"I googled my symptoms, and it turns out I just needed to camp and bike."
- Master MP
The early summer is the best time to camp and bike in the Midwest. Your adventure is waiting and Management Miles Peddled (MP) is here to help. This Month’s edition of MP will make 4 recommendations for excellent Midwest camping and biking. Playlist Suggestion: THERE AIN’T NO BUGS ON ME by Jerry Garcia and David Grisman.
Management at MP, in service to its Loyal Subscribers (LS) sent 3 exploratory teams around the globe to find the best destinations to bike.
Team 1 went to the Dolomites in Italy.
Team 2 headed to Galveston, Texas.
Team 3 ended up in exotic Macomb, Illinois a/k/a FORGOTTONIA. According to DMANOPEDIA:
Forgottonia is the 16 county region in western Illinois that makes up the distinctive western bulge of the State. In the late 1960’s and early 70’s, the civil leaders of this region began to refer to themselves as “Forgottonia” due to the fact that most state and federal funding for infrastructure, communications and economic development post-World War II excluded this region of Illinois.
It became so popular that in the early 1970’s the residents of McDonough County, which is in the heart of the region, fictionally seceded from the State of Illinois and elected Western Illinois University student Neil Gamm as their Governor. The plan of the Forgottonia leaders was to declare war against the United States, then immediately surrender and petition for foreign aid. They even had their own flag, which was the white flag of surrender.
Thanks in part to the efforts of these unsung heroes, the region now enjoys a passenger train route directly to Chicago and has received funds for an improved system of bridges and highways.
When in this area, make sure to visit Forgottonia Brewing located at 324 North Lafayette Street, Macomb, Illinois. They have wonderful microbrews, a nice outdoor patio; and, best of all – they play Music BINGO.
Before we get to the subject matter of this edition, Management at MP has some happy announcements and a follow-up to past editions of MP. As always, the happy announcements come first. Playlist suggestion: HAPPY by Pharrell Williams.
Recently, THE TEACHER (TT) and GREEK GOD (GG) celebrated the wedding of their intelligent and beautiful daughter to a gregarious young man. There ceremony was held in an intimate Greek Orthodox Church with a spectacular reception at the most famous hotel in Galveston, the Grand Galvez. Congrats to TT and GG! Playlist suggestion: GALVESTON by Glenn Campbell.
In June of 2023, JOY and GRANTLAND celebrated the graduation of their firstborn TJ from high school. This young man will do great things in life! Playlist suggestion: I CAN by Nas.
Now to the follow-ups:
· Ebike Revolution:
All of the LS to MP need to join the Rails to Trail Conservancy that helps communities convert unused rail corridors into bike trails. Go to https://www.railstotrails.org and tell President Ryan Chao that Management at MP sent you over to join.
In addition to helping convert and preserve the Rails to Trails, you will be privy to the quarterly R2T Magazine. The Spring/Summer 2023 Edition had an excellent article addressing the Evolution of Ebikes in America. In part, the article states the following:
Researchers have found that ebikers receive much of the cardiovascular health benefits obtained during conventional bike use; more than double their use of bicycles for transportation; and, take longer trips on their ebikes. Research also found that ecycling can improve mental and physical health, happiness, and overall sense of well-being.
Recently, CARLO ROSSI (CR) joined the ebike revolution. Playlist suggestion: ROCKIN’ BICYCLE by Fats Domino.
· Route 66:
As all of the LS to MP know, the Second Anniversary Edition of MP in May of 2023 recommended some long distance bike trekking with the Number 1 recommendation being Bike Route 66. The Trivia/Quiz Section of this edition provided some little known insights into Route 66 and its historical significance as a major transportation route from Chicago to L.A.
As usual, the major publications, in this case the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, are paying attention to humble publications such as MP. Specifically, in the Sunday, June 25, 2023 edition, the TRIBUNE ran lengthy article addressing the historical significance of Route 66. Please keep in mind: “In everything truth surpasses the imitation and copy.” Cicero.
Now to the trails!
In past editions of MP, which can be accessed at https://www.milespeddled.com, Management has set forth numerous bike trails with nearby camping. See: STARVED ROCK (04/22 and 08/21 Ed.); SLEEPING BEAR DUNES (04/22 and 08/21 Ed.); DEVIL’S LAKE (08/21 Ed.); CEDARBURG, WI (08/21 Ed.); LAKE KEGONSA (08/21 Ed.); and, MISSISSIPPI PALISADES STATE PARK (07/21 Ed.).
This edition will recommend 4 excellent trails with nearby camping. Use Google Maps or the more enhanced DMAPS, to plan your trip. The recommendations are as follows:
I. ILLINOIS BEACH STATE PARK
ILLINOIS BEACH STATE PARK (IBSP) stretches 6.5 miles along the sandy shores of Lake Michigan in northern Illinois. Illinois Beach is the only remaining beach ridge shoreline left in the State, with dunes, swales, sprawling marshes, and forests of oak trees. There are 241 Class A premium camping sites with electric and access to showers.
A short 3 miles outside of the park is the Robert McClory Bike Trail (RMBT). The trail is approximately 25 miles in length. At the south end it hooks up with the Green Bay Trail; and on the north end it connects to the Kenosha County Bike Trail. The trail is paved and mostly flat. On the south end it runs trough quaint downtowns; and on the north end it alternates between prairies and forests.
AT THE BEACH by The Avett Brothers.
II. NEW GLARUS, WISCONSIN
New Glarus, Wisconsin, often referred to as “Little Switzerland” and home to New Glarus Brewery is a delightful little town in southwest Wisconsin.
For those that are interested in camping, just 2 miles out of town is New Glarus Woods State Park which offers 18 drive-in campsites for tent, pop-up and small RV camping.
For those not interested in camping, right off of the Sugar River State Recreational Trail sits the Chalet Landhaus Inn. A very nice place to stay with an outdoor patio for dining alfresco and a bike room in which to store your bikes.
The recommended trail is the Sugar River State Recreational Trail (Sugar) which, on the north end begins in New Glarus and runs 22 miles southeast and ends in Broadhead, Wisconsin. This is a former rails to trails, is crushed limestone, and for long segments parallels the Sugar River. Along the way there are private campgrounds.
SUGAR SUGAR by The Archies.
III. GOVERNOR DODGE STATE PARK
About 50 miles due west of Madison, Wisconsin sits Governor Dodge State Park (GDSP). GSDP is one of Wisconsin’s largest parks with over 5,000 acres of steep hills, bluffs, and deep valleys. The park offers 269 standard campsites and 80 sites that are available with electric.
A special attraction, approximately 15 miles north of GDSP is Taliesin, the former home and estate of famed architect Flank Lloyd Wright which is now a museum and visitor center.
From the park, you can access the Military Ridge State Trail (MRST) that runs 46 miles west into Madison. The trail is an 1855 military route that passes through farmland, woods, wetlands, and prairies.
Management at MP loves the trail, but we hate war. Playlist suggestion: WAR (WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR) by Edwin Starr.
IV. FRED MEIJER WHITE PINE TRAIL STATE PARK
The Fred Meier White Pine Trail State Park (FMWPT) begins on the south end in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Along the trail there are numerus locations that offer lodging and camping. Better yet, there are numerous breweries, wineries, and distilleries along the trail for your enjoyment. Visit Trail Links at https://www.traillinks.com for a detailed description of the amenities along the trail.
The FMWPT is a 93 mile rails to trails that connects Grand Rapids to the northern lower Michigan area and ends at Lake Cadillac where you can take a dip at the beautiful beach. The trail runs 93 miles and is mostly an asphalt trail.
WHITE PINES by Escaping Pavement.
Time for the Trivia/Quiz section. According to DMANOPEDIA, the history of recreational camping is often traced back to Thomas Hiram Holding, a British traveling tailor, who is referred to as the “father of modern camping” in the U.K. He spent much of his time traveling with his parents across the American prairies. Later, he embarked on a cycling and camping tour with friends across Ireland. He chronicled this journey in his book Cycle and Camp in Connemara. In 1908 he wrote The Camper’s Handbook.
Below are 5 questions about camping. The answers will be in the postscript section.
1. What country has the most national parks? United States, Vietnam, Australia, or Brazil.
2. What state has the most campgrounds and RV parks? New York, California, Arizona, or Texas.
3. The essential camping desert is: S’MORES. In what year did the Girl Scouts Guidebook publish the original recipe? 1921, 1927, 1932 or 1947.
4. What animal can help you calculate the temperature while you are camping? Sparrow, raccoon, deer, or cricket.
5. What animal, that is frequently encountered while camping, purrs like a housecat? Deer, opossum, sparrow, or raccoon.
TEASE TIME: The August 2023 edition of MP will take an in-depth look into biking in the Tucson area and hence will be entitled: BIKING THE OLD PUEBLO. Playlist suggestion: TUCSON TRAIN by Bruce Springsteen.
Time to go but during this upcoming most patriotic of all months, remember to: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” - Maya Angelou. And, as always, remember to R, R & R!
Answers to Trivia/Quiz Section:
1. NATIONAL PARKS
Australia is the country with the most national parks, a whopping 685. The runner up is Vietnam with 147. The U.S. is 7th on the list with 62 national parks.
The state with the most campgrounds and RV parks is Texas followed by California and then New York.
The original recipe for S’mores was published in the Girl Scouts Guidebook, Tramping and Trailing with Girl Scouts in 1927.
During the spring and summer months, you can calculate the temperature by listening to a chirping CRICKET. Simply count the number of chirps you hear in 14 seconds. Then add 40 to the number to find out the temperature in Fahrenheit.
5. PURRS LIKE A CAT
When raccoons feel content and safe they purr like a housecat. Be careful, however, because raccoons can carry infectious disease and they will do great harm to your campsite if you leave out food or garbage.