by Mike Magnuson
I was in a sour mood. I had left my money at the Dew Drop Inn, and at that very moment, the strangers there were converting that money into Schlitz.
My buddies, as you might imagine, thought this was about the funniest situation ever.
Dave kept riding behind me and saying, “Bet you wish you could afford a cold one about now.”
I growled and kept pedaling and somehow, after a few miles, managed to feel a little better about life. For one thing, Highway C is shady and flat and affords frequent views of the Wisconsin River. For another thing, if you’re riding bikes with your buddies and they’re laughing and poking fun at you, you have to count yourself lucky. Better to made fun of than not thought of at all.
Besides, our next stop was the town of Mt. Hope, and if you’re riding toward a town with a name like that, it’s awfully difficult to stay grumpy.
We did something crazy then. We came to a bend in Highway C and saw a narrow farm road extending to the bluff that paralleled the river. The farm road was called Kussmaul Road – the name had a tough-sounding ring to it – and the map suggested that if we took this road, we would be delivered forthwith to Mt. Hope and save ourselves a couple of miles in the process.
So we took a chance and took Kussmaul Road, and about a half a mile in, to our absolute delight, the road turned to gravel. We picked up the pace and climbed on the gravel, our wheels making that happy crunchy sound that rubber makes on a loose road, and maybe we weren’t on the official route, maybe we weren’t doing what we were supposed to be doing out here (who really knew what that was?), but when the road turned into asphalt again and we cruised into the town of Mt. Hope, we were all grinning from ear to ear.
A long time later, we rolled back into Lancaster and loaded our bikes back on top of the van and stared across the street at the coffee shop that had advertised quiche earlier in the day. It was closed.
My buddy John was philosophical about this. “Next time we do this ride,” he said, “I’m eating the quiche before we roll out of town.”
Roberto patted John on the shoulder and said, “I’m with you, man.”
We all nodded. For us, there would be a next time. We would ride here, together, and maybe make a few mistakes and maybe get lost and have a few laughs and maybe roll on some of the best cycling roads in North America, too. No amount of money in the world is more powerful than knowing that there will be a next time to get together and ride.