Friday was the short ride to Madison, accompanied by my friend Jeremy Pinc. He's a painter living in Fort Atkinson who's sworn off cars (as a driver or passenger) for 2007.
The wind held our speed down but it was a good ride anyhow -- on the Glacial Drumlin Trail we saw a deer. Got to Madison and parted ways, he to visit friends downtown, and me to a free massage offered by my CMT friend Susan. That was sorely needed, no pun intended.
The show was great -- 160-some people in the High Noon, thanks in part to the wonderful opening act, Chris Pureka. I had a great time playing. Then Susan and her wife Deb and I and my friend Jerry rode our bikes back to the East side in the dark and cold.
Saturday was up early, 38 degrees. Jerry made whole-grain pancakes and bacon and coffee, loaned me a pair of gloves, and we were northbound for Green Lake.
Madison gave way surprisingly quickly to country roads, and we had a SSW wind at our backs. Many red-tailed hawks, the Cubs-Cards game occasionally tuned in on the radio. In Randolph we discovered I'd broken a rear spoke, and stopped to strategize over a burger and malt at the local drive-in.
We figured we'd just press on and locate a mechanic in Green Lake or Ripon. Oh, and we met Josh, a local 13-year-old who was born 30 years too late: he's a rock and roller and was awestruck and wide-eyed at Jerry's list of rock shows he's seen. Warmed the cockles of our hearts.
Beautiful ride north along County Trunk A, and spied the lake itself from the top of a hill- beautiful sight, both on its own and because it meant we'd be there soon. Ate wild grapes from the vines at the side of the road.
Rode down into town, bought lemonade at a stand run by some kids, and found the Thrasher Opera House, a real gem of a venue. I soundchecked, Jerry borrowed the director's truck and ran my back wheel over to Mr. Bart's bicycle repair shop in Ripon.
Mr. Bart cut and threaded a spoke from a generic stock, trued the wheel, and charged six bucks. Now I have a silver spoke among the black ones to remind me that old-school craftsmen still exist. Thanks, Jerry, for saving my bacon.
Great show at the Opera House, well attended and a fantastic sounding room. There used to be such a place in every other town in America. Hats off to them for preserving and supporting theirs in Green Lake.
Sunday morning up early, Jerry headed south to Madison and me northeast to Oshkosh, to drop off my guitar and trailer. The streets deserted: Packers game. Then, unencumbered, I rode south past Fond du Lac and toward Lomira.
As it was getting dark, my wife came and picked me up; a small compromise, but not breaking the rule I set for myself: biking the whole distance from venue to venue hauling the guitar.
Now, two days to stretch, hydrate and get ready for the last big push.