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Published: October 12th 2015
This year we decided to go a little further afield for our summer bike trip by travelling to Wisconsin (we also did the Olympic Discovery Trail this spring before leaving for West Hawk Lake-5 ferry rides,a couple of hundred kilometres and lots of hills) We arranged a fully supported tour through Around Wisconsin Bike Tours choosing the Northern Woods Tour which was to be about 500 km in 6 days. There were four of us in total - myself, Jan and 2 other lake friends.
The first part of the Wisconsin trip was a 5 hour drive to Hibbing and another stay in the Hibbing Park Lodge (still no sign of Bob Dylan) The next day we drove to Three Lakes via Duluth. Minnesota and Wisconsin are both very popular fishing and cottaging destinations and there isn't much waterfront left anywhere on the lakes. It was pretty hot out but the restaurants all make full use of their air conditioning units with a good 20 degree differential to the outside temperature.
The destination hotel in Three Lakes was the Oneida Inn which is a modest facility but it has a good bar. We had our trip orientation there with
The cue sheets gave us the days route-some of us actually used them
the other 42 riders who were all from the USA, including a big group from Indiana. Dinner was a large and varied buffet and it seems we wont be starving this week. However a number of people still went up the street for ice cream after dinner. Everyone then turned in early as we were told breakfast would be at 7.00 with wheels rolling at 8.00. The first day ride is to be about 54 miles and will take us to Eagle River. The night did not go well due to a noisy air conditioner and a challenging mattress.
The next day for breakfast we had another massive food experience and then did a final pack-up to leave. We turned our luggage over to the transport people ( minus a bunch of my clothes which I cleverly left on the TV counter in the room) We were on the road by about 815 AM out of Three Lakes on a nice quiet country road. The first 30 kilometres to the rest stop went by quickly and the miles based cue sheets worked in spite of me having my odometer set to kilometres... (the next day I switched it to
Bikes in the room
Most hotels on this tour had special storage areas.
miles)After the rest stop we went to a resort place (at about the 60 kilometre point) where everyone was scheduled to take a lake cruise on a "pirate ship" I was there in time for the first cruise at 11.30 but the girls were a few minutes behind so we had lunch including beer before taking the second cruise. After the cruise we rode the last 20 km to the Eagle River Lodge. Dinner had been pre-ordered individually several weeks ago and was walleye which is a very popular fish in Wisconsin. (I think the king of fishes in the state is actually the Muskelunge (Musky) We are with a great group of people.
The next day, after another huge breakfast, everyone headed out at about 8.00 AM with a stated distance of 88 km to Land o Lakes, Wi. It was a fairly complex exit from Eagle Lake and we were assisted on the turns by the helpful tour staff. Today we had quite a few hills. I was able to get some drafting in at about 18 miles per hour for a while so that ate up some distance. After the rest stop we had some tedious
We toured a few lakes on this boat-lots of cottages
highway riding until we got to a lunch stop at the "Great Escape Bar and Grill" (a no tofu zone) We had beer.
The next 11 mile ride took us into Land o Lakes. The hotel is spectacular (Gateway Lodge) and has a golf course and trap shooting. We didn't bring our clubs or a shotgun so after a quick shower we walked downtown to find a bar and look briefly for antique duck calls. Apparently this was quite a tourist town but is experiencing some tough times with a few businesses closing. In keeping with my fishing themed shopping, i bought a worm barn. Back at the lodge it was Christmas and Thanksgiving rolled into one as we had a huge turkey dinner. No weight is being lost on this trip.
Wednesday (day 3) we had the usual major food event at breakfast , loaded our luggage and were on the trail by 815 AM. The first section was on a nice bike trail with lots of rollers. This continued for about 8 miles until we got a country store where everyone stopped because of a brief rain shower. The next section was an optional loop around
a lake (maybe 8 miles with lots of nice hills) We then had a long tedious straight ride on a highway to the rest stop. Everyone arrived in Ste Germaine about 2,00 PM and it was hot. The food highlight of the day was a hillbilly sandwich in the first bar on main street. (fried bologna, mayo,cheese and tomato) Excellent with beer... We then explored the town a bit including a stop at the "Musky Hunter Store". Since many of my bike clothes were back at the Oneida Inn, I naturally purchased a Musky Hunter shirt to wear on the next day's ride. After this, it was off to the Black Bear Lodge and Resort for free beer on the bike tour company. (also the accommodation here was the best of the trip) Dinner in the Bear's Den Bar and Grill was also excellent.
Thursday was the big ride day (101 km or 65 miles) for those not doing the kayak option. After another major breakfast pig out, I left early to get a head start for the long ride. Boulder Junction is the destination for everyone but the kayak group (most people) will stop there and be bused
The signs for the route took some diligence to see...
The best approach was to use the cue sheet and the bike odometer so you could tell where the little orange areas should be...
to the kayak place. The long haul people go through Boulder Junction and ride an extra loop. I arrived in Boulder at 10.15 then headed out towards Manitowish Waters and the excellent bike loop. I had a nice stop before the turn around at a tiki bar/marina. (bratwurst and lemonade)
One of the navigational challenges is the search for the small and sometimes faint orange arrows which have been spray painted on the pavement. It helps to know where they should be located based on the cue sheets and the bike odometer. (Some members of the group didn't use the cue sheets and missed several turns)
Near Manitowish, the trail passed through a flea market-lots of expensive antique fishing lures. This was near the beginning of a really good bike trail leading back to Boulder Junction.
I was able to get back to Boulder Junction by 2:15 PM after 101 km. (century rides are easier in metric) The kayak group got back about 4.00 and after showers it was off to the Ale House for ribs.
On day 5 nearly everyone chose to have a light continental breakfast before setting out for Minoqua. (people starting to
The rest stops were located at about the midway point of the morning rides-usually 20 miles from start
think about getting back to normal eating habits) Today I unwisely left before the girls and there were some navigation issues resulting in 15 extra kilometres for them which did not make me very popular.I waited a bit in Ste Germaine while having a Tiki Bar lemonade but no sign of anyone. The route to Minoqua included a rather tedious 17 km highway ride on Road J. Hot day, (88F) but after 70 km I was in Minoqua. After a quick stop at a bike shop for Chamois Butter, I went to the hotel. The girls did 88 Km and arrived at 2.00 (not happy) We did some shopping then had dinner at The Ale House. Water ski shows are a big thing in Wisconsin and we went to one after dinner.
Day 6 was our last day of riding and given the forecast for a hot day, we left at 730. The distance was supposed to be 64 km so we all did a fast run to Three Lakes, arriving at about 11.30. Our trip total was about 500 km and it was an excellent tour. We said our farewells, showered and were off down the road. A
lemonade - most days we had beer
few shopping events and then it was back to the Hibbing Park Lodge. One interesting feature of the trip home was the Lake Superior impact on the temperature-35C inland and 24C along the shoreline in Duluth... The next day, we arrived back at WHL at 2.00.
Tot: 3.057s; Tpl: 0.055s; cc: 12; qc: 63; dbt: 0.0433s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb