Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day #22: Insects, Insects!

Today's Route: Hayward, WI to Glidden, WI (55 miles)
Total Trip Miles: 903

We awoke this morning to find another tick. This time in the tent.

Before I could blink, Jake had his clothes off and requested another tick check. I fulfilled the request, paying particular attention to the warm and/or moist parts of the body where ticks like to sink in their little heads. Jake reciprocated.

I'm starting to wonder if Jake obtained some little adhesive ticks at a party tricks and novelties store. Boys! Anything for an opportunity for nakedness!

Let me tell you: In my world, there ain't nothin' sexy about a tick check.

Any likelihood of Jake contriving the adhesive ticks is forgiven by his contribution to my blog writing.

The creation of today's blog entry is brought to you by solar power, compliments of Jake. Jake strapped his new GoalZero solar charger to his back rack for the first time today. And my iPad mini had the honor of being the first device to benefit from harnessing the sun's energies via this contraption. It's pretty impressive what this little thing can do!

The solar charger.

Bike touring is always an amusing conversation starter. People make the most interesting comments and ask the most interesting questions when they see you on a bike with a bunch of panniers.

Here's the conversation I had with a woman this morning in a parking lot:
Woman: Oh, are you traveling around the world?
Me: No, not quite.
Woman: You look so young.
Me: Biking can do that to you.
Woman: Are you and the guy you are traveling with married?
Me: No. We're dating.
Woman: Have you been dating more than six months?
Me: No.
Woman: Did you meet on that dating thing?
Me: Um...yes?
Woman: Okay. Have a nice trip!
Interesting. At least I think so.

Once again, Jake spotted a great lunch spot, this time near Moose Lake. We sat on a rock down by the river. It was quite quaint.

We saw a deer crossing the river, surprisingly at a point where the river was about 150 feet across. The water was just below his belly for the whole crossing. It was really neat to see.

Jake sitting atop a rock at our lunch stop.

After lunch, we stopped for refreshments. In addition to getting a cold drink, I took the opportunity to refill my Bento Box.

I've outfitted my bike with what is called a "Bento Box." The box sits atop the top tube, just in front of the handlebars. The Bento Box allows for easy access to snacks or other items while riding. I use my box for little treats, rewarding myself every few miles with a little boost of sugary energy.

The dashboard of my Long Haul Trucker.

My favorite treat for my Bento Box is candy corn. Unfortunately, candy corn is seasonal and difficult to find at most stores. My second favorite treat is gummy bears.

Jake suggested that I try Mike'n'Ike candies, which I've never had before. Now that I've had a chance to try them, they are a little stickier than I would prefer. Then again, it gives my tongue something to do while I'm riding, picking the Mike'n'Ike parts out from in between my teeth.

There are lots of mosquitos here in the Midwest. And lots of black flies, too. It's interesting how the black flies tend to swarm around you when you're not riding above a certain speed.

There was a point in today's ride when I had a lot of these black flies swarming around me. I would have liked to have been traveling above the black fly speed threshold, but we've been fighting some decent headwinds the last few days.

I'm wondering if the smell of the Mike'n'Ikes in my Bento Box are to blame for the swarm of flies.

There were a lot of tiny, just barely visibly particles of pollen in the air today. They left a fine yellow coating atop Jake's solar panel. He used a windshield squeegee at a gas station to clean the panel.

I'm grateful we're not allergic to pollen. If we were, the pollen would have made for one helluva ride today.

The little particles of pollen reminded me of the little particles of dry skin that are coating all of the dark articles of clothing that I have with me. Boy, my skin is dry!

Just a few miles shy of Glidden, the town where we are staying tonight, Jake suggested that we pull over and enjoy the lakeside views. We didn't stay long. The mosquitos were horrendous! We haven't broken down and purchased mosquito repellent yet. But we're getting closer.

My fashionable mosquito garb.

Glidden allows campers to stay for free in one of their parks. The park is a multi-use area. It has a playground, a community building, food stands, tanks, and more.

Free city camping.

Jake on the tank.

There is a grassy, wooded area located at the back of the park. Though it's perfect for camping, the skeeters have already claimed this territory as their own. So, we're making camp for the night under a covered dance floor area. We later learned that the skeeters are also in full force on the dance floor.

Camping on the dance floor.

As we laid in the tent at night, we watched the swarm of mosquitos outside the netting. There were hundreds of them. And we could actually hear a fairly loud hum from the little boogers. 'Twas not a pleasant symphony of sounds.

Tomorrow we're buying bug repellent.


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