Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 60: Manitowoc, Wisconsin (Lake Michigan at last)

Today was our last full day of riding in Wisconsin (we have a short leg of a mile or so to get to the ferry dock tomorrow), and I must say that I will miss the state. It's been some terrific bike riding, and today was no exception.

We rode a total of 58 miles today, from Fond du Lac to Monitowoc, and, as a first good sign, the weather was about picture perfect -- sunny and in the 70s mostly, but with some cloud cover from time to time. It was a nice change from being too hot, too cold or simply wet.

Again, we had to ride some larger roads to get to, or link with, the smaller, back roads, but even the larger roads (Routes 151 and 42) had good shoulders and reasonable levels of traffic. But oh those smaller county roads! We rode today, at separate times, on each of County Routes H, HH and HHH (I'm still no closer to figuring out their logic), and each was really delightful riding, as were a slew of other roads (some with actual names, including Fur Farm Road). Today it was farms -- a great many of them dairy (with signs proudly proclaiming which producer, e.g., Land 'O Lakes, Henning's Cheese, they supply) -- pretty much every where I looked. Except for one stretch where we rode through what seemed like a sea of windmills -- which were gorgeous in their own way with their enormous blades and slow, methodical, turning (especially when they are on everyone's land, instead of nested in one place). But the scenery was marked as much by what was absent: no ugly aluminum-sided houses, no electric transmission lines (OK, maybe one or two, but not a lot) and, basically, no cars or trucks to speak of -- just tractors and a multitude of other farm machines such as combines, graders, plows, tillers and mowers (bet you thought I couldn't name that many -- just don't try me on identifying the crops other than corn).

One highlight of the day was stopping in at the aforementioned Henning's Cheese factory and museum, which just happened to be on our route, on Point Creek Road in Kiel, Wisconsin. It is a fourth-generation family owned and run business (since 1914), with a museum of early 1900's cheese making equipment on display and large plate glass windows that, at the same time, let you watch the modern-day cheese makers at work. And, of course, there is a store full of their product, being tended by, among others, Michelle and Leah (actual Hennings twins!), who kindly refilled my water bottles and were interested enough in my journey to ask a bunch of questions about what it is like (they ride their bikes to work each day). Thanks, Michelle and Leah, I enjoyed meeting and chatting with you -- and I love your aged Cheddar.

Tomorrow is ferry day and, as a result, also a rest day (hurray!). Our hotel (a Best Western, we're slowly upgrading here and there), is perched on the edge of Lake Michigan, so it gives us a nice anticipatory preview of the ride ahead.

Here are today's route and metrics:

The Hennings twins:


The shores of Lake Winnebago (the lake to which Fond du Lac refers):


A few of the windmills on the route:


A typical back road (actually, most were better paved):


I swear they're staring at me!


Bob, ahead of me (as usual):


A good philosophy in my book (both for this trip and life):


One of those numerous pieces of farm machinery in action:


1 comment:

  1. mark becker4:28 PM

    really nice pics. gotta respect the cows...they're looking fierce, in some kind of bovine military formation, ready to pounce (or moo...loudly) any second :) enjoy the ferry!