Manitowoc Tour - Day 4

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Shawano, WI to High Cliff State Park, WI - 80ish miles


"Look at all those dead fat squirrels." 

"Did I do that?"  

Morning on Day 4 was a little rough. 

Thankfully, the hotel had a pretty good looking spread for breakfast and I set to work getting us much of my $104 back as I could in waffles, biscuits, and gravy.

Got off to a good start. Although Shawano is pretty much the point where you go from idyllic rolling farmlands like you'd see pictured on a butter container to the factory farms that produce that butter. Still, the morning start was nice and the roads were good.   Even some nice scenery along the way. 

"Hey, if that last ski hill was super awesome, maybe this one is too."

"Oh, maybe not."

It was a pretty good day up through Shiocton.   It still wasn't exactly bad after that, but I had a 14 mile straight stretch of road to do.  Wind wasn't exactly against me, but it wasn't behind me either.  Besides, on this stretch I started to become familiar with the "liquid waste" trucks.  See, two things are trucked out of factory dairy farms. One is made into delicious cheese curds, the other is transported in uncapped tanker trucks. Yay for fenders!  

Anyway, all those Fat Squirrels from the nigh before finally caught up with me around Freedom, WI (Midwest capital of cheesey American Flag imagery).  I decided a nap in the park would be just the thing. I sat and snoozed amongst the 47 american flags flapping in the breeze, when I looked over at my rear wheel....

"*%&#$*(%!!!"   (I know, it hardly seems like I censor myself in this blog- but in this case, I should.)

 Yep, nearly every one of the rim eyelets for the drive side spokes on my rear wheel was cracked.   I guess I shouldn't be surprised. After two cyclocross seasons and all kinds of other offroad abuse under me, it's a wonder these wheels haven't run off and joined the circus. Still, massive rim failure was not a problem I was equipped to deal with.  

Not much I could do about it though. Just time to get back on the bike and ride.  

Getting through Wrightstown wasn't a whole lot of fun, but it sure beat trying to ride through Appleton.   Finally arrived at my destination for the night- High Cliff State Park near Sherwood, WI.  

The night before, I used the hotel computer to connect with some friends.  My friend Nancy had warned me about this supposedly huge climb I'd have to do to get to the campground.  Somehow, I sort of snuck into the park on a service road and made it to the campground with no climbs.  Except I couldn't find an office or anything in the campground to register.  I finally asked somebody. They directed me to the office.  Down the hill. 


"That was fun." 

I get myself all registered up for the night.  

I then realized I should have ditched all my baggage back at the campground.  

Still, once I was back at the top of the hill, I was done for the night. 

30 minutes later, my buddy "Hodag" from ADVRider pulled in with a cooler full of beer.  After discussing my trip so far and the various merits of ditching the tent for a hammock, we head into town for some grub.  

So, I have this little problem.  I always meet really weird people at bars.  Not good weird. Creepy weird. They always leave everybody I'm with alone and just sort of naturally gravitate towards me.  I guess I'm special like that. 

I'm on about my third Spotted Cow and I notice this guy on the barstool next to me will just not stop staring at me.  Not covertly either.   After about a half hour of creeping me out, he goes off on same ramble about "trying to figure me out" and "wondering if I'm some kind of surfer dude".  No, my drunken creepy new Sherwood, WI friend- just the unfortunate effects of too much SDC pool chlorine combined with too much sun.  

Eventually he wanders off, and after a few more Spotted Cows, Hodag drops me off at the campsite with a few more beers. Had a nice night, sitting on the cliff watching the sun go down over Lake Winnebago whilst polishing off the last of the Miller High Life. 

Now, maybe I had too many Spotted Cows or something, but all night, it sounded like the campsite was just crawling with raccoons.   I never actually saw any, but I like, totally swear, man... there were tons of them out there.  Or something.  

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