The landscape was getting more hilly the last couple of days. Today and yesterday there was some more climbing to do. Just after we left I heard a ticking sound ever six revolutions. I stopped and inspected the chain. Yup, a chain link was loose on one side. My repair set is probably still back in Portland, but fortunately Harry was behind me and had a chain tool. I removed to links and went on.
After I posted six blog messages online I took some time to look at the stars. It was a very clear night and there was no light pollution from nearby cities. That means that it was going a cold night (coldest so far). No problem because I have a sleeping bag that is nice and warm. Tonight was the first time I had to zip it all the way. Other nights were warm enough to leave it half opened. Also we could sleep in a hour longer because today was going to be a relative short day, only 150 kilometers, but with a lot of (short) climbs.
This morning it rained lightly for a moment during breakfast. Luckily we were sitting in a shed of some sort, nice and dry. During the cycling it stayed dry the whole day except for a half hour in the morning. Put my foam cover on and cycled shirtless. After it stopped raining and the sun started shining it looked like the road was on fire, such a nice blanket of smoke.
Because we het gained a hour yesterday we had to get up a hour earlier. My sleepy head packed everything in dark, eat and left. Together with Harry, because he had some problems with his Garmin Edge 800, so I was his navigator for today.
When we got up this morning Machiel reported that besides mice and squirrels we have some new thieves. Raccoons. A night the tried to crawl into his tent to search for food. He chased them away and also tried to chase the rest of the little thieves who were stealing our bread et cetera away. But they are pretty stubborn. When I stood like a meter away and stamped his feet and yelled, he just sat there, looked at hem like: "yeah, what do you want?". The also got away with a number of Clif Bars.
Last night I stayed up until 1:30 AM to finish two blog posts and then went to bed. After all we didn't have to get up that early. I put my tent in tyne shower to dry because it was very wet. It went quite alright, because the next day it was as good as dry. Also Felix and myself did some washing to clean all our stuff we managed to get dirty the last couple of days. Only drying wasn't a option because the van with our bags would leave at 10 AM. Winda and Patsy were kind enough to unpack our wet stuff at the next camp ground and hang it out to dry.
This morning I woke up with the thought of the hotel in the back of my mind which really helped getting over setting up the tent in dark and and the wet stuff. When we left we first took a short ride through a nature area. Then we got on the big road which had a lot of traffic which came from the highway directly into Madison. There were literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of cars coming towards us all in a slow moving line. We were moving in the opposite direction and only 10 to 20 cars overtook us. No wonder people are stuck in traffic.
Yesterday and today it was quite foggy for the first hour and a half, but it soon cleared up. The route we took today went by a old railroad track for 55 kilometers. It meant less climbing and there were even three tunnels to cut off the peaks. The route started in Sparta (maybe after the Dutch bike brand) and ended for us in Elroy. It was a very pretty and well paved path made out of crushed lime stone. It kind of reminded me of our province Drenthe back home. The trees next to the trail provided shade and kept us cool.
This morning I noticed that I could not get up to speed, I was tired. I ate a Clif Gel and a Clif Bar (Chocolate Brownie) against my will (together with a cola) and that did the trick. The only problem I have is getting warmed up in the morning. Maybe I'll try to eat a gel when I start tomorrow morning.
The 'camp ground' from yesterday was not very good. Breakfast was nothing more than a can of soda and a little sweet roll. But some 50 kilometers down the road was our stop at the Freewheel Bike on the Greenway though Minneapolis. There I ate and drank something until the rest arrived (I got there first). The Greenway is a kind of bike highway going straight though town. It used to be a old rail track and that's why there are almost no stop signs on the entire route (except for a few places).