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Day 21: Madison, WI to Sussex, WI

It’s a good thing I’m taking a couple of days off in the Milwaukee area, because I’ve been having a more and more difficult time getting going with each passing day. Today I didn’t hit the road until 9:15. Fortunately I also knew it would be a short day.

For the first two miles, I actually had a nice paved bike path to get me out of Madison. Then I was on a street with a bike lane, and then I was on county highways T and TT. Yes, I’m still amused by the lettered highways.

22 miles in, I came to the town of Waterloo and passed the headquarters of Trek bicycles. Who knew they were out there? They had even adopted the stretch of highway coming into town. But despite the presence of Trek and several other corporate offices at the edge of town, the town center itself looked really depressed with a lot of empty store fronts.

Moving right along, another 14 miles brought me to Watertown, a much bigger city that was decidedly more alive. Conveniently, I passed a butcher shop that was serving hot brats for lunch, so I was able to finally get a meal of Wisconsin brats. If you haven’t had beer, brats, and cheese curds here, you haven’t properly experienced Wisconsin.

Leaving Watertown was interesting. Google was trying to keep me off Route 16. On the one hand, I appreciate it because it’s a busy highway with a not-great shoulder. On the other hand, at one point they literally directed me across a stretch of grass that had been mowed into the shape of a road. It seemed I wasn’t the first person directed that way, because I could see the marks of other bicycle tires running through the grass.

A couple of miles after the grass incident, and 48 miles total into my day, I entered the city of Oconomowoc (accent on the second syllable). This was quite clearly a suburb of Milwaukee, and everything I’ve biked through since then has been continuous suburbs. Oconomowoc is a pretty nice-looking suburb though, and it has a couple of nice lakes in the city center. Lacking anything else to photograph today, I took a couple of pictures of Lake Fowler.

And then it was on to my one brewery of the day, Melms Brewing. They’re a youngish brewery, having opened in March of last year, but they’ve already got some good stuff going. I was really impressed with their rye amber and their Wet Funeral scotch ale. Sometimes I wonder if my biases are too strong. How many rye beers and scotch ales have I already raved about on my trip? But the bartender said that those two beers are their best sellers, so it’s not just me. And in fact, he said that even though he’s generally an IPA guy he goes for the rye amber at Melms. The only downside to these two beers is that they’re both 8%+, so I wasn’t able to drink as much of them as I might have liked.

And after that it was only 8 more miles to my friend Katie’s house in the town of Sussex. Katie and I have known each other for all of a month, since we met at a bar next to Fenway Park in the middle of June. But we hit it off, and she invited me to come visit, probably not expecting that I would arrive by bicycle.

So now I can take a nice rest for a couple of days while Katie shows me around the Milwaukee area. Hopefully I’ll feel more energized and less sore by Saturday, when I next hop my bike to take the ferry across Lake Michigan.

Total distance: 67.7 miles
Average speed: 15.0 mph

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