St. Paul to Chicago, Day 2: Pepin to West Salem, WI

We actually slept really well last night. I slept better in the tent than I had in my own bed the night before. Woke up rested and ready to go. I packed up and was on the road by 8:00, with a little over 50 miles to ride to Trempealeau, where we would meet for lunch. Lisa packed up the campsite in Pepin, walked with her hiking poles for an hour along the lake and then drove on down WI 35, which (I repeat myself) is beautiful.

In my effort to stop and smell the roses, I got a shot of sunflowers and the fence made out of old skis and a big catfish.

There are more cute towns in this side of the river- Alma, Fountain City, a town called Bluff Siding (truth, it is a town, I guess, but not a cute one.)

Lisa caught up with me in Fountain City as it began to rain. It poured for a while, and there were about a half dozen places where bridges were being repaired and only one lane, so southbound traffic (and vice versa) had to wait, in the rain, for opposing traffic to get across. As is often the case, no problem if you are in a car.

I made it to Trempealeau by noon and we had a really nice lunch at the hotel. They have had live music there for years, and there is a wall of photos of people who have played the room ranging from Charlie Daniels to Richie Havens and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Must return.

At Trempealeau, I got on the first of a week of Wisconsin bike trails: the Great River Trail, the La Crosse River Trail, the Sparta Elroy Trail, and, east of Madison, the Glacial Drumlin Trail. They are unpaved but relatively hard packed and smooth, a little wild, very flat. I prefer riding on a hard surface but these are safe, and, did I mention, flat – they are old RR routes.

I arrived in West Salem a couple hours after lunch. We’d planned to camp again, but the forecast for tonight isn’t favorable for a good camping experience (thunderstorms and maybe tornadoes.) If you’ve been a follower of Confluence, you know that Dan and Lisa can be flexible. We found a room in the West Salem Americinn where I can dry out, make plans for tomorrow and get a good strong start on what will be a 90 mile day, ending in Baraboo, home of the Circus Museum. (I won’t be going, because I am single minded about getting to Chicago. Janelle Monae, dude.)

I have to say that I REALLY miss having Lisa riding with me. And LOVE having her meet me at my destination. I will miss her terribly the next few days.