Bike Trip 2002

30 August 2002

My goal was to leave sometime in the morning. By noon at the latest. Well, since Friday is payday, I had a large number of errands to run before I could get on the road. Quite a number of items to purchase. Supplies, food, etc. I finally was able to leave at 4:45pm. Even then I had to ride through town in order to get to the highway! So it was after 5 before I actually left the city limits.

I took highway 93 south. The first stretch had considerable road construction in process so the lanes were quite narrow. Since it was rush hour traffic, I opted to actually ride on the pre-paved gravel. Slowed me down but I WAS riding a Mtn bike so I could justify a little off road travel! Almost immediately I began struggling. For simplicity sake I had decided to go the minimalist route and carry only a backpack. No panniers. No trailer. Just what I could carry on my back. I did have my camera bag on my handlebars but all else that I brought was on my back. Well before much time had gone by my pack was killing me. Too much weight. My shoulders were aching horribly. After a few miles, I stopped for a drink and removed my camera lens bag which was hanging from my backpack. I managed to rig it up to hang from my handlebars alongside the camera bag. It was amazing how much difference that made. Possibly because the bag hung so low (Once I was on the bike, the bag was below the saddle.) That it shifted the weight of the pack oddly.

Once that was figured out, I continued with the ride. I wanted to put as much mileage in that evening as possible. I was quite disappointed with my late start and wanted to make up for it.

The scenery was quite nice. I really enjoyed the views. Quiet countryside. Rolling hills. Evening sun only accentuated the beauty. I was torn between my excitement and love of being back on the road traveling and my continued (albeit less acute) discomfort from the backpack.

After climbing a hill, I stopped for a bit. A long gravel driveway went up a ways to a farmhouse. Gave me a spot to get off the road. I ate. Drank the rest of the powerade that I had opened at the last stop. Took some pictures. Found some bushes to relieve myself. Looked at my map. I was nearly to Eleva. After resting a bit longer, I rode on. Felt much better. The stop did me good.

Arrived in Eleva and rode through the town. Tiny. The mileage sign said 17 miles to Independence. It was just after 7pm. Could I ride for another hour? I decided to try for it.

More riding but as dusk increased, I decided to go for the first likely camp spot.

Soon I saw a mowed ATV type trail that went off to the right behind some hay bails. It curved around out of sight. Seemed like it might lead to a prospective secluded spot. I decided to try it. It looked promising as I went further down it. I was really impressed by how well my Klein performed. The trail went up a steep grassy hill and the bike climbed like a goat. At the top of the hill was a gravel road. Just to the right was a gravel pile at the base of a rocky hillside. The road continued past and curved around out of sight. I checked around the bend and saw a farmhouse down a ways in the valley. Decided that it fit my needs perfectly and went back. Climbed the gravelly hill and set up camp at the top. (The hill was too steep and unstable to ride up this time!)

Once camp was set (ie. My bike was locked up and my tarp was laid out.), I tried my all-natural bug repellant. It was amazingly effective. I was quite pleased. Mosquitos were checking me out but as soon as I put the stuff on, they disappeared. It is a liquid that you rub onto the skin. Smells like citrus. I put it on my hands and ears and face.

Called my parents on my cell phone and chatted for a bit. Not long since I only had the one battery which had to last for 3 days...

It is nice and breezy up here on the hill. That will help keep the bugs down although there are trees behind me to cut the wind and a stagnant pool at the foot of the hill where bugs would proliferate. The rocks that I am on act as a heat sink so it should be warmer here longer than down in the grass.

I just saw a mouse down at my feet...

Saw a lot of deer today while riding.

I got passed today by a pickup truck towing a stock trailer presumably loaded with horses or cattle. There was a calf in the truck bed that watched me as it went by. The image struck me as rather humourous.

I can hear the vehicles driving by on the highway off in the distance. Yet it is so peaceful and quiet. Just wonderful out. I can see a radio tower off to the right - way up thru the trees on a different hill. It is getting to dark to write. I am going to test my strobe light tonight to see how effective it is...

A truck just drove by on the gravel road. I ducked down and hid my space blanket under me since it is silver and orange. I assume the truck is going to the farm... According to the map, the road is Deetz Rd.

There are some bats flying around.

Email update from my Mum:
30 Aug 2002
Hi!! Just thought I'd send an update on J and his bicycle trip for this year. He left late this afternoon from Eau Claire, WI, heading to his final destination of Erie, IL. He just called a few minutes ago to let us know that he was camped for the night somewhere between Eleva and Independence, WI, if you want to check the map. He said he was 'camped on a rock pile' so I wonder if there was no better place?? He didn't take his hammock this year because he could only take what he could fit in his backpack. He's riding his mountain bike this time, not his recumbent with B.O.B. the trailer behind so was limited on what he was taking along. He's sleeping on the ground (rocks!) on a tarp.
Appreciate your prayers for his safety as he travels! Love, S

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