Sun! Felt amazing to ride in shorts and sunglasses. Incredible how light can lift your spirits and push you further. I rode about 75 miles according to the map. I don't have a bike computer or GPS, one left on all the time anyway. The Adventure Cycling Association maps work really well for the most part. I ran across a few detours and such, but with a bike, a detour is nothing more than riding around the sign and continuing on. It's awesome to chat with a local about my route and they don't even know some of the county roads I'm riding. Definitely is not the most direct way to cross Wisconsin, but surely the most enjoyable.
I've only been chased down by two dogs nipping at my ankles. Luckily, I have huge panniers that cramp their methods. Thus far all of the drivers in Wisconsin have given me space and most of them have even slowed down as they pass. Probably to wonder why the heck I'm heading North to Chequamegon when a cold front is pushing. I'm wondering the same.
About an hour before sunset, things became more interesting. The process for hunting a place to sleep down became real. I underestimated the amount of campable land I was going to find along the route. It turns out that almost everything has been purchased privately with these daunting NO TRESPASSING signs everywhere. Trespassing with a partner in crime seems doable if needed to get some much needed rest. However, trespassing by myself seems absolutely terrifying in this neck of the woods where there are more rear window gun racks than whitetail to shoot. The Chequamegon National Forest is actually quite narrow and I haven't even hit it yet. The lakes are surrounded with huge vacation homes that take up any public lands. I did stop at a few of these places hoping to score a front lawn spot, but to no avail. The light was slipping fast now, and I needed to get off the roads. Busse Road came up and I turned right hoping to find any corner to hide in. Was I doing something wrong? I felt like I was for some stupid reason. It made me uncomfortable either way. A veteran touring cyclist would laugh at my naive situation, but remember, I'm new at this stuff. Anyway, a mile or so down the road more huge cabins that are probably slept in 10 days a year, sit there intimidating me. I quietly coast past to a boat launch with a little trail that went into thickish Northwoods away from the developed side. I quickly and quietly pushed my bike down the deer trail over a small bump, just big enough to conceal me, and found a terrible place to pitch a shelter. But I did anyway. Really beautiful location actually. Round lake was in front of me mostly covered in a layer of ice still, and a cedar bog was to my right where Beaver were slapping around all night.
Amazing how you can sleep anywhere after 8 or so hours on the bike. I slept like a baby for most of the night anyway. Minus the few times mice startled me awake scampering through my tarp shelter. And the time, at about 3 in the morning when some truck filled with yelping dogs came to a screeching halt at the launch. Damn, I was so comfortable and the temps hovered in the 20's, I really didn't want a bunch of dogs sniffing me out and some drunk guy asking questions. That didn't happen.