Thursday, August 28, 2008

We have not been doing a lot of riding lately...preparing for winter instead. I will not be posting for a few days, so I thought I wood throw this one up. This pile is oak and then we have another pile separate from this one that is pine we will use for campfires. The oaks seem to die in clumps...i.e. in a stand of oak, there are areas that just die. I wood imagine that the last few years of dry conditions help this process along.
Click to see the big picture.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Family Cruise

Had some golf club stuff to do with one of the neighbors, so my sister, brother-in-law, Janice and I went rode the bicycles over there. There and back equals 12.5 miles. It was a very nice evening for a ride. We had returned home about 7 pm and the temperature was perfect for riding. While we were riding, our daughter and my niece went for a walk...a long walk. Good for them. Better than TV, puter or typing with thumbs.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Riding the forest roads

I went for a mountain bike ride today on the Anthem. I decided to ride the Crotte Brook area. I rode the Crotte to the Holmes Camp Road to Hwy M back to Crotte over to the West Crotte, back out to Hwy M and back tracked back to West Mail Route Road. On the way back across the Holmes Camp Road I saw this little trail and it looked interesting. It went further than I thought. When I got to the end I checked my mileage and it was exactly 2 miles long. This trail is a gem...will be doing it again. I logged 36 miles today...2 hours 52 minutes of saddle time...and no vehicles or atv's...excellent. I started the ride at 4:00 pm...if I would have been earlier I would have seen vehicles. I will try to get some more miles on roads like these, preparing for the Chequamegon Fat Tire on September 13th. This is the entrance to the rut road I found.

What an great place to ride.

Some of these little trails lead to bear bait stations. That is where this one led to.

This is the bait station. These are used for Black Bear hunting with dogs. The wood covers a hole in the ground in which is where the goodies are...sweet goods, food scraps and etc. No meat products are allowed. The wood is used so the smaller critters...coons and etc...can't pilfer the goodies. The bear of course are strong enough to move it. The hunting groups have several of these. Notice the sand surrounding the bait. In the early morning's during season, the group will split up and each take a few of the baits station's to check out. They look for the size of the bear track in the notes...usually take the biggest track...put the dogs on that track and they chase the bear down...tree it ...the hunters come in and shoot it. Some people do not agree with this. I am neutral. There are a lot of black bear in the area. I have seen nine different bear on just the bicycle, plus many more while commuting. The population needs to be controlled some how.

This is my favorite back road to ride.

This is what most of the roads looked like I rode today.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Touring the Dead Ends

I had planned on riding some fire roads on the mountain bike this evening, but after cutting two loads of fire wood, I didn't feel like it. I was just sitting there thinking I should do something. I am going to do some golf club work for a friend of ours who lives on a dead end road about 6 miles from our house. I decided I would deliver a couple of test clubs using the bicycle. After dropping them off I thought...Why not ride some more of these dead ends that I normally do not ride?...most are blacktop and smooth. These roads go to cabins and houses that are on lakes. Most are .5 to 1.5 miles long. One thing I noticed is that just about all of them descend to the lake and that means a nice climb on the way out. I rode 9 of these roads tonight. It was new territory and that means fun. Very little traffic tonight...11.75 miles to meet the first car. I logged 27 miles with 1 hour 35 minutes of saddle time.Carried the clubs under my Camelbak.

Over that rise, it is around a corner and downhill for about a half mile.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Family ride

I had some company on my ride tonight...that is awesome. We rode 10+ miles on the Lost Lake Road. It was a very nice evening for riding. Last night I had put on some Michelin Pro Race 3 tires on my carbon bike, so I had a chance to try them out tonight. In the distance I rode them, they were as nice a tire as the reviews say they are. I will hold judgement for a few more miles though. I do most of my riding alone, so when I have people to ride with, it is a welcome change. I must say Thanks for an enjoyable ride. My sister, Vicki...Brother in law, Paul...Myself...and my daughter Lisa.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Night ride

I went for a short night ride tonight.I did not see any cars in 5.5 miles...but...the deer were out in force. I even had to brake for one. Seems like they look at you trying to figure it out and then decide to cross at the last possible second and some just stood there. It was very hot here today, so riding at night is a nice option. I plan on doing more of this for sure.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Cabin ride

Janice and I went for a road ride from the cabin today. As I have said before...this is a great area to ride. We rode 18 miles of nice lake country back roads with very little traffic. When we met the first car I looked at the computer...6.45 miles. It was very warm though, as we did not leave until 10:30am.
Click on pics make them BIG.
Smooth scenic roads.

This is a wild life area we rode by.

Common Mullein...a.k.a...flannel plant. We saw a lot of these today. This was one of the largest. Janice is 5'6". It is said in the old days, people would line their shoes with the leaves because they were soft and warm like flannel. Not to date can see the fence post in the background and the Jack Pine trees...I remember when this was a field. It is the old Kessler farm. Must be good soil and the trees grow fast...right?

More nice roads

There is some large timber in this area. Oaks here.

This is Section One Road. This was paved last year and it opened up a lot of new road biking opportunities. It was a missing link...not any more and we are taking full advantage of it.

Lowes Creek

I have rode the Seeley Pre Fat mountain bike race in the past on this weekend, but with the hectic week, we decided to go to the family cabin for the weekend. We also ended up going to Eau Claire school shopping for our daughter. As long as we were going there, I decided to bring the Anthem and ride the Lowes Creek trails. It was a good thing I did not do the race... because I was not strong today. I just felt like I didn't have it for some reason. I did get 1 hour 30 minutes of saddle time, but do not know the mileage as I took a spill on the Red Flint trail and broke my computer off the bike...the wire ties broke. Here is a map of the trails. They have some very nice riding there and I would highly recommend these trails for anyone...from beginners to the more advanced.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sad Sad Day

Today did not start out well. We had to put our dog down this morning. We had made an appointment for 8:30 am today. Our dog was close to 17 years old and had lived a good life...but it was still a very, very hard thing to do. I knew when it was all said and done, it was going to be a day for the bike. The bicycle is a nice machine for me. It not only keeps me in better shape than I would otherwise be, but also a very good place to contemplate whatever may be on the mind. Also, the calmness, peace and scenery that comes with it...great. You can obviously see a lot more by this means of travel. We really noticed that last week while we we on our bicycle camping trip as would leave the trail and ride through the small towns along the way.
I started out heading to Solon Springs and through what the locals here call the bird the Gordon flowage...back to county M and out to highway 35 and back M to West Mail Road. I like to ride highway M as today on the way back across to my turn, about 10+ miles, I met 1 car. It is a very rough ride in a car, but on the bicycle it is great. It was a 48 mile ride with about 2 hours 50 minutes of saddle time. I would find myself with my head down thinking and not paying attention to the road at all...then catch a glimpse of the nice scenery that I was traveling through...slow down and smell the roses for a while...then back at it...a yo yo effect. The Bird Sanctuary

This is the dog cemetery in the the sanctuary. It was ironic that I ended up riding by here today...didn't plan it and have not been by here since last fall. The first pet I was attached to is buried here. We now have a pet cemetery on our property at home.

This is the entrance from county M. I do some mountain biking out here. Miles of rut roads with most of it being no motorized vehicles.

When I got to highway 35, I went up the highway a short distance to this wayside and had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, then headed it for home.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Aug 10th...Tandem

We decided to do a tandem ride today. We have not had this bike out much this year. We rode a 31.5 mile loop. Every time I ride this bike, I think we would enjoy more of a road type instead of the mountain bike, although this bike sure rides smooth. It is cro-moly frame with 26 x 1.95 tires. The gearing is nice and the bumps melt under you. It was too nice of a day to set in the a nice mellow ride was in order. We have a lot of sand...this is sand country.

And also, our palm tree's...Jack pine...Red pine...and srcub oaks.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Aug 7th

It was our 32nd wedding anniversary today. We sat around the house for a while this morning contemplating what we were going to do. I said I would like to do a longer bike ride today...she said "go for it"...I did. I had intentions of doing a century today, but with the late start and dinner plans for this evening, I had to cut it short. I left the house around 11 am and headed for Hayward. I rode the first 35 miles with out stopping...straight to the New Moon shop. I bs'd with them for a while and then headed north around Smith and Nelson lakes...hit highway 27 north to Denver road...East Mail road to county G and back into Gordon. The wind on Highway 27 was a very strong headwind...middle ring...about 12 miles...slow going. It was an 81 mile loop with 4 hours 55 minutes of saddle time. I ate my sandwich here at Smith Lake.

Refueled my water at Nelson lake.

Bicycle camping...Day Three

We packed up from mosquito hell this morning with out even a snack...just pack and get the hell out of there. We went into Sparta, filled up our water at the trail station, and had a snack for breakfast. Just a side note, the Elroy/Sparta trail is the first rail to trail established in the nation.

We headed west on our fourth rail trail of the trip...the LaCrosse River Trail.

When we reached the city of Bangor, we decided to look for a snack. We rode through town and found a store, bought our snacks and headed back to the trail. Before we reached the trail...a mere few feet...I hit a pothole in the road and had a pinch flat on the rear tire. It was a good thing that we had purchased the new tube and CO2's to replace the ones from the previous flat. We had this shaded area to change the tube and have our snack.
Where the Lacrosse trailand the Great River trail meet, we stopped and cooked up lunch....chicken-n-noodles dehydrated...tasty.
We then headed on the final leg...The Great River Trail. This ended up to be the one of the nicest trails I have ever been on. The scenery along this trail is unbeatable.

This is one of many bridges we crossed on The Great River Trail. The trail runs through miles and miles of marshland. I expected to see an alligator poke its head up out of the back washes of the Mississippi where this trail runs.
We rode 51 miles on the final day, for a total of 127 miles. I would suggest these Wisconsin State Trails to anyone who is interested in traffic free bicycling. All of the towns we passed through were extremely bicycle friendly. It seems like some of the towns are centered around stops...water...bathrooms...maps...some even have showers...snacks and souvenirs. There are many Amish in the area riding in their buggys pulled by horses...did not take any pictures of them...I understand they don't like that. We witnessed a lot of families enjoying these trails also.

Bicycle camping....Day 2

We survived the storm and rain last night to ride another day. We cooked dehydrated egg stuff for breakfast...not that good. There was clouds and mist still in the air.

Should have mentioned before that the Wisconsin State Trails requires purchasing a pass to ride... Daily is $4.00 and annual is $20.00... some more money well spent. Today we will be riding the Elroy/Sparta Trail. There are a lot of flowers along these trails. These are just a couple of pictures of some of them. Chicory....a.k.a. Blue Sailor or Ragged Sailor

Prairie Lily

The brown flower heads in this picture is the Wild Parsnip. There is a lot of this on the old railroad trails. Read the picture below.

This is the second tunnel we went through on our trip. It is about 3/10th's of a mile long. It was not raining when we entered the tunnel, but it was when we exited. There were about 10 people at the end of the tunnel hiding from the rain. Janice and I suited up and continued on.
We made it to Wilton when it really hit hard... thunder, lightning and heavy rain. There were people hiding about in the area to escape the storm. We waited an hour and a half, and the rain hadn't stopped yet, so we suited up again and continued on. We didn't get pictures of the third tunnel on our trip because it was still raining.
It had finally quit raining about a mile before this tunnel...the last rain we would see on our trip. This is the fourth tunnel on our trip. It is 3/4 mile long. You need to walk your bikes through all of these tunnels. This tunnel is especially wet. It's like it is raining from the ceiling. It is also so dark that you cannot see your hand in front of your face. You need to carry a flashlight with you.
This is our campsite at the walk-in campground at Sparta. The mosquito's were so thick you could swat multiple mosquito's with each swat. I cannot remember the last time I used repellent...10 years or more. It did not take me long to cave-in. They were not big just an army of them. After setting up camp, we rode into Sparta and replaced the tube and CO2's I had used earlier. We treated our selves tonight to supper at Culver's. This was a good change from the dehydrated food.
I did make coffee when we returned...MMM coffee. I also went over the chains as they were very dirty from todays riding on the crushed limestone trails. I am glad I brought a small bottle of lube along. The bikes are full of dirt and grime. We had a 41 mile day.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Bicycle camping....Day 1

Janice and I decided three weeks ago to try some bicycle camping and some touring by bicycle in the future. We did the majority of our shopping at Northwest Outlet in Superior. Steve Stubblefield was very helpful in picking out our gear and the things we needed to get going. He is very knowledgeable in light weight backpacking and camping. I would highly recommend Steve for anyone looking for camping and hiking...biking gear.

We also purchased a B.O.B. bicycle trailer and some other goodies from REI. Between the two stores, we figured we were ready to go.

We decided to do three days, two nights and about 140 miles, from Camp Douglas, WI to Elroy to Union City to Wonewoc to Hillsboro back to Elroy to Kendall to Wilton to Norwalk to Sparta and on to Rockland to Banger to West Salem to Medary then North to Onalaska to Midway to New Amsterdam to Brice Prairie on to Trempealeau and Perrot State Park.
We dropped a vehicle off at Perrot State Park and then were driven to the start of our trip at Camp Douglas.
These were the two generous young gentlemen that helped us with the logistics. We could not have done it without their help....Mitch on the left....Michael on the right.
This is us at the start.
This is the first trail that we rode on. It is a Juneau County trail that leads from Camp Douglas to Hustler and on to Elroy where it meets up with the 400 State Trail and the Elroy/Sparta State Trail. It is an asphalt trail. The daily trail fee is $ well spent.
There are several new bridges on this trail.
This is the first of four tunnels we will pass through on our ride.

These towns are bicycle towns. The people are friendly, traffic is courteous, and trails are well marked. I can't express how bicycle friendly this area is.
We intended to ride to the trail closure and then on to Hillsboro and back to Union Center. When we arrived in Wonewoc, I had a flat tire. Seeing how we would be back tracking anyway, we turned around there and headed back to Elroy to setup camp, as I had used one of my CO2's and had only a patched tube to go on.

This is the trail going up to the walk-in campground at Elroy. This hill is steep and long. The campground sits on top of a huge mound on the edge of town. This would haunt us later.
View from the campsite.
Around midnight we could see lightning surrounding the area. At 2:30 a.m. it came rolling through where we were camped. This was bad as we were camped on the TOP of one of the largest hills in the area.... in a clearing.... during a lightning storm. It stormed until about 4:00 a.m.Steve really helped us with picking out our gear, as the wind blew and it rained hard. Everything stayed dry, including us....that's a good thing.
This was a bad thing. Going into the walk-in campground required passing through a large culvert that went under the highway. We had passed through the culvert three times....when the forth time came around Janice wanted to push her bike through. I told her she had made it three times why not ride again...but do what you want. She decided to ride again.... and....this was the result. I felt really bad about this. Lesson...keep mouth shut. When riding bicycles you need to think about where you want the bicycle to go...not where you do not want it to go. You will learn that when you mountain bike....or you had better learn it.
We got started at about 12:15 p.m. and set up camp at 5:30. We logged a tad over 35 miles today. Working on day two, will post later.