Day 88: Into the Driftless

40.78 miles

It was a cool, cloudy morning and so we felt no guilt staying in our motel room as long as possible before check out time.  Eventually the sun came shining strongly through the window and so we hit the road.  Thank goodness it was sunny because otherwise it would have been pretty chilly.  Even with the sunshine we were wearing a couple layers of shirts and long fingered gloves.  Caroline was extra hungry today and so we stopped early in La Valle, WI so she could get a hot dog.  I was less hungry so I just ate a few cookies.

Bluffs near the rail trail

Bluffs near the rail trail

More bluffs in the distance

More bluffs in the distance

Today we had a nice change of scenery.  This section of Wisconsin is part of what’s called the Driftless Area and it has a noticeably different terrain from what we’ve biked through in previous weeks.  There are lots of pointy hills and occasional rock bluffs.  The term “driftless” comes from the fact that this area was not covered in glaciers during the last glacial period.  “Drift” is the term for all the sand, gravel and rocks left behind after the glaciers recede.  Since this area didn’t have glaciers it doesn’t have any drift, thus it is driftless.  As for the rock bluffs, I believe those are the former shoreline of a large lake that used to be in this area.  You might think this terrain makes for a hilly day of riding, but thankfully there is a rail trail starting in Reedsburg and heading northwest through the driftless area.  This rail trail means we had a fairly flat trail to ride all day today.

First old railroad tunnel

First old railroad tunnel

Actually, this rail trail is supposedly one of the first rail lines in the country converted to a trail system.  The only problem with this trail is that you’re supposed to buy a permit to ride it.  It costs $4 per person or $20 for an annual pass.  I think it’s counterproductive to make people pay to ride their bikes.  If anything they should be encouraging more people to bike on the trail.  Since this is an old rail line, there are a few tunnels along the trail.  We passed through the first tunnel today on our way into Wilton where we’ll stay in a very small motel (only 4 rooms!) for the night.  This motel is so small we had to stop by the owners’ house to check in and get the room key.  The motel wifi wasn’t working, but with the owners’ blessing I took a look at the dsl modem/router.  After resetting the router to factory defaults I was able to get the internet access working again.  Sometimes it pays to know a thing or two about computer stuff. 🙂

Motel "office"

Motel “office”

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