We woke up at the usual 6:30 this morning and biked 18 miles before breakfast. The three of us agreed that this is the perfect distance for a pre-breakfast ride. It’s long enough to make a dent in the day’s mileage and to work up an appetite, but not so long that you run out of energy and fall into a calorie deficit.
After having pancakes and oatmeal at a casino in the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation, we biked into the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Park. We left the wide open farms and dairies of western Wisconsin and entered a more densely wooded area. On either side of us, row after row of pines and spruces grew above a lush bed of ferns and wildflowers.
When I rounded one of the bends, I saw Evan up ahead on the side of the road, fixing something on his bike. It turns out that one of the screws on his back rack had fallen out and another had snapped from bearing the extra weight. We did not have any replacement screws, so he wrapped it up as best as he could with duct tape and prayed that it would hold until we could find a hardware store. Not one mile later, we took a turn onto Service Road 7, a “Rustic Byway” according to the sign. The next 5 miles were riddled with potholes and debris. It is a true testament to Evan’s ingenuity and to the strength of duct tape that his rack made it out without any more problems.
We stopped for lunch at a cafe in Clam Lake, where we met two locals named Tim and Crystal. After talking with us for a bit, they picked up our lunch tab and made a generous donation to our fundraiser!
At 2pm, the quarterfinals World Cup match between the US and France started playing on TV at the cafe. We had made decent time in the morning, so we decided to hang out and watch the game. At halftime, the score was 1-0, and we were confident the Americans could hold their lead, so we pedaled on to Glidden. There we found a hardware store where we got some screws for Evan and learned that the US ended up winning 2-1!
Tonight we are camped out in the small and pleasant town of Butternut (population 345). Our maps didn’t list any camping available, but a quick call the city hall secured us a place to pitch our tents at the local fairgrounds.