Two Turkeys and a Naysayer on the Road to Belgium (Wisconsin)

Early AM Turkeys outside of Milwaukee

I had just departed from the Motel 6 in Glendale, WI (Milwaukee for all intents) when I came across these specimens from the animal kingdom, live, cage-free, wild turkeys! I was not in the hinterland. I was in a ‘burb of Milwaukee and there they were. It’s absolutely a fact that no charity ride should take place without a wild turkey encounter.

This was in the early morning. I missed my early start so roughly around 8 AM. They weren’t going very far I wager but that same day I had a long bike ride ahead of me up north of Port Washington to Belgium, WI.

Cedarburg Art Museum

I found real coffee (I ordered a Mit Schlag because well, I’d never heard of one before) in Cedarburg, a real burg oozing with charm, and washed it down with a scone (or was that the other way around). I sat in the sun a great long while and slung yesterdays bike clothes, hand-laundered in the Motel 6 sink but still wet, out to dry on a spare chair back. Such luxury.

Ben Franklin’s promotion of the turkey as the national bird failed. Somehow it didn’t seem as majestic as the bald eagle. But too it might have been that they have a horrible reputation for limited intelligence: they don’t come out from the sun even when it is baking hot.

I had several hours in the sun on my bike, the slow withering kind that gradually desiccates your soul or at least seriously saps your energy. My bad for getting up at 8!

I was so tired on the run up to Port Washington, I never thought I would make it. Then, suddenly, I realized I was there!

Main thoroughfare in Port Washington, WI

No sooner had I snapped this picture than I ran into George. George was thrilled to see me in my Turin Bike shop cycling clothes. He knew it from way back when, when it was on Broadway in Chicago, long before it moved up to Evanston. Bought a “gold” bike there, all vintage, state-of-the art Campagnolo Record derailleurs, cranks, and brakes, and said he sold it years later for $5,000. We found out (how is this possible) that we both took swimming lessons at the Women’s Nineteenth Century club in my home town of Oak Park. He spoke of getting into brawls at Harlem and Lake outside the Marshall Fields store (long gone) with the “greasers” from Proviso East (also long gone).

Then he told me where i was headed on my bike, i.e. northern Wisconsin, was pocked full of QAnon supporters who hated cyclists and were prone to drag me out in the woods for some unnamed purpose, possibly nefarious and life-shortening, nothing like making s’mores by the campfire, I inferred. I really liked George, we had lots of fun chatting up bikes but George was a naysayer. Concerned for my well being, no doubt, but exactly the opposite of what you want when you are already “pre-daunted”, viz. encouragement.

Rough Image of my route

According to Google Maps, I rode only 34 miles that day. It felt like I had ridden a century! Maybe it was the accumulation of miles already coupled with fear and, let’s not forget, the 40 lbs of supplies I have in tow on the trailer.

By the end of the day, I resolved to have more focus, get up crisply and hit the road early, and not roast in the sun like a turkey.


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