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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
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
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March 12, 2013