Day 3: Saturday, August 11
Route: Hudson, WI to Madison, WI
Distance: 347 miles
I had a long ride ahead of me to get back to Madison on Saturday, and I was planning to spend some time with someone when I got there. The time zone change helped me crawl out of bed at 5:45 AM local time; an hour later, I hit the road. Opting to free up even more time in Madison, I trimmed my planned route for the day by skipping backroads and staying on I-94 and WI-28 for the first 38 miles to Elmwood. For 26 miles on I-94 I stared directly at a newly-risen sun hanging low in a clear blue sky Ė but once I turned south on WI-28, things became magical: the sun was at my side, traffic was nil, and the whole world was shrouded in silvery dew. I regret not stopping to take more pics early in the morning, but I did capture a few.
Amber waves of grain (OK, corn):
At a city park in Gilmanton:
Up over the ridge into the next valley:
Descending toward Arcadia:
In Arcadia, I was surprised to find this store:
The town is 3 percent Latino, unusually high for a small rural Wisconsin town; that probably accounts for the success of this unusual store. In turn, Arcadia is the headquarters of Ashley Furniture
and the site of a major Goldín Plump
chicken processing plant, which together probably account for a large number of those Latino residents.
Some new friends just south of Arcadia:
Squiggling my way down toward Dodge:
Some time after refueling in Salem, I started getting hungry for lunch. I wanted to have something local this time Ė no chain restaurant Ė but it seemed like all I could find was bars, and that wasnít very appealing. I passed through several towns without seeing anything attractive. Finally in Viroqua, I spotted some young girls on a streetcorner holding brightly colored signs: a brat sale was in progress at Nelsonís Agri-Center to raise funds for the townís high school athletic program.
I parked in front of their stand and enjoyed a couple of brats and some chips while I watched the goings-on in town:
Nelsonís is basically a True-Value hardware store, but not like any other. If you donít believe me, head to your local True-Value hardware store and ask if they can rent you a cow lift or an electric de-horner.
Viroqua isnít the smallest town in Wisconsin, but itís plenty rural. While I ate my lunch, every few minutes a tractor rumbled by on the street; on the far side of the parking lot, an Amish couple sat in their horse-drawn wagon. It was the perfect spot, and the perfect food, for a lunch on this trip.
A high-riding bull in LaFarge:
Fans of Bucky Badger:
If itís hard to make out in that picture, hereís the close-up:
I finally arrived in Madison around 3 in the afternoon, and just for grins I stopped by my childhood home. My parents had this house built in 1977, and the trees were just newly planted saplings back then. What a difference 35 years makes. Hereís the house back then:
Closer to downtown, I was glad to see that Mickies Dairy Bar
was still thriving:
I had my share of griddle cakes and malts here when I was a grad student at UW in the Ď90ís.
After about an hour of sightseeing I finally managed to contact the person I came to see: my Ph.D. advisor, whom Iím embarrassed to say I lost touch with several years ago. Blessed with good weather and reasonable winds, he and his wife and I went for a nice early evening sail on Lake Mendota and spent a few hours catching up with each other.
Me and Jay (my advisor):
It was a great way to cap off a fantastic day of riding.