Ok, so I’ve slipped from this blogging gig as of late. And quite frankly, the previous week and a half was chock full of some bad events. So why bother?

It feels really good to be back in the saddle. Although I was up at 8am, my departure from Minneapolis, or Mini Apples, wasn’t until 1:30. There were two cute pups to walk, bags to pack/load, and mail to send out. Mail home that included my alternate pair of pants. With just 3 weeks left on the road, the bags could be lighter.

IMG_1716My decision was poorly timed. No more than an hour after I sent the extra pants home, my riding pants ripped. Ripped in ways that brought a blush to my face when interacting with strangers at the gas station. The fancy pants have failed the road test. I’m thankful they were won in a raffle, because they didn’t live up to the $100+ price tag. Anyone know a good thrift store in Madison, WI? The pants ripped JUST as I mounted up to leave Scooterville. What an exit!

I was there for an oil change and front tire “fender” replacement. Not sure why everything is falling apart these days, but I am personally responsible for the crash which ruined my front “fender.”

The locals were doing a rehearsal ride for their upcoming “Rattle my Bones” rally. All went well until the LAST turn, when we made a left. I was looking in my mirror to see if people cleared it. I looked back up, just 2 seconds really, and there was Nathaniel-at a complete stop in front of me.  Why everyone had to stop so suddenly in the road is beyond me. Bad move.
I slammed on the brakes, full force. The back tire lifted, I was standing completely upright on the floorboard. Blammo, perfect tire to tire collision. IMG_1666Somehow I landed on my feet, taking down the scoot as gently as one might when not even cognizant of the motions.

My favorite quote from that awkward situation was, “That’s not what we meant by blocking Nathaniel.” His scoot was fine, thankfully, except for the P.E.A.C.E sticker he put on the back, which I managed to rip.

Fortunately, Scooterville had a parts bike laying around and they fixed me up. I owe them big time for all their work on Audre! After goodbyes, Bob suited up and rode me out of town.

The best course of action was to put a lot of miles between me and Minneapolis. Were the Dali Lama not teaching here in Madison, I would have stayed longer. It’s a great city and will get it’s own proper blog.

Today, day 80 on the road, I covered 300 miles. Highway 55 began picking up speed and traffic after Bob and I parted. There was a fork in the road and either way would get me to Highway 61. I took Highway 52S after watching traffic from the side for a few minutes. It seemed to be the road less traveled.

IMG_1707Two lane divided highways are nice when you are in a hurry but don’t want to compromise scenery by taking an Interstate. The Minnesota side was rather fast and slowed down in Wisconsin. I made very respectable time today.

Unexpectedly, I came across some curvy roads and steep climbs. The terrain reminded me of Virginia, except for the hundreds of acres of farmland. It smelled like Nebraska or Kansas, but there were more pine trees and little mountains than either of those states. The sun was shining brightly and reflecting off of the Mississippi River. Gorgeous, mechanical trouble free riding today!

Wisconsin is another state that I think I’ve been through, but probably just stopped for gas and rations. I crossed into the state on Highway 14/61. Basically, just three roads today. The Mid West is really easy to navigate without taking the Interstate. The first sights were a massive beer brewery and signs for cheese and brats. Gas prices went up, but stayed below $4 a gallon.

IMG_1714I noticed a Scandinavian influence and spotted some lawn vikings.

There were many noteable things worth exploring, but daylight was short. Frank Lloyd Wright built his home in Spring Green in 1911. I imagine it would be cool to see the evolution of his design work on the 600 acre property. Near Spring Green I saw signs for “House on the Rock.” Which is strange, because my favorite sci-fi/fantasy writer Neil Gaiman, talks about House on the Rock in his novel, American Gods.

I was busy thinking about that book when Madison snuck up on me. Just in time. The GPS had gone into nightime mode and I couldn’t see the roads very well. They really are in bad shape around here, with long but wide pieces of asphalt missing. Those kind of grooves are dangerous to 10inch wheels.

I can’t help but think those mechanical failures were proof that fiascos can lead to opportunity. If I wasn’t behind by five days, I wouldn’t be around Madison to hear the Dali Lama. Tomorrow, I have school; 4 hours of teaching from the Dali Lama, His Holiness, Peacemaker!
So lights out!