Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Study: Cycle Touring Through Southwestern Wisconsin, or Nine Days Driftless, or The Only Cool Thing I Did This Summer

Realized I never really made much mention of the tour Agatha and I went on this summer.  We spent nine days riding our heavy ass bikes up and down the hills of the Driftless Region in Southwestern Wisconsin. We passed through towns like La Crosse, Trempealeau, Richland Center, and Dodgeville.  Weather was basically perfect, aside from a hairy night at Perrot State Park featuring wind, rain, and hail, culminating in a flooded tent and the fun associated with such events.  The Driftless region itself is a place that resonates with history and intrigue for me.  If you live nearby, you owe it to yourself to go spend some time out there.  The roads and sights will blow you away.  Views up the Mississippi River Valley at sunset are certainly unmatched by anything else in the Midwest.   This wasn't really an "adventure" for us per se...  More of a bike vacation.  We had no set route, just a timeframe in which to operate.  This is a fun approach to touring, as you are sure to get tips from locals or find stuff you didn't know about before the trip that you are going to want to check out.  We took it easy, lingering where we wanted and moving on when we felt like it.  The long lazy days of summer are perfectly suited to the attitude of bike touring.  We ate delicious local produce whenever we could, and being the end of summer there were plentiful roadside fruit and vegetable stands selling squash, zucchini, onion, green beans, peas, etc...  I don't think we had any mechanicals at all on this trip.  It was just a plain old wonderful time living outdoors with someone I love and doing things that I love, and reflecting on it really makes me wonder what the hell I am doing with my life that it does not allow me to do things like this more often.  Bike touring is not expensive, it is not scary, you don't have to be an athlete. If it feels too hard, you are doing it wrong!  If fulfills all my ideals pertaining to simplicity.  It is the best way to travel and I hope everyone who has ever dreamed of taking a long bike trip gets to do it some day. Someday I will leave on one and never come back.

Nelson Dewey State Park

Dugway Rd., best road of the whole tour.

The mighty Casseroll, master of all terrains and tasks.

Amazing gravel hill, count 'em--1, 2, 3!

Navigation... Don't worry about it, you'll get there.


Yellowstone Lake State Park

I want to enter this picture in a llama photo contest

Yeah, that seems pretty good to me!

Nine days, 558 miles (according to web mapping, more like 600 by our count), 32,306 feet of climbing.

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