‘FOLLOW THE SIGNS TO THE PIGGLY WIGGLY’
We had perfect cycling weather today for our 85 mile ride to Fond du Lac, WI. A little breeze kept the 80 degree day very comfortable under partially cloudy conditions. We rode on county roads with initials -not numbers- like CR “N”, and CR “J”. The pleasant Wisconsin countryside has beautiful ridges in the distance and you can see the rolling hills and corn fields for miles on end. We saw mostly agricultural farms with soybeans and corn as the main crops. There were surprisingly few dairy farms on this route.
At the 32 mile mark we cycled past Buffalo Lake outside the town of Montello, a town that appears to have frozen in time 50 years ago. At the SAG we were promised a “beautiful waterfall over granite rock, with swans swimming in the lake below”. It was scenic and relaxing stop.
Keith (IA) and I then pace lined for 15 miles to Princeton, where we ran into road construction and confusing “detour” signs, and mixed signals from the traffic flow. Lisa, asked a native if we could get through the construction on bikes, or if there was a better way out of town? His response was to “follow the signs for the Piggly Wiggly”. This local chain store had posted signs for directions to the store to help Princetonians find it in the confusion of road construction. Follow the signs we did–right to where we wanted to be. Sometimes it just works out right!
After the second SAG in Ripon, WI, “Birthplace of the Republican Party”, according to the sign, Dan and I hammered for 22 miles into Fond du Lac. When Dan can “smell the barn” at the end of the ride–say the last 20-25 miles–he really lets it go. I was hanging on at 19-20 mph right up to the ice cream stop on the outskirts of town.
Our hotel is right downtown–a real city hotel in this attractive town of 42,000 people. The city is located at “the bottom of the Lake” (Winnebago), hence the name of the city in French: Fond du Lac. It has been recognized as the second safest metro area in the US, and is home to the state’s first cheese factory.
We have a group of riders who call themselves; “The Final Four”, as in the last 4 people to finish the ride each day. Annie, Lois, Stew and Abe have more fun with their relaxed style of bike riding–and have been seen just lying in the grass at the roadside looking up at the clouds. They have t-shirts with Final Four on the back. Their goal yesterday was to make it to Route Rap, which is held daily at 5:00 pm. They made it–and received applause from the cycling group. We do have some laughs.
Today Ilkka received word of the birth of a grandchild. Chalk marked words of congratulation were written along our route today. Yesterday, Lois’s sisters and their children placed humorous signs near Wisconsin Dells welcoming her arrival at the hotel.
I’m off to “ mechanic hour” to have a new chain put on my TREK. We have 2550 miles behind us, so it is time for a new one.
Pedaling in Packerland,
photos: (LtoR) Falls in Montello, Wisconsin faramland, Downtown Fond du Lac.