Tuesday, July 3. Since I am trailblazing and not using the Adventure Cycling maps, I am never completely sure of distances between towns. My persistent pedaling has gotten me close enough to the ferry across Lake Michigan that I am now an easy two days riding from the big boat. Sixty-six miles is all I rode today, although it was record heat again.

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It did not seem as hot as the previous day, perhaps I am getting used to it. I have also adopted a stop and quench policy. Unlike Montana and North Dakota, the towns pop up with regular frequency. I stop every 15-20 miles, rinse my face with cold water, soak up the cool air-conditioned environment, and refill my water bottles with ice and Gatorade.

For the last three days I have seen several Amish horse and buggy carts and lots of horse poop on the road. Apparently there is a strong Amish presence in this area of Wisconsin. The farms are neater than any I have seen; roofs in good shape, bright paint, no junk equipment scattered on the property. And the corn is growing straight and tall, and lots of it. I have also met some operating farm equipment on the road. Large harvesting machines cruise the roads with one wheel on the dirt shoulder and the other wheel out in the travel lane. It’s a little spooky when you see and hear them slowly creeping up behind you. Invariably, they will have a long trail of cars following and waiting to pass. This one caught and passed me and try as I might, I could not draft him;

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I reserved a hotel room in Waupaca, Wisconsin. I have started to explore the towns before I shower but after I ditch my saddlebags. I asked the hotel clerk what sights I should look for in town and I got a blank stare. “There’s some buildings” she said. But then she suggested that I go two miles out of town for the scenery at the “chain of lakes”.

The small town of Waupaca has a lovely central park surrounding an eponymous river. Towering above the town is the huge Waupaca Foundry and I could hear the constant dull roar of exhaust fans operating.

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I reversed direction and headed for the chain of lakes. I quickly came to the Clear Water Harbor Waterfront Restaurant & Bar, crowded with holiday revelers. I ordered a Hamm’s draft beer and explored the facility. It reminded me of a cross between The old Harbor Park in Middletown, Ernie Riley’s lakes in Holland, MA, and the two lakes at Congamond. Brian Rafalski, a 15 year veteran of the National Hockey League, has a place on one of the lakes.There are no fewer than a dozen lakes connected by narrow throats, making for peaceful, pleasing “watery” neighborhoods. The Bar has an actual paddle-wheel propelled boat, the Chief Waupaca. It would lead a parade of decorated boats just after sunset but there were no seats available. I asked the woman to come and get me if there was a cancellation (I would be the guy in Lycra at the bar eating dinner, so I should be easy to spot). About a half-hour later I had secured a spot!

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