Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dakota Treats and Madison

We left Winona after a busy breakfast at the main cafeteria at Winona State University.  I think there was a football camp going on, as the place was packed with high school aged athletes and then our bicycle "gang".   Coach Charleton had told us that we would have a special treat today, as we were going to have our first Checkpoint at the home of the Myers family in Dakota, MN.

 The Myers family started welcoming Big Riders a few years ago when the girls setup a lemonade stand.  They have these wonderful scrapbooks with pictures of every Big Rider.   Today they welcomed us with food, drink and open arms and it was wonderful.
Guestbook includes every Big Rider
 Wish I could go back and try all of the stuff that I missed the first time around.  Those cupcakes were delicious, I had a big slice of pie, consumed a bunch of watermelon, drank about a gallon of punch and iced tea.   Awesome !

Yum !
 They have this beautiful garden area.  Everything was blooming and well kept.

Beautiful garden
Here's the family...

Our hosts
And some pictures of some of the Myers.
Kate & Beah Myers
Newspaper with story about Big Ride

Yum Again 

Glenn Myers & Charleton

Mary Lou Myers

Great Welcome Sign

The Mississippi is right across the street !

Could have stayed all day !

Everyone !!
We hated to leave, but all knew that we still had some hard miles ahead of us, and the day was getting much warmer, so Sarah, Doron, Rob and I bid our goodbyes and started up the road.   After a few miles and a ride along a riverside bike path, we got to Wisconsin. 
Hi Wisconsin !
 Then a bit later, we crossed over the main Mississippi channel into LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where we rolled along, "taking the lane" and hitting every single red light in the town.

Mississippi River bridge
The rest of the day was hot, humid and hot.  We finally ended up at a fairgrounds, and the folks running a Vacation Bible School at the next door Viroqua Christian Church saw our tents pitched in 100 deg heat and their pastor offered us a stay inside some nice air conditioning.   So with a long day passed, we bedded down in the nursery room with a pretty sunset out the window.

Sunset from the nursery room


The ride to Madison was going to be a 100 mile ride, and the company started early, getting up at 4 am and I, Sarah, Steve, Cookie and Molly were on the road in the darkness at 5:10 am.  We rolled along through rolling hills, some a bit steep, but not too bad.  

Going back to nature
The ride went well, we saw these lily pads at one of the Checkpoints at about the 75 mile point.

Lily Pads at a Checkpoint
 Dover, WI was a small town and not much is left except for this cemetery.  A few graves and two very beautiful large trees.

Roadside cemetery for Dover, WI
 Our last checkpoint was at the UpHill Grind Bicycle & Coffee shop outside Madison.  On the wall were posters from two Tour of the Tucson Mountains rides, one from El Tour de Tucson, and one from the Cochise Cycling Classic.   These are all Tucson rides and it was cool to see these posters hanging some two thousand miles away.

UpHill Grind Bicycle Shop & Tucson El Tour Poster
 I think Sarah and I got into Madison around 2:15 or so, and we made our way to the Student Union which fronts the lake in Madison.
Bikes & Boats at Union Terrace
 After dinner, I took my bike to Machinery Row bicycles to have my chain replaced.   It was still good, but we have another 1300 miles of riding to do, so it seemed prudent to go ahead and get it replaced.   Just as I got in the door, the heavens opened up and Madison got it's first big rainfall of July.
Raining cats & dogs at Machinery Row Bikes in Madison
 And later, some of us went out on State Street in Madison and we ordered this "boot" full of beer.   A great way to finish up this week of Big Ride riding.   Thursday is an off day for us, and then Friday morning we roll for Illinois.  DC is getting closer all the time !

Das Boot !  Me, Doron, Camilo, Ben & Liz 

1 comment:

  1. Mike, Thanks for coming to our stop, we really enjoyed having you. You posted some nice pictures and you even spelled are names right!
    I will keep reading so I can hear about all your adventures on the way to D.C.