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David Freeze: A slow start finishes fast in the right place, the right time

Editor’s note: Salisbury native David Freeze is cycling from Anacortes, Washington, to Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Post is chronicling each day of his ride. Contact him at david.freeze@ctc.net.

One of our readers sent me a wonderful note one day about how I enjoy myself so much.

She is absolutely right, although Tuesday wasn’t that enjoyable until later in the day. Here is how it all transpired.

The big rain did come Monday evening while I was in Brule, Minnesota, but the hazardous stuff never came. Since I was late getting in, I was also late to bed.

The usual early alarm was tough to take, but I did get going.

First up was a ride to Ashland, also on Lake Superior and owner of spectacular views. If you get to spend any time in this area, go to Ashland to spend the night.

There are several reasonable motels with beautiful views of Lake Superior and spectacular sunsets. I didn’t get to see one but know that the Great Lakes sunsets are some of my favorites on other trips.

Along the way to Ashland, I first rode into Iron River, hoping for a good egg and cheese biscuit, but none was to be found. The Subway clerk couldn’t start early and make me one.

Iron River did claim a recent Bigfoot sighting but displayed no proof. Still, it was a nice little town.

I got my biscuit at McDonald’s in Ashland after finding that the town does not have my new favorite, Kwik Trip. I did find where one is being built as I left town.

The ride to Ashland was on U.S. 2, the last of the time that we will spend together on this trip. I think that anyone who wants to see more of America could use U.S. 2 from coast to coast and have a great time.

U.S. 1 does the same job on the East Coast, and Route 66 does a decent job of a view of the desert southwest from Chicago to Santa Monica.

OK, up to this point things are moving slowly. I had called and made plans for a room in Glidden, supposedly ahead of the late afternoon hazardous weather.

My riding was on Wisconsin 13 and would remain so for the day, but that took a tricky turn. A heavy and pounding rain, complete with lightning and thunder, started about noon and lasted for at least 90 minutes.

My pace was slow but still moving until I found a detour sign for Wisconsin 13, making everyone leave the road because of construction.

I have a propensity to ignore those signs, and I went around this one. It was still drizzling and everything was very muddy, almost too muddy in fact.

I rode across lots of gravel and fill work that looked to be just completed and probably lasting for five miles. The construction workers and their equipment kept passing me, and we both just waved. No one ever stopped me but I did succeed in making the bike a muddy mess.

Then it was back into some serious hills past Marengo, just a small group of stores. The next town that seemed to be a real town was Mellen. I stopped there and cleaned up the bike a good bit, but would need more Tuesday night.

Right in the middle of the worst hilly segment of the day, I was slowly trying to climb up and out of the area. Just near the top of one of the hills, I saw the first black bear I have ever seen in my life cross the road in front of me. Before I could get my camera out, he ran away.

That will be more significant later.

I was passing through Chequamegon National Forest at the time and for a while making very slow progress. The ground eventually leveled out a good bit and I passed the Great Divide, where in this case the water on one side flows into Lake Superior and on the other side makes its way toward the Mississippi River.

I rode into Glidden next, one of those little towns that just simply is interesting. I couldn’t find the motel, so I went back to the Bear Crossing Convenience Store and asked about it.

Amy in the store told me how to find it and invited me back to order food for dinner once I checked in.

Shroeder’s Motel is amazing and priced just right for me. I enjoyed hearing from Gene Frey that two more cyclists spent the night here Monday night.

I also met Ross Dorendorf of Fairbanks, Alaska, who is pedaling from Seattle to Bar Harbor, Maine.

Then it was back to the Bear Crossing store, where I got breakfast for dinner, always my favorite after a long day pedaling, this time at 78 miles.

I met one of the owners of the store, Leo Dunlavy, and struck up a conversation about his desire to snowmobile around Lake Superior. I told him that someday I want to ride around all the Great Lakes.

Then we started talking bear facts, and the claim of “Black Bear Capital of Wisconsin.” The world’s record black bear was killed near Glidden in 1963, dressing out at 665 pounds and standing 7 feet, 10 inches tall.

I had such an enjoyable time with Leo, Amy and Shannon that this overnight ranks as one of the most fun of the whole trip. It you venture this way, stop and see Glidden. I’m very glad I did.

Today will start out with more time on Wisconsin 13 and then probably a turn to farther east. I didn’t have a bit of cell coverage but had excellent WiFi in the motel.

It is hard to think about this summer’s ride coming to a close but it will soon, just not sure exactly what day yet.

Remember to thank Accelerate Therapy and Performance and Delaine Fowler and remember Gear for Races from Raleigh and Vac and Dash from Albemarle for all the race T-shirts throughout the year.

With that, I will close. There was plenty to do before bed.

Plan to ride along again tomorrow. See you then!

See all #Washington2Wisconsin

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