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of the morning brunch, and a cool glass of raspberry lemonade helped quench the thirst.
Pickled asparagus caught our attention, and the samples spurred us on for a purchase to perhaps use in future bloody Mary concoctions.
Enough wandering, we headed back to the bike trails and a return to Wales. By now the sun was blistering, with temperatures nearing 100 degrees.
Thank goodness for the water bottles we carried. In addition to staying hydrated, the extra water also felt good down both the back and front of the shirt, helping cool the core for the return to our accommodations.
In what seemed a much longer ride, we arrived back in Wales, just in time to take in a respite across from the Pedal’rs Inn at a recently opened coffee stop. Lemonade and smoothies were the order of the day, and they settled in well, along with the air conditioning.
After a mid-afternoon rest break, we picked up the journey headed westward on the Drumlin Trail.
Not sure how much we wanted to chew off in the heat, we headed westward on the paved trail to Dousman.
Again, farm fields and rural subdivisions marked the trail, which paralleled Highway 18 for much of the 5+_ mile journey.
Arriving at Dousman, we wandered into the trail side bike shop, only to be greeted there by our B&B hosts, who happened to be there on business of their own.
Up the road, Ann found an ice cream shop to offer something cool, but I keenly remembered something that drew me back to the bike shop. It was the rare twist that caught my attention. The bike shop actually had a small bar inside, where a few of the local riders had been enjoying a beer.
The offering I had noticed was the Fixed Gear American red ale, which sported bike wheels as part of its logo.
Returning to the bike shop, we were informed that the shop was formally “closed” for the day, and beer was no longer on the menu.
My extreme disappointment was washed away, when the clerk at the bar counter conceded, agreeing that while he couldn’t sell me a beer, he could offer me one as a “sampler” on the house.
Needless to say, he was well tipped.
With relatives in the Lake Geneva area, we decided on a change of venue for Sunday’s rides, and we ventured along Highway 67 to the south, picking up another rail-to-trail segment known as the White River State Trail.
The White River trail is comprised of crushed limestone. Again, a former railbed, the trail has modest changes in elevation, and provides for a smooth ride. In all, the trail is 12 miles from one end to the other, spanning the distance from Elkhorn to Burlington.
(I should mention here that using state trails requires a paid pass. You can either opt for $5 a day, or buy an annual pass for $20. Since the passes are good on all state trails, they offer a great bargain. We have already paid for ours on a couple of trips, also taking on the Ahnapee Trail in Kewaunee County and looking to tackle a few others before the snow flies.)
Again, with the sun baking down on us, we set off with limited expectations.
We travelled east checking our energy levels along the way, and reminding ourselves that we would have to double back to reach our vehicle.
Six miles down the trail was Springfield, a former rail-stop town.
The old depot is converted to a wonderful stop for visitors, called the Pedal and Cup.
Sweet-tasting homemade lemonade provided a great respite from the heat of the trail.
A solo musician, who went by the stage name of “Cripple Hand Pete” offered tunes including folk covers and originals, as we sipped our lemonade in the sweltering shade.
As we returned to the bikes, Lyons would be the next stop three miles up the road, and perhaps on to Burlington from there.
This time, though, the sun and the heat won. As we arrived in Lyons, we found a shady spot to rest before returning back along the nine miles we had covered.
As the miles blended together, just as they had the day before, I couldn’t tell you the mile markers, or even the trail segments where they occurred, but we did manage to see lots of wildlife.
Sandhill cranes were common in the fields, usually seeking shade. We saw a few deer, a couple of foxes and a lot of ordinary types of birds.
In all, it was a great experience to explore while touring on our bikes, and one
we hope to repeat again.....soon.
Springfield’s old Soo Line rail depot is now home to those who want a refreshment break on the White River State Trail. This marks the halfway point. On a sunny Sunday afternoon, the spot provided refreshment and entertainment as Cripple Hand Pete offered folk songs for the resting bikers. At left, the parlor area at Pedal’rs Inn provided a great place to sit and unwind at day’s end.
Mike Mathes photos