Day 39 – Richland Center, WI to Viroqua, WI

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Day 39 – Richland Center, WI to Viroqua, WI – 35 miles

We can’t talk about today without mentioning last nights accommodations. Our hosts provided us with a wonderful vintage Terry travel trailer. It was very comfortable and we enjoyed our time “roughing it” in a camper. All went well until the storm that seemed to threaten us the last few days finally hit. Rain and thunder to write home about (or at least blog about). We were snug in the trailer, dry and comfortable. We like storms, so it was fun to listen to the rain and thunder, but after a few hours of no sleep, we had enough. The worst part was we both needed to relieve ourself of our hydration prep from the evening. (Having to pee in the middle of the night is a good thing!). The problem was the rain, and making the 100 ft trip to the house without an umbrella or rain coat in the trailer. We started looking for options in the trailer. Jim discovered a plastic milk jug and showed Shawn. “My aim isn’t that good!” she said. Jim laughed and said “I know your anatomy a little better than that! I’ll cut this into a chamber pot!!” A little whittling work, a little careful aiming, a pitch out the door into the pouring rain and we were good to go! It was a fun night, but the rain and our adventures left us with a less than ideal amount of sleep.

We enjoyed our time with Sue and John and in the morning, met their Grandson Lief. We enjoyed farm fresh eggs and home grown honey and biscuits. So good! At 9 am we left and we were down and up the first hill within a half mile. Even with fresh legs we couldn’t make it up this hellacious (John’s word) hill. We had to make a quick dismount and walk up the last 20 feet. This would be a bit of foreshadowing for the rest of the days ride and the hills we would hit.

The hills were beautiful! We were riding the ridge and the views were incredible! And we like riding hills, lots of gear changes, lots of position changes, (chances to stand for butt breaks), fast descents and lots of use of the drag brake. This is an area of North America that has never been covered by glaciers, is known as the Western Uplands, and characterized by rugged hills, rocky outcroppings and “sharp and frequent changes in altitude.” We felt it too! These are the most challenging hills we’ve ridden since Vermont.

It was a rough 35 miles to our first town, Viroqua. There were no towns, no parks, no stores, no nothing all morning. We took some breaks, but none very relaxing, as it seemed like we couldn’t find anywhere to lean the bike & relax – and we were always fighting gnats. (We should have accepted Sue’s offer of vanilla to repel the gnats!).

At Viroqua we were tired, it was very warm out, and we were worn out from the lack of sleep. Our plan was to go another 30 or so miles to a Warmshowers host in La Crosse. When we saw there was a small hotel in town with good reviews, we emailed the La Crosse host and told him we wouldn’t make it. It was time to get some rest right here! It was disappointing that we didn’t make our planned destination for the day, but when we did the math, we had 65 miles yesterday, and 35 today – keeping to our 50 mile average in these hills is a good accomplishment.

After showering, we walked across the parking lot and enjoyed a hearty lunch of meatloaf & mashed potatoes. Then we walked a few blocks down the street to the local food coop for groceries for dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast.

Brain Meanderings:
– Tricked out cemetery – lots of bling on the graves
– Sherry Butt House
– Kickapoo Homes – named after the nearby Kickapoo River, but still, a funny name. 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Day 39 – Richland Center, WI to Viroqua, WI

    Bill Pierce said:
    June 19, 2014 at 9:08 am

    The correct geologic name for the western one-third of Wisconsin (and neighboring portions of Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois) is the “Driftless Area” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driftless_Area) because it lacks the glacial drift of the surrounding region that was repeatedly covered during the Ice Age. It makes Wisconsin one of the most challenging states to cycle; I’d say second only to parts of Pennsylvania. Good on you both for managing even 35 miles of such riding on a loaded tandem. I agree that it’s beautiful if you have the legs for it.

    Judy DeVries-Eppinga said:
    June 19, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Awesome camper!!!! You guys rock!!!!

    Sheila said:
    June 21, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Wow, you two are doing awesome! Good job! Cute camper, it didn’t look like Jim could stand up in it. After that long day of riding, you probably just wanted to lay down anyway. Funny, you don’t pay attention to hills while driving a car. Boy, they can be work on a bicycle tho! Happy peddling and keep the rubber on the road!

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