Manitowoc Tour - Day 3

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Hiles, WI to Shawano, WI - 106 miles

Woke up to some beautiful weather and got started on some great roads, the miles were just flying by today.   Didn't stop much, but there were a few interesting sights along the way. 

Every railroad tie along these tracks was just covered in taconite pellets. 

I'm probably one of the few bicycle tourists who was really excited to go by the Crandon Offroad Raceway.

Part of my super top secret mission as an operative of the People's Front of Superior was inspecting Wisconsin's defenses against a possible invasion from the north.

South of Crandon, just after crossing the Wolf River, you go through one of the few really hilly sections of this route. Actually, it's just one big hill.  Taking a picture of this sign part way up was a good excuse to stop and take a break. 

The UP is dotted with tons of small local ski hills, most of which are no longer used, get tracked up by snowmobilers, or are converted to sledding hills that skiers aren't allowed on anymore. Still, on a moderately light powder day (a frequent occurence in the UP), these hills are just awesome, awesome fun on a pair of heavy duty cross country skis.  I'd like to hit as many as I can before they're gone forever.  Once I got to the top of the hill, I was at the top of the ski hill. Looks like I'm going to have to come back and vist, if not for the hill itself, but also the surrounding wooded hills probably offer some great tree skiing. 

Pulled into Mattoon and stopped to sample the local cuisine.

Funny thing is, Mattoon looked damn familiar.  I knew I had been there before. As I progressed down the route through Leopolis, that feeling just got stronger.  Later that night, after digging through some old emails, I realized I passed within maybe a mile of buddy's farm that I had visited by motorcycle back in 2006. 

Someplace in the area, shortly after a nice officer flashed his lights at me for passing a minivan on a double yellow in front of him.  I didn't actually get pulled over. I just stopped to kneel in prayer to whatever deity was responsible for letting me off.  (And yes, that's the same tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag I'm hauling around on this trip)

In my defense, fast driving would seem to be a popular thing in this area. I passed by two garages containing seriously built Miatas- roll bars, sticky tires, agressive suspension, the whole nine yards.  Not exactly easy Sunday driving material. I wonder what cool finds might be sleeping in all the old barns in the area.   

The defenses seem to get weaker the further south I get.

Got to Shawano later that evening and I was done for.  Well past the 100 mile mark for the day. The problem was all my camping gear was still a little soggy and the campgrounds were another 5 miles out of town.  But hey, look at that, a Comfort Inn & Suites, right on the route. With a hut tub!  I sort of knew maybe 25 miles back that I was going to end up in a hotel that night, so I tried to set some price limits in my head. I should know better. Once I'm standing in the lobby after a hard couple days on the road, mere feet from the hot tub and cold beer, you can pretty much take me for everything I'm worth. They let me off easy for $104.  


A couple of these, a good soak in the hottub, and I was feeling no pain.

Later, I would learn this hotel is regularly used for swinger parties.  I never would have known. Well, maybe all the naked people wandering about the pool area should have been a warning, but I didn't want to question any local customs. Or interrupt my hot, bubbly, beer buzzed bliss in the hot tub.   

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