All posts by Ridin' Rick

Day 7 Potato Bottom to Moab

 

Day 4 map

WE ARE OUT OF CHOCOLATE AND PASTIRES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Merrick gets the blueberry pancakes and sausages ready for the hungry crowd . . . see here movie here!

We go through the coffee by the POT! It takes about 30 minutes to brew another pot so we had to enlist our resident scientist/chemist to dole out the 8oz per drinker until the next pot is brewed!

Dave and I thought the tour was down right civilized due to our request for Half and Half being filled!!!

The “Priest’s Member”, as it is locally called, was our sundial to begin pedaling. When the sun it the top . . . we had to start riding.

. . . but not before one more cup of coffee!

Time for the lunch Deli . . . nice spread!

Greg had maps for everyone and we’d have a morning meeting explaining the route. Key factor . . . stay on the road!!!!!!

As we head out . . . Merrick starts his usual morning wind down and more importantly probably his QUIET ALONE time, because we are on the road!!!

The long and winding road . . . . .

OK, Let’s head up the hill we were talking so smart about last night during happy hour.

The start of the climb with our camp in the background.

Our biking resulted in the same experience as the riders last night had . . . walking the 20% grade

But what a great downhill to the river.

Canoes, kayaks and rafts  along the way . . .

. . . heading towards our biggest climb of the trip, Mineral  Bottom.

. . . it took us an hour to get to the top as we moved up the seven switchback. Several years ago a downpour washed out the climb and thee Fed’s spent over $3 million dollars reconstructing it.

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One BIG climb!!!

. . . here comes Merrick, but everybody made the climb.

Once we got to the top it was another 15 miles of a steady 3 mile uphill. We finally hit the high point for the day. The old half of us took the sweet 25 mile downhill into Moab.

DaveK heads out on the first stretch of an 8% 7 mile downhill. Bonzai!!!!!

A great view of the LaSalle Mountains AND the desert. Quite a combo!

Once we hit Highway 191 we connected to the 15 mile paved trail that led us to Moab.

Smooth as a baby’s but or Gaylord’s head!!!!!!!!!!!

We all tied up back at Moab Cyclery and had a final beer with our host extraordinaire, Merrick. We wished him the best in his life ahead. We moved on with the rest of our trip and he moved back into his van!!!

Terry missed the group photo because, in his usual caring manner, he was at the City Market buying the group more beer. He bought more beer than anyone on the trip and drank the least!!!

Merrick had not ridden the White Rim Trail with a group for three years. Not sure if he actually had to refer to the manual for this ride but we’re sure he added an addendum for his peers on how to deal with 10 old guys from Wisconsin!!!!!

Day 8–Moab

Today was a day of regrouping with many loads of laundry washed, bikes washed and fixed, dust and sand being emptied out of luggage and just resting. The day also included a hike in the Arches National Park.

Started the day with the old man’s shuffle to the Peace Tree restaurant . . .

. . . where Gaylord had the Green Eggs and Ham . . .

. . . and Greg had the burrito that was enough for lunch too!

TommyG gives BillyB a lesson in washing clothes, who has never done a load in his life!!!!!

Then it was a time for a hike out to see Landscape Arch

Hoodoos along the way . . .

Happy group of hikers . . . at Landscape Arch.

On the way out to . . .

. . . recovery time for Terry who took advantage of the hot tub which was right outside his and BillyB’s suite.

Some watched the final March Madness game while those with more sense went out and had a nice steak dinner!

. . . and at least one left their camera at the steak restaurant and hopes it is still there!

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Vesper martinis all around . . . .

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. . .followed by an aged New York strip steak with caramelized onions, creamed spinach and roasted potatoes. A stop at the Moab Brewery for gelato topped off the evening!

Day – 9 Moab

Today was a hiking/biking day for the gang in Moab. Some hiked at Dead Horse State Park and some bike what ended up being the most technical and probably most fun ride of the whole trip, Gemini Bridges.

Day 9 map

 

mmmmmm . . . nine old guys all taking the same photo . . .

. . . but what a photo as we see part of our route of the last 4 days from above.

This group was making a new wall in an area most of us were happy not to get too close! Tough job . . . but someone has to do it!

Part of the White Rim Trail we biked over.

At this point, two of the group went hiking and the rest of us headed for the 24 mile Gemini Bridge downhill. A rock and rolling technical downhill ride.

Riding towards the La Sal Mountains and the Lil Canyon single track trail.

BillyB heading over the top of the rise . . .

Let’ boogie . . .

 

 

. . . well maybe not that fast!

. . . top of the world!

After our hearts stopped pounding from our run down Gemini Bridges we took the 13 mile paved trail back to Moab. BillyB says good bye to the trails of Moab . . .  until the next trip!

One last time to load the bikes . . . and disassemble at the condo. Clean up and off to supper at the Desert Bistro.

A gift from the Chef . . .

A delightful pear walnut salad . . .

Gaylord’s salad wrapped with cucumber slices!

Greg’s’ gourmet mac and cheese with pheasant sausage.

Rick’s gorgonzola encrusted beef tenderloin . . .

Gaylord’s bison with chipotle pepper!

How about another martini, Tom . . . ?

Let’s all have a piece of Bailey’s Irish Crème cheesecake and call it a night. Sweeeeeet dreams!

Day 10–Moab to Grand Junction

Today we move on from Moab.

One last stop for breakfast at the Love Muffin . . .

. . and the Eclektica restaurants. Some ate at the condo. Then . . .  time to pack!

As we made one finally sweep of the condo we discovered Gaylord had forgot his ‘puff’. Here is the ‘G’ rate version of his demoing the use of the puff.

We say good bye to Moab until next year . . . maybe the Maze in Canyonlands?

BillyB signs the group in on the Corona Arch. We are in  the federal register!!!!

At this altitude things were really blooming . . .

 

. . . even the cactus!

Visitors in even the most remote areas of BLM property seem to feel they need to leave their personal statement in the form of constructing a cairn. Here is one in a tree . . .

. . .  and here is an area of MANY personal statements. Could have been made my an mbbt contingent. We have a lot to say!!!!

Corona Arch . . . over 150 tall. People bungee jump from the top of it (some not successfully) and planes have flown though it! See mbbt video here.

20th century petroglyphs

Wow . . .some people knowhow to travel!!

After our Corona Arch tour we headed back to Moab for lunch at the infamous Milt’s Drive Inn. Then a quick drive out to the Slick Rock area . . .

. . . where those in the know say it was no more difficult than the Lil Canyon single track we ran.

Soon we were on the road along the scenic Colorado River on the way to Grand Junction where we would stay for the night and catch the train for Chicago in the morning.

On the way to our hotel, we dropped our bikes and checked luggage at the Amtrak station  in Grand Junction. No need to use the restroom to change into our travel clothes . . . just do it on the street. We are old guys who is going to arrest us!!!!!

One less thing to worry about in the morning. And the Amtrak staff were happy too!

Nice digs at Spring Hill Suites!

Local wheels  available to get around town, for only $35. Cheaper than a taxi!

Happy hour at the hotel and then time to eat.

Relaxing   . . .  and winding down from the adventure part of the trip.

Some went northern Italian and some went to the brew pub.

Gaylord helping out a local with a riding lesson along the way . . .

. . .  and BillyB making friends.

billYum!!

Gaylord’s pear gorgonzola salad . . . YUM!

TommyH has Osso Bucho . . .

Our dining neighbor Jennie and her three week old granddaughter, Kiara. Very sweet!

Christy delivers the goods . . . .

BillyB makes the right decision . . . !!!!

Time for sweet dreams in Grand Junction. Tomorrow we board the train!

Day – 11 Grand Junction to the middle of Nebraska

Today we would board the Amtrak and head back to our worlds in MSN. At 6:00am word from the railroad was the trail was running an hour late. Considering we at one point were running two hours late and the train made it up depositing us in Grand Junction right on time, The one hour delay is hopefully no big deal.

So, in the mean time . . .

. . . let’s have a BIG breakfast!

Since we had several hours to kill be participated in the most popular American recreational activity  – shopping!!! We descending on several bikes stores who must have thought at least one of us was in the market for a new bike, but alas, just looking. Greg is one of our more ‘senior’ riders, in the sense of the number of miles under his belt over the years. Here he ties up with one of his old riding buddies, the Bikus Trantisourus.

With all of us being in the senior age category, age demands respect (or are they trying to get us out of the way) so we get preferential senior treatment and go to the head of the boarding line. Terry’s big smile? at 50 he is not yet one of us but reaping the benefits!!!

The train comes to a stop many times during the journey due to westbound freight traffic having track priority on the track. Here we come head to head with our sister train heading west, Train 5. There was an ‘issue” on board Train 5 so we both came to a stop and once it was resolved away we both went. One eastbound one westbound.

The train stops for 5 minutes in Glenwood Springs and the train station is right across the street from the local brewery. TommyG attempts a repeat of his 5 minute track race to procure a growler of local brew. Unfortunately, as you can see in the photo the street was torn up due to road construction and he would have had to run around the block to get to the back door and into the retail area. On the eastbound trip he made the trip with only 1 minute to spare. This added detour would have probably put him over the 5 minute window and he would have been left sharing his growler of beer with fellow rail passengers still on the loading dock. So . . . no eastbound growler this time!!! A sad mood hung over our car until we all headed to the Lower Level Lounge to drown our sorrows.

If one really wants o see some wild areas, not assessable by car, the train is REALLY the way to travel, especially through the Rockies. Kodak moment around every corner as you climb through canyon after canyon.

Our eastbound conductor was more chatty than our previous westbound conductor as he pointed out points of interest along the way. Early in our climb into the mountains he pointed out Deadman’s Curve where in the past there had been two accidents on the road around the top of the mountain. This one involved a mother and her daughter in the mid 1980’s. They were both killed when the mother drove off the road curve and her orange car rolled down the hillside.

In the early 1970’s, this station wagon with three teenagers in the car miss navigating the curve, drove off the road and rolled 50 feet. Luckily, all three escaped with minimal injures.

Most of us had dinner in the Dining car including a nice mixed salad, medium rare steak, with garlic mashed potatoes, a split of Cabernet followed by strawberry cheesecake. Soon . . . zzzzzzzzzzzz!

Day – 12 the middle of Nebraska to MSN

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We all slept with varying degrees of success throughout the night, except for Gaylord and TommyH who  of course shared the luxurious sleeper compartment. We rolled into the central time zone and soon the sun was coming up as we rolled into the BEAUTIFUL Omaha Train station. Word was there is a BIG renovation project going on with the result hopefully being a mini Chicago type Union Station. Lot’s of land based infrastructure improvements as well as rolling stock and system improvements needed on America’s passenger railroad system if they ever wish to be competitive with airline and car travel.

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We headed to the dining car and had a nice breakfast as the trained rolled through the western Iowa landscape. The train was about 2 hours late and all bets were off when we might actually arrive in Chicago. Then a four hour bus ride to MSN. It ended up we were traveling for over 36 hours to get home, arriving about midnight Friday. A loooong journey.

 

OBSERVATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS:

The trip turned out to be a rousing success. And no wonder with all the planning sessions (READ: beer drinking) we had! Of course the credit goes to Greg who did a fabulous job with the planning and pulling all the details together. The condo, hotel, truck transport, biking, hiking, outfitter and food were all wonderful. Compared to Wisconsin, the terrain, grades and elevations were a new experience to may of us mountain bikers. The openness of the terrain, canyons structure, natural bridges, arches and especially the vistas of the Utah landscape was nothing short of STUNNING. Next time, some may fly to save some time . . . of course when being retired, what’s the rush!

A big part of the trail experience and success was contracting with Escape Adventures and the services provided by our camp master, Merrick. We all agreed it would have been a very much different experience without Merrick there at the end of the day to do the cooking and dish washing. He is a great young man and I’m sure will excel in his journey through life in whatever future endeavors he pursues.

The mbbt gang that went had a great time and will relive the adventure many times over beers at Funk’s, where we will undoubtedly start planning the next one!

Safe Riding!

Ridin’ Rick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 Christmas

Cookie Decorating Party in the Rowan Branch
Cookie Decorating Party in the Rowan Branch
Add the decoration's and let's eat!
Add the decoration’s and let’s eat!
Two the great staff of Rowan Branch: Nora and Quin.
Two the great staff of Rowan Branch: Nora and Quin.
Nora, Harriet and Phylis's daughter, Beneigh.
Nora, Harriet and Phylis’s daughter, Benet.
Opening Laurel and marks' HUGE treasure trove of goodies. Ruth was nice enough to share the tapenade!
Opening Laurel and Marks’ HUGE treasure trove of goodies. Ruth was nice enough to share the tapenade!
PJ's from the Micheal Hustons' . . .
PJ’s from the Micheal Hustons’ . . .
. . . just the right size!
. . . just the right size!
Red headed woodpecker . . .
Red headed woodpecker . . .
 . . . singing it's song!
. . . singing it’s song!
Charles with his sous chef Emma. This is as close as she got to the ham! Nice glowing, electric earrings she gave Charles for  Christmas!
Charles with his sous chef Emma. This is as close as she got to the ham! Nice glowing, electric earrings she gave Charles for Christmas!
Ham, potato gratin, salad, bread sticks, stuffed apples followed by pecan pie with caramel vanilla ice cream made on the spot! YUM!!!!
Ham, potato gratin, salad, bread sticks, stuffed apples followed by pecan pie with caramel vanilla ice cream made on the spot! YUM!!!!
After the big feed, everybody full (except for Daisy of course), happy, content and thankful for another year together.
After the big feed, everybody full (except for Daisy of course), happy, content and thankful for another year together.
Just a short 11 hours later it was time for breakfast in the Rowan Branch!
Just a short 11 hours later it was time for breakfast in the Rowan Branch!
8:30am and all set for a ride around DSM!
8:30am and all set for a ride around DSM!
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Always ready for a big day after a SRP hearty breakfast!
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On Thursday night Quin and her husband Qui hosted a traditional Chinese dinner. We know their daughter Wennie from MSN where she attends college.
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A GREAT dinner including fish, pork, beef, shrimp and duck dishes. All eaten with chopsticks! A really fun evening.
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At our Friday Night Martini party David brought over his new “disco light” ice crusher . . .
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. . . that produced the perfect chunk size for the perfect martini!
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Let the party begin!
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Besides Quin’s amuse-bouche of leftover dumplings sauteed lightly in a pan, the main course for tonight’s party was the treasure trove of goodies provided by Mark and Laurel.
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Pass the plate!
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Yummy Chinese dumplings with duck sauce,
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After a long holiday season . . . time for a second martini!
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Cheese course!
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Dessert course provided by Quin. Daisy was VERY interested.
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Something for everyone’s taste!
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After a long night of partying a couple of the girls needed a little nap!

This blog brought to you by Farmhouse Woolens your one stop shop for all things woolen!

0381An unbiased, non-solicited endorsement. This really happened! "Recently I purchased several See-You Stuff satchels from Farmhouse Woolens not realizing how important they would become in my life! During a recent overnight with my wife, we had our morning coffee and my wife was about to have her usual 1/2 grapefruit. The kitchen knife in the drawer was not going to cut the tough grapefruit skin and as my wife struggled with the knife and grapefruit, I could see she was quickly sinking into Vitamin C withdrawal. I sat her down, propping her up, and ran to the bathroom where my See-Your-Stuff satchel was resting. Through the, full width, high quality, optical pure, vinyl front, I IMMEDIATELY spied my traveling ChefsMate knife, complete with 3.5 inch serrated blade and homemade wooden sheath. I quickly retrieved the knife from the bag and raced back to the kitchen, quicky slicing open the grapefruit and squeezing the juice into my wife's open, gaping, drooling, mouth,. Luckily the first signs of scurvy had not yet appeared and all is now good. All because of the easy access to my knife in the See-Your-Stuff!"  signed, RescueRick An unbiased, non-solicited endorsement. This really happened!

“Recently I purchased several See-You Stuff satchels from Farmhouse Woolens not realizing how important they would become in my life! During a recent overnight with my wife, we had our morning coffee and my wife was about to have her usual 1/2 grapefruit. The kitchen knife in the drawer was not going to cut the tough grapefruit skin and as my wife struggled with the knife and grapefruit, I could see she was quickly sinking into Vitamin C withdrawal. I sat her down, propping her up, and ran to the bathroom where my See-Your-Stuff satchel was resting. Through the full width, high quality, optical pure, vinyl front, I IMMEDIATELY spied my traveling ChefsMate knife, complete with 3.5 inch serrated blade and homemade wooden sheath. I quickly retrieved the knife from the bag and raced back to the kitchen, quickly slicing open the grapefruit and squeezed the juice into my wife’s open, gaping, drooling, mouth. Luckily the first signs of scurvy had not yet appeared and all is now good. All because of the easy access to my knife in the See-Your-Stuff!”

signed, RescueRick

dell“On another adventure I was spending a leisurely afternoon sitting around the pool of my posh digs tapping out on my laptop the final chapter of my recent book that I feel will be the new modern novel. Suddenly the screen went black and “Critical Battery Level” flashed across the screen. I knew what it meant . . . the battery was dying and needed a fast charge. Problem was there was not enough juice to save the book on the hard drive and I was in danger of losing the entire book (no backup, of course!). I grabbed the laptop and made an OJ Simpson type dash to the elevator to get to my room where the computer charger was located. My luck, the elevator was being loaded with multiple senior citizens who have earned the right to move slow and would be stopping on every floor before reaching my 12th floor suite. The only choice I had was to dash up the stairs, two at a time, until I reached the 12 floor door to my penthouse and realized I had left the room key by the pool. A repeat of the adventure ensued as I raced back to get the key, all the while my computer beating a countdown beep to shutting off due to battery failure. I finally entered the room and went immediately to locate my recently purchased See-Your-Stuff satchel that contained all my chargers, wires and various electronic gadgets (plenty of room for it all because of the wide neck opening!) Through the full width, high quality, optical pure, vinyl front, I IMMEDIATELY spied my computer charger. As I attached the charger to the computer just as it made a final burp, I collapsed on the bed and realized I had just saved what will be the next greatest American novel. I owe it all to the easy charger access of my new See-Your Stuff satchel.”

signed, Rightin’ Rick

Day 1 – MSN to Wonewoc, WI, 75 miles

Day 1 started out with the sound of rain as I woke up in a warm bed. I waited until about 11:30 am but it didn’t seem to be getting any better so headed out.

It was a YingYang type of day. As I pedaled along the Hwy 12 paved trail I notice the corn and weeds blowing wildly but could heard the wind. Of course, I had a 15-20 mile an hour tailwind that was actually pushing me along!

The Ying = the wind

The Yang = the rain

By the time I got to Sauk City the rain had stopped, I stopped at Culver’s to peal off a few layers and have a double Chocolate Éclair custard!

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The Ying = a double dish chocolate éclair custard.

The Yang = noticing my back tire was “spongy”.

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A tribute to the man who started it all!

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I knew where there was a park shelter in town so headed over there to find out what the tire problem was.

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Nothing visible from the outside of the tire . . . but on the inside, a dastardly road wire!

A quick change and I was back on the road to partly sunny skies!

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Of course one does need to get over the Baraboo Hills.

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In Denzer, there was the Ugly Coyote Bar!

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Once on top of the rage I had a nice ride along Ruff Rd, the only gravel road I found in Sauk County,

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Oh, there were a series of these as I ventured north . . .

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. . . followed by long run outs!

Made it to Reedsburg to find out the campground I was hoping to stay at was closed.

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Needed to have a map session.

Option A – Quality Inn, $109/night, I passed.

Option  B -Super 8, $79/night, I passed.

Option C – head down the 400 trail to Wonewoc where they had an American Legion Campgrounds with showers $5, let’s go for it!

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The 400 trail looks a lot like the Badger and Military Ride trails.

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At LaValle. Things have changed some!

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Some great cuts along the way.

Encountered a crane family whose father did not want me anywhere near their chick. He made many displays and charges at me while I photographed him and made a movie to!

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I finally worked my way around them and headed for Wonewoc.

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Arrived at camp at 7:30pm. Only one in camp tonight and no one to collect the money.

The Ying = free camping

The Yang – showers not available other than during the day.

. . . and it started raining about midnight!

Day 2: Wonewoc, WI to Sparta,WI, 75 miles

Woke to the sound of rain which is always a bad thing. Big decision . . . wait it out or start packing. After about ten minutes I decided to get everything packed into the panniers while INSDE the tent, put on the rain covers and transport it all to the covered park shelter. Then pull the pins on the tent and carry the whole thing over to the shelter where it can drain and dry . . . a little.

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This was the other camping option . . . Bakers Field. Ying=it was FREE, Yang=it was under water!

6222The DNR does a nice job on the trails here. Lots of viewing stations and info for the nature curious.

6223The 400 trail connects to the Sparta Elroy trail, one of the first Rails to Trails projects in the country. This one is unique to Wisconsin in that it has three tunnels. (Elroy is also the home to one of our more famous Governors, Tommy G. Thompson.

6224At this intersection it’s either left to stay on the Sparta Elroy or right to head out on the Omaha Trail (not sure where the name came from).

6225Surprised the whole trail,and state, has not been renamed to Tommyland!!!!!

6226Nice scenery to roll by . . .

6227Many of the merchants have “hitchin posts” for the horses, and shovels, brooms and special waste containers available for the “spent fuel”.

6228It’s Saturday and shopping day in Kendall for all the locals, including the large Amish community who come to town in their buggies. Buggy and buggy parking lot.

6229Largest round about, around, Kendall,s claim to fame!

62210With dining options like this, who would want to cook in camp along the way!

62211The Amish do not used motorized vehicles but they do use stationary gas powered motors to run their equipment. When they need gas, they do like anyone else who has a lawnmower, etc. drive their “rig” to town and fill up the gas cans.

62212Lots of travel choices!

62213The first tunnel on the Sparta Elroy trail.

62214The obligatory “looking from the inside out” tunnel shot.

62215Second tunnel. Always a lot of condensation from the temp and humidity changes at the tunnel entrances.

62216The third tunnel, and the longest. One definitely needed a “torch”. With all the rain overnight the tunnel had REAL ceiling seepage issues and I should have had on my raincoat . . . plus it was only about 50 degrees in the tunnel!

The clouds and humidity were building all day and the forecast was for more heavy rain tonight, so I sought out indoor shelter for the night to keep me dry and dry out my gear. Most bikers don’t like spending 80-100 dollars a night just for a “roof” and look for the 40-50 dollar range. Yes, there are still some of those out their, especially in smaller towns. But like a lot of things in life . . . you get what you pay for. Many of the motels in that price range have become “resident hotels”, inhabited by an interesting slice of Americana.

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Inside and dry . . . there was a typhoon that hit during the night that would certainly have swamped my tent. Ended up being over three inches of rain in most parts of the county.

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