Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 33

Net Elevation gain: -210 ft.
Average Speed: 11.3 mph
Top Speed: 29.0 mph
Time spent biking: 5 hours 45 minutes
Total time for the day's travels: about 10 hours
Miles biked today: 66.4
Total for trip: 1537.6 miles

We were both very tired when we woke up this morning around 7:00. Jenny had to use the bathroom, but she was afraid the mosquitoes would get her, so she went back to sleep for a little while longer. We decided to brave the outdoors around 7:30. Brett went out first, and Jenny followed. The mosquitoes were still there and almost as bad as they had been the night before! Constantly moving, we quickly took down the tent, shook everything out, packed it away, and went to put our shoes on in the bathroom. We took turns swatting the bugs while the other put on socks and shoes (the mosquitoes were even in the bathrooms!) and then we got out of there as fast as we could.

We biked through a lot of State and National Forests.

Once we were on the road, we felt relieved, and hungry. We had been in too much of a rush to eat anything for breakfast and now that we were biking, we didn't want to stop. As soon as we turned back onto 70, we saw a bald eagle fly overhead! It was early enough that it was still somewhat cool, and besides being hungry, we felt good. There were a few deer flies following us, so that contributed to the not wanting to stop as well.

It took us an hour and a half to bike the 15 miles to the town of Fifield. We found a breakfast place and thoroughly enjoyed our first meal of the day. After eating we spent a little time writing before we moved on to the grocery store in town. We never know what we're going to find in the little towns that we pass. Sometimes the stores we go into have nothing besides white bread and soda. Other times they pleasantly surprise us. This store had lots of local products, natural and whole foods! We were eying some beef jerky and wondering what was in it (there were no ingredients on the package) when the man working behind the meat counter came over and told us that they make the jerky there and they don't put anything in it besides spices and some nitrate! We got some to try, along with some nice hard cheese for later.

We biked a lot today. It got hot and we kept biking. We stopped for a few short breaks to stretch and put sunscreen on, but mostly we just kept pedaling. By 12:30 we had biked 30 miles. By 1:30, 40! By 3:00 we had biked 50 miles!

We enjoyed seeing wildlife today. We passed by a baby deer standing very still under a tree by the side of the road. When we circled back around to take a picture, the faun was still there. A little while later Jenny spotted some wild turkeys on a hill, and we saw a few birds of prey in the sky. Jenny kept looking for bears in the woods, but none were spotted.


In the afternoon, we turned off of Route 70, leaving it behind for good. We felt sad to be leaving it, since it was such a nice road to bike on. As we headed northwest on County Road B, we started looking for a place to stop so we could cook a late lunch. Our criteria: a place to sit, without bugs, and shade.

Route 70 was a great road. We will miss biking on it.

It took longer than we would have liked, but we found just the spot as we were about to cross the west fork of the Chippewa River. There was an RV park there, a restaurant/bar, and a boat launch. Boating and fishing are huge in this whole region. By the side of the river, we spotted an unused bench in the shade. There were a few bugs, but nothing compared to the horrors we sometimes encounter when we try to take a break.

Our late lunch consisted of egg noodles, broccoli, baby zucchini, garlic, oil, salt, and a touch of cayenne, with the extra sharp cheddar somewhat melted into the mix. The garlic really made the meal, and it went down nicely with the ice water that we made from the bag of ice we bought there.

Brett cooks up some food. It feels good to stop in the shade.


Jenny takes advantage of the relaxing spot we found.

The computer picked up a wireless signal, so we did a little updating of the blog, which has been neglected quite a bit since we got to Wisconsin. We love the state's roads and scenery, but haven't made time for finding the Internet, which seems harder to do here. After updating the map and posting a day's entry, we looked for campgrounds just a little further west. We didn't really find what we were hoping for, so we set off without a real plan.

We had a choice, it seemed: try to find a campground soon and finish riding quite early in the evening, or ride a lot more miles and see how far we made it. Both options sounded good, and we were feeling a little tired but basically fit to ride until dark. Still, we decided to finish early so we could rest and work on journaling our great adventure. There will be other days to push for every last mile we can squeeze out.

A quick stop at a restaurant helped us locate a large campground just five miles away. Unfortunately, four of those miles will have to be biked tomorrow, as they take us south on County Road CC. Our only real worry was that Sisko's Pine Point Resort would be full on a Saturday evening, but it wasn't. We found a beautiful spot up above Lake Chippewa, with a brisk breeze blowing away pesky mosquitoes!

Once again, we had excellent and friendly neighbors. The couple next to us excitedly asked about our trip and offered to feed us corn on the cob and chicken when it was done cooking. But that wasn't all! The fellas across from us talked to us for quite a while, sharing travel stories and marveling at our journey. They also offered us dinner: salad fixings, sausage, and RIBS. Yum! We were double-teamed, so we had to accept both offers. We had delicious corn, then went over to Don and Randy's table for ribs, sausage, and veggies. Thanks to all who offer out of their hearts to others.

Our campsite wasn't much, but the view over the lake was great and the stiff breeze kept the bugs away!

The campground had Internet, so we used that some after dinner. It felt marvelous to be clean after a nice shower and to sit outside at picnic tables and not get eaten alive and driven inside our tent! We posted again, and wrote a bunch more. We cleaned up our spread-out mess, then hit the tent for a few more typed words, and a well-deserved sleep, even if it took us a little while to get actually fall asleep.


  1. Two posts in one day... I love it! I cannot tell you how much I anticipate your next post -- what a fabulous time you two are having! And the bugs are there for a reason -- they make appreciate the perfect moments all the more...

    David heard Garrison Kielor talking about the deer flies in Minnesota... Garrison claimed they are that big and strong because they have to survive the winters there. Perhaps that is true of Wisconsin also. Or else you have even bigger deer flies to look forward to in MN. Maybe you should carry pet lizards with you.. they could gorge themselves as you ride along...

    I love hearing about all the kind people you are encountering. It helps us to have confidence in our fellow humans, doesn't it?

    You two rock!


  2. Hey you two! I've been putzing around Northampton getting the last details ready for my own trip -- it looks like I'll be leaving Thursday AM.

    It's wonderful how much you have written here for your blog on your travels!

    Two questions: How did you create the Google map with pins for each night? And also, might you include your starting and ending locations for each day along with mileages and such? Sometimes it takes a few posts to even figure out what state you're in! *grin*

    I'm going to be tracking my travels at

    Cheers! Mike

  3. Hey Brett & Jenny, Just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that I'm loving your updates and photos and food descriptions, and I always look forward to reading them! You two live life awesomely :-)

  4. So many nice people throughout your whole journey!

  5. Hi Brett and Jenny,
    Today in the Writer's Almanac there was a story about locusts that reminded me of your struggles with those nasty mosquitos. I've copied it below (sorry it's so long). Imagine having your clothes eaten away from under you - it sounds like that campground you were at! We can only hope that mosquitos will someday be extinct - I really don't think they contribute to our planet. Thanks for keeping your blog updated and stay strong against the swarm!

    It was on this day in 1875 that the largest recorded swarm of locusts in American history descended upon the Great Plains. An estimated 3.5 trillion locusts made up the swarm. It was about 1,800 miles long and 110 miles wide, ranging from Canada down to Texas.

    Swarms would occur once every seven to 12 years, emerging from river valleys in the Rocky Mountains and sweeping east across much of the country. The size of the swarms tended to grow when there was less rain, and in 1873, the American West began to go through one of its driest periods on record.

    The land was still relatively dry on this day in 1875 when farmers just east of the Rocky Mountains began to see a cloud approaching from the west. Some farmers noticed the distinctive color of the cloud, glinting around the edges where the locust wings caught the light of the sun.

    People there that day said that the locusts descended like a driving snow in winter, covering everything in their path. Some people described the sound of the swarm landing as like thunder or a train. The locusts blanketed the ground, nearly a foot deep. Trees bent over with the weight of the insects, and large tree limbs broke off under the pressure.

    They ate nearly every living piece of vegetation in their path, as well as harnesses on horses, the bark of trees, curtains, and clothing hung on laundry lines. They gnawed on fence posts and railings, and they especially loved the handles of farm tools, which were left behind polished, as if by fine sandpaper. Some farmers tried to scare away the locusts by running into the swarm, and they had their clothes eaten right off their bodies.

    In the wake of the swarm, settlers on half a million square miles of the West faced starvation. Similar locust swarms occurred in the following years, and farmers became desperate. But by the mid-1880s, the rains had returned, and the swarms died down. Most scientists predicted that the locusts would return with the next drought. Mysteriously, they did not. Within a few decades they were believed to be extinct. For most of the 20th century, no one knew what had happened to the locusts, but recent evidence suggests that the cultivation of the land on the Great Plains changed the geography so much so quickly that the Rocky Mountain locust was unable to adapt. The last two live specimens of the Rocky Mountain locust were collected in 1902, and those specimens are now stored at the Smithsonian Institution.

  6. Very interesting comment above. Loved today's blog. What a neat day. How is the bike computer? Still defunct? I know that when mine goes on the fritz I am lost. I HAVE to know my cadence, speed, distance, etc. HAVE TO! You two are making great time but it is clear that you are stopping to enjoy the places and people you encounter. I truly feel like the day isn't complete when you don't have a daily blog but I understand. Makes a good post that much more of a treat.
    What is your half way point, either in mileage or in actual geographical point????
    Ride on......

  7. hugs from home! we miss you, love you and are immensely proud of your accomplishments, attitude and loving kindness toward each other and the world around. love, mapa

  8. I visited the library in Leyden today. Chris Johnson, "Miss J", asked me to send greetings. I keep her informed of your travels, but she hopes to get to the blog soon. She's a busy person, and a great librarian!
    Love and hugs,

  9. how nice that kathy and i both have librarian friends who are following your travels. i knew we moms had a lot in common...have to add a love of libraries to our list of similar interests.