Had the day off, and planned to go on a short ride. We hit our first 90+ degree day of the year, so I thought I'd ride somewhere to cool off. For some of you that means finding a higher altitude, but that's not a (close) option for me. Fortunately lake Superior is a relatively short 100 miles from where I live, so after checking off a couple of items on the honey-do list (that shot the entire morning) I was on my way! Left the house at 12:30PM temp 95dF. Headed North on HWY 53 from Rice Lake, Wi to HWY V, east to HWY M (which winds around the west side of Long Lake, one of the most scenic lakes in NW WI), north to HWY B, NE to HWY 70, east to HWY 27, north to Hayward, WI. From Hayward I took HWY 63 north to HWY 2, east to HWY 13, north to Washburn, Bayfield, and Red Cliff along the Apostle Island National Lake Shore. When I exited HWY 2 the temp was 93dF, as I pulled into Washburn the temp had dropped to 73dF. As I continued north to Bayfield the temp continued to drop into the mid 60's. The thin Tee shirt I had been wearing wasn't doing the job, but I thought "it isn't going to get any cooler than this". WRONG! As HWY 13 turned west at Red Cliff, a gentle 20mph breeze out of the NE was blowing off the lake. At Cornucopia the temp dropped to 59dF, where I stopped, and put on the light jacket I had brought with. As I continued riding west, the temp continued to go south! Just west of Port Wing I recorded the coolest temp of my ride 52dF (43 degree cooler than when I had left home 3-1/2 hour prior! It was at about that time that I noticed the gas gauge flicker to the last bar, and began wondering what mileage range I had remaining. For those who have never ridden the circle tour of lake Superior, there are some pretty desolate stretches without petrol access. The south shore is relatively populated, but it's still a ways between gas stops. Rather than pushing my luck I chose to stop at a farm, and inquire if they may have some gas they could spare. The old gent (about my age) cheerfully obliged with a gallon or two from his lawnmower can, and politely refused my $10 offering. When I upped my offer to $20 he reconsidered, and accepted the $10. After visiting for 15-20 minutes I had to interrupt our conversation, by mentioning that the deer would be out soon, and I needed to get on my way (we have LOTS of deer in NW WI, the highways here are litter with their corpses). I'm guessing I was a few minutes shy of a dinner invite, and offer to put me up for the evening (did I mention this is a pretty desolate area? Folks don't get much company in these parts). So with directions to the nearest gas station, I was off again.
The gas detour took me south to Maple, than east to Poplar, WI (home town of WWII top Ace Major Richard Bong), where I topped off the tank. Continuing west on HWY 2 to HWY 53, then south for the 100 mile sprint home. By the time I got to Solon Springs, 20 miles south of the lake, the temp had rebounded to 91dF. I pulled into the driveway at 8:45PM, as the sun was setting, outside temp 86df. Inside temp; let's just say the old girl was steaming.
Should you ever get the opportunity to ride Northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, or the UP of Michigan, I highly recommend it. There's some beautiful country up here, and miles of great roads to ride.