Day 33 Siren to Phillips WI
I was more exhausted at the end of this, roughly 120 mile, day than at the end of the 145 mile day from Cheyenne to Lusk WY. It wasn't as long a day, but it had a bunch of bumpy and hilly roads near the end of the day. Those were also some of the nicest roads, from a scenic standpoint, I've ridden in Wisconsin. They were part of a detour which took me off WI 70 and put me on a county road which runs through the Flambeau River State Forest. Nice riding, but it was a bit too much at the end of a long day.
I started my day by waiting for 40 minutes at a restaurant in Siren. They were supposed to start serving breakfast at 8AM. I was there at 8:05, but the cook wasn't. I finally got my (not very good) pancakes at 8:45. I was on the road at 8:55. The day was lovely; clear, crisp, and beautiful. It stayed that way all day. Nice.
I had planned to ride to Spooner, 26 miles, eat a big second meal and ride on. Instead, maybe because my breakfast wasn't that good, I stopped for a snack at Hertel and had a light meal in Spooner. Riding was good; 70 had a decent shoulder and traffic wasn't nearly as heavy as it had been the previous day.
After Spooner, traffic was even lighter as most of the weekend traffic turned north. I considered stopping when I saw a bike shop near the intersection of WI 70 and US 53 because my bottom bearing or a pedal had developed a click, but I could feel any play or roughness in either bearing so I decided to ride on. The click didn't go away, but it didn't get any worse either.
After Spooner the riding really was nice. Hillier. Much of this part of WI 70 runs through forests and, after Stone Lake, through the Lac Courte Orielles Reservation. I had stopped at a coffee shop in Stone Lake for some expensive (and good) pastry and tea. When I asked about services, I was told there wouldn't be much till Winter WI. I decided to ride 70 past Draper WI and then take county road E into Park Falls.
When I left the reservation, I stopped at a general store in Couderay (pop < 100) for a snack. The lady running the store told me that 70 was closed from Winter to Oxbo. She said I'd have to detour down to Phillips, and then ride back up to 70. She was right. When I go to the official detour signs, I stopped at a service station and asked for advice. "Go to Winter, take W to Phillips, take 13 back to 70." Bummer.
I rode on to Winter. It has two motels, a hotel and several places to eat, not bad for a population of 300! I ate at the hotel (good, inexpensive) and, about 5 PM, headed out of town on W. W was narrow, had no shoulder, and had a bad case of expansion cracks. It was also very peaceful (aside from the regular blow to my hands - I love my softride stem - and butt -maybe a suspension seat post?). It was much hillier than 70 and, in its way, much better riding.
After a dozen miles or so, W goes into the Flambeau River State Forest. Nice. In another half a dozen miles it reaches a recreational area centered on the river. From there on, almost continually to Phillips which is about 20 miles further, resorts and recreational homes line the road. It is nice country with rolling hills and lakes. Lots of those homes are really nice places on those lakes. So are most of the resorts.
By the time I got about 10 miles from Phillips, I was exhausted. I did the last ten mile on willpower. When I got to Phillips, which is definitely a tourist town, I stopped at a the first service station I saw. The older lady who was working there asked how I was doing and was pleased when I told her the truth: I was exhausted. She told me that all the motels in town, except one, a new Super 8, were full. Then she told me how to get to the Super 8 at the other end of town. I made my way down there and got the last room on the first floor. It was the 'handicapped' room. An appropriate room for me that night and actually quite well setup for a bicycle. I had a coke, a bagel, and some aspirin as I tried to recover enough to take a shower and get to bed.