3 Trails Bike Trip

Memorial Day Weekend, 2004

Kathy and I did part of this trail (the best part between Elroy and Sparta) back in 2001 and took a larger group in 2002. This time we planned on biking all 4 trails again but due to weather, we biked just 3. Also, we shorten the camping from 2 nights to just 1, giving everyone another day off on Monday.

The La Crosse River State Trail, Elroy-Sparta State Trail and the "400" State Trail make up 80 miles of Rails-to-Trails on the western side of the state.

Saturday morning - very early - we packed bikes onto 2 cars and loaded our gear and 2 bikes into one truck. By 7 am, we were heading for Reedsburg, the end (or beginning) of the "400 State Trail. There we left our cars in the parking lot of the renovated train depot.

At the depot, we met up with Joanne of Skip and Joanne's shuttle service (Elroy 608-462-5477). We used them last time because their cost was reasonable and very accommodating. The cost raised a little bit, it now costs $20 a head, still a good bargain.

Joanne loaded our bikes into a trailer and loaded us into an 9 passenger van. This was a smaller van compared to last time so we could only take 8 people - 2 others drove a truck and gear all the way to Wilton where the truck and gear was left.

By the time we got to Reedsburg (around 8:45 am, 45 mins. behind schedule) it was already raining - hard. It continued to rain for the entire ride and the decision was made NOT to go all the way to Trempealeau, but instead start our biking at the beginning of the La Crosse River State Trail. This turned out to be a smart choice as I don't think we would have made it to Wilton before dark (or before 8 pm - when Gina's closes)

Averaging less then 10 mph, we made our way down to Wilton where we would camp for the night. We stopped a lot, swapping the beer-bob (my Yakima one-wheeled trailer full of beer and food), eating and generally screwing around. We stopped for lunch in Rockland - taking cover under a park shelter only moments before heavy rain fell - so far we were dry.

We came up with games to pass the time, like lowest and highest gear biking, one-pedal biking and who can forget the 1 mph-faster-every-minuite game?!?!! Towards the end of our trip, we ran into the two bikers started in dropped off the truck and started in Wilton.

We biked 39 miles and arrived in Wilton at around 5:30 pm. We set up camp, then headed to Gina's Pies are Square, a great little cafe with fantastic sandwiches and 9" square pies. Hmmmmm . . . wood turtle pie . . .

We had a clear night around the fire and no rain (though a lot of the camp ground was under water). Around 5:30 am, the thunder and lighting warned us of the coming storm. It rained hard for about an hour and a half. When it stopped, we were treated to a pancake fundraiser put on by the Lion's Club. I think we surprised them with 10 people showing up right at 7:30 am. It started to rain again, and we were stuck in the shelter (just 100 ft. from our tents) for about an hour.

There was talk of eating at Gina's again for lunch but it had stopped raining and we wanted to get a head start on any future rain (again, another good decision). We packed up camp and left Wilton at noon and begin finishing up the rest of the Elroy-Sparta State Trail. One person drove the truck full of gear to Reedsburg (he did get to eat at Gina's!)

We were averaging above 10 mph today and made it to Reedsburg around 4:30 - for a total of about 40 miles including the "400" State Trail. Along the way, we moved a tree out of the way, dodged goose poop, and played more - somewhat dangerous - games like no-hands biking and wet-bridge skidding.

The last 5 miles of the trip the wind picked up (which was against up the whole trip) and it started to rain - not terribly hard but steady. We all got pretty dirty due to the soft, sandy trail. Despite the rain, it was a good trip. The rain could have been a lot worse.


Packing in Madison

A true Packer

Clear skies

No rain!

Shelter in Rockland

Lunch in Rockland

Too close!

Ferns (download for a nice Desktop backgroud)

Approaching the Tunnel
(photo by c.c.)

The first Tunnel

Climbing Tunnel walls

Helmets required

Above Tunnel

Three climbers
(photo by c.c.)

On top of Tunnel
(photo by c.c.)

Happy Tunnel

Scary Tunnel


Big Tunnel


Under falls

Behind falls

Beyond falls

Drinking falls

Second Tunnel

Sock puppet
(photo by c.c.)

Dry night around the fire
(photo by c.c.)

Gina's Pies R Square

Good pie

Square Pan

Too much pie
(photo by c.c.)

Wet fire
(photo by c.c.)

Ready to ride





Back in Reedsburg

Two backs in Reedsburg
(photo by c.c.)


Smurf shoes

They worked, sort of

Dirty shoes
(photo by c.c.)

(photo by c.c.)

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