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Wisconsin 2011

Vacation 2011

Escape from the Oklahoma Volcanic Heat

  Story by Jim Allshouse

Laurie and I had planned early this year that we wanted to go again to the Northwood’s of Wisconsin for a bike ride.   We set it up with Dr. J Pedal, CEO of “Pedal across Wisconsin”.  Whenever you are trying to get anything done with a large conglomerate company, it is better to start at the top.

John Wente joined us as we left Oklahoma and the 100+ deg temps behind.  It was nice to go north.  The night before we left, we had to change our route as they had a bunch of rain in Dubuque, IA.  The Mississippi River was flooding.  Going thru the Rockford triangle again and not having any problems was nice.

Arriving in Merrill, Wisconsin, we were greeted by Dr. J Pedal.  It was nice to see the PAW crew again.  Heck, even Guy was there, so the week would be perfect. After Sharon and Arlene got there, we went for lunch and then decided to go for a short ride. Low and behold, Guy was going with us. Guy came out of the motel and told us a bad storm cell was heading our way pretty fast.  We rode anyway and got about 1 ½ miles when thunder and lightning started so we went back FAST to the motel to get under the car port.   Man, the wind came up and the rain hit as soon as we got the motel, they had wind damage around town with our motel had some trees that blew over.

Day 1 Sunday, 55 miles
The first day we rode from Merrill to Rhinelander, WI.  It was a beautiful ride in the fresh morning air after a storm.  I was riding with John Wente and he said his handlebars were loose and turning.  We decided to fix the problem at the motel because we could not fix it out on the road.  When we got to the motel, we found a coke can in the garbage in the business center room.  The can worked and we all went to dinner at Wolf’s Lodge across the street.

Day 2 Monday, 39 miles
Leaving Rhinelander today we rode to Eagle River, my favorite town on the ride.  We followed the prescribed route until we got to Three Lakes.  They had a winery and so we stopped to sample just what they had.  We bought sandwiches at a local shop for our lunch stop.  Across the road was a gravel dirt trail called the Three Eagle trail to Eagle River.   We decided to go off route and explored the trail.  We stopped by the Petroleum museum, but it was closed so we just took pictures.  The trail was nice, but the north end had some BIG horse flies that gave us the incentive to HURRY and not stop.  When we got to Eagle River we spotted picnic tables at the tennis courts so we just sat down and had our lunch. That trail was pretty good with only one quick hill of soft dirt. 

Day 3 Tuesday, 0 miles
We woke up around 6:00 am to thunder and a BUNCH of rain.  Laurie decided to call and try to book massages downtown.  We lucked out and got appointments at 10 am and 11 am.  Afterwards we met John and Kris at the downtown movie theater to watch “Cowboy’s and Aliens”.  It was pretty good.  The theater was packed with tourists escaping the rain.  I bet the owner wished it rained every day.  It was nice to see rain, but I didn’t want to ride in it.  It turned into a GREAT DAY with great friends. 

Day 4 Wednesday, 49 miles
Nicolet Forest was our destination for lunch today.  The lunch was great with a good climb out of the park back to the highway.  We just came back on the highway and about halfway back, I was riding about 17 mph.  Here comes my bride and PASSES me at 21 mph.  Being the good husband, I just sucked in behind her and rode her draft.  She always rides well, when it is cooler than 100 deg, like it has been this summer in Oklahoma.  After we showered, we went to the grocery store across the street to git some wine for the next couple of days.

Day 5 Thursday, 59 miles
Our group rode this day backwards by going to the Country Store first to have lunch.  We got there about 9:15 am and had lunch/breakfast. Ya know, old people on touring bikes always have the problem of being too darn fast.  It was not really a good experience.  I overheard the owner saying something that will make me go elsewhere to eat next time.  After leaving there, we rode to Land of Lake’s for ice cream.  Then we returned to Eagle River.  It was hot to the locals - about 81 deg.  In Oklahoma City it was like 150 deg. 

Day 6 Friday, 66 miles “for Laurie”
The day started nice.  I was having a problem with my legs aching when my heart rate was above 125 bpm., so I tried to stay under that.  I told John, Laurie, Kris, Sharon, and Arlene to just go on and not wait for me.  I finally made it to the lunch stop about 20 minutes after Laurie got there.  She had already asked my buddy, Guy to give me a ride to Rhinelander.  Laurie was having lunch and waiting for me. When I got there, I just loaded my bike on Bob’s car and got into Guy’s SUV and we went to Merrill to get my van.   I only rode 38 miles and could not take anymore.   Laurie rode the full route of 67 miles and came in STRONG.  She had gotten stronger by the day.  I was at the motel when Laurie got there. 

Day 7 Saturday, 0 miles
We decided to not ride and head for home.  Northwoods is a day and a half drive to Oklahoma City.  Laurie had to go back to work on Monday morn at 7:00 am.  We tried to absorb all the cool air and special memories to sustain us as the temperatures just continued to rise as we headed south.
All in all it worked out well.  Northwoods is a special place and we always feel the draw to visit again.


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last modified March 12, 2013