July 20, 2009 (Super long entry because I haven't written in my journal and the words are flowing like the rain outside).
Poplar, WI to Port Wing, WI
About 35 miles of sun and hearty winds.
We woke to the tarp flapping and drops of water plinking us in the face. The night had cooled off fast and when the tarp is pitched low to compensate for the wind the condensation builds a little. It may have even rained over night. Hard to tell when you're wearing ear plugs. Dave packed while Heather loaded up at the local grocery store. After the last few weeks of over indulgence at restaurants Heather made a secret pledge to eat healthier and cheaper. For breakfast we consumed an entire cantaloupe and a dozen powder sugar coated doughnut holes. Progress is made one step at a time.
Following the advice of Steve and Kit we headed to the secluded beach on Brackets Rd. Along the way we rolled into an intersection of a gravel road and Rt. 13. After we ate we looked up to find another touring cyclist stopping. A 55 to 60 year old man was traveling alone from Vancouver to Montreal. He'd been detoured off Rt. 2 After Duluth because it was a freeway for a short time and was in need of directions. He was traveling with a cross section cut from a North American map and no others. On the map were "X's" marking stops along with smiling and sad faces that we never found out what they meant but one can guess.
Heather pulled out the Wisconsin map and gave him directions to Rt. 2 and eventually the southward bound Rt. 13 towards Green Bay. We talked for a few minutes about cycling then he was on his bike and ready to head out again. We shook hands and introduced ourselves but he rode off before we could share our blog or even get his name. A man of mystery he'll always remain.
A few miles further on we met two more cyclists headed the opposite way. They were on a "quick" tour around the area for the week. We stood on the side of the road entertaining each other with road stories and agreeing that though they're tough to handle the worst day can make the best stories.
Just a few "more" miles down the road was the turn off for the beach. It was graveled and we bumped along until it turned to grass. Then we bumped along until it turned to ruts. Walking the last bit we were at a thin strip of beach littered with a few cigarette butts mixed in with nature's more appealing debris: pebbles turning in the surf, rocks, boulders, drift wood from sticks to logs, feathers and leaves. We ate lunch, met another couple of beach goers with a super hyper Springier Spaniel named Buster but eventually left because of the wind blowing hard and cold off the lake.
Outside of Port Wing we saw a sign for an art gallery and ice cream. What a great idea. We found out way to the gallery and chatted with the proprietor as we ate our ice cream. With directions to another beach we left to buy smoked fish for dinner and headed to the shore again. We should have know better, though it was a larger and beautiful beach the wind hadn't abated and the thought of setting up to sleep near the shore was enough to make us more exhausted than we already were. Back we went to the town picnic area to cook the rest of dinner out of the wind. The gallery owner, Sharon, had offered her yard and showers if the beach didn't work out… well, needless to say.
We came back at the end of the pottery class that was being taught and did a little entertaining of the students. Later, refreshed from hot water and ready to sleep we chatted for a while longer with Sharon then went to sleep with the tarp gently flapping in the breeze. Someone had mentioned rain…