Tuesday, September 13, 2016

At breakfast this morning we met Rick and Mike, two men cycling from the headwaters to St. Louis.  They are camping when possible and the threat of a thunderstorm had them in our motel last night.  They are continuing on the West route of the MRT while we headed for Wisconsin.  I left over the Vermillion bridge out of Hastings.

This small town has a very nice waterfront.

A stretch of the MRT being constructed.  I asked one of the workers and he confirmed it.
Shortly after I took that picture, I turned right into Prescott, WI and realized I probably could have done today's route without too much GPS help.  The audio cue in my ear was "Turn Left in 52 miles".
I knew that the MR fed many lakes.  This may be one of the largest.

I could not honestly tell when I was no longer looking at the lake and when I was riding beside the river. However, I know this shot is essentially of the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. Note the railroad tracks.  They will give you an idea of how high I was.
Today was my first real change in terrain.  The Minnesota flat lands gave way to the rolling hills of Wisconsin.  Of the 3,200 feet I climbed today, over 2,000 of it was in the first 33 miles and was primarily four hills.  It started to feel like home.  There were two climbs of about a mile with average grades of 6% that occasionally touched on 7-8 % and even 9 % on the third.  The fourth was a two mile climb that averaged around 4% and rarely went above 5.   After that, it was easy rollers with a wind at my back and, between the mostly smooth road and great scenery, was a really fun ride.
Cathy met me for lunch around mile 50.  I found a "Scenic Outlook" (that was not as much of an outlook as two previous) that had a couple of picnic tables.  We finished the leftovers from last nights delicious Mexican dinner plus some garden grown tomatoes from Cathy's friend Merrily (see posting of September 8). The food tasted as good as it had last night.  The setting probably contributed.
Another five miles down the road I crossed the Chippewa river on its way to join the Mississippi.
 What I loved for the next several miles was the marshland.  Both sides of the road looked like this and every half mile or less I crossed a small bridge where another creek added to the wetlands.
This shot aptly demonstrates the most dramatic difference between the two sides of the river.  The Minnesota side is essentially flat.  Looking across the river you see a tree line that appears to be just above the shore.  Miles beyond that are hills.  In contrast, cycling along Hwy 35 in Wisconsin is cycling between bluffs and the river.  If you look closely, you can just get a glimpse of the river on the right side of the picture.  The bluffs you see in the middle were constant companions for over 40 miles. 
 I had some very different scenery in the last 10 miles.  However, I got a text from Cathy telling me that if I hurried we could get in on a free wine tasting.  I went into time trial mode and flew in Fountain City.  It turned out I had plenty of time for wine tasting.  I did, however, get to Brone's bike shop shortly before closing where he also sells ice cream.  This is an amazing place that apparently serves a large area with no real competition.  Check it out at http://www.bronesbikeshop.com/.
He is also open at 8 in the morning for espresso so you can guess where our day will begin tomorrow.  Here is where it ended today - 7 Hawks winery.

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