Here's a couple of photos from last night.
|Mississippi River in the evening|
|Attempt at sunset|
I also met two other cyclists, Dylan and Sam. They are going to Port Townsend, WA from Maine. They said they started a little too early as it was pretty cold still in Maine. Nice guys, both in their 20s.
I woke up really early this morning, but forced myself to stay in my sleeping bag until 5:45. Still, I was on the road by 7:10. I had looked at the map and saw that I had the option of going back across the river to Wisconsin to ride the Great River State Trail. It is an off-road trail that goes 23 miles to La Crosse.
All I had to do was cross the river in Winona which turned out to be quite easy as there is a wide pedestrian/bike path on the bridge similar to the bridge over the Narrows in Tacoma. On the other side, the path looped around and under the bridge to put me on the correct side of the highway.
|Bridge to Wisconsin|
|Tilmann on the bridge|
|Back to Wisconsin|
Finding the trail seemed like it would be pretty straight forward. I mean, this is a well known trail in these parts. Surely there would be a sign...not so much. The only sign I saw (and rode by) was one that said Marshland Access. When I wasn't seeing anything, yet I knew I must have missed it, I turned on my phone and realized I had passed it, and it was indeed the Marshland Access.
The trail is a dirt/gravel doubletrack. Easy peasy until I saw a sign for the trail, and the trail became a freshly graded soft dirt. Curiously, the gravel road went right beside it. I said to myself, forget this, I'm getting back on the gravel! Then it was fine. After awhile, I came out to a trailhead area. It was a little confusing, but I finally found where the trail picked up again. I went through this puddle three times! As I got back on the trail, I saw a sign saying there was a $6.00 charge for a day pass. I assumed that was to park a car, so I didn't pay anything.
|Tiny trail sign|
|The soft dirt trail in the right|
|At least the wheels got clean|
The trail is a rail trail, so pretty flat, and mostly riding through a tunnel of green marsh land. The flies were incredibly annoying biting bastards. I reapplied my friend Ben. That helped, but every time I stopped, they would swarm around me.
Dylan told me there are a few trails that sort of connect across Wisconsin for a total of something like 180 miles. There are even tunnels on one of them. Unfortunately, I could only do the Great River one.
|Creek in the marsh|
|One of the longer bridges|
At Perrot State Park, I rode around to check it out. Looked like a nice park, and mostly full. I don't know Wisconsin's policy about cyclists and full campgrounds. I didn't need to find out. I got back on the trail and continued e were a few towns along the way. Onalaska was a major trailhead. Again, the signage was a bit confusing. There was a sign pointing to continue down a street, but there was never another sign. I had to look it up on Google maps. Turns out I looked just in time as I needed to turn right there.
I knew I had to come into La Crosse to go across the river and return to Minnesota. Once I was off the trail, I just let Google direct me to the bridge.
I was back on the route in La Crescent. I stopped at a Kwik Mart and got some lunch and a few groceries and filled up on water. From there it was 10 miles to Wildcat Landing Campground where I am, once again, camped on the Mississippi. I've been invited to dinner with my neighbors. Ben, his fiancé, dad Jeff, and a few siblings and kids are here for Father's Day weekend. They come every year from La Crosse.
There's a storm coming. I hope my clothes get dry before it gets here...
Update: The storm was pretty intense, lots of lightening and a healthy dose of rain. It was actually nice as it cooled off. Everything held up just fine. My clothes got mostly dry, but not quite before the rain started. No worries, they'll dry on the bike. Dinner was good. Corn on the cob, roasted over the fire, then Brats also cooked over the fire in beer. Also baked beans. A regular BBQ dinner!