Mercer, WI

July 2, 2010 11:14 pm

I got up before 6 again this morning, and did some work on the computer.


Note to Dean: there’s your prayer request.

The day started out bad. I found that we had a browser hijacker on the netbook. It wouldn’t let me get to Windows Update or Hijack-This or any other helpful sites, but mostly let us go where we wanted. I was obsessed with killing the malware, but finally had to give up. We left the Motel at 10:45.

Our first stop was Blue Ribbon Meats in town – the only Co-op network ATM in a hundred miles, according to the finder. To my dismay, the ATM was not there. However, there was an incredible mural being painted outside Pop’s diner.


Good: an amazing mural artist in Glidden. Bad: no co-op ATM in the store

Good: delicious breakfast in Pop’s diner. Bad: Elliot got a stomachache, possibly from eggs, and we didn’t leave Glidden until 12:45. Before we left we saw the record Black Bear (665 pounds), and the largest white pine log ever hauled by sled. The bear picture didn’t come out well, but here’s the log:


We left into a moderate headwind, and at one point, there was a dust storm.


Bad: dust storm.

Nevertheless, we made it to Butternut, about 10 miles distant, in 40 minutes. We got cold drinks, as usual. Good: there was an ATM in the gas station store there, and I was able to replenish our cash. Bad: it was not a co-op ATM, so we got nicked $2 for the withdrawal.

Outside the store, I was accosted by a young waif selling raffle tickets. She was competing for Pioneer Queen. I got 6 tickets for $5. She was approaching anyone who would listen as they exited the store. It was refreshing to see some industry in a young person. This sidewalk angel gave me an improved outlook on the day. Autumn, if I win, just donate it to a good cause.


Very Good: Autumn Dornan, future Pioneer Queen.

The road was brand new just after Butternut.


Good: smooth road for 20 miles.

The black flies were swarming again, so we stopped to put on repellent. Unfortunately, when we tried to start up again, Elliot’s toestrap broke. We were not carrying a spare, and a cloud of flies orbited me like electrons about a nucleus, but I was able to use a large tie-wrap as a temporary fix.


Bad: toestrap broke. Good: able to effect temporary repair.

A common sign on the road.


The other common signs are ATV, Taxidermy, and Night Crawlers

We reached Mercer at 4:30. We only did 44 miles for the day, but it was enough. As it was 4th of July weekend, both cheap motels were full, and with hesitation, we got a room at the Great Northern Motel. Although it didn’t have “suites” in the name, the room was $94 before tax.

At a nearby grocery store, I found salad on sale. Restaurants here don’t put much stock into vegetables. (I don’t consider potato a vegetable.) There was also travel size toothpaste on sale, so I got a couple, and a $3.99 size of laundry detergent.


Good: stuff on sale. Bad: laundromat closed by the time I got there

There was a mouse outside the grocery store.


I did not feed it.

For dinner, we ate at the Wolf’s Den, which is a Bar/Restaurant attached to the Motel. They had a special, one pound of pork ribs and fries for $6. In fact, all their prices were quite reasonable. Elliot had the special, I had a plate of Bluegill fillets, and we traded a little. Both were tasty.


Bluegills are small.

That picture was taken by Tiffany. She’s a professional photographer, and was sitting at the bar with Mark. We chatted a little about the bike trip. They are from Wausau, about 90 minutes from Mercer. They have two big but friendly dogs, Joker, with the orange collar, and Brik.


It was just sunset when this was taken, but it looks dark on account of the flash.


  1. It was great to meet you Roderick and Elliot!!!! I hope you meet gracious and interesting people on you venture. We’ll be following you the rest of the way!

    • roderick says:

      Hi Mark, Tiffany, Joker, and Brik!

      Small world, I met another family from Wausau the next day. Hope you had a wonderful vacation.

      Sorry the picture didn’t come out so well, the two shots were either the dogs facing away, or Tiffany with an awkward expression on her face.

  2. Mona Schorow says:

    Is it my imagination or is Roderick’s yellow belt the only thing keeping his now-baggy pants up? Just kidding. You both look in terrific shape and make the miles you’re riding seem easy. I rode home from work and my cleat broke with 12 miles left to go; I got home using just my right leg. You’re emergency-fix with the zip-tie is very clever!

    Keep on truckin’


    I hope Elliot’s stomach ache was a momentary passing thing and that he’s fine now. He looks fine in the pic.

    • roderick says:

      Hi, Mona!

      12 miles without a cleat sounds terrible, especially if you have clipless pedals. I don’t know what I’d do if I broke a cleat; we’re carrying no spares. We will probably not hit a real bike shop until Michigan, but ingenuity rules on the road. I visited the hardware store in Phelps today, and got a drill bit, nut, and bolt. I’ll try to make a more lasting repair in our motel room.

      I brought one set of pleated beach pants, but no belt. That fluorescent yellow strap is what holds my tent and sleeping back to the rack. I think it looks good as a belt, and if anyone looks at me weird, I explain that I’m from California.

  3. Marilyn Lang says:

    I grew up in Chicago, and for summer vacations my dad took us all up to Wisconsin (where we rented a cabin for a week) for fishing. I remember pan-fried bluegills – very tasty! Crappie (pronounced “croppie”) are good too. (My dad preferred to catch the northern and walleyed pike, but you get what you get. I sometimes fished with him using a simple bamboo cane pole, and I got excited whenever I got a bluegill.)

    It’s not only Wisconsin-ers that aren’t (weren’t?) fond of vegetables. As I keep having to tell my Thai-food-infatuated family, “I grew up in the Midwest, and I am a meat-and-potatoes kind of girl!” (Vine ripened tomatoes and fresh-from-the-farmer corn on the cob are exceptions,though! My dad used to buy tomatoes by the basket in late summer, and the best corn on the cob Walt and I ever had was freshly-picked corn from the back of a farmer’s truck in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.)

    • roderick says:

      What a wonderful memory! Thanks for sharing that.

      We passed a number of cornfields here, but the plants were only about 3 or 4 feet tall. I guess it’s too early. A local man told me that this year’s crop is exceptionally good. It’s supposed to be “Knee high by the 4th of July,” but it’s much taller, maybe due to all the thunderstorms.