Manitowoc Tour - Days 6 & 7

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Manitowoc, WI to Shiocton, WI - ~80miles

I'm running a bit of backlog now in my dumb bicycle stories, so I'm going to try and get this wrapped up here soon by writing up a few days at a time. 

Besides, given an outdated AAA map of WI and MN as my only paper maps available to me in Ludington, I didn't have much to go on to assemble a different route back than the one I took down. 

There were some promising choices heading up the coast, but all of them put me within close proximity to Green Bay or Appleton. Without detailed info from a cyclist point of view, I could easily wind up in some kind of suburban shopping mall hell. It's be navigable, but not much fun. I figured I'd stick with what I knew. 

Spent my final night in Ludington at my grandparent's house, woke up early on Monday morning, and had myself a nice little ride over to the ferry dock.  The day crowd is definitely a different bunch than the midnight crossing crowd, that's for sure.  The batteries in my camera died right after I boarded, so not much photographic evidence of this trip.

I do have to say, they serve some damn fine cinnamon rolls on board the SS Badger. But, don't fill up too much- about 45 minutes before you dock, they cut the price on all hot food to a buck. I did what any touring cyclist would do in this situation and gorged myself on pizza, corndogs, and chicken wings.  Brunch of champions!   

Manitowoc was all exciting on my trip over as it was the end of the road with a few days of rest awaiting me. After docking at 1pm on my return trip, it didn't take long before I wanted to get the city as far behind me as possible.  I took the ACA route out of town and found myself on better quality roads than what I came in on, but it was through some kind of suburban mall hell- the worst kind of bicycle riding there is for me.  It didn't take long for things to go from bad to worse either- I promptly flatted on the edge of town.  

Now I was just pissed. I still had that rear wheel issue I discovered on the way down, and now I was down one spare tube as well, but still faced about 350 miles of riding.  No use dwelling on the possible what-if scenarios. Every mile pedaled was a mile closer to home. After 4 days of partying with the family, I was in the mood to make some miles anyway.  

I had a similar plan to my trip down for accommodations on the way back and was planning on stopping just 40 miles down the road or so at High Cliff State Park again.  When I went zooming by that early enough in the day, I figured I could hunker down and make Shawano and the swinger hotel again no problem.

Didn't quite make Shawano, but I had one of my best nights on the road just about 20 miles short of there in Shiocton.  There was an update to the ACA maps featuring a new hotel in town that looked kind of neat- The Rustic Wolf Inn, but I sort of shrugged it off as I couldn't find any pricing information, and it was one of those "call me from the front door and I'll meet you there" sort of deals.  Nonetheless, after ~80 miles, I was beat- and when I passed by the place I saw there was somebody there.  

So, I poked my nose in to check out the place.  Man, I'm glad I did.  The owner was there and offered me one hell of a good deal for the night- but even at the regular rate of $75, it's a steal.   Beautiful, beautiful place. I can't say enough nice things about it or the guy who runs it. I'd do this trip again, just so I could stay there.   

Shiocton, WI to somehwere south of Crandon, WI ~90 miles

I was still kind of somwhere in farm land, and really anxious to get it behind me and back to the northwoods, so I hunkered down for another day of pedaling.  

Through the rain.  

And cold.  

I just can't win, can I?  

Well, once I made it over the hill by good ol' Kettlebowl ski hill, the trip took one of those remarkable turns for the better. The rain stopped, the skies turned blue, the temperature warmed up, the road turned downhill and I was getting close to the "halfway back home" mark, so I was feeling pretty good.  

Nontheless, I once again fell short of my goal for the day when I stumbled across a nice little bar/campground/resort about 20 miles shy of Crandon.  

The bar was closed, which had its positives (no drunk people wandering around), and its negatives (no drunk me wandering around). Still, I scored myself a very nice, grassy campsite and a hot shower for $10. Best of all, I had the place to myself.  I amused myself by exploiting the one cool trick I can do with my cheapo camera-  "sunset mode".   

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