|The Dells is all ridiculous shit like this.
|And this. (Photo Credit:Channel3000_Communi
Nevertheless, that's the exact situation I found myself in last week. I didn't point my car south and drive 30-some hours just to try my luck with the cars and WWII-era assault vehicles that populate its roads, of course. I was in the area on some family business, and the Dells provided a handy location to meet some old friends living in Michigan, particularly handy because of the three very small children in the mix. The male parental unit of the friends we were meeting, though, was an fine cycling buddy from my Tucson days--the very friend who had introduced my to the 24IHITOP way back when. So, with both of us in the same place for a few days, it was a must that some bikes be broken out, some pedals turned, and some miles accumulated.
Our plan was to load the bikes into the car and take a 35-minute run down the highway to state rec area in the hopes of finding some dirt roads and gentle trails. Wisconsin has a lot of woodsy paradise on offer, and we hoped to tap into it. But, with those aforementioned three small kids in the mix, plans shifted and changed, and it soon became apparent that our ride was going to start at the door to our motel rooms and run alongside the greater Dells area.
A quick conference with Google Maps suggested that the fastest way out of town was right down the main drag, following Route 23 until we were clear of the strip. Luckily, the main roads in the Dells have bike lanes, presumably because the immigrants and college students who make the town run need a way to get to and from their jobs, but they don't seem to mean much in the face of tourists and shuttle bus drivers. Also, the part of 23 we needed to use didn't have one. Nevertheless, we dove in and charged on. And then, with a turn slightly to the left, we saw something quite different than the Dells.
|Now THIS is an inviting sight.
The roads took us to a number of scenic places; this lake was an easy sight to capture. The two foxes and the wild turkey we spotted were considerably less so. We roamed around the area in search of as many of these spots as we could find in the few hours we had at hand, even taking a turn down a dead end road in honor of Jasper's latest philosophical inquiry.
We were, at this moment, in search of some gravel to grind, if not a dirt road or old cart path. Our Man in Marquette's big knobby tires cried out for some sort of broken surface to clutch. Alas, it was not to be. Whatever that surface in the photo above looks like, it's actually just old, nice pavement with some pebbles on top. Our miscalculation was in not considering that when you have Wisconsin Dells as part of your tax base, pretty much every inch of road in that county is going to get plenty of care and attention. No matter, though. for all riding is fine riding. And even with those big, fat knobbies, Our Man in Marquette kicked my ass along every mile anyway.
I was more thankful, though, for the time to ride with an old friend. I could take this post into territory where I compare the relative entertainment value of an incredibly complex tourist attraction to a stretch of good row, or perhaps I could weigh in on whether one's soul is better served by green fields or upside down White Houses . . . but I won't. I'm just going to be happy to have had a nice ride and to have been validated in hauling a bike across the continent.
I have faith that the ride will be there, and this time, it was.