Friday, June 21, 2013

Day #24: That [Bleep]in' Steve

Today's Route: Boulder Junction, WI to Phelps, WI (54 miles)
Total Trip Miles: 1019

We woke up to the hoots and yodels of the nearby loons. I was instantly reminded of the 1981 classic "On Golden Pond," starring the handsome Henry Fonda and the lovely Katharine Hepburn. "The loons! The loons! They're welcoming us back!" I love that movie. Especially the soundtrack.

In addition to waking up to the sounds of the loons, we also awoke to the hum of skeeters. Again.

This is a small portion of what the outside of our tent looked like when we awoke this morning:

Mosquitos, everywhere!

We decided to pack things up quickly and ride the 1.75 miles back to the route junction where we recalled there being a school building. We thought the school property would be less mosquito-ridden than in the middle of the woods.

The second we pulled out of camp, it started to drizzle. Perfect timing, as we were able to pack away a dry tent. We had breakfast underneath the overhang of the school and kept riding.

We rode the 10 short miles into the town of Boulder Junction, arriving shortly after 9 o'clock. We found a cafe called "Dancing Bear" that offered wifi. We chuckled, as there is a strip club, called "The Dancin' Bare," close to where we live in Portland.

The two establishments are nothing alike. Not only did Dancing Bear have fantastic drinks and pastries, but it also had the most cozy atmosphere.

Making ourselves comfortable in Dancing Bear.

Jake hopped on the Internet and checked the weather radar. Indeed, a storm was coming through. He estimated it would pass by noon, and so we decided to hunker down and wait out the storm.

Meanwhile, we sent a text to Andy (introduced on Day #19) to let him know that we highly recommended Dancing Bear in Boulder Junction. As it turns out, Andy had been riding longer days than Jake and me, and so he would be arriving into Boulder Junction shortly after 10am.

Andy met us at Dancing Bear a little while later. We decided we'd ride together for the next few days. Which, by the way, is fantastic, as Andy is great fun!

Jake and Andy play "Shoot the Moon."

Dancing Bear is, by far, my most favorite coffee shop in the whole entire world. It even has this massaging chair, which feels nothing but fantastic.

Andy gets his jollies from the massaging chair.

We decided that we should have lunch in town before heading out. So, we wandered across the street to The Outdoorsmen. We filled up on tasty food and then headed out.

All of our bikes outside our lunch stop.

We had an enjoyable afternoon of riding, despite the rollers and the occasional headwinds.

Jake has spent the last couple of days obsessing over optimal techniques for conquering the rollers. He read up on some studies involving efficient pedaling techniques while we were at Dancing Bear, and so he spent the afternoon incorporating those techniques.

Meanwhile, Andy and I hung back and enjoyed the ride and each other's company. Of all the people I've ever toured with, I've found that Andy and I have the most similar riding styles. So, I'm always a happy girl when I'm riding with Andy.

Andy had planned on staying in the town of Phelps. There is no campground in Phelps, and so Andy was going to "figure it out" when he arrived. Jake and I had planned on biking a bit further into Nelma, where there is a state forest campground.

We decided to stay in Phelps, given our late departure from Boulder Junction.

We stopped by the Phelps Chamber of Commerce to see if there was anywhere we could put up our tents in town.

We talked to "Steve," Town Supervisor. Steve told us that camping was not allowed. He told us about a federal campground about six miles away. According to Steve, the campground was really nice (with showers!), and the campground was mostly downhill from town.

Lesson learned: It's better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. (In other words, we should have just pitched our tent in town.)

Another lesson learned (as provided by Andy): Just like you should never trust a skinny cook, never trust a fat man for biking information.

First of all, the ride was more like seven miles.

Secondly, the route was super hilly.

Thirdly, the campground was pretty bare-minimum. We found no showers; only vault toilets. And there wasn't even a covered picnic area!

We kept muttering, "That fuckin' Steve!"

About halfway to the campground, it started to drizzle. Then we heard a loud rustling sound. We looked at each other, while riding our bikes, and asked the same question, "Is that wind?" And then we all answered in unison, just as the skies opened, "No, it's rain!"

It started to pour. I mean like, good-ole-Midwest-rain pour! We donned on our rain gear and kept pedaling.

We got into camp and attempted to find a covered picnic area where we could cook our dinner and perhaps set up our tents. We had no such luck. That fuckin' Steve! So, we proceeded to a campsite, set up our tents in the rain, and then went under the cover of a pit toilet to escape the rain.

After awhile, the rain lightened enough that we could all make the mad dash back to camp, throw our panniers under our vestibules, and then crawl into the tents for the evening.

Andy crawled into his tent, and Jake and I crawled into my tent. We all ended up having a stove-less dinner within our tents. We talked for awhile between our tents, and then we called it an early night.

We agreed that if it continues to rain throughout the night and through tomorrow, we will ride in the rain and then find a hotel for the night to dry out our tent and ourselves.


  1. At least with all that rain you might not find so many mosquitos. Holly cow that was a lot of mosquitos! Sounds like a great trip so far. Super cool that you met up with Andy.

    1. Indeed, a lot of mosquitos! And fortunately none of them are with us in our motel tonight (more on that in the next post). Yes, super cool to have met up with Andy. We'd love to have to join up with us, too! ;)

  2. Reunited at last!!! Wish I was there! Well, not for the mosquitoes, nor for fuckin' Steve, but definitely for the company! ~Cassie

    1. Hey Cassie! I have thought soooo much about you the last few days as we've been riding with Andy. It definitely feels as though you should be here!


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