Return to Mad-Town! May 31 – June 9, 2015.

Sometimes it surprises people to learn that in all my trekking across the U.S. I hadn’t ridden more than 400 miles in a day – I just don’t really want to if I don’t have to. I know other GTS riders who have, and a few riders have even suggested the Iron Butt challenges. I do count mileage, but I do it in the same way I track all sorts of things, like places I’ve slept and food I’ve eaten.

That being said, it was only a matter of time until I tipped the 400 mile mark. From Saint Louis, MO to Madison, WI, I just didn’t feel like stopping for an overnight.

Peaceful riding beside the Mississippi, then it branches off to become the Illinois River

But that doesn’t mean I took the most direct route. I immediately hopped state lines to follow the Great River Road, on the empty side of the Mississippi.

Alton Brown mentions the town of Alton in his show, Feasting on Asphalt. I like to think of my ride as the slower, less-informed version.
Joe Page Bridge in Hardin, IL.
What is this, an old paddleboat?
The Goldenrod is an old showboat moored near Pearl, IL.
Sam has arrived early to pump water out of the hull and keep the boat afloat. He tells me about the boat’s ownership dilemma, and working in towns all up and down the Illinois.
Farewell, Illinois, I’ll see you again soon enough.
Hello, familiar Wisconsin!
It was along the way.

Generally, geography has taken a comfortable backseat for me. I simple roll with the scenery – when it’s nice, it’s lovely; when it’s boring, I set my cruise assist and blast music. For instance, following the river was nice (though cold when overcast!), then boring, then the region surrounding New Glarus became sweeping curves, low hills, and golden light nice again. Perhaps this is what people mean by the rhythm of the road.

Besides, I could happily exhaust myself eating up miles, because I knew I had a spot on the futon at my sister’s and her boyfriend’s place in Madison, WI! It was like coming home, but this time to the home my sister is making with Ben. I liked seeing how they settled the place since I helped her move in July of last year.

We set out for a full moon paddle on the lake with Moni’s university friends, and discussed topics such as when someone could finally defend their thesis. Ah, I went to art school…

Fires and live music.
Last time, we had separate canoes. This time, my sister sits comfy in the middle.
We forgot bug spray, but the bats flitting across the surface of the water must have been feasting.
Eventually, we paddled all the boats in a lump together and just chatted and floated. It was like a disfunctional academic Waterworld of Monona Bay.
This is my sister. We spend a lot of time just eating all the things.
Banchan FTW. Sujeo Asian fusion.
Also, thank you, seester, for letting me take over the dining room table for werk!
Back to food. Chez Nanou is one of my sister’s favorites.
Trying to walk it off at the Arboretum. Ben stalks wild turkeys.
It’s green and hot and I hate wearing sunscreen. Let’s get donuts now?
Or ice cream. It seems like it’s always a good time for ice cream around here. Damn, I’m really at a disadvantage in this town.
It’s okay because I have a cat to play with.
Hotpot the cat understands me, and my media.
Since I’m ‘resting’ I finally took some time to apply all the stickers I accumulated.
Also, I caught these adventure riders by chance at Blue Moon on Tuesday night!
How about a shorter kind of adventure…
Thanks, Jeff, here’s your bike back. It was good to hang out with you, Slimy Cruds!

In spite of the silly photo above, no one that evening ever told me what bike to ride, or that mine was too small or slow or wrong. It was refreshing to share adventure stories with the Cruds!

Loaded scoot parking on campus while I wait for my sister to drop off her spare key.

Travel fatigue has been setting in sooner, and increasingly I found myself procrastinating on the blog – not because I don’t want to write, but because reliving so many rich memories to put them into words…can hurt so good. I feel full to the brim with stories and experiences, but there’s a huge queue for processing them.

Perhaps having so many experiences has also contributed to being more at peace with letting things go; I considered taking off a day earlier to take the SS Badger steamboat across Lake Michigan, but was relishing resting too much (also, the ticket was a bit more than I thought). I’ll take the boat another day, perhaps. This time, I just want to hang out with my sister.

Farewell again, seester!

Buuut I think my sister must be getting tired of me living on her couch and being the third wheel on her and Ben’s dates… So it’s a good thing work was worked, rest was rested, and I have a date with a rally around the corner. Next stop: Amerivespa 2015!


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