"We are all of us living in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." ~Oscar Wilde
"Adventure is worthwhile in itself." ~Amelia Earhart

July 18, 2008

Summer 2008 Bicycle Tour - June 19 - 20

(I wasn't really taking a lot of pictures at this point. At the time, I thought I was going to return along this route so I figured I'd be able to take more on the trip home.)

June 19, 2008 - 55.6 miles

When I started this trip, I rode through mostly suburbs, farmland, and small towns that almost seem to be a suburb of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Now, the landscape has changed to forest and small towns that seem to be mostly populated with vacation homes and resorts. There's a lot of people vacationing up here for the fishing and boating. I didn't hear too much about hunting but maybe it's just not hunting season for anything.

Honestly, so far, most of the trip has been me plodding along from town to town and not really stopping except to take brief rests and load up with more food and water. Today held the first truly exciting moment. As I was leaving Edgewater, a mall resort town near Long Lake, a small black bear emerged from the woods about 300 feet in front of me. I'm not sure if it was a baby bear or just small. (Maybe I watch too much tv and expect all bears to be HUGE, growling grizzlies?) Anyway, I squealed in delight and rummaged through my handlebar bag looking for my camera. Unfortunately, the bear crossed the road and dodged back into the woods by the time I got the camera out and ready. I suppose it might not be that exciting to people who live in the area but most of my life has been spent in cities. That was the first time I've seen any large animal other than a deer out in the wild.

A few miles down the road, I stopped to rest where some railroad tracks crossed the road. A couple of loaded cyclists passed by. Chris and Ed were from St. Paul and were using the Adventure Cycling maps to go to the Great River Ride in Wisconsin. (This event, I think? Not that it really matters.) Chris asked if I wanted to ride with them for the day. I did for a little bit but I simply couldn't keep up. I was experiencing some soreness in my right knee and riding fast just worsened it. Anyway, my World of Warcraft-addicted mind translated the conversation to this:

Me: O hai!
Chris: Hey! Are you following Adventure Cycling's maps?
Me: Yeah, I downloaded them from the site. (Not literally. I actually bought them. :-p)
Chris: We're going to a guild event in Wisconsin. Is that where you're going up?
Me: Nah, I'm soloing through the Wisconsin and Michigan zones.
Chris: Cool! Party up for the day?
Me: Nah, I'm a noob. You guys go on ahead.
Chris: You sure?
Me: Hmm, well, okay. /follow Chris

(20 minutes later)

Me: *pantpant* O hey guys. I'm gonna let you go on ahead. I'm, like, level 10 and you're 50.
Them: Oh, okay. Well, good luck.
Me: You too! Have fun at your guild event. *dies by the side of the road for the next ten minutes*

June 20 - Rest Day

Last night, I ended my day at the Lac Courte Oreilles casino 4 miles east of Hayward, WI. Spent too much for the room ($99/night) but it all worked out in the end. When I saw it, I nearly died of happiness. I had spent so much time on these quiet backcountry roads that when the complex showed up, it was like an oasis of LIGHTS and PEOPLE and CIVILIZATION. Didn't do very much today. Played with my cellphone a lot (I bought a word game called Text Twist Turbo to pass the time. Cheaper than blackjack and less boring than television.) and ate tons at the buffet. In the evening, I played bingo and won $200 which almost paid for my room! On a side note, though, bingo halls are a little depressing. It's like a bunch of bored lower middle-class people are herded into a room where they peck at pieces of paper with their daubers in the hopes of winning a little bit of cash. It was a pretty decent casino though with blackjack, bingo, slots, roulette, craps, a poker room, a buffet, a bar, and a very nice hotel.

I'm hoping the knee pain has resolved itself by staying off it for 36 hours. Next destination: Glidden, WI!

The railroad tracks where I met Chris & Ed

Failed picture of the bear :( It's somewhere in the woods on the right side of the road.


forsythia said...

Sorry that bear wouldn't stand still until the camera was ready. Our cat can also be a "bear" sometimes.

Ferd said...

Next year, you'll be able to keep up with the likes of Chris and Ed!
Too bad the bear didn't stand still. On the other hand, I'm glad you weren't any closer and met the momma bear that could have been close by.
Cool that you kept these notes. You'll love going over them in the future.