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Wisconsin 2018 


Wisconsin Northwoods via E-bikes – July 2018

In June, we bought Jim an e-bike, electric pedal assist.  We took it on Grand Tour to Ohio and Jim rode it every day, except one.  When we went off the trails and rode some hills, Jim was pushing me up the hills.  I decided that Northwoods would be a lot more fun with an e-bike to ride the hills.  When we got back to Oklahoma City, we became a two e-bike family.

We started off our Pedal Across Wisconsin vacation with an early lunch at Sunnyside Diner before leaving town.  Our destination was Springfield, Missouri.  We stayed at an historical motel called Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven.  What a cool place!  They had an old pay phone booth outside, and a rotary phone at the front desk. Both phones still worked.  A 1955 Ford and a 1956 Ford car parked outside along with two old gas pumps advertising 59.5 cent gas.  The rooms had been renovated with every amenity you would want, and the internet service was lightening fast.  The front desk staff was super friendly.  I asked if there were any non-franchise places to eat.  We were told about the Springfield Brewing Company, a local microbrewery and restaurant.  The food and atmosphere were very good.  Jim and I both enjoyed a $3 glass of beer.

After dinner, we decided to go to a Super Walmart to look at their small coolers.  We planned to buy some bratwurst in Wisconsin.  As we pulled into the parking lot, a gust front with 60 mph winds moved through.  Shopping carts and construction cones were flying through the parking lot.  Tornado sirens began to blow.  We parked and ran for the building.  As soon as we were through the doors, Walmart personnel directed us to the back of the building with hundreds of other customers hunkered down.  People were on their cell phones telling loved ones that Walmart was on lock down.  Minutes later they gave the all clear.  We bought a soft sided cooler and went on our merry way.

Friday, we headed for Oglesby, Illinois.  We ran into construction on I-55 with stop and go traffic.  I spotted an Alt I-55 exit and we decided to take it.  I’m glad we did.  The ride became much more interesting as we meandered through the countryside.  It was a nice change of pace.  We were able to gas up as we were about to get on I-55, past the construction.  But the women’s bathroom at Love’s had a long line.  Most had been stuck in traffic for hours.  It was quite comical.  We enjoyed a nice drive and they were stuck on I-55.

We checked in at the Best Western Oglesby Inn and ate at MJ’s Walnut Street Grill.  Not bad for a small town.

Saturday, we touched base with Kris and agreed to meet in Steven’s Point for lunch at the Hilltop Diner.  On our way in to Steven’s Point we stopped at the Hostel Shoppe for some bike chain oil.  After brats at Hilltop we traveled on to the Quality Inn in Rhinelander.  The skies were misting, and we decided not to do the warm up ride. We met Carolyn Behrens, Sharon’s friend, who would be rooming with Kris.  Arlene and Sharon would room together.  Arlene, Jim and I all had e-bikes.

Sunday, we all rode to Perch Lake.  PAW supplied Subway sandwiches and then treated us to dinner at Holiday Acres.

Monday was our transition day to Day’s Inn in Eagle River for the rest of the week.  Kris, Arlene and I each drove our vehicles to Three Lakes.  Jim, Sharon & Carolyn met us in Three Lakes.  We bought Subway sandwiches to take to the boat lift.  Jim drove the sandwiches to the lift and then went on to Eagle River to check into our room.  When we all rode into Eagle River, Jim took Kris and Arlene back to Three Lakes to get their cars.  There were 149 riders on this year’s tour and I would guess a third of those arranged to have their cars in Eagle River.  The rest would ride back to Rhinelander on Saturday to get their cars.

Riding to the boat lift on Road X, I had a 16.5 mph average.  Rode X is like a roller coaster.  My bike is heavier and rolls downhill like a dream.  On many of the hills, I just rolled to the top.  After our lunch, I kept my bike in the lowest gear and Kris was able to keep up with me.

We opted for the Mon/Wed dinner at Riverstone supplied by PAW. Dinner on Monday evening was not what we were accustomed to.  Ron & Cindy were working at another venue.  There was no bartender downstairs, but the two working upstairs were super nice and friendly.  After dinner Kris and I went to the bar for ice cream drinks.  They made us a Dark Chocolate concoction that was pure HEAVEN!

Tuesday was a beautiful, semi cloudy day.  We rode to Lake Tomahawk for the food stop and then on to St. Germaine for lunch at 3C’s.  From St. Germain to County G was absolutely gorgeous.  The e-bikes make biking much more enjoyable.  They assist when you need them to, but you still have to work.

The bartenders at Riverstone recommended a new place called Catch 22 out on Hwy 70 E.  Turns out the place has been on our routes for years and was called Captain Nemo’s.  It has been closed for years too.  Nice to see that a new place has taken over and the food was excellent.  They had a creamy French onion soup that was delicious and unique.

Wednesday was the ride to Nicolet Forest.  Jim and Arlene were having stomach issues and didn’t ride.  Jim did drive to the lunch stop at Franklin Lake Shelter.   This was a very hilly ride but it was not an issue with my e-bike.  Great fun!

When I got back to the hotel, the room smelled wonderful.  Arlene had walked to the Wednesday Farmer’s Market a couple blocks from our hotel.  She bought flowers and gave them to us to enjoy.  What a surprise and kind gesture!  When we checked out on Saturday, I gave them to the girls at the front desk.

Dinner was at the Riverstone and back to normal.  We talked to Ron and bought some grapeseed oil to bring home.

Thursday was a cloudy start to our ride.  We rode 3 ½  miles north of Bauer’s Dam (10-mile mark), when rain began to fall.  We turned around and were soaked by the time we made it to the hotel.  We showered up, dried off and drove back to Bauer’s Dam bar for soup.  They always have chicken and dumpling soup and chili, but this day their special soup was stuffed green pepper.  It was to die for.  We are still talking about it.

At 3 p.m. we walked to Tribute Brewery for a beer flight and then we walked on to Cin Cin for wine.  We looked at their menu and made reservations for dinner.  They weren’t busy at all.  We were told that they didn’t do separate checks.  We should have left then, but we didn’t.  Service was very slow, and the food was subpar.  They had good wine, but they mixed mine and Kris’s up twice.  I’d go back for wine, but not for the food.  We did end up getting separate checks.  I guess they could tell we weren’t very pleased.

Later Kris and I walked downtown for the Thursday night music fest.  Jim drove and joined us.  The music was good when we arrived, but then they took a break.  Gift certificates were given out to first kids and then adults.  When the music started back up, it wasn’t very good.  Kris decided to ride back with Jim and I walked.  I loved walking both ways.  I had 14,580 steps for the day and slept better than I had all week.

Friday, we had breakfast at Leif’s, next door to Days Inn.  Jim and I shared an omelet.  That was the perfect proportion.  We rode to the rest stop at Star Lake, where years ago Jim got pictures of a small bear.  It was a very cool morning.  I had on my balaclava (head stocking), my yellow wind shirt and long-fingered gloves.  On the way back, we stopped at Bauer’s Dam bar for the soup of the day.  French onion with beef, mushrooms and potatoes was another good soup to enjoy.

Later, Kris and I walked back to Tribute Brewery for a beer while Jim took a nap.

After PAW Happy Hour, Kris, Jim and I drove to Bauer’s Dam Bar for the Guy Memorial.  Kris had texted us right as we were loading the car, “Don’t forget your Guy shirt”.  So we all wore our shirts for the memorial.  Dave Waycie, Don Roberts, Mista, and Ronnie joined us.  We enjoyed a great dinner.

Saturday morning Kris, Arlene, Carolyn, Sharon, Ronnie and Mista joined Jim and I for breakfast at Leif’s.  Lots of good-bys as we loaded up to drive home.  Our good friend, Don Roberts (87 years old) biked back to Rhinelander.  Hope to see him on an e-bike next time we meet.

Turns out there are two Holiday Inn Express in Cedar Rapids.  I happened to book us at one we had never stayed in before.  The front door was under construction and the temporary check in was a hotel room.  The whole first floor was in disarray with plastic sheeting, open paint cans, huge floor fans, drop cloths and other building materials.  Jim was not a happy camper.  Our room on the second floor had been newly renovated and was quite nice.  It was the biggest room of the week.  It was a very nice hotel room but the first-floor construction was disconcerting.

I had my annual jalapeno burger at Parlor City Pub and enjoyed every bite. 

The next morning, we checked out and went next door to Perkins for breakfast.  We decided this was a better location to get on the interstate when the construction is done.

When we left Eagle River Saturday morning it was 49 degrees and when we got home Sunday night at 6 p.m., it was 98 degrees.  Gotta love Oklahoma in the summer.

This was our most fun year in Northwoods.  We attribute that to our new e-bikes and riding with so many great friends.  That is the beauty of PAW.  So many people return every year and you make new friends and visit with old friends.  We have been riding Pedal Across Wisconsin tours for 14 years and hope to continue to do so for many more.

Here is the pictures link




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last modified August 04, 2018