Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Elroy Sparta Bike Trail

Judy and I put the Goldwing aside and headed out to the Elroy Sparta Bike Trail. We picked a perfect day with great sun but not too humid. Our choice was to stop at Kendal and pick up a driver who then dropped us at Sparta. He then takes our car back to Kendal and we can just bike straight there without going two directions. That leaves us about 30 miles of bike trail to cover. My memory of course failed me and we actually took the route where you are going up a 3% grade most of the way. The best way to ride is from Kendal to Sparta. Oh well, hopefully I will remember next time.

If you have not done the Elroy Sparta Trail, I suggest you try it. It is really a breathtaking ride with a very well kept trail and lots of things to see along the way. There are three old rail road tunnels on the route which it is prudent to walk your bike through. Below is a picture of Judy and I just be fore going through "The long creepy tunnel"!

One of the highlights for us is to stop in Wilton and have lunch at "Gina's Pies are square. It is an awesome restaurant with lots of good food choices, and of course some killer pies which are really square. Here is a picture of the restaurant. Note the painting of the woman on the wall. That is Gina. Shortly after taking this picture the place was filled with bikers anxious for lunch. If you do the trail, I recommend that you take the time to stop at Gina's place.

On the trail we met a couple from Arkansas. I do not know if they were lost or just on a ride! ;-) Anyway, we engaged them to take our picture and we took theirs in turn. So, here it is for the world to see.

The whole trip including stops took us about 5 hours. It can be done quicker, but then what would the fun be? Just for your information, there is a really good bike store at the trail head in Sparta in case you have problems. You will find lots of equipment and nice people too. You will find that it is a great way to spend the day. Enjoy!

Monday, July 16, 2007

House Boat Vacation

Another chapter in my life! Something new indeed. I have been taking about renting a house boat and playing on the river for years, and finally Judy and I did just that. We had driven to Fremont and checked out the "Party Doll Marina" to see what it was like and found the prices to be fair all things considered. So, we took off on a three day trip up the Wolf River. We chose to rent a "six sleeper" pictured to the left. It is really a nicely kept well maintained boat with plenty of room inside and full kitchen facilities. We even had a microwave oven! If you choose the 10 sleeper you also get a TV and central air conditioning. Judy and I felt that we could only sleep in so many beds over the course of 2.5 days, so the six was plenty for us.

The owner of the marina took me out in the boat and gave me some lessons in operating it. The boat operation is pretty simple if you just keep in mind that it is not a speed boat and it turns from the rear. So, it takes a little planning, but is is very easy to steer and all of the equipment on the boat worked. I was a little concerned about sleeping on a boat, but actaully I found it pretty southing and very quiet.

Our first day we went up river, picked up bait and stopped at a little place called the "Gala Resort" for lunch. Their place is worth the stop. Very enjoyable and good food too. The wonderful thing about the river is that you can pull off into a series of lakes all along the river and fish or just take a swim. Our first stop was on Partridge Lake. We tried our hand at fishing but had no luck. I found that fishing on the boat was pretty much fun as you can just head to the back of the boat and wash you hand in the sink! That took getting used to! If the fishing gets boring, just pull up and chair at the kitchen table for some coffee.
There is plenty of room on a front deck and a rear deck on the boat. Both decks come with seating and the front deck also has a patio table with chairs. There is also a gas grill on the front of the boat for cooking your meals.

Once we started fishing on the river our luck changed and we were pulling in all kinds of catfish and bass. The fish were pretty cooperative and we usually found some action where ever we were fishing.
Just cruising slowly up the river was fun in itself. There is so much to see it is amazing. There is wildlife you just do not see every day including Pelicans. I did not know there are pelicans in Wisconsin, but there are. Much of our time was spent just chugging up the river enjoying the views. Driving the boat is not labor intensive, so it is pretty relaxing to just cruise and look around. Judy found her spot on the front deck with her coffee and newspaper.

We only had one rain storm while we were out on the river. We had pulled onto Partridge Lake to have supper when we got hit. It was a pretty heavy rain but we were dry and comfortable in the boat. We managed to cook some pork chops and have nice dinner while the rain beat down outside the boat.

The houseboat trip was a wonderful experience and I recommend it to anyone who wants to do something new. The sunsets are also awesome! Here is a sample

At any rate, if you have ever thought about renting a houseboat, do not wait. Do it. You will love it!