Before, during, and hopefully after account of a Great Divide Route journey in the summer of 2010.

Monday, May 31, 2010

We're not in the Shire anymore, Frodo!

Yikes.  I can't believe that we made it home after such a crazy ride this Memorial Day Weekend.  We biked in two parts to Edgerton, WI from West Allis on Friday evening and Saturday morning, and then today, we rode 72 miles back in almost six hours.  Here's the map of the 125+ mile route that we took:

Friday evening, we biked through Waukesha and Wales to Ottawa Lake Campground at South Kettle Moraine State Forest.  We were going to stealth camp somewhere in the forest, but tried to see what bikers can get on a last minute basis.  Surprisingly, they save the crappiest campsites (the sites that are right at the entrance, closest to the garbage area) for bikers like us.  It turned out to be just fine for not having any reservations on Friday night of Memorial Day Weekend.

Saturday, we woke up and were on the road again by 8:30 AM, stopped LaGrange General Store for a delicious turkey sandwich, and rolled into my aunt's house just after noon. I couldn't even play a game of Scrabble that night with my cousins and aunt--that's how exhausted I was.  I went to bed at 8:30 that night.

Sunday was a great rest day, and a good thing, too, because our ride on Monday was epic.  We took a different route that consisted mostly of bike paths: Edgerton to Fort Atkinson, Glacial Drumlin trail into Waukesha, and the New Berlin bike path home.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Big Agnes!

Last fall, we purchased an Emerald Forest SL3 tent from Big Agnes.  Here's the tent with all its permutations and then stuffed into the handlebar bags:

Today, we set it up in the backyard for the first time.  Actually, Nate set it up and took it down while I was at work, and then I came home and set it up (almost) by myself.  I told Nate not to talk to me or give me hints unless I asked.  This tent is way more sophisticated than my REI Half Dome...

Anyway, he watched me from the upstairs window and calmly said things through the screen like, "That doesn't go there" or "Stake out the footprint first."  The weirdo kids from next door were watching me through their windows, and I just wanted to have it be over with.  He finally came down and asked me if I needed help with the fly.  My ego told me to say "no," but I wanted to be happy and not right, so I said, "yes."

I think that's going to be my motto on the trip: Do I want to be happy or do I want to be right?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Minibulldesign Alcohol Stove

We biked a marathon yesterday--26.2 miles with more gear than we had last weekend.  It was a beautiful day here in Milwaukee, and I'm grateful for sunscreen.  We did an out-and-back, and at the turn-around point, we cooked Nate's version of spicy noodles on the alcohol stove that we ordered from Minibulldesign.  Check out the videos that this guy made.  Anyway, it boiled water quickly and we had a nice lunch at Meaux Park near Whitefish Bay (at least that's where I think we were).  Looking forward to next weekend's ride!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I'm Slow

Nate and I just had a traumatic conversation about bears:

We're lying in bed and talking about our pudge that we'll have on the trip.

Nate comments that it's okay to start the trip with extra fat.  "Skinny ones die first."

I reply, "The bears like fat people."

"I'm fast."

I retort, "You can't outrun a bear."

Without missing a beat, he says, "I don't have to outrun a bear."

Confused, I say, "I don't understand."

"I just have to be faster than you."

I fake cry for a bit and can't believe my husband just said that.
He says it's just an old joke.  I don't think it's funny, so I'm telling you about it.
I'm doubly slow--he definitely can outrun me and I didn't get the joke.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

'Stallis to Waukesha

We had a great ride this morning from our apartment past Calhoun Road along the New Berlin Trail.  It was our first time out with our bags on and almost fully loaded.  We did about 20 miles in under two hours and had a great time riding through puddles and saying hi to the on-lookers.  I think we look rather funny cruising around on our bikes.

The Fargo feels great, especially loaded down with weight.  At one point, I told Nate that I feel like I'm riding a tank.  I have a tendency to fall off mountain bikes, so I'm especially pleased with how sturdy I feel on this one. On the way back, right before we got onto Lapham, a deer jumped onto the trail about 20 feet in front of me, and I didn't fall off in the excitement, so that was reassuring. 

Four weeks until we depart and it'll be interesting to see how much riding we get in before we hit the trail.  We'll be biking to Edgerton, WI Memorial Day weekend, and that might end up being the longest trip we take.