Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 2: 94 miles of driftless

Friday started poorly, at least for me. Storms blew in overnight and I woke up with the ruckus. I'm pretty sure Carol did not. Me being a light sleeper had saved our pannier (and bagels) the night before, but it cost me a couple hours sleep this night. Fortunately the worst of the storms went north and south of us, and we just got wet, not electrocuted or blown off the bluff.

So it was wet as we packed up in the morning, and I was moving slow because I was tired. We started rolling and not 15 minutes into the day's riding it started raining again. What could we do but don our rain coats and keep going?

It rained on us for a good hour and a half, and it was a shame because we were riding along some beautiful roads in valleys and ridges right along the river.

We passed through a cute little river town called Glen Haven and then on to Dugout Road. This road was installed as a protection system for the railroad below, the fence on the right here has trigger wires that warn of a rockslide from above.

Then Carol took the obligatory overhanging rock photo of me, somewhere around here a local initiated a lengthy unsolicited discussion about route selection through the county:

Slowly the wet whether faded and we moved away from the Mississippi. On Sandy Hollow road I got a little caught up photographing the scenery and wildflowers (flower photos are coming in a later post).

I have to wonder if this waterfall flows if there hadn't just been a torrential downpour.

It ended up being a tough climb up to the ridge top on the soggy gravel road. We hit the pavement for the final ascent and stopped in the shade near a rundown house (I really thought it might be abandoned) to put on the sunscreen. Shortly a man parked his run-down car in front of his run-down house and came over to chat. He had kind of a goatee and sideburns going, but clearly hadn't shaved in about 2 weeks, giving him the appearance of a teddy bear wearing a dirty white t-shirt. Friendly chit-chat ensued. This and other incidents on this trip have showed me that beautiful people could care less about our silly bike ride, but sometimes the "ugly" people are the friendliest people you'll meet.

Well, down another scenic valley we went and before you knew it we were crossing the Wisconsin River. Stopped at a gas station/restaurant just north of the river to feed up and figure out the rest of the day. We were running pretty late at that point due to the rain, and there was no way we were going to be able to make it to Wildcat Mountain that day. After much hemming and hawing, we decided to just follow the Trans WI route, instead of my "Kickapoo Cut-off" since Viroqua seemed to be the nearest place to stay or camp that was on the way.

The afternoon was a bit of a blur, with a lot of LONG climbs up to the ridgetop, that looked like this:

And descents that looked like this:

Beautiful country, but these long 20-30 minute climbs start to wear on you after a while.

Eventually we decided to bail off of the route, and just take the ridgetop highway (27) to Viroqua, as this would save a lot of miles, and more importantly, keep us from having to do any more of those climbs.

And its good thing we did take that ridgeop highway, because if we hadn't we would have never seen Moment Rock:

Eat your heart out Moab.

-- Posted from the trail

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