We left Governor Dodge State Park and drove about an hour northwest to reach our second destination,
Tunnel Trail Campground, near Sparta, Wisconsin.
Tunnel Trail is a private campground situated conveniently on the Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail, our reason for visiting this location. The trail, built on the bed of an abandoned railroad, is 32 miles in length.
We don't camp in private campgrounds very often. The sites were very close together and it was a weekend, so we were right in the middle of groups packed in having a good time. Let's just say we heard the word margarita mentioned a few times during the weekend. There was an apple tree in our site and the ground was littered as the tree dropped its fruit.
I mentioned to Paul I thought the staff should clear the apples from our site. He told me that was a very "Republican" attitude. What is that all about? I advised him:
I wanted to experience a Wisconsin Friday night fish fry. So, we drove to the town of Sparta and sampled a local restaurant's "Oh, My Cod" special washed down with a glass of Wisconsin beer.
It was so hot outside, it was nice to sit in air-conditioning and let someone cook for us.
The next morning we set out for a day on the bike trail. What makes this trail unique is the experience of walking one's bike through tunnels blasted through the limestone.
The trail was great, with very gradual elevation changes as it climbs to a tunnel at the top of a hill and then drops away only to climb up to the next. We planned to see two of the three tunnels that day, for a round trip of 26 miles. I was doing fine,
although I did notice my legs were pedaling twice as fast as Paul's as we rode along. Hmmm. I wanted a bike that was simple to operate with only seven gears. Maybe I should have gone with 24 gears..... And then, there was a detour in one town hosting a tractor pull, adding to the length of the ride.....
It was hot and very humid,
so the tunnels were a welcome walk through the cooled air.
The first tunnel we walked through was 1/4 mile in length.
The second tunnel was 3/4 mile long.
I was doing fine, except now we had to turn around and go back to the campground. By the time I had climbed back up to the last tunnel on our return trip, I was feeling the heat.
The down hill glide into the last town on our route was much appreciated, but the four miles uphill to get back to the campground were quite grueling.
For the record, I did not say "On your left" once to anyone on the path. I was the one everyone passed by and some folks even gave me words of encouragement. I would like to say I appreciated their kind words, but that would be a lie.
That shower in the camper was so wonderful! We even turned on the air conditioner, so you know it was warm!!
The campground was hopping that Saturday evening. It's amazing how many people can crowd into one little site. An Amish buggy drove through, I suspect just to see what all the hollering was about. Or maybe they wanted some apples......
Fortunately, everyone observed quiet hours and by 10:30 the campground was silent. That night it rained heavily. Sunday morning most of the people packed up their soggy tents while Paul and I headed back out on the bike trail
to experience that third tunnel. It was so foggy in the tunnel (another 1/4 mile in length) that the other entrance was not visible.
The day was much cooler and the length of our ride was much shorter, so no problems. I learned the heat and humidity of August on the bike trail must not be taken lightly!
Paul didn't want to head home quite yet, so he lobbied for one more campground. We talked to Nick and learned he had two days off from work and wanted to join us. So, we packed up on Monday morning and headed off to our next destination. We are vagabonds.
I've always liked that word. Maybe I should start telling fortunes!