Monday, June 28, 2010

Trans-Wisconsin...Arrival to Hazel Green

Part II: Arrival to Hazel Green, Wisconsin…very near to the Illinois border and hide-out to notorious gangsters…
“I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.” Red en route to meet Andy Dufresne

Thanks to Jim Reed and his intrepid daughter (and her equally intrepid friend) we reached the little city park in Hazel Green, Wisconsin around the late afternoon on Thursday. The plan was that Team Reed would drop us off, including Jim, and then turn around and make the seven hour northern trek back to old Duluth. It sounded good to us (Jeremy and I), but I can only surmised the dialogue that took place when Jim called his wife and told her that their youngest child and another minor were now heading home with an estimated time of arrival around 3:00 a.m. not including the huge thunderstorms that reportedly lay between Hazel Green and home. Of course, the Reeds, both daughter and dad, seemed to take it all in stride…but from my view point it was impressive both in the confidence Jim had in his daughter and the cavalier, albeit “can-do” demeanor demonstrated by our young chauffeurs. Jim Reed is the kinda guy that doesn’t make a big deal out of what he’s up to…he just sets about doing it, doing it right, but without any fanfare… His daughter seems to be the same way!

As the girls pulled away, we were left with just the bare essentials that we figured we’d need to go the 620+ miles north to the finish on Lake Superior. Soon thereafter we were sitting in the pride of Hazel Green, otherwise known as “The Gangster Bar & Grill” clad, somewhat nervously, in our biking kits, cycling shoes, and yet armed with that wonderful anticipatory enthusiasm that always exists right before the start of something big and unknown! You know what I’m describing here…that amazing feeling of nervous, yet positive expectancy. The feeling one gets right before the BIG DANCE commences…Well to be honest, itz that feeling that keeps me coming back for more!

Joe Meiser, his lovely wife, and their as yet unborn offspring were seated there in the dark and sinister enclave that has served the likes of John Dillinger and a host of other notorious gangsters over the decades. Rumor is that Tupac was in the kitchen that very evening whilst we dined and imbibed….or at least thatz the claim. Joining Team Joe, was his brother Mike and their delightfully amicable mother who regaled us with exceedingly funny anecdotes of the boyz growing up!!! At the conclusion of more than one of her yarns detailing the exploits of young Meiser boys, Joe was heard to exclaim, “That was awkward!” While awkward for the Meiser Boyz; Jim, Jeremy, and I loved hearing of the escapades of the youthful Meiser boyz (I think she said there are five total--all boyz!!!) and clamored for more…But alas after a few cold ones and a fine burger, we felt the urge to head back to our little camp to rest up for the 9:00 am start the next morning.

Our little camp also included a good crew from Iowa and Missouri. It was not long until we were bivied out across the lawn, but as a precursor to things to come early early on Friday morning, a significant thunderstorm arrived. Thankfully we saw it (or heard it) coming and thus the three Duluthians made haste to re-establish sleeping arrangements inside the roofed pavilion…

Look forward to--
Part III: Day I: The nutz and boltz of it…Prairie Peddler saves my A%$, too many roads named, “Buck Creek”, and the village idiot, early morn, screams, “Ken’s Kitchen is open!! Ken’s Kitchen!! Thatz where you need to go!!! Kens Kitcheeeennnnnn!!!!”

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