8.25.2014

Bike With (or Without) Melinda 2014

This past weekend up at the cabin, Sherry, Jerome, and I rode our bikes along a variant of the BIKE WITH (OR WITHOUT) MELINDA route that took us through Long Lake, WI. It was not a bad route, with quite a few lakeside establishments in Long Lake, that included a large pizza feast. We did make a wrong turn coming back to Shell Lake from Long Lake, which was totally Sherry’s fault. Just kidding. It was my fault, though Sherry could have prevented my error by questioning me on my decision to turn right instead of left, as we should have. But no matter, it was still fun.

I guesstimate this alternate BW(OW)M route is about 30+ miles total round trip, considerably shorter that the ~50 mile route of previous years, between Shell Lake and Stone Lake. This new route has a longer option, if there are some potent riders who feel compelled to get some extra miles in. They can pedal on to Birchwood, WI, where there are some food and beverage rewards to be sure. But the stretch between Long Lake and Birchwood is kind of lonesome, albeit scenic. So once you commit to the long route, you have to see it through, or miss out on the rewards in Birchwood. On the other hand, even the short route has a lonesome deserted stretch from Long Lake back to Shell Lake, on Highway D via Sarona, with little in the way of rest stop respite, other than being able to view the lakeside spot where Hamm’s Beer ads are photographed.* But once you are back in Shell Lake, you are almost done riding, whereas the long route riders still have to retrace their lonesome path from Birchwood back to Long Lake and then ride the lonely and deserted Long Lake to Shell Lake stretch.

A partial solution to this conundrum is for everyone to ride the route in reverse, starting in downtown Shell Lake for breakfast at either Michelle’s or else the Potter’s Shed Cafe, then riding the lonely stretch of D to Long Lake, at which point the long route riders can choose more rest stop free riding en route to Birchwood, whilst the short route riders make their way slowly through Long Lake’s varied establishments and eventually to the Roost restaurant in Madge (formerly the Catty Shack) for lunch, and Rummel’s garage bar as the last stop before returning to the cabin, some 4 miles from Rummel’s. By Rummel’s, hopefully, the long riders have caught up. But if not, they know where to go. There is an eternal natural spring between Rummel’s and the cabin, where riders can brave bears if they want to fill their water bottles with Nature’s artesian spring water.

All of this may be moot if there are no riders to speak of on this year’s BW(OW)M. Jerome and Sherry cannot make BW(OW)M weekend this year, which is why we did a pre-ride the weekend before. I have a tentative RSVP from another friend, and a couple of uncommitted maybes. If no one ends up going on BW(OW)M this year, no worries. I will just go on a bike ride of my own and spend quality time with my folks. I am totally OK with that, though I want to share the fun and relaxation of the up north cabin and biking experience with some friends, because it’s quite a nice vacation to round out the summer. But the cosmos may have other plans for people, and that’s OK. Maybe next time.

* This statement has not been validated as true. However, the site in question does bear an uncanny resemblance to the Hamm’s filming locale.

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