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Wisconsin 2016

Northwoods Revisited (Bourbon & Brats & Jalapeno Burgers)

 

    2016 marked our 14th Pedal Across Wisconsin week long ride and 11th year to ride the Wisconsin Northwoods.  After a day and a half of driving from Oklahoma City, we finally made it to Rhinelander to meet up with our PAW friends.  On the first driving day we made it to Rochelle, Illinois after 12 hours.  The next day was about 6 hours, but we stopped for lunch in Steven’s Point at the Hilltop Bar & Grill for bratwurst.  It has become a tradition.  Brats just taste better in Wisconsin.

    We stayed 2 nights in the Rhinelander area and on Monday we rode and drove to Eagle River for the next 5 nights.  We had a two room suite in Quality Inn at Rhineland.  The living room had a bathroom, fridge and microwave.  The bedroom had a hot tub, bathroom and king bed.  It was GREAT for entertaining.  Kris would come to our room for wine in the evenings.

    On our transition day to Eagle River, Jim rode to the rest stop.  He said he’d had enough hills.  I picked him up in the van.  We drove to Three Lakes.  Kris drove to Three Lakes and left her vehicle there.  Jim drove on into Eagle River via the boat dock with our sandwiches, while Kris and I rode into Eagle River.

    The boat dock never becomes old.  This year there were 3 boats on one side waiting to cross and one boat on the opposite side waiting to cross.  We ate our Subway sandwiches before heading into Eagle River.

     Once we got to the Days Inn, Jim drove Kris back to Three Lakes for her vehicle.  We noticed quite a few people shuttling vehicles to Eagle River.  It is nice if you want to drive somewhere for dinner or other activities.  And it is nice to have a vehicle in case of rain days.

     After riding two days Jim said he had enough.  He was going to be a Sherpa for the rest of the trip.  It became handy for him to take our jackets after the day warmed up. One day Kris’s lunch didn’t settle very well with her, so Jim sagged her from the rest stop to Bauer’s Dam bar.  Kris had some soup and was able to ride into Eagle River.  I had a bourbon and seven-up, which has become a tradition when riding into Bauer’s Dam bar.  After we got back to Eagle River and showered, we walked over to the microbrewery and shared a beer flight.  At the PAW happy hour, I drank two bottles of water.  We walked to Riverstone for our second PAW group dining.  I had wine.  One bourbon, one beer and 2 wines.  I need a jersey that says “I bike better with booze”.  I rode my best ride the next day.

    As luck would have it, it rained on Wednesday.  That turns out to be the perfect day to take a rest day.  It may have been Dr. Pedal’s excellent planning abilities.  Whatever the case, it worked out to be perfect.  We went to the five plex movie theater in Eagle River and saw “Ghostbusters”.  It was the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon.

     The trees, the lakes, and the friends we’ve made, make riding in Northwoods a dream.  Every morning I tried to soak up as much cool air as I could, since Oklahoma won’t get that cool for another two or three months.

     Don Roberts, 85 years old brought his cousin, Mista.  We enjoyed many meals with them.  On Friday night we loaded up the van with Don, Mista and Kris to drive to Bauer’s Dam bar, meeting four other PAW alumni to have a toast and memorial to our friend, Guy, who passed away two years ago.  We told Guy stories as we enjoyed the good food on the patio of the bar.

     Saturday morning, we met Mista, Don and Kris at Leif’s next door to the hotel.  We enjoyed a final breakfast before Mista and Don rode back to Rhinelander to get their cars, while Kris headed for home.  We opted to not ride also and headed for Cedar Rapids. 

    Another tradition that started several years ago is to have dinner at the Parlor City Pub in the bohemian district of Cedar Rapids.  They have a jalapeno burger that is to die for.  I get it once a year on the trip back from Northwoods.  This year I also had a small root beer float.  Hmmmm, a little piece of heaven.

    We stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Cedar Rapids.  This is one of the nicest places we’ve stayed on our travels. They are always friendly and the breakfast buffet is one of the best.

    It was an eleven-hour drive home on Sunday back to the summer heat of Oklahoma.  But we had our memories.

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