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  1. #1
    Senior Member Skipper's Avatar
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    Forty miles of frozen gravel

    The day started out cold (between 25 and 30 degrees) and breezy (not a clue as to wind speed) and RCK and I decided to do a shorter ride than usual for a Saturday morning. We decided to take the rail trail from Monroe to Monticello. It was to be the first time for us to ride the trail north out of town. The trail surface is new, just finished this fall, but was quite firm due to the temperature. The trail was frozen solid. The ride to Monticello was cold but not unpleasant. It was nice to be doing a flat ride for a change. Todays ride would prove to be the longest rail trail ride either of us had ever done. Flat rides sure make you work more than you would expect. There are no hills to pedal up, of course, but there are also no hills to coast down. Makes for a different kind of riding.

    The cafe in Monticello had a really tasty walnut pie and the coffee is not bad either. While finishing off our second cups of coffee, we decided that Monticello would not be our turnarond point. We decided to continue on north to the tunnel and maybe beyond. As it turned out we went all the way to Belleville. But first, the tunnel. I'm not sure how long the tunnel is. Maybe two tenths of a mile. The tunnel curves enough that you cannot see the light at the other end until you get about half way through. Not having planned to ride this far, neither of us were prepared to light the way through the tunnel. It was not like true cave darkness but it was pretty dark. I only ran into the wall a couple of times. I'm not sure about RCK. Once we emerged from the tunnel we continued riding to Belleville and then headed back home. The return trip through the tunnel was illuminated for us by some hikers with flashlights. The rest of the ride had the wind at our backs. Nice, but no coasting.

    I'm looking forward to doing this ride again. Warmer next time would be nice but not necessary. I'm also looking forward to doing the trail with Mrs. Skipper on the tandem we bought for Christmas. Warmer will be necessary for that one.

    Hey RCK, good ride. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    It's not precipitating today in Wisconsin? They're having quite a time of it just a few miles to our north. I've never had walnut pie. Black walnuts or English? Is it similar to Pecan Pie only with different nuts? Glad you had a good ride.
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

  3. #3
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    How far north is the trail finished?

    The tunnel is 900' long. I've ridden from the north down to the tunnel, back when the trail wasn't limestoned yet.

    They have only laid 1/2 mile of limestone south of Purcell Road, which is very close to my house. Tentative schedule was to finish from Purcell Rd (in Dane County) south to the Illinois line by this coming Spring.

    Unfortunately the last 8 miles to Madison, which is scheduled to be paved, will not be done until 2008 at the earliest.

    There will be several places to stop for refreshments along this trail. Up by me is a little tavern named "Dot's" then there is Belleville, which has little restaurants that serve pie. Further south is Monticello, where you found pie. And then there is a short trip over on the Sugar River Trail to New Glarus, which has some excellent restaurants & taverns, and a great bakery.

    Did you continue past Belleville at all. Just a little bit north of the center of town, the trail goes over an old train bridge.

    http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/...ger/index.html
    http://www.badger-trail.com/

    The Friends of the Badger Trail group is based out of Monroe.

    I'm really looking forward to it being completed. All I have to do is ride a short distance across my subdivision to get to it.

  4. #4
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    At this point in time, I'm expecting to do about 80% of all of my riding in 2007 on this one trail (Badger State Trail). I hope it doesn't get boring.

    The round trip from my house to downtown Belleville and back is 16 miles. If things go as planned, I may be making that trip 40-50 times. The round trip to/from Monticello is 33 miles.

    Perhaps we will meet up on the trail a time or two.
    Last edited by Tom Bombadil; 01-13-07 at 08:43 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Skipper's Avatar
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    It started snowing about an hour after we got home. We had some minor precip last night but that was pretty much gone by daybreak.

    Pecan pie with English walnuts. There was a bit of orange in the filling as well. I want to have Mrs. Skipper make a 'pecan' pie using the black walnuts I collect in the backyard. I shuck 'em, crack 'em and pick out the meats. It really ticks the squirrels off. Oh well. I'd like to try a 'pecan' pie with hickory nuts, too. I have a couple of pints of hickory nut meats in the freezer. Ah jeez, now I'm getting the munchies. I wonder how a handful of black walnuts would go with the glass of elderberry wine I'm drinking?

    Yes, it was a good ride. Thank you. The rail trails are really starting to provide some nice route options for folks in this neck of the woods. We're thinking about a century ride for this summer using the trails. Out and back north and out and back south on the same trail will give us about 80 miles.

  6. #6
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    When the trail is completed to Madison, it will connect into the Military Ridge Trail and head west. I believe you could then do 150-160 miles, perhaps a bit more, on a road trip.

  7. #7
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    If it keeps snowing, the snowmobilers will be out on Sunday. They've been waiting to use that trail. All of the wooden bridges up by me are torn up a bit right down the middle from snowmobiles.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Skipper's Avatar
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    Tom,
    We turned around at the south edge of Belleville. Presently, one can ride from just north of Freeport, IL to just north of Belleville, WI.

    I plan to spend a good deal of time on the trail this summer. As I mentioned in my original post, I bought a tandem recently. My wife seems to enjoy it so far. All we need to do is roll down the hill about a hundred yards from our driveway and we're on the trail.

  9. #9
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    I'll keep my eyes peeled for a couple of 50+'ers on a tandem

    Isn't it great to have a trail essentially at your doorstep!

    Are you saying that the trail is now limestoned all the way north to Belleville? It was a black grit layer south of Belleville when I last rode down there in November.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Skipper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    Are you saying that the trail is now limestoned all the way north to Belleville?
    Yup.

  11. #11
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    That's great news.

  12. #12
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    So I take it that you didn't come up to the bike swap meet and clean up on the cheap goodies. I picked up a lot for $50, as I detailed in my swap meet thread. It was a lot of fun. There were 4 or 5 tandems for sale, a couple of very nice Cannondales.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skipper
    We decided to take the rail trail from Monroe to Monticello. It was to be the first time for us to ride the trail north out of town.
    Sounds like a nice ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    When the trail is completed to Madison, it will connect into the Military Ridge Trail and head west. I believe you could then do 150-160 miles, perhaps a bit more, on a road trip.
    My wife and I have been talking about a couple of short (or maybe one long) sight seeing trips on the southern WI roads and rail trails ... so I took notes on all the places Skipper stopped to eat.

  14. #14
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    You can get on the trail down in Freeport, IL if you wish. Take the Jane Addams trail north, it turns into the Badger State trail when you cross into Wisconsin.

    Just north of Monticello, the trail crosses the Sugar River Trail, giving you the option of continuing north to Belleville & Basco, turning east to Albany & Brodhead, or heading west to New Glarus.

    If you go to New Glarus, that is the home of the New Glarus Brewery. For the last three years, they have won Best Brewery in the USA trophies at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. You can't buy their beer outside of Wisconsin.

    Several of these towns have built, or are in the process of building very nice facilities for bikers. It is common up here for towns to renovate old train deports to serve cyclists.

    Getting the Badger Trail completed to Madison will facilitate this development. Many have predicted that it will become the most used bike trail in the state of Wisconsin once that happens. It will give Illinois riders a chance to bike to Madison and enjoy our lakes and State Street. And it will allow Madison bikers to enjoy a nice long ride in the country.

    When completed the Badger Trail becomes the backbone of the South Central Wisconsin trail system. It will connect the Jane Addams Trail to the Sugar River Trail to the Capitol City Trail to the Military Ridge Trail.

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