David Freeze: A bird and animal kind of day

Published 12:05 am Thursday, July 20, 2017

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.

I was sitting in a rocking glider at a motel near Eighth Street (also Wisconsin 13) in Medford, Wisconsin, as I wrote today’s story.

I love it when the motel has nice seats to sit and watch the street after my miles for the day are done.

First thing, I got up at Schroeder’s Hotel in Glidden and wanted to get a good picture of a stuffed bear that is supposed to resemble the world-record black bear killed in 1965.

I found it but the lighting was not great. Still, that picture sent me on my way after a fantastic night in Glidden. It was certainly a pleasure to meet so many of the residents, and I look forward to wearing the shirt.

The first town was Butternut, a neat town with a breakfast egg and cheese for me. No need to stay long, and it was back on Wisconsin 13 for the day once again.

I next arrived in Park Falls. Both ends of town were represented in the bird and animal day.

Who knew that there was a ruffed grouse capital of the world? Now you do.

On the other end of town was a story that I found very interesting. A bald eagle was caught, traded, trained and presented to the 8th Wisconsin Infantry, Company C of the Union Army in the Civil War. The eagle was carried into battle next to the colors in 30 battles and 22 skirmishes, being wounded three times. He is affectionately called “Old Abe” and is honored along with the prisoners of war and missing in action of all wars on the south side of town.

Next was Filfield, and then Phillips, where I had a nice discussion with another customer about my ride and possible hazardous weather again Wednesday night. I am sorry that I didn’t get his name.

Following were a series of towns of Prentice, Ogema, Chelsea and Whittlesey that were away from the road and thus not seen.

I did see a huge billboard for Ogema proclaiming “the gateway to the tallest hill in Wisconsin.” I believe it; that earlier butte training came in handy.

My stop for the night was in Medford after 77 miles for the day.

My motel was the Medford Inn, owned by Gary Jensen. Gary told me about a 79-year-old lady who came here several years ago and spent the winter waiting to continue her quest to visit the smallest town in all 50 states. Gary said she nearly had it done but did not know for sure if she finished.

By the way, she was doing this on a bicycle.

Just before stopping in Medford, I stopped at one of the numerous “Wayside” places, similar to a smaller road rest area. As I was leaving, Steve Mayer from Medford walked up and asked about my ride. He gave me some great guidance from a cyclist’s point of view on the best way to get to Green Bay, now just two days of riding away.

Steve also told me about the Ice Age Trail, a thousand-mile trail entirely within Wisconsin that highlights the state’s Ice Age traits. The trail actually passes through that same wayside.

It was another good day, with another moderate headwind in the afternoon, largely because I was headed due south. I will be turning east again for the most part beginning this morning.

It’s exciting getting close to the destination goal but it also is more than a little sad to see this ride come to an end soon.

A few of the readers have asked about the parts that I most enjoy once the riding is done for the day. As I rode Wednesday, I thought about this.

In no particular order, I love a stinging hot shower, getting my story and pictures submitted, answering your questions and messages, experiencing the small towns and motels or campgrounds, and getting at least some news of home.

There are others, but those will do for now. The day consists of the time on the bike and the time off. Both are precious to me.

On we go, hoping to get within short striking distance of dipping the bike’s front tire in Green Bay’s water on Friday.

There is still riding to do. Let’s meet back here again tomorrow!

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