Google "Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail" for details.
Ran this route alone this week. Took a full two days in the form of 1/2 day, full day, and another 1/2 day. Since I live in the Madison area I decided to start the route in Hazel Green, WI where I picked up the trail. Due to rain I ended in Bayfield, WI instead of the end of the trail. Then I returned by county roads to save time. Along the way I used an app called GPS Tracks to follow the trail and it worked GREAT. Here's what I packed:
- Rain suit
- Insect repellent
- Zip ties
- Extra Bungee
- Adventure Jacket
- Underwear, socks, sweatshirt
- Extra pants
- Baby wipes (just in case)
- Spare ignition key
- Plastic bags, baggies and rubber bands
- Reading glasses
- Charging cables
- Tools: screwdriver and two sockets
- Kidney belt
- Chain lube
Day 1: Used the morning to drive to Hazel Green to pick up the trail. Took a couple hours to get there so I didn't really start the route until close to noon. Part of the drive to Hazel Green involved an hour on the interstate which I tend to hate, but it was mercifully only an hour. Used a chest mount for the GoPro which turned out to be too low. All the video looks *through* the windscreen, which is not ideal. After a full day of riding my butt was a little sore, but I found even 5-10 minute breaks help. Weather was perfect all day, sunny and warm. My tires are 60-40 road/dirt and I noticed the shimmy around a little on gravel, but not bad. Hit one Road Closed sign but went anyway to see if I could pass, and I could. It was a washed out bridge but since water levels were low I drove to the left of the bridge, through the water, and up the other side. Easy peasy. Also hit some Class B maintained road, which warns you to ride at your own risk. I packed some power bars but really didn't need to eat until I stopped for the night in Soldiers Grove, WI where I found a motel with a restaurant attached right next to a gas station.
Day 2: Another beautiful day. Even warmer. Very similar terrain to Day 1. This route is a combination of paved back roads (35%), gravel roads (40%), some gravel "paths" (20%) and some ATV trail (5%). Some really beautiful parts of Wisconsin I wouldn't otherwise see. For those not familiar with Wisconsin, the southwestern portion of the state is the driftless area--a place the glaciers missed. There are an abundance of hills so the terrain is beautiful, contoured, and interesting. Day 2 was the longest day of riding. I stopped around 5:30. Stayed at a crappy motel in Prentice, WI.
Day 3: Had about 6 hours left to finish the route, but the rain started first thing in the morning. I have a rain suit but no booties, so my socks and shoes got soaked. I also learned the hard way my gloves are not waterproof, so my hands got wet. I wasn't particularly cold in the morning, but wet hands made it hard to put my gloves on. After a bit the rain got heavier and everything felt miserable, so my brain shifted to survival mode. Keep in mind I'm in the middle of nowhere. So I stopped and checked my directions, and decided to call and audible and drive directly to Bayfield where I could grab a motel and stop at about 1pm. As I got closer to Bayfield and the Lake Superior area, the temperature gradually dropped and ended up at 58 degrees. Stayed at the Casino hotel in Bayfield, and my teeth were chattering by the time I parked. Fortunately the staff were great. They got me into a room early so I could begin drying out my shoes, gloves, and tank bag. Took a hot shower and relaxed the rest of the day. The weather forecast for the following day was only 10% rain.
Day 4: Returned home. Before starting back I had ridden almost 600 miles. I used my navigation to take me back home via county roads instead of highways, which added an hour to the return trip--but totally worth it. It was only 52 degrees in the morning, and very dark overcast. Had a hot breakfast and started back, optimistic it would get warmer as I put Lake Superior behind me. Unfortunately the weather stayed overcast and misty for the next few hours. It didn't exactly rain, but the roads were wet and the mist was thick enough that cars used intermittent wipers. When I reached the Wisconsin Dells it finally brightened up and I saw a shadow for the first time all day.
Great trip! Saw dozens of deer, a porcupine, and a beaver or something that waddled off the trail as I approached. I am adding some pictures and a video I took. If you have any questions I'm happy to answer them. This was the first long ride I did and had a nice time. I was pretty comfortable. The kidney belt helps tremendously so my back didn't hurt at all. The only thing that got sore was my butt, but it was manageable.