Sunday, October 16, 2005

Iola Wisconsin Redux

We made another trip to Iola Wisconsin this past weekend, our first since early June of this year. Generally we get back to Portage and Waupaca Counties for bicycling much more often than twice in a season, but this year has been filled with an inordinate amount of work-related travel.

We both took Friday off and made the 210 mile drive to Iola. We made a stop to the Hostel Shoppe to pick up a pair of Lake MXZ 300 winter cycling boots that were being held for Kay. While at the shoppe we had a good chat with Larry and Scott.

After leaving the shoppe we went directly to Emy J's Coffee Shop for a sandwich (which was awesome) and espresso. At Emy J's they use the Ristretto method (I think I am correct in calling it a "method") of making espresso. They do an awesome job over there just north of Main Street along the Wisconsin River.

After checking in at The Norseman Motel in Iola, we did a 27 mile ride that took us South to Scandinavia, East on Gurholt Road to T, North on T to Trout Creek Road, east on Trout Creek Road past the red school house (heard its been sold or was for sale) and back to Iola. It was a nice warm up ride.

Saturday went something like this: Breakfast at the Krystal Cafe in Iola. Had a nice chat with a teacher from nearby Amherst High School who suggested that we check out the Amherst School District website for historical information about the area's one-room school houses. He informed us that the red school house on Trout Creek was used until about 1966, when the district consolidated schools. He also was the one that indicated it was for sale. Bummer that we hadn't been around all summer, although its unclear if it sold or not.

Oh yeah - the ride. It was sunny with highs in the upper-50's and a 15-25mph NW wind, so we headed straight in to it and went to Polonia. Saw about 12 Wild Turkeys on Wasrud Road, the first of many Turkey sightings. From Polonia we went south on K and made our way to Rolling Hills Drive (formerly County Q) and got pushed into Nelsonville. We made a stop at the former Waller's market, which has been sold and converted to a Antique Shop called "Reflections" by Elbert and Laurie Stoltenberg. We spoke to Laurie for about an hour, got a bunch of history about the town, the store, and we even toured the 1 bedroom apartment that is for rent on the 2nd floor. Laurie will be booking the music next summer at the old mill in Town, and I owe her a call with Pieta Brown's agent's information. Laurie tried to convince us to purchase the building at the top of the hill and convert it to a B&B. We rode by and checked it out. Looks like a hell of a project for someone, probably not us.

After finally leaving Nelsonville, we made our way to Amherst and had lunch at Gotta Hava Java. The Amherst Coffee Company was sold to new owners that added a kitchen and some awesome sandwiches to their menu. We enjoyed the food and espresso and will return whenever we are nearby. We ran in to BP from the Heartland Club and the nearby bank. He suggested that we include a ride down Indian Valley Road as part of our return trip, which we did. The fall colors were at peak in the area, though I neglected to bring the camera (dumb-ass that I am).

Beer was next on the agenda, so we made our way over to Jo-Jo's Little Norway Bar in Scandinavia. Jo-Jo is an awesome gal, makes us feel welcome amongst the patrons, one of which was staying at our Motel. They have Spotted Cow on tap!

After two beers each we pedaled the short way back to Iola. Today's ride was 54 miles.

We checked out and drove to Cronie's for breakfast. Had a conversation with a couple from Manawa. We rode to Amherst for Coffee and then back to Waupaca via County A, River Road, Morgan Road, County D, Stratton Lake Road, West Road, Emmons Creek Road, Rural Road and then County K into Waupaca. 42 miles all told, highs were around 60 and the winds were light and variable. Another great ride.

That's it. Can't wait to get back.


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