78 miles – total 140
It was a fantastic way to turn 40! We departed under light clouds highlighting a blue sky that never got too hot and the winds were kind, so we just had to spin our legs around to cover easy ground of the entire 400 trail and Elroy-Sparta trail. We got pretty dirty from the crushed limestone trail and got wet in the tunnels from seeping groundwater. So cool to see, hear, and feel!
We arrived at a walkin campground just before Sparta (have you driven from Madison to La Crosse? If so you’ve seen a bike path bridge – campground is 100 m from there) but wanted a celebratory bottle of wine. A boondoggle ensued throughout Sparta, stopping briefly at the Piggly-Wiggly where I shifted the chain into the spokes. On a tandem, the stress on the drivetrain is such that when these things happen, they do so with passion! So – there was no pulling the chain out. Yesterday morning while debating which tools to bring, I decided (sassily) to bring spare spokes and therefore a chain whip and cassette tool, even though heavy, to be prepared fully. But … Revealing said tool to gloriously free the chain, I discovered the adapter for an Allen key was missing! Luckily a dude in Packer gear with “handy man” on the door of his pickup was, indeed, handy and lent us a socket set that fit the bill. The liquor store grew on significance!
Of note was our first flat but before the onslaught of advise about avoiding them it must be stated that the flat was on the trailer on a tube with 5,000 miles on it (!). We have a spare tube that has traveled those same 5,000 miles waiting for it’s day of glory which I, the birthday boy, implementing absolute authority over my surroundings thanks to Chandra (who normally has that role) granted to said spare tube. We should be good for another 5,000 miles or so ;-).
So here we lie in the green tent. It has traveled far with us! It’s a good thing we brought it! When I told our 4 year old nephew Leo we were going to ride a bicycle from Wisconsin through Minnesota, he said, after thinking a bit, “you’re going to need a tent”. True indeed young Leopold! And now we rest happily in the green tent.
The only sad note today was a failure of the pie gods to deliver. It seems since Pies are Square closed in Wilton, mo one has taken up the mantle of providing pie to hungry cyclists. We will find good pie soon enough!