The plan today was to ride 84 miles into Cumberland. On long days, we typically like to get some miles under our belt before breakfast, so we picked out a cafe in Harris (24 miles down the road) and set out with pancakes on our mind.
I had the maps and was in charge of navigating for the morning. About an hour in, I started to wonder if I had made a mistake somewhere; the road we were on was supposed to turn into County Road 8, but I hadn’t seen a CR 8 sign for several miles. We pulled over to try and figure out where we were and, indeed, I had missed a turn several miles back. I studied the map for a bit and figured that it would be quicker to continue the way we were headed than to double back. “Don’t worry guys, I got this.”
Flash forward 10 minutes and we were climbing punchy hills on a gravel road several miles north of the smooth, paved CR 8. In total, the detour added about 7 miles (and some gravel-grinding), which isn’t terrible, but it was definitely not my best move. We got to Harris, a little hungrier than usual, but our spirits were high. The sun was shining, the wind was at our backs, and big stacks of pancakes were on the way.
Around midday, we descended to the St Croix River, where we said goodbye to Minnesota and then climbed steeply back up to the start of a bike trail that we would ride for the next few miles. A woman who worked for the trail system asked about our route and gave us some pointers for the trail. Before she let us go, she made us promise to call our moms often and then told us where along the route we could find the best brats. That’s right, bratwursts- we’re in Wisconsin now.
After 10 miles on the packed dirt path, we were back on winding county roads. The small farms we rode by were separated by groves of beach, ash, and pine trees. The scenery was pleasantly similar to the roads around Chapel Hill, and I kept expected to round a bend and see Maple View Farms or the Saxapahaw General Store at the top of the next hill.
With our bonus miles from the morning, our total distance for the day was 91 miles. We were pretty tuckered out when we got to Cumberland, but not too tired not to take a dip in Beaver Dam Lake and go to Nezzy’s Restaurant for trivia night.
Beaver Dam Lake