Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ya Think?

 At the last minute on Friday I decided to ride up and have lunch with my lovely wife.  I do this quite often.  Not usually at the last minute, but have lunch that is.  On this day, Douglas County's Lucius Woods County Park in Solon Springs was our meeting spot. 
 Because it was a last minute decision, I knew I had to hammer my way up.  I did make it on time in just a shade over an hour to get there. Give it hell all the up here, and ride close to 40 miles today, to have deep fried fish and greasy french fries.  Makes sense, doesn't it?
 I think it would be safe to say this park has three levels.  The top level is the camping area.  the middle level is the picnic area.  Also in the middle area is the Performing Arts Center where they hold the summer concerts.  The bottom level is the beach...picture further down in this post.
 This is where they hold Music in the Park(linked) events during the summer.
 I understand it is designed for concerts.  Good acoustics' and all that stuff. Beautiful building and excellent venue.
 Someone has been busy.  Flowers look nice.

This a shot of the beach area.  I wonder what that young fellow is up to in the picture.  It doesn't look good, but I think it isn't what it may appear to be.  I think he was talking to another young'un that was hiding behind the tree...maybe, yeah that's it.

This is just one of many trees that are starting the transformation adding some brilliant color to the country side.  Summer is going, going and fall is coming.

The ferns are also brightening up the roadside.
There are a lot of forest roads around these parts.  This one is named after a friend of ours.  RIP Dewey.
This ride had me riding across the bird sanctuary. Twice...and that is a good thing.  Although it was a bit windy on the return trip.

As I was hammering this ride on the way up to Solon, it had me thinking.  Three years ago I would come home from work and ride the bicycle in the evening.  In those days my rides were shorter, but at much faster pace.  Hammered almost every ride. Now a days, I might leave the house at anytime of the day and ride for 2, 3,4 or more hours.  But these rides are at a much slower pace. Last week I rode 6 days and clocked just over 200 miles.  I rode the fixed gear, the fatty and a road bike.  I do not worry about the speed anymore.  Or the miles I put on for that matter.  I mean 35 miles of sand and gravel or single track just doesn't add up quite as fast. BUT, the quality of the rides are top notch.  AND that is what is important to me.  My leisurely ride back from Solon on this day was much more enjoyable than the hammer ride up. These days I am sure my hammer rides can equal some peoples leisure ride.  OK, I will shoot from the hip on this one.  My idea of a quality ride may have changed, and may be due to age.  Ya think? I think I like it! 
Lets get outdoors and have some fun!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Nice and Easy

 We recently made a trip down the Red Cedar River Trail (linked) that follows along the Red Cedar River from Menomonie to the confluence with the Chippewa River. 
 If the water looks green...that's because it IS!! This is a WI state trail and many years ago we were checked for our trail permit.  I asked the DNR agent what caused the water to be green.  The agent blamed the turkey farms up stream.  They said because of the economic impact, it was very difficult to get control.  Although when I looked it up for this little piece, the information(linked) I found does not come out and blame them.  Sounds like it is a little of everything causing the algae. I tend to believe the DNR agent.  
 There are many picnic opportunities along these trails.  This one is crushed limestone and is suitable to ride with any bicycle.  Although when the trail is wet after a rain, it may not be ideal.
 There are a few of these bridges along the trail.  The longest and last bridge crosses the Chippewa River and is 860 feet long...this pic is not the Chippewa River bridge.
We have made several trips on this trail.  It rates high on my scale for just a nice, easy and scenic trail.  I recommend it to anyone.
Lets get outdoors and have some fun!!
ps...Thanks for reading

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It was a Day of Tracks

 As of late, the weather around northern WI has been perfect IMO.  Low 70's, some wind...but not knock you over wind.  just a nice breeze.  I was undecided on what to ride today.  The fatty I thought was calling my name. So the fatty it was.

 The big tires of the 9:zero:7 rolled over this 5 miles stretch of fatter gravel really nice though.

 There were a lot of critter tracks on the roads today.  Tracks are hard to get to show up with my cheapo camera, but these are Grey Wolf tracks. It seems all types of critters use these back roads.  We had a short rain shower yesterday and they really showed up today.

 It is hard to see, but I came across this today also.  A young White Tail fawn hiding in the bush.  Better for the fawn that I spotted it with a camera and not the wolf. As with all pictures...Click on the Pic for BIG.  Might see it better then.

 Do not let the name of this road fool you.  This is the Jackson Moose Highway.  There are two water crossing on this "highway" like pictured below.  One of the crossings on this highway can get quite deep.

 This crossing is not on the Jackson Moose highway, but on another nearby "highway"

 Black bear tracks here.  

 The critters will walk these roads for what seems like miles.  I can see why.  Very little traffic.  I saw two pick up trucks near a logging job and that was IT.  Nothing else for 34.9 miles.  Nothing but critter tracks in the freshened up road surface. Here, whether MR (or Mrs) black bear liked it or not, I shared some of their bounty.  Wild Raspberries.

 With about 7 miles of gravel left to ride, I came upon these.  They for sure were today.  I think there was two people riding Hybrids across here.  I put it into overdrive trying to catch them, but no luck.

Easier to find than get to!!  (for you geo-cachers out there)

Almost 35 miles...with a great day on the bike, a lunch packed, secret go juice, secret energy treats and now not so secret roads.  I sure wish I could have caught the fellow riders.  Of all my years riding out here in the bush, I have only saw 1 other bicycle track...until today.  Today was interesting riding.  It was a day of tracks. 

Lets get outdoors and have some fun!!

Saturday, August 10, 2013


 We went for a ride in the Buick the other day up the North Shore of Lake Superior.  Our destination was Grand Marais, MN, a busy little tourist town sitting on the shore the big lake.  We walked the streets, did some shopping and had a picnic. After lunch, uuuummmm, what should we do now.  After visiting the Superior North Outdoor Center Bike Shop and visiting with the owners, (great people by the way) we decided to check out some of the Low to High adventure.  The bike shop has all the details.  This could be on my bucket list and here is the scoop on it...  Lake Superior- 602 ft above sea level Eagle Mountain- 2301 ft above sea level, the highest and lowest points in the state. How fast can you make it up and back riding your bike and running? Take your best shot and let us know and we ll add you to our list. You have to be self supported, only use one bike and must run(Watch your footing!) when in the BWCA. Start and finish is dipping a wheel in the water at the coast guard boat ramp, and you must touch the plaque at the top of Eagle Mountain. You chose the route you ride between Superior and Eagle Mountain parking lot. Keep your own time, we trust you, record splits for bike and running legs as below.    

 Another thing that could be on my bucket list, is some gravel riding in Superior National Forest of Northern MN.  The above picture is the little town we came in after traveling about 80 miles of back country roads exploring. 

 Remember, as I said earlier, we were driving the Buick. Although the other roads of the 80 miles of gravel were just fine, forest rd 174 wasn't ideal for that vehicle.  But I am almost always up for an adventure with "her" car.  PLUS, it is only about 10 miles across there.  I just drove slow and avoided the big rocks...which sometimes meant hitting them with the tires so not to scrap the bottom.  About 5 miles in on 174 four ATV's came up behind us.  I got the Buick over as far as I could and when they passed they stopped to talk.  The first words spoke from the nice gentleman was "You alright?" Me, "I thiiinnnkk so." I can only imagine what they had to be thinking.  Remember like I have said before, we were driving a Buick...A Buick LeSabre driving across the Laurentian Divide?  We chatted for a while.  He confirmed our location and we continued on. To be fair to us though, our map showed it as a road. And to be fair to the map, it was a road...just a very narrow rocky road.  And to fair to the nice gentleman, he had very good reason to ask the question.  Did I mention, some were very large rocks.  It was one of those deals where once you are committed to doing whatever, you should be committed. AND, I think my wife was thinking just that.  No cell signal for miles.  Not to worry though.  I told her she could sit in the car (out here in the bush) while I go for a run to fetch help. But, all for naught, because it was all we got back onto a well traveled gravel.

 There are many streams and lakes through this area.  Look at all the rocks.  

 We talked to a man and wife at the boat landing to this lake.  They had about 8 Northern Pike and 2 Walleye in their boat. I don't know who said this, but, only the guy who isn't rowing has time to rock the boat. 

 Great scenery up in this neck of the woods.  See how big some of the rocks are?

 The fishing has to be good. And, OK...the rocks on the road were not that big. Fish stories told here, some are true!
What a great place!! (note...ATV guy  told us how to get here) 

Lets get outdoors and have some fun!

Thanks for reading

Thursday, August 8, 2013

More Trail links

 On this day of biking had us on the Wisconsin 400 State Trail (llinked).  Another gem!!  We also rode the Hillsboro Spur trail.(linked).  All of the rail trails are enjoyable to ride. 

 There are a lot of rock formations in this area of the state.

 An old barn on a nearby road.

 There are 4 trails that are linked with a map, but there are also other trails that connect to these.  The Ohmaha trail is one such trail, and although we didn't ride it this trip, we have rode it a few times in the past.  It is also a trail I would highly recommend.

 More trail.

 We added a little Geo-caching on this trip.  Here is one of the hides.

Four days of riding and I can say in all honesty, not one unpleasant moment.  Not one!!  A great time.  Now off to the central part of the state for some more state trail riding.

Lets get outdoors and have some fun!

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Things didn't work out for Colorado, but WOW what a great time here in WI. 
 Janice and I have been riding some of what I consider Wisconsin's greatest assets...the rail trail bicycle paths. 
 We have been riding several of them, but this day had us on the nations first rail-trail, The Elroy-Sparta path.(linked) The wheels were put in motion to make use of this old rail grade in 1965 and in 1967 it was opened to the public.  It is 32 miles long.  Crushed limestone surface.  Easily ride-able with any bicycle. It also includes three lengthy tunnels.  Two of the tunnels are 1694 feet long, a little over a 1/4 mile in length.  The longest one is tunnel number three at 3,810 feet.  It is pitch black in the long one and 3/4 of mile in that darkness is a long way.
 This is the entrance to one of them.
 I have noticed most people bring only a small LED light.  If you are to go through these tunnels, I would suggest to bring a high powered light.  The scenery in them is what I consider fantastic. 
 In the long tunnel, plan on getting wet.  We have been through them several times, and it is always raining in the longest one.
 Yeah, I know...more tunnel pictures.  Click on the pics for big.
 My $100 point and shoot camera doesn't do it justice, but hopefully you get the idea.
I deleted 136 words I wrote as to my feelings towards the CRMBT.  "Delete the negative; accentuate the positive!" a quote by Donna Karran.  I want to keep this blog positive...So, what to do.  I know, go for a bike ride!! A walk.  A run.  Outdoors.  Cut firewood.  Anything Positive!!
Lets get outdoors and have some fun!!
And...Thanks for reading!!