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Lumber Jack Trail and Road Blur
North Central Wisconsin
Day 72-74 - August 12-14, 2002

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Lumber Jack Trail
Day 72: August 12, 2002
Dawntreading Lumberjack Trail, Escanaba Lake, and Mystery Lake--triggers memories of old bike rides at York River near Williamsburg, Virginia. Through pine and birch--white with eerie beauty--mushroom patches--and just before going greensick from endless pine forest, blue crystal lakes sparkle between pine pillars--pines rise like pikes swaying with the wind, and I ride over gurgling creeks and still watery bogs upon wooden bridges. Sunrays pierce the pine needle canopy and I must, for a second or two at least, ride blind sighted.

Lumber Jack Trail

Road Blur
Day 73-74: August 13-14, 2002
For the last two days I have been suffering from what I call road blur. I have ridden with the express purpose of getting through Wisconsin to Minneapolis. It is as if the ancient timberlands are haunting me. When I wake in the morning I see my breath, and I have seen more than a few tree leaves turned red. I get worried, even though I know that it is worry that clouds my being in the here and now--I know is detrimental to the purpose of my journey. The calls of security, home, and then something inside me says it is the normal thing to do. These worries of the future have joined forces with the ghosts of the past. The roads are like runes inscribed upon rolling hills of the northwoods and western dairy farms. They evoke memories. Some good, some bad--they are memories of goodness that now seem lost to time and they make me wonder will it ever get any better? Or was that it?

These ghosts haunt me. The roads of Wisconsin blur. Towns I pass through become a spectral litany of gloomy woods: Mercer, Butternut, Glidden, Hayward, and Edgewater. In each town I am stopped by an older man with weather beat skin, overalls, beard long and graying, hat stained with grease, who asks me where I'm from and where I am going. These are like the ritual passwords of rites of passage. They look at my "contraption" and they all say the same thing after I have properly given answer. "You gotta long way to go!"

My bike creaks and squeaks worse than any contraption I know of. It creaks like the Tin Man in dire need of an oil bath. The rear wheel needs to be trued again. It seems like it needs to get trued once a week nowadays. So I take the rear brake off to keep it from rubbing the wheel. Front brakes are enough when you have a seventy-pound plus trailer weighing you down. I consider getting a tune-up in Minneapolis. I hope to stay at a hostel there for the weekend, where I can rest my aching knees and ankles. I plan on being near Osceola by the end of the day and the Minneapolis by tomorrow.

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