Monday, July 16, 2007

Tour de Wisconsin Agriculture, Part One

Click any photo for larger.

The last multi part series I did was about a long, leisurely bike ride through Madison. This time, I present a long, much more difficult ride through the hills of ag country here in Southern Wisconsin.

First, a little topography. Southern Wisconsin is actually a pretty hilly place. There are no mountains like the ones they are riding over in the TDF as we speak here. But this area is actually very hilly. There aren't really any hills to speak of in Madison proper, but once you get just a few miles outside the city it is hilly, scenic and beautiful. To begin this ride I drove to Middleton, a small city that butts up against Madison's Northwest side. There you can park and pick up a trail that heads northwest. So, pack the camera, water and gels and lets go!
I started biking at 6:30 am. The sunrise was awesome as you can see here. If you enlarge this photo there is a hot air balloon in the distance. You can see the path on the left - it leaves Middleton and goes for about 8 miles before it ends.
For some strange reason I have always liked the look of a well kept farm. There were plenty to see on this ride. You can see they have one of those art cows in the front yard of this place. A few years ago around here we did a copy of the famous Chicago Cows and they were all over at different businesses. These guys must have bought one in the charity auction that followed the display.
The path meanders northwest, and you eventually pass this place, the Missouri Tavern. They have recently begun to cater to bikers. Notice the bike rack in front now. On a nice day you can see many bikers lounging in front of this place in their bike gear enjoying a beer. Not to be for me today, it was too early.

This place has a lot of history. An old woman passed away a few years ago that ran the place for decades. She used to play piano inside for you (this is long before this bike trail was in front of the place) and I heard that it had a dirt floor. I also heard that if she didn't feel like getting up from the piano that you could just serve yourself, on the honor system (!). After she died I think some enterprising individuals bought the place and spruced it up a bit.
Last bike ride I was riding through a tunnel of reeds - this time it is a tunnel of weeds. I think these are milkweeds, but I am not sure. It was pretty anyways as the weeds were blooming.
There is much more to come in this series, including a few ag quizzes - so get your thinking caps on!


Jonathan said...

Beautiful ride.

Dan from Madison said...

It only gets better...

gerry from valpo said...

Nice bike. Love the H3 too. Great photos. I just love barns, Especially in the Wisconsin hillsides.