Saturday, September 18, 2010
So it was that, having sent Nancy home on a plane from Chicago, I drove up into Wisconsin with only the two dogs as companions. It was an uneventful drive, and I arrived at a state park campground confident that there would be spaces available. There were, but only 3 out of the nearly 100 sites! The Ottawa Campground at Kettle-Moraine State Park is very nice, with large sites, spaced apart, with dense foliage between. Very private - excellent for minimizing dog barkage. The site driveways are also obliquely oriented to the camp road, making it a breeze to back in, so my first solo parking job was a piece of cake.
Here is the Whale at rest in site 318:
I travelled to this area of Wisconsin to see a friend. Duncan was a roommate of mine back at Clarkson University. So I've known him since 1985. Yikes! That's 25 years! After getting settled in I drove over to Duncan's house in Waukesha. I think we were both pleased to see that we weren't the only one who'd lost a lot of hair! It was also very nice to see Duncan's wife, Sheri, who we haven't seen since they move to Wisconsin more than a dozen years ago. And I was also very happy to meet their charming daugter Sarah, who is 12 years old. I heard about all of Sarah's accomplishments, got the tour of the house, and got somewhat caught up. We made a plan to have dinner and go apple picking while I was in town.
During the day, while Duncan was away at one of those annoying job thingys (he goes every day - its like he's obsessed or something!) I had time to explore the massive state park, particularly its two mountain bike trail systems. The first, called John Muir, featured seven loops, all well marked, and all within the longest - the blue loop of 9.5 miles. This is the one I rode, and I loved the way the trail was designed specifically for bikes, and that the turns flowed beautifully from one to the next. The surface was very hard and smooth - very few roots and even fewer rocks. Not at all like riding in Connecticut! It was fast riding, and tremendous fun. Some rain had made several of the turns a bit greasy, so I slid around on these, and exited the trail system caked with mud!
Here I am on a typical stretch of trail:
The next day I rode the Emma Carlin trail system, a shorter ride, but with sections of turns that were so sweet and flowy that I found myself grinning and chuckling as I rode. I also found hills here, which Muir really had none of, and even a few log rides to add a technical element. All in all, even though the trails are for the most part not very challenging, they make up for it with great flow and a huge fun factor. Awesome.
Speaking of awesome, I rejoined Duncan, Sheri, Sarah and her friend Sarah, for dinner at a mexican restaurant: The Station. We had a great dinner of tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, and the like. After dinner Duncan and I played many of his Wii games, and my lack of experiece in this arena was clearly evident when I was thoroughly outscored in almost every game we tried. Nevertheless, it was fun.
That night Kinsey was not feeling well. She was making horrible wheezing sounds, and was clearly also suffering from some abdominal discomfort. I let her sleep on the bed, but was worried that she might not make it through the night! She survived, thankfully. Here she is the next morning looking miserable:
Duncan and family came over to my camp for lunch grilled over the wood fire, and then we drove over to Mukwonago to the Elegant Farmer to go apple picking. Well, I just watched - I'm not really set up to do a lot of canning in my camper, ya' know. Sarah enjoyed climbing the trees to get the apples:
It was in the farm store that I contributed to the local economy. I picked up some local cheese, some of the unique phenomenon of cheese curd, some corn, and one of their "world famous" apple-pie-in-a-paper-bag. So, they made a big deal about how great these pies are that are cooked inside paper bags. Celebrity chef so-and-so gave them top marks; big New York newspapers declare them the best in the America, etc. Well, I consider myself a good judge of what is and what isn't a good apple pie, so we'll just see about this claim of theirs...
Alright, I just finished licking my plate...and I try to keep this blog clean, for the kids and all, but....holy shit! Sorry, Mom, but I just ate the best apple pie in America! Gotta go lay down.