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Wisconsin 2008

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Cycling in Paradise

                                                                                                                                                                                      By John Wente


     Mention “paradise” and most people will think of either “Pearly Gates” or a sunny beach with cerulean waters and palm trees swaying in a gentle breeze. But when the August temperatures are soaring above the century mark, paradise to Oklahoma cyclists is crystal clear lakes surrounded by tall pines along smoothly paved roads and daytime high temperatures in the 70s and 80s. That’s what Jim and Laurie Allshouse and I found in northern Wisconsin on this year’s Pedal Across Wisconsin Northwoods tour. This was Jim and Laurie’s fifth Northwoods tour and my second.

    The tour began in Merrill, WI on Sunday, August 3 and proceeded northward to Rheinlander and Eagle River and eventually returning to Merrill after 364 miles of cycling ecstasy on Saturday, August 9. Words fail to adequately describe the beauty of this area. Nearly every residence and business is decorated with colorful displays of flowers. Lawns are brilliant green and seemingly always perfectly groomed. The lakes are crystal clear and usually as smooth as a sheet of glass. The air is perfumed with the scent of pine trees. The rural roads are practically devoid of traffic except near the larger towns and the road surfaces are generally far superior to what Oklahoma cyclists must learn to tolerate.

    This is a supremely supported tour with a food stop provided by the tour company each day, several evening meals included in the tour package, and motels carefully chosen to always include a swimming pool and hot tub. There may be other touring companies that pamper you as well as does Dr. J. Pedal (AKA Jerry Goldman) and his wonderful crew, but I can guarantee that none do it better.

    Does it sound too perfect to be true? Well, I guess the only thing some might consider to be a drawback are hills. Yes, there are some hills. But no mountains, and nothing our “flatlander” legs couldn’t master. And, of course, it’s about 1000 miles distant from Oklahoma City (sigh).

    I won’t bore you with the daily mileages and such. I’ll just leave you with this tantalizing image of a place to which I hope to return many times for more perfect weeks of cycling with Dr. J and the P.A.W. crew and good friends. It just doesn’t get any better than this!

Here is a link to the pictures.

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