Day 51: Amery to Downing - Racpat Northern Tier - CycleBlaze

July 21, 2021

Day 51: Amery to Downing

"Wisconsin Nice"

“The gentleman over in the corner paid for your meals,” the waitress at the Westside Café in Clear Lake tells us after the man had already left. “He knew you were cyclists,” she continues. We ask her to tell him thank you and that we will pay it forward.

Our original destination for today had been Menomonie. We had contacted a Warmshowers host there who wasn’t able to host us, but instead arranged for us to stay with some of his friends about 15 miles north of town. This would mean a much longer day tomorrow, but the idea of only a short ride today and a half restday at a comfortable place appeals so we head for Downing.

When is a half rest day, not a half rest day? After yesterday of flat trail riding of 71 miles, today’s ride is a bit of a shock. When distance is short on miles but heavy on the downhill to a deep gulley and climb up the next hill, can be as tiring as a long distance day. It’s a toss-up on what kind of road makes for good cycling. Flat means you are pedaling all the time, unless there’s a tailwind. Flat and a headwind is not fun. Rolling hills are nice when the gradient of the downhill gives enough momentum to make it up or with little effort over the next hill. Then there is the rolling hill where the steepness of the climb stops any momentum gained from the downhill making sometimes long mountain passes easier than rolling hills; for once at the summit there is a reward of a downhill. Yet again, a steep downhill isn’t always easier needing to watch the road and tiring on the hands because of braking instead of the legs. And then, none of that matters if the wind is friend or foe.

The ride is pretty hilly amongst thick woods and lots of small dairy farms. At one point a black bear wanders out of the forest onto the grassy road side. He notices Rachel riding up, turns around and bolts back into the forest. Together with some Sandhill Cranes that take off when we stop to look at them these make up the highlights. The Wisconsin drivers so far have been very respectful to us.

 We pick up a few groceries and a bottle of wine in Glenwood City, ride through Downing and head down the road our hosts live on. Their home is set back from the quiet country road in 25 acres of grass, trees and garden. There is a large pond with a small wooden cabin next to it where we will sleep. Our hosts are not home but have left the door of the house unlocked so we can shower and enjoy the coolness of the house. Jody comes home first; she has been working at her imported cloth and carpet store, Cultural Cloth Handmade Home Decor Textiles|Cultural Cloth

Kurt comes home later from a visit to his grandkids in Minneapolis. He brings home a Thai food feast that we share on the front porch. Kurt is now retired, but he has a shop where he made hanging chairs. Hooks in the ceilings and lots of hanging chairs in the house and yard testify to that. The yard is also full of other just-started, in-progress and almost-done projects using bent wood, old farm equipment and exterior fabric.

We really like the landscape of rolling planted fields of corn and beans and the forests of Wisconsin. But just like our hosts in Brainerd, Kurt warns us about being careful about the ticks. Lyme disease is very common here. It sounds like the only time you want to venture into the thick woods is when the snow is down.

Tomorrow to Alma and LaCrosse in two days.

Local beer, we had last night with the Pizza
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Westside Cafe for second breakfast
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Rachel says to Patrick, "you can have a truck in the yard if it looks like this."
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There's a detour.....
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The lane to our Warmshowers Hosts
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Beautiful garden
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Today's ride: 35 miles (56 km)
Total: 2,135 miles (3,436 km)

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