day 2549: biking 20 miles along the elroy-sparta state trail!

day 2549: biking 20 miles along the elroy-sparta state trail! I.

for father’s day, possibly to balance out the ice cream maker i got for my birthday, kris and odin gave me a nice little saris bike carrier which means we can now go on fantastic Bicycling Adventures outside of the five or ten mile radius bike routes we traverse in town.

this is A Big Deal. we’ve wanted one Forever since we haven’t really had an easy way to transport multiple bikes in the jetta.

so, today, odin and i decided to hit the elroy-sparta state trail which is about 35 miles from homebase. i intented to go on a leisurely 5 or 10 mile ride.

odin hatched A Different Plan when the nice woman who sold us a trail ticket mentioned there was a fantastic tunnel 9 miles down the trail. 9 miles! that’d be at least 18 miles total. muuuuuuuuch longer than our previous record bike ride of 8 miles. but odin said he was up for it.

so off we rode.

day 2549: biking 20 miles along the elroy-sparta state trail! II.

after nine miles, up a 3% grade for much of the route, we finally reached The Tunnel Entrance. it was pretty neat because you could feel the cold air coming from the 3/4 mile long tunnel well before you see the entrance.

i probably shouldn’t have been surprised that odin rode the 9 miles like it was a trip around the block. i, however, was huffing a bit :-)

note, you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

and, if you can stand shakey-cam, you can watch us walk the entirety of the 3,810 foot tunnel. i was warned that it would be dark and thought the little light on the front of my bike would adequately illuminate our way. it provided just barely enough light which made for quite a interesting walk considering there was far more water dripping from the ceiling than i anticipated.

for some reason the video camera got stuck in “macro mode” ( maybe because of the water droplets on the lens? ) so it’s a little blurry, though i think it adds the right artisitic flair :-)

day 2549: biking 20 miles along the elroy-sparta state trail! III.

at the other end of the tunnel we found a sign which told the story of the making of the tunnel. apparently, workers struck an overhead spring which explains why there was so much water dripping from ceiling.

coming back through the other side of the tunnel we were surprised to run into a guy who climbed to the top of the tunnel entrance.

the video camera didn’t adjust to show his face which is probably good because i think he was smoking something that’s not legal in most states unless you have a health condition :-)

day 2549: biking 20 miles along the elroy-sparta state trail! IV.

while we were biking i told odin how awesome it would be if we ran across a little shop that sold ice cream sandwiches and lamented the fact that there was probably no chance my dream would come true.

lo and behold, we did run across a little stand that a nice old man set up in his backyard.

i think he thought it was pretty neat that we were out for a father and son ride and offered to take our picture just as we prepared to dig into the very muchly appreciated cold and creamy gift.

we’ll ignore that look on my face.

day 2549: biking 20 miles along the elroy-sparta state trail! V.

at one point on the trail there’s a cool standstone formation ( or at least i think it’s sandstone ) that appeared to be frequented by local teen-agers ( lots of names scrawled in the sand, remains of a bonfire and some empty adult beverage cans ). it’s at about miles 15 on the return route and when odin said he wanted to stop and rest and climb to the top i was only too happy to oblige.

day 2549: biking 20 miles along the elroy-sparta state trail! VI.

( i couldn’t resist taking one more of odin sitting on top of the sandstone and it didn’t have anything to do with me wanting to “milk” every minute out of the rest stop. honest. no, really. )

day 2549: biking 20 miles along the elroy-sparta state trail! VII.

aaaaaaand, we. finally. finished. all. twenty. miles.

we talked a lot during the ride about judging how much energy you had left and told him many, many time we didn’t have to bike the whole route all at once. but maybe that was all about me and not him.

he finished with a smile and said he could have probably rode 40 miles. or maybe 50.

and, as his style, he said he said he couldn’t possibly thank me enough for taking him on The Best Bike Ride Ever.

day 2549: biking 20 miles along the elroy-sparta state trail! VIII.

epilogue: sparta, wisconsin is the self-described “Bicycling Capital of America” because the traile we rode was the first rail bed in wisconsin to be converted to bike trails. i’m not sure that warrants the title ( why not the “Bicycling Capital of Wisconsin”? ) but it’s a fun little bit of appropriate trivia.

the strawberries are coming!

the strawberries are coming!

finally the strawberries are ready for the pickin’! we got about a gallon of them today and there are many, many more on the way. they are noticeably less bugs and slugs in the garden this year which i assume is a side benefit of The Girls pecking and scratching around the garden.

i think there are few things more enjoyable than fresh berries from the garden.

we’ll freeze most of them, but i think there is a strawberry pie or two in our future. and maybe some homemade strawberrry ice cream. and perhaps some jam.