June 13, 2015 – Rainy then overcast, 65 degrees
Miles Today: 112
Miles to Date: 2,274
States to Date: 12
My first century of the trip! Not too difficult on a cool day with flat terrain and little traffic. Still, good practice for heading further west, where there will be more, harder ones.
I woke to birdsong and was riding the drizzly streets of Madison by seven. I rode through lovely residential neighborhoods and more of UW campus. When I passed Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unitarian Church, I stopped on a whim and pulled on the doors. They opened! I had a few quiet moments in the meeting hall, and rather like how the ‘altar’ area is like a huge hearth.
I pedaled forty miles along U.S. 14, ‘the Frank Lloyd Wright Highway’, in various amounts of mist and rain. I wondered why ‘the biggest shoe store in the Midwest’ is in the tiny town of Black Earth, but I loved their whiffle ball field (85’ to the fences). The fertile earth truly is black. I skipped the formal tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin; the visitor center alone provided more reverence for the gifted megalomaniac than I could stomach. However, I enjoyed riding through the town of Spring Green to see how Wright’s influence played out, with varied success, in local buildings. Still, my favorite structure in the small town was a 1915 bank more elegant than any of the Wright stuff.
When I turned onto Route 60 in Gotham, I could tell there would be few services ahead, so ate lunch at the only available place – a bar where a couple of Harley riders had already settled themselves into a rainy afternoon watching a loop of Weather Channel disaster stories. The waitress thought me ordering a Diet Coke lame, but she made a good pizza and I learned how to escape an avalanche.
After lunch the rain ceased and I had fifty miles of the most beautiful scenery of my trip; a meandering highway that followed the Wisconsin River west, with occasional portions through lush farmland. After almost two weeks of city to city along Lake Michigan’s urban corridor, I was far from people.
Stopped for a snack at the local grocery in Wauteka and downed 32 ounces of Powerade plus a box of six ice cream sandwiches. I know, it’s disgusting, but they were so good. My gluttony turned out to be good planning. Many of the motels in Prairie du Chien were full, and the town wasn’t pleasant. So I crossed the mighty Mississippi and found a clean but remote motel in McGregor. After so many miles (and ice cream sandwiches), a hot shower and comfortable bed were the only amenities I needed.