Don’t grab your atlas! There is no Bullwinkle, WI. But there almost was. Read on to learn more.
But first, some old business.
Here’s a photo of the BikeE’s old reliable Avenir odometer, taken in the garage in New Berlin, WI.
And here’s a rare action shot, of Jeffrey riding into the New Berlin garage last night.
This morning, we headed west from New Berlin. The air became hot and close, slowing us considerably. But with the warm weather, lots of locals were driving with their windows open. Throughout the day, we got many thumbs-ups and heard words of encouragement: “All the way from New York, good for you!” “Welcome to Wisconsin! Be sure to try our cheese!” “Human riights! That’s fantastic!” Etc.
The countryside became pretty as we got away from the Milwaukee suburbs. There were rolling hills
and bodies of water like Golden Lake
and McMansions, or maybe just mansions, in fancy developments; this 5 bedroom, 4 bath single-family house is offered at $1.8 million, which might buy you a nice 2 bedroom apartment in NYC.
The terrain was at the edge of the glacier that covered northern Wisconsin 11,000 years ago. The rocks left behind must make for interesting viewing, but we had no time for detours.
Beside the heat, we had to deal with rough roads
and another flat in the last of our supposedly self-sealing rear tubes! The tube had lasted only one day. This time, before replacing the tube, Jeffrey applied a patch to the inside of the tire where he found a puncture in the lining. Maybe this reinforcement will protect the tube from abrasion at that spot.
This will give you an idea of the condition of the roads. Not all are bad, and the bad ones aren’t all like this. But just imagine cycling over and around this sort of surface.
We stopped for lunch in Sullivan, a town with fewer than 700 inhabitants. We saw three bars in the little downtown; there may be more. In the bar we chose for Jeffrey’s grilled cheese sandwich, the proprietress donated to Human Rights First as soon as she learned why we are doing the Ride. When we left, she and the patrons warmly wished us well. This is typical of how people react when they hear that Human Rights First finds volunteer lawyers to represent refugees. People out here don’t know much about immigrants. But finding help for bewildered refugees strikes them as fair and right.
Yesterday we promised to tell you what languages we saw on signs as we moved farther west. Today we saw only English . . . and German! Note the word under the name of this town:
There were other signs, too. An adopt-a-highway litter control sign thanks the Volkssport Club of Madison for its participation.
German was a language of instruction in Wisconsin public schools in the 1800s. German immigrants gave enthusiastic support to the Union during the Civil War. They became a permanent part of the American social fabric. We suspect speakers of other non-English languages, including Spanish, will do the same.
Now . . . what about Bullwinkle?
So many of you have donated, we stopped at the post office in unincorporated Helenville to buy more stamps for your promised souvenir postcards. Jeffrey got to talking to the clerk — it doesn’t take much to get Jeffrey to talk — and the clerk told him how the town got its name. The postmaster had wanted to give the town his own surname, but the locals objected. So Mr. Bullwinkle named the town after his wife.