Saturday, July 24, 2010


Day 31. Wisconsin Dells to Fond du Lac Wisconsin. Lovely weather forecast for today:

Thank goodness that the weather forecasters in Wisconsin are about as accurate as they are at home. When I woke up at 5AM it was pouring rain. Almost as bad as Sioux Falls and Rochester earlier this week. By the time we went to breakfast, the rain had let up and we started feeling a little optimistic. When we loaded you could feel the sky clearing, and it was getting sunny when we pushed off around 7:15 AM. I was so relieved. I wasn't looking forward to another rainy day. ABB tour leader Mike told us how lucky we are and that just an hour's drive south of us there was knee-deep flooding which would have killed our ride. Lucky us.

We rode through Wisconsin Dells, which we had not seen the day before because we stayed at the outskirts of town. If you've been to Niagara Falls you don't necessarily have to come see Wisconsin Dells (at least the part I saw). Amusement parks, water parks, food parks, anything but park parks (the green kind with trees). Tacky t-shirt shops, awful motels, bad-looking restaurants - the Dells has it all! I don't think we missed anything. Maybe if the kids were younger you could have 1 or 2 days of fun here. I suspect that might hold you for a lifetime though. Wisconsin Dells has everything Niagara Falls has except the Falls. It does have the Dells, which we did not see, which apparently are cliff-like waterfalls. I guess I'll see them the next time I ride my bike across the country and pass through this town.

When I started riding today, I have to admit that I was feeling pretty good. I thought I'd be a basket-case after I dragged myself in yesterday, but the first miles were fine. I couldn't keep up with Joe, Jeff, or Dave (who were joined by ABB staffer Jeff), but I moved along by myself at a very nice pace (I averaged over 17MPH today). Before the first SAG (which was at a nice waterfall), Baltimore Mark caught up with me and we rode the rest of the day together. By the way, check out the street sign that matches Mark's last name. Quite a coincidence. I love riding by myself, but strangely enough, I equally love riding with other people too. Here I am rolling through the Wisconsin countryside:

What was the highlight of the day? Well, at last night's route briefing, ABB tour mechanic Jim told us to look out for a "Brat-Fry" at the 45 mile mark of the ride in the town of Princeton Wisconsin. Now, for those of you who don't know, Wisconsin is famous for 2 things – dairy products (cheese in particular) and bratwurst. I don't know why, but it's a fact (a "proven fact" as my daughter Lauren would say). The Brat-Fry is held at the American Legion Hall in Princeton on this Saturday every year and Jim said the brats are the best he ever tasted. He wasn't positive it was being held again this year, but he did say it has been there every year he's done this tour. I was a bit skeptical (I hear a lot of "best ______ I ever tasted" on this trip) because not every one of those statements has been entirely true. However, I was determined to give this a try.

We entered the town of Princeton, saw the sign for the Brat-Fry at the American Legion and made our way down to check it out. It was only 10AM, and I don't normally eat something like a bratwurst at 10AM, but today I did. And Jim was right. Outstanding! I had a classic brat with sauerkraut, onions, mustard, and relish and devoured it. Very tasty. Check out Crystal from the American Legion Hall giving me my brat with the works.

From a scenery perspective, today's ride was nothing special. Lots of farmland. The more rugged part of Wisconsin is behind us. We're only 60 or so miles from the western shore of Lake Michigan, so things seem to be flattening out a bit. It seems impossible to believe that 2 weeks ago we were close to the Rocky Mountains. Unreal.

We made our way to Fond du Lac, which means Foot of the Lake, at the edge of Lake Winnebago. We are actually staying in a nice "downtown-type" hotel that must have been a classic in it's day. It is clearly the hot-spot in town. As we unloaded the luggage today I was talking to a nice woman (and her little daughter) who were clearly dressed-up for some event. She told me her brother was getting married at 3:30 today and that the bride (Jessica) had just walked past me when I walked through the door. So I found one of Jessica's bridesmaids and had her take a picture of Jessica and me, just before she got dressed to get married. Since we are eating in the hotel tonight, a few of my fellow riders are talking about crashing the wedding party after dinner (which, if you can remember starts at 5PM and is usually over by 5:45PM). I'm sure we'll all be asleep by 6PM. Oh well, best laid plans you know.

I am so so happy it didn't rain and we got a bit of a tailwind today. We have ridden over 460 miles (that is close to 750km) in the past 5 days, 2 of which were in torrential downpours and nasty headwinds. That is like 5 trips to Collingwood and back to my house from Tuesday morning to today. That is way more cycling than I'd like to do again, and I'm glad it's behind us. We've got over 2,500 miles behind us and about 1,100 or so more to go. Tomorrow is a much easier day (like 60 miles). The weather is supposed to be warm (not hot), and sunny with calm winds. Plus we have our day off crossing Lake Michigan by ferry on Monday. That is good news for my tired legs.

FYI – the DQ Blizzard and milk shake count is static today, but the Snickers count is up one:

9 Snickers
14 Blizzards
6 milk shakes

Now on to today's mail:

Susan from Toronto writes: "I forgot to mention that I have found another man, have fallen in love with him, and am moving in with him on Monday (or possibly Tuesday). Sorry." That's OK Duchess, I don't mind. Gaye gazint.

Here are my Garmin stats for the day:

This is Joe's blog:

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