After pop-tarts at the Mid-trail Motel, we jumped back on the Sparta-Elroy State Trail. There are several small towns along the trail, and most cater, in some way, to bicyclists (and probably snowmobilers in the winter). In the town of Norwalk, we stopped in at the Main Street Cafe for a real breakfast, before heading up the trail again. Within a few miles, we encountered the last two of the three railroad tunnels on the trail. The final tunnel was the longest, at 3810 feet. During the construction of the tunnel in the late 1870s, workers struck a spring and the tunnel has always been wet. As we rode through in the dark, it was like a gentle rain storm, with constant dripping from the ceiling the whole way through.
At the town of Sparta, we turned in a more westerly direction on the La Crosse State Trail, towards the Mississippi River. The trail parallels active train lines for part of the way into La Crosse, and we saw lots of train traffic moving in both directions, east and west. Although the trail was flat, it was out in the open and we had a pretty strong headwind. We arrived in La Crosse, at our Warm Showers hosts, a bit tired. They shared a delicious dinner of veggie pizza with us and then set us up in their pop-up camper behind their house. We were so tired that we asked if our hosts, Jeff and Dodie, would mind having us for an extra night. They generously agreed, so we’ll be taking it easy tomorrow in La Crosse, resting up and doing a few errands.