Who knew I’d enjoy America’s dairyland almost as much as Colorado?! Wisconsin is an amazing state, not solely because of its vast amounts of cheese, but because the people have the coolest accents, you know? Seriously, this place is gorgeous. The first two days when we crossed the border, we rode along the Mississippi for about 140 miles! Bluffs to my left, river to my right, and hills to climb and speed down in front of me. Besides the extreme 100 degree heat wave and the intense amount of bugs, Wisconsin ranks high on my list.
Throughout Wisconsin we had the opportunity to finally ride on paved bike paths. From Elroy to Sparta is America’s first rails to trails bike path. The pathway was originally a railway, but the community has transformed the flat path to make it enjoyable for cyclist and walkers in the area. It was another blistering 100 degree day, Nicole, Kate, and Alex were at a presentation and Colin, Ziev, and I hit the bike trail. It started off a beautiful ride through the Wisconsin wetlands and prairies. I always use the trail signs as an excuse to stop and read the history of the trail, while I catch my breath and refuel on GU Chomps. The signs tell the story of the last continental glacier that melted and carved out 1/3 of wisconsin which is now the swampy wetlands. With trees surrounding us along the way, and swamps to both sides of us, the heat was bareable. About 40 miles into our ride, we spotted mist and cool air. To our right was a sign, “Flashlights!” and an old man named Tunnel Tom who was ready to sell flashlights, gatorade, water, and anything else a trailblazer would need to make it through the next 15 miles of the ride. In the next 15 miles we would come across three tunnels that were hand chiseled by the railway workers in the 1800s. There is no electricity in the tunnels and one cannot make it through the pitch black mile long tunnel without a light source. We stopped to say hi to Tunnel Tom and his 20 cats, but decided to save the 5 dollars on a flashlight and used our handy iphones instead. Although, depending on our iphones was not the most brilliant idea because once we got to the third tunnel, our phones had all died! We trekked through the dark tunnels, as water dripped on us from the cool spring above.
Wisconsin has welcomed the BAP crew through its vast dairy farms, lightning storms in Madison, and even featured us at the Milwaukee Brewer’s game! Colin will be sure to detail our amazing Brewer’s experience and BAP exposure in his blog. Thank you, Wisconsin for the ride of a lifetime! Off to Chicago we pedal next.