Saturday, July 21, 2007

Day 1: Wyalusing State Park, WI

Located in the Southwest part of Wisconsin, near Prairie du Chien, Wyalusing State Park overlooks the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers 500 feet below. It’s one of Wisconsin's oldest parks and is located right in the middle of the best Wisconsin roads.

Wyalusing was our destination today, we had a campsite reserved at the Homestead campground, there were only 3 sites left a few days ago, this was a busy place. The Wisconsin Ridge campground is the nice one located on the bluff overlooking the rivers, but with the great views, as expected there was no availability. Those good sites with nice views get booked up months in advanced. Homestead had no great views, but it had showers and pit toilets, according to their website. It was $14 for the site and $10 for an online reservation, but we could have up to 6 people at the camp site.

At 8:30AM Mike and I met up with Sandy and Kevin in Beloit, WI. After some breakfast we took off on 81 heading west, then for hours we zigzagged all over the place, finally arriving at the Wyalusing State Park around 2:15PM. Check in was 3PM and by the time we paid our $10 each out-of-state park entry fees (which I personally think is a rip off for a state park, it should be no more than $5 to enter a state park) and registered our vehicles, it was 3PM.

Figuring out which road to ride next

We found the campsite, set up our tents, unloaded some of our gear and were planning to ride some more, but we were all very hungry since we haven’t had lunch, so we decided to eat an early dinner and then do a short ride afterwards. We rode in to Prairie du Chien for dinner and the first place we spotted was the Huckleberry's restaurant on 18. The food was really good and so were the prices.

In Wyalusing State Park office, a wolf, fox and coyote

Flowers of the prairies outside of Wyalusing State Park

One of the best smoked turkey melts on sourdough bread I've had in a while

Mike had cod

By the time we paid for our food, we were no longer in the mood for any lengthy riding, it was already 4:30PM, so we stopped at the local Wal-mart, grabbed some snacks and fire wood and headed back to the campsite to unload, stopping and buying even more wood on the way to the camp site at someone’s house for $3 a bundle.

While everyone went to Walmart, I stayed behind to watch the bikes and take a short nap

After we unloaded the stuff we decided to check out the park's two scenic overlooks. The road to the first one was terribly beat up, it was definitely a dual-sport road and I was on the wrong bike today. The view was nice but not as nice as from the other overlook on the other side of the park, this road wasn't as bumpy and the view was of the Mississippi and Wisconsin River.

First overlook, Mississippi River below

Second overlook, Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers

By 6:45PM we were back at the camp site getting ready for a relaxing evening. As the sun hid behind the trees, and the light started to fade, we got a fire going, then out of the bag came the marshmallows. The one raccoon had no fear and came right up to us to see if he could steal some food. As we chased him away, we knew he would be back later looking for table scraps so we locked all the food away on the bikes.

Our camp site

Roasting marshmallows

The night’s low was only going to be 59 degrees, so we took the rain fly off so we could enjoy the night’s sky.

As for the roads, my favorite roads of the day were 78 south of Argyle, 133 from Potosi to Cassville, 81 from Cassville to Beetown and C from Wyalusing State Park to 18, although this last one was kind of short.

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