Monday, September 21, 2015

Kenosha Harbor Bike Ride

Was planning to ride my bike along the Harbor Sunday with a cousin.  I was just too fried from the reunion festivities.  Went out for breakfast with my mom.  Rested in the hotel room.  In the evening, I went over to the Brat Stop for a couple pints of beer and a brat.

While at the Brat Stop, I picked up a Packer/Brat Stop t-shirt.  The clerk checking out my purchase asked if I was/is in the military.  She gave me a 10% discount because of my Army service.

From my bike ride, went to Mom's apartment.  We went to DeRango's Pizza for an early dinner. I ordered a bottle of Fat Tire and cheeseburger with fries.  Mom ordered diet coke and french dip.  Drinks came quickly but it too forever to get out food.  Well over 1/2 hour waiting for our food.  I do not recommend this establishment.

50th High School Reunion

This was my reason for driving to Kenosha County, WI.  Normally, I would be attending my army unit reunion, but 50 year high school reunion took precedence.

The reunion was held in the pavilion at Jeddy's Bar in Brighton, WI.  Its is a nice facility for the size of our group.  I was one of the first classmates to arrive and a couple of the last to leave.  Was an good way to spend 5 hours on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

Good food, unfortunately they did not have a craft beers on tap.

Had to take a couple "Tylenol" to calm the brain from the noise.  I was exhausted and my speech was gone by the time I got to my hotel room.  Crashed into be early.  Great day.  Great to see and visit with so many of my classmates.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Reunion Meet-Greet

Thursday afternoon, i got into Kenosha. WI area.  Settled into my hotel.  Met my mom and an aunt for breakfast Friday morning.  After breakfast, mom drove us over to Petrifying Springs County Park.

Much of the land of the park was originally owned my my ancestors.  A mural is being painted on the side of a barn in the park.  The mural includes my grandmother and her brother with scenes of the park.  For some 25 years, my grandmother worked summer in a concession stand in the park.

After a nap, it was time to change clothes for the meet and greet for my high school 50 reunion.  The function was held at the Brat Stop.  In the day, the Brat Stop was an 18yo beer bar and cheese/brat store.  Great time visiting with my old classmates.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Root River Trail

Not in a big hurry this morning.  Waffle and coffee at the motel.  Weather was threatening light rain/drizzle.  Forecast was a clearing, to headed out for Lanesboro, MN and the Root River Trail.  the trail is on an old railroad right-of-way.

This  town, about 50 miles SW of La Crosse, was a hub of bicycle activities,  The trail is paved with asphalt, a welcome break from the crushed stone I had been riding in the area.  As you can see in today's photo, even the bridge decking is paved.

Rode a little over 2 1/2 miles.  Facing a hill I would need to descend (and climb back!) I turned back to town.  Also, I knew i had a little climb as the trail comes into town, my legs were almost toast from the rides on the trip.  I have been riding every-other day.  Had a burger and fries at the little diner in Lanesboro.

Back to La Crosse, rested and soon time for dinner.  It was my day for a bacon cheeseburger and craft beer.  Headed downtown to The Old Crow.  Had the local Pearl Street Brewery "Oktoberfest" beer.  Was a nice compliment to the burger.  Stuffed, did not any ice cream to top off the night.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

La Crosse - Day 2

Needed a light day - Sunday was the day.  Light breakfast (the breakfast room was a zoo).  In the morning, I drove over to the La Crescent side of the river.  Mostly to find a Minnesota map (free, information type).  No luck, back in the room I rested and watched TV.

Headed out early for the pizza and beer cruise on the La Crosse Queen.  Took some photos along the riverfront while waiting.

Nice, relaxing 1 1/2 hour cruise on the Mississippi River.  Domino Pizza and an American big brewery beer.  But, I suffered through it (LOL).  Finished the night with a Heath Blizzard at DQ.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

La Crosse - Day 1

Had a great day in La Crosse.  Was not sure how things would turn out since my legs were still complaining from the climb to the tunnel on the Elroy-Sparta Trail.

Started the day with a waffle. coffee, and apple juice at the motel.  Looks like there was some light rain on the car and the sky was overcast.  Anyway, this was my day for a bike ride so figured to make the best of it.

Plan was to ride the Great River State Trail.  After some false starts to find a trailhead, I headed down the trail.  Rode South from County Z.  From the maps, its looked like this area would afford some nice views of the river (and Lake Onalsaka.  But, this was not the case.  On the sides of the trail was covered with trees and brush.  Checked the trail North from Countu Z - trees with a section of prairie restoration.  Lots of joggers out on this section of the trail.  Several cyclists, by more joggers.

After a 5 mile ride on the Great River State Trail, I drove North to find the Lytles Landing trailhead.  On the way back from that trailhead, I came across the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge.  The refuge had paved bicycle trails and dirt walking/hiking trails.  Rode my bike from the parking lot near the river through the prairie and over to the headquarters building.

Back at the room, I processed the morning photos, watched some TV and rested.  Soon, it was time for dinner.  Was planning to sample the cuisine at Stolpa's Stein Haus.  Thanks to Steve for my first stein of beer.  Ended up with 2 steins of Hofbrau Dunkel - a German beer.  It was the closest they had for an Amber Ale.

Had a nice conversation with Steve.  He had 2 uncles that served in Viet Nam, one of them being in the SeaBees.  Very friendly place.  A another customer couple thought I might be a food critic since I shot a photo of my food.  Told them about my trips and trying to sample the local cuisine. Gave them and Steve's the link to my web site.

Ordered a "Stein Haus" Brat for dinner.  Still hungry, I order another brat and stein of the same beer.  Would have liked to have a local beer, but once in a while have to check out the European brews.  It was then time to head to the motel.  Made a look around the pub to get a photo of the place.  Steve was just leaving the place.

Topped off the day with a Heath Blizzard.  Was a great day in La Crosse.  Have to see what I can schedule tomorrow.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Coon Valley to La Crosse

Slept in a little this morning.  Legs (hell my whole body) were complaining from yesterday's bike ride.  Breakfast with Peg & Gerry and Kay & John.  Loaded up my bags, took a couple photos and off towards La Crosse and the bicycle festival.

Little detour to drive up to Ganddad Bluff.  Took a few photos. nice view of La Crosse from that location.

Down to the river to stop in the Visitor's Center pick up area information.  After that, it was time to check into my lodging.  registered for the bike festival (on line) Tried to nap, but no go.  Grabbed the camera and drove downtown to find the park where the festival activities were scheduled. 

From there 2 more blocks to Bodega Brew Pub.  Had a ham and cheddar sandwich with kettle chips. Washed it down with a pint of Surly Scottish Ale.  This was a nice, mellow dark amber all.  Surly is a Minneapolis craft brewery.

Ended the day with a DQ Heath Blizzard.  With the heat and humidity (it has rained in town while registering for the festival) the ice cream hit the spot.  In for the night, need to spend some time deciding activities for the next couple days.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Elroy-Sparta State Trail

After some coffee and breakfast, I was off to Wilton to ride the Elroy-Sparta State Trail.  This was the first Rails-to-Trails in Wisconsin.  Planned to ride West from Wilton up to Tunnel 2, a 2 mile ride.  Was a humid, but not too warm morning (low/mid 70s).  Stopped in at the Hardware Hank's that sells trail passes.  Since i will be in the area for the long weekend and will be Wisconsin 2 more times later this year, I splurged with the $20 year pass.

I forgot how exhausting it  grinding up the constant 2% grade on these trails. Had to be stopped to rest my legs and slow down my heart rate a couple times during the climb.  My legs were almost toast when I arrived at the tunnel.  Had my headlight - but not seeing anything in the 1/4 mile tunnel.  Fog rolling out of the tunnel (see photo).  Took a couple photos in the tunnel and headed down the hill.  Really enjoyed coasting the 2 miles back down to town.

Back at the house, I processed photos from the ride. Then time for a shower (felt great).

Gerry and I headed into Coon Valley for lunch.  The bat (Legacy Grill & Pub) had craft beers on top.  Had 2 glasses of Capital Brewery's Wisconsin Amber with a cheeseburger and fries.  We were served by Leah.  Friendly establishment, good selection of craft beers.

More visiting with the family.  Then it was time to finish photos and write yesterday's blog posting.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Decorah to Coon Valley

Slept in a little.  Motel breakfast, and loaded the car (did not bring much stuff in for the 2 nights).  Went into town to the bike shop.  See if they could fix/replace the computer.  Found out the sensor was a little out of adjustment.  They lubed the chain and ran though the gears.  No charge.  Gave them one of my calendars.

On to Effigy Mounds National Monument.  Watched their film and checked out the 3 mounds near the visitor's center.  No way my legs would make the 2 mile hike to the next mounds.  The Ranger suggested I drive down 8 miles further and check out Pike's Peak State Park.  Great view of the Mississippi River from a bluff.

On back North and East to Coon Valley, WI.  Stopped a couple times for some photos - Trains, river lock and misc landscape.  Cousin Peg found me call her on the phone in my car.  Got directions to the house and settle in for the evening.  Cousin Kay and her husband also came over the Michigan.  Nice visit.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Day in Decorah

Knew it was going to be a hot and humid day.  After my morning shower, I dressed in my cycling kit before breakfast.  After motel breakfast of biscuit & gravy, I was ready for bike ride.

Did good selecting my lodging - just 2 blocks down the street to the Trout Run Trail.  Started riding clockwise, riding as far as the fish hatchery, just short of milepost 5.  Took me just past where the Decorah eagles are nesting.  This section of the trail is pretty level and easy.  Another mile and the hills start.  Not ready for heavy climbing so turned back to my starting point.

When I got back, i still had legs left and feeling good.  rode further almost to milepost 1.  At this point, the trail is down between the levee and the river.  Decided to turn around and get back to the motel.  Good timing.  I was getting tired and did not bring water/Gatorade with me.  Stopped at the convenience store at the highway and started refreshing my electrolytes.  The last 2 block gentle climb to the car was rough.  Bike computer was not registering, so not sure just how fat I rode.  Guessing it at 7-8 miles.

Stowed the bike in the room, started processing photos from the ride.  Second shower of the morning and crashed on the bed.

Afternoon was for playing "tourist".  Drove to the fish hatchery.  Put the big lens on my camera, so it I could find the eagle nest,  I am pretty sure I was successful (see lower photo).

From there, i was scouting the trail - wondering if i should try riding other sections tomorrow morning.  On to the North side of town to check out the waterfall in Dunning's Spring Park.  Beautiful place.  Back to the room to process photos for afternoon nap before dinner.

At the convenience store just down from the motel, the suggested food at the Stone Hearth Inn (next door to my motel).  I was thinking of eating downtown at T Bock's Sports Bar & Grill.  Both had local beers on tap.  Stone Hearth being next door to the motel won the day.

Had a pint of Toppling Goliath Tsunami American Pale Ale.  It was the best of the local beers for the area.  Chowed down with an Iowa breaded port tenderloin (the kind the is about 3 times the bun size).  Topped off dinner with ice cream with chocolate syrup.