C2C Day 36 Madison to Milwaukee WI

Lake Michigan

I cycled thru the rain until I came upon a huge lake, and determined I could cycle no more. At least in an eastward direction. So Milwaukee’s Lake Michigan shoreline is the terminus for this year’s coast-to-coast adventure.

Today started in Madison with threatening skies. A 50% chance of thunderstorms.

Madison is a great cycling city, with many off-street paths and folks enjoying some outdoor recreation. It’s also a booming city with active construction. Perhaps there is a correlation with outdoor lifestyle and city desirability? Being a college town (University of Wisconsin) might also be an attractor.

Bike Path in Madison

Eventually, I made it to Cottage Grove and the start of the 52-mile Glacial Drumlin Trail, named after a geologic landform very common in the area.

Start of the 52 mile Glacial Drumlin trail

Yet another great Wisconsin state trail, devoid of vehicle traffic and loaded with straight-line scenic bridges – crossing over the meandering Koshkonong creek numerous times.

Koshkonong Creek, along the G-T trail

The trail eventually passes right along Rock Lake and a nice sandy beach, smartly named ‘Sandy Beach’, where Jackie busted out the paddle board again. We were so far dodging those forecasted thunderstorms, getting some good paddling and cycling in.

Jackie prepping for paddle boarding at Sandy Beach
Jax joining me on the trail for a spin

And then came the rains. At mile 50, the 50-50 chance turned to 100%, turning into a dousing at the village of Dousman (coincidence?). Then some more trail magic… just as the gravel path started to get slick and muddy, it miraculously turned to pavement. And then, seeking shelter from a heavy downpour, the trailside building (and former rail depot) in Dousman turned out to be a bike shop – called the ‘Bicycle Doctor’. After a brief rest (and a cool bike jersey) from the Doctor, it was back on the trail in a light but steady rain.

Hank Aaron State Trail, Milwaukee

On the outskirts of Milwaukee, I came upon the Hank Aaron state trail. A quick side-story: My Dad visited Wisconsin as a kid and watched a Milwaukee Braves game. At that game in 1954, he got a signed baseball from the entire Braves team – including a signature from a young, upstart rookie by the name of Henry Aaron. ‘Hammerin’ Hank’ would have a hall-of-fame career, breaking the major league record for home runs and setting several hitting records that still stand today. Aaron, who passed away in January 2021, was a man of integrity who broke down many racial barriers and fostered goodwill throughout his celebrated career and life. That trail ride was for you, Dad.

Menomonee River, downtown Milwaukee

That wraps up the 2021 segment of this coast-to-coast journey. 650 miles from Sioux Falls to Milwaukee, across the farms and lakes of southern Minnesota, and the trails and towns of Wisconsin – with my favorite Trail Angel Jackie providing support and encouragement. A memorable trip for sure, and looking forward to more.

~Dan

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