|I thought this was quite nice.|
|Coffee Shop in Madison|
|We got our bikes back, expertly fixed up by Martin, the very best bike mechanic in Madison!|
|Chillin' in Madison in Sam's apartment.|
After a long, hot, hilly ride into Madison, we decided a rest day might be in order. We slept in until noon (....or Jessi did, at least!). When we finally managed to get moving (us, moving behind scehdule?!?!....never!), we took our bikes to a bike shop in Madison and got them tuned up a little bit. Our fantastic bike mechanic, Martin pointed us toward Dr. Evermore's, but gave us no clues as to what to expect. His exact words were, "It's better to be surprised." Anyways, more about that to come! Then we just tooled around the gorgeous city of Madison and enjoyed a little street fair and coffee shop. We got back to Sam's and got in another good night's rest, which we both desperately needed.
Day 5 was full of ups and downs, literally and figuratively!
|Loved the view.|
|HATED the hills. Yes, we biked that.|
|Jessi knows what's ahead....and it's MORE hills!|
After a nice hilly ride, we made it to Dr. Evermore's to find that it is the world's largest collection of scrap metal art. And it was amazing! I apologize for the excessive amount of photos, but I just couldn't choose which to put up and which to leave off.....so if you hate cool art, then just skip this! Otherwise, enjoy them!
|Creepy theme park.|
|These birds are awesome!|
|These guys remind me of treansformers!|
|This whole wheel was filled with workers on strike.|
My camera died at this juncture in the day......so I did not get to photographically document it. But don't worry; I will paint you a word picture. We left Dr. Evermore's Forevertron in high spirits. But that would not last. The murderous hills of Wisconsin got to me....and my calf muscles. By the end of our 70 mile day, I was not in my most charming of dispositions, to say the least. We stopped at a restaurant, and even though they had JUST closed, they reopened the kitchen for us and made us a DELICIOUS dinner. That helped us both to finish out the day because we still had a few miles to go before we could set up our little camp. We set up our tent next to a cornfield and left the rainfly off to sleep under the stars....so romantic.
DAY 6 Moving Right Along.....NOT
We slept in a little late after our exhausting ride the day before, but we woke up in pleasant moods, ready for another big day, full of adventure and miles. We made it down the trail into the first little town with a post office (so Jessi could ship some weight home). We found a grocery store and had a bit of lunch, shipped 5 pounds back to Biloxi, and then realized that it was over 100 degrees out. We decided, wisely, that we could not ride another 70 miles in that. We then unwisely decided that we could make it 30 miles to my aunt and uncle's house in Necedah. We were wrong. We made it about 1 1/2 miles out of town, up a big hill, and prepared for death (which I promise you was not far off). We then decided our safest option was to hitchhike. Miracle of Miracles! The first car that passed us after our decision was made pulled over and agreed to drive us to Aunt Sallie and Uncle Gary's. Thanks, Kaylan! You ROCK! So.....we made to Necedah alive. We had a GREAT visit with my aunt and uncle, did our laundry, ate amazing food, and most importantly, escaped the unrelenting, lethal heat.
DAY 7 Spills and Thrills
Late start? Me and Jessi? Hahahaha. Yes, we left my aunt and uncles at 1:30. It's just hard to hit the road when you don't want to leave the great place you're at. Plus, we're slow. But, nevertheless, we started off in a drizzly rain but made great time. There was virtually no wind and the big hills were mostly behind us. We made it to.....luxury of luxuries.....WALMART in Tomah. We stocked up on some essentials and hit the road again with the hopes of making it to Minnesota that night.......hahaha, oh, you naïve girls. We started out from Walmart making great time, the drizzly rain cooling us off as we rode. I was a couple miles ahead of Jessi when my phone rang. I pulled over, listened to the voicemail, and heard, "Hi, Annie. It's Jessi. Turn around. I got in an accident." Well, I immediately called back and found out that I was several miles ahead of her, and figured it would take quite some time to reach her. Luckily, the accident happened right in front of Fort McCoy, and a whole slew of army gents rushed to Jessi's aid, and one of them even came and picked my bike and me up in a pickup. These men were so great. They not only helped patch Jessi up, but they gave us a ride to the hospital so that we wouldn't have to take an ambulance, and we would have our bikes. Turned out.....Jessi was fine. Just a bit (admittedly, a lottabit) of road rash and one pretty deep gash. But still, a champ. The people in the hospital were also wonderful. They let us stay in the family waiting room since it wasn't being used so that we wouldn't have to ride out that night and try to find somewhere to camp. We had a good night's rest, and Jessi was adamant about wanting to continue our trip, for which I commend her.
DAY 8 People are Great
We didn't leave the hospital until around noon because we had to go through the grueling process of dressing Jessi's many wounds and cleaning the hospital waiting room that we managed to completely trash in a matter of hours.
|So Happy to have a place to stay!|
|Changing Jessi's dressings.|
|She's taking it well at this juncture...but it gets worse.|
|The expression means PAIN, in case you couldn't tell.|
|Jessi was a very brave girl. She deserves a lot of ice cream.|
|Yes, I cut the bandages off with a leatherman. We are hardcore.|
|In my spare time I used my wonderful sewing skills to fix my gloves!|
|Other side, total mess.|
|The Room we trashed!|
|...But we clean up well.|
|Ready to head out for the day!|
We finally left the hospital around noon (our typical start time by this time.....we pretty much realized we are never going to get the earlybird special!). But....we left with a plan. As fate and chance would have it, one of my mother's friend's father works at a bike shop in Sparta, WI....which was on our route for the day-LUCKY. We called him, and he generously agreed to take a look at our bikes and help fix Jessi's up since it did not survive the accident completely unscathed. Hank, recumbent cyclist extraordinaire, met us when we got to Sparta, led us to the bike shop, got our bikes fixed up, let us try out a recumbent (FUN!), and took us in for dinner at his house.
|Us with Hank and Darlene Fetters before hitting the trail again.|
We made it back to the trail with one goal in mind: LaCrosse! LaCrosse was where we would finally hook up with the Northern Tier, and we could start using our maps. We already had a place to stay that evening. All we had to do was get there. Jessi was in quite a bit of pain, but she barely complained. I was quite impressed. Our host for the evening, Ed Moore, actually met us halfway with a car and picked us up. It was so nice of him. He took us out to dinner, then back to his house for showers and sleep. But first, we had to clean Jessi's wounds and redress them (No infections on my watch!). Jessi did not like this one little bit. Tears were shed. Luckily, at the end of it, Ed soothed her with ice cream. Jessi went to bed and cried herself to sleep. Ed and I stayed up and chatted until 2 a.m. OOPS! How does that happen? Great end to an exciting day.
|Jessi, in extreme pain and trying not to show it. Also, probably cursing me and the day I was born.|