Sunday (7/26) was a travel day. A pretty long travel day. I had estimated it would take two hours to load the van and it was actually closer to three, so I was tired before we started the driving bit.
We were thankful that it was Sunday, as traffic through Indianapolis and Madison was not as heavy as it could have been. We chose to avoid Chicago altogether, though Google claimed that was the quickest route from Dayton, Ohio to Spring Green, Wisconsin. There’s not much else to say about the drive, except that the Wisconsin part was more scenic than the Indiana and Illinois parts. We stopped in Janesville, WI to get some fast-casual food (Noodles & Co.) and spotted a food market across the road. We decided to stop in and pick up a few things before heading to the campground a couple hours up the road. The store was one of Woodman’s Markets, which apparently have been in business since 1919 and employee-owned since 1998. It was quite extensive–nearly overwhelming. I had to bypass the cheese and cheese-spread aisle since Maureen and Rebbe were waiting in the car for me and I would have been there a long time. Fortunately, I did not spend too much, as one of the ways they keep costs down is through not accepting credit cards.
We arrived at our campground near Lone Rock WI about 30 minutes before sunset. We were directed to our spacious site at the Fireside Campground by the owner and advised to scout out a path to the bathhouse before dark. We had barely enough time to get the tent set up before dark, so I didn’t heed this advice (Maureen did), which led to an interesting walk later that evening.
Monday morning we had a pretty slow start. We were tired from the weekend’s activities and driving and not super-motivated to do anything or go anywhere. I had done some research on rail trails in southwestern Wisconsin, but the one that looked good (400 state trail) was about a 40-minute drive away. When we got the wireless going, I was able to find another rail trail (the Pine River trail) that was just across the main road (route 14) from the campground!
So I installed the trailer hitch for Rebbe’s trailer, we prepped our bikes and ourselves and Rebbe, and off we went at 11:00 in the morning. The trail was almost all dirt and small gravel. It was eminently rideable on our wide touring tires, but slow going compared to riding on pavement.
I had read that the entire trail length was about 15 miles, but we didn’t know where on that length our campground fell. After about 7 miles, we thought we were 3-4 miles out from Richland Center (the birthplace of Frank Lloyd Wright, BTW) while in reality it was closer to 5 miles. By the time we got to the town center (we had passed the unnamed Supercenter, a Taco Bell, and a McDonald’s on the way in but were hopeful for something better) we were hungry, tired, and very hot. The cute little bistro I had hoped for was nowhere to be found, but we did locate a co-op, which offered prepared foods, cold drinks, and a place to sit inside. Rebbe came inside too, but there was some debate later about whether that was OK (at a point when it was too late). We enjoyed a chicken salad sandwich, refreshing tabbouli, and root beer for me/blackberry Izze for Maureen. After lunch, we were still thirsty, so we stopped at the nearby gas station for some “Kwik-ade,” which tasted a lot like a much more well-known hydration beverage. 🙂
We knew the ride back would be hot, so we just took an easy pace and stopped every few miles to drink and take some photos. We had an unplanned stop when I spotted these two Sandhill Cranes in the field right next to us.
A simple dinner completed our day, and we turned in early to rest up for our tour of Taliesin on Tuesday.