"Find out where your fears live and exterminate the nest."
-Quote in the men's restroom at Pier 4 Cafe in Alma
"We have nothing to fear but fear itself."
"For God has not give us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."
-2 Timothy 1:7
What a day! No rain! We pedaled from Fountain City to Hillsboro, 102.9 miles. We didn't get in until 9:50 P.M. which means we rode part of the way in the dark. But . . . we rode on connecting bike trails all but about 22 miles of the way. We rode from Trempeleau to Onalaska on the Great River State Trail, from Onalaska to Sparta on the La Crosse River State Trail, from Sparta to Elroy on the Elroy-Sparta State Trail, from Elroy to Union Center on the 400 State Trail, and from Union Center to Hillsboro on the Hillsboro Trail. The trails are packed gravel and really aren't too bad. I did crash one time when Jonathan and I were looking for the Hillsboro trail in the dark. I hit a sandy patch, lost the front wheel in about four inches of that soft stuff, and boom! All is well!
When we got to Fountain City this morning we were almost immediately welcomed by Steve Prosser and his dog, Bailey. We told him what we are doing and he asked if he could join us for part of the ride this morning. He told us to come to his house which is about a block away. We did and before we started pedaling he insisted that we eat some rhubarb crisp. That was some good stuff and we even had a scoop of vanilla ice cream with it. I later told Margaret, "See, I'm not the only person who will have ice cream for breakfast!"
Steve did ride with us through Perrot State Park and on to Trempeleau where he bought us lunch at the Trempeleau Hotel. Margaret joined us and the four of us had a great time and great food. Steve is an engineer at Trane and works in La Crosse. He cycles, kayaks, and runs. He sure added a morning surprise and made our day more special. By the way, on a bike the guy is a machine!
We stopped at an old train station in Sparta, the Bicycling Capital of America, and met Laura. She gave us some advice about the tunnels ahead., "You do need flashlights and you have to walk your bikes through the tunnels." She also sold us trail passes for using the trails tomorrow.
I feel that you ought to know that Norwalk, Wisconsin is the Black Squirrel Capital of The United States. Hmmmm. That's almost the equivalent of being the Wharf Rat Capital of The United States, isn't it?
Anyway . . . Jonathan and I decided on one thing this evening. We voted and it was unanimous, we'll never do this ride-in-the-dark thing again. The more we rode the dimmer Jonathan's light got. My light died in the first tunnel! When his light got to where it was not too bright we realized we and his light had something in common. That's when we voted.
In the semi-darkness I kept thinking about Psalm 119:105, "Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path." What we needed tonight was two lights: one for seeing where our wheels were, which would have kept me upright, and one to see where we were going, which would have made the riding a whole lot safer. It's important to see where we're going but it's just as important to see where we are. If we're not careful about where we are we may never get where we see ourselves going. One surprising patch of something could put us off the trail for a while or even off the trail permanently. Almost been there, almost done that.
Walk in the light (1 John 1:5-7).
I will post a revised itinerary tomorrow for those of you who asked about it.
Also . . . I hear thunder rumbling through the sky and rain on the roof. Tomorrow may be a rest day. Sure sounds good to me!