It was stunning, and beautiful, and a little scary. The winds came up howling tempests.

Take a good look at these pictures. You can clearly see the wall of rain and storm coming on top of me. Two minutes before I could have seen all the Bluffs on the other side.

Of course it was a 2 mile climb straight up after trying to out run the storm on my bicycle. However once I was up the monster, it was like being transported back into my youth in Vermont. The sights, the sounds, the smells.

Tonight I am being hosted by Martha and Jeffrey, too young farmers on a beef farm. I felt at home immediately as the house reminded me of so many places in Vermont. Hard Work is done here and there are two delightful children as well. During dinner one ran out to get Forest sorel for me to try. They also serenaded me with their musical instruments. This one is the echo phone.

I lend a hand to cook up some mighty fine supper. I was so hungry because I hadn’t really had lunch today and had a raced a storm up a hill to get here. Most of the food was right from the farm. There was even a farmhouse called quirk.

This is home tonight

So I know you are not to talk about which kid is your favorite (that’s obvious, it’s Memphis the dog) But is it premature to talk about favorite states? As far as I’m concerned, Wisconsin is really wonderful. The people are extremely friendly, the food is very cheesy, and the roads and bike infrastructure is pretty great if you ask me (thanks for asking). I’m looking at you, Minnesota. You are going to have to bring all of your nice to win me over.

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