Oh, boy, have YOU asked for it!
I had a rare, 4-day weekend, and made the most of it with a trip to the southern part of the state of Wisconsin, for a combination of biking and weird-sight-seeing. You get to hear all about it--do you feel lucky?
Started with the weird sight-seeing by visiting my sister in Milwaukee. (Heh, heh! Just kidding.) Stayed overnight, saw Star Wars Ep2. Next morning it was raining, so I hung around and played with the kids till noon.
Then I headed out. First stop was Elkhorn, where I drove down Bray Road, where, ten years ago, there was a rash of sightings of the Walworth Werewolf/Bray Road Beast. I was hoping to bike down the road alone at midnight, under the full moon, but there was noplace to park the car, and it was dangerously near a major highway intersection. (Midnight, drunk holiday drivers.....) My campsite also turned out to be about 15 miles away. None of my excuses had ANYTHING to do with any fear of meeting the werewolf. Honest
So, then I found my campsite and set up the tent. Drove to Janesville to see Miracle, the White Buffalo prophecied by...er, some Indian prophecy. Looked like any other buffalo to me, but the farm was also full of ostriches, emus, seriously TINY ponies, and peacocks, so it was an enjoyable stop.
Afterward, I went to Janesville's Black Hawk Park, where there is a series of paved bike paths running through the park and along part of Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail. There were some absolutely beautiful areas along the Ice Age path. It ran along a small brook, and there were masses of wildflowers and blossoming shrubs. It was hard to believe I was in a city. (Or would have been, if I'd been deaf and had no sense of smell.) There was a side trail that led through a tunnel and continued along the brook,which I followed for a while before returning to the main trail. Eventually the scenery changed to houses, and I turned back. Going the other direction, the path led through the park, past the rotary gardens, and over a couple bridges. Quite a nice series of paths, with lots of small hills which gave a roller-coaster feel to the ride, without being difficult to pedal.
Next morning I got up early to pedal around the Kettle Morraine State Forest, in the hope of seeing some early-rising wildlife. No luck, except a sandhill crane, a squirrel, and a pair of orioles. No Sasquatch, either. (There have been sightings in the area, though the forest is so narrow I find it hard to believe anything big could live there hidden...) Hill climbers would love this place.
Spent all morning pedalling around the forest on almost deserted county highways, and passed the John Muir mountain bike path on my way back to the parking lot, so I had to try it on my comfort bike. My first mountain-bike trail ride was not much of a success, especially with my road-n-trail tires and all the mud. I crashed 3 times, and my wussy treads were so clogged with mud that they started spinning on the uphills, so I ended up walking a lot of the trail. Everyone was very nice, though. I might try again, if I ever get big, knobbly tires. Still, it was a fun break from the road. When I got back to the parking area, I found that I had been in the saddle for over seven and a half hours, almost continuously. I spent the rest of the day in camp reading and stretching my tired muscles (except when I sneaked off to Whitewater for a cheesburger and waffle cone.)
This morning I packed up camp and set off to see a few remaining sights on my way home. Saw Fort Cosconong in Fort Atkinson (nothing weird there, just a recreated old fort.) Then I went on to Aztalan State Park, which is at the site of an old Indian town, with restored mounds. Very interesting. Had lunch in Lake Mills, beside Rock Lake (which has mysterious submerged constructions, and an old Indian story about some white people who came from far away, mined all the local copper, and left, flooding their city after them.
Then I got out the bike again for a short ride on the Glacial Drumlin trail, which has a nice trail station on South Main of Lake Mills, where you can rent bikes, buy passes, and has bathrooms, water, and picnic tables on a shaded deck. The trail was nice--one of the rails-to-trails conversions. Nice, firm surface. There was one nervous bit, where it passed over a bridge where a lot of people were fishing. Problem with being behind a fishing kid is that you never know when you're going to be hit in the face with a nightcrawler full of Eagle Claw. (Or the other way round, depending how you think of it.) I was tired from hiking around the Aztalan park under a hot sun, though, so I only went a couple miles before turning back.
Took all back roads driving back home.
Anyone else have a good weekend?