2011 Madeline Island

Biking Toward an Island of the Ages, Of Voyageurs With Their Fur and Song
Madeline Island of Lake Superio

Madeline Island of Lake Superior

The lovely Madeline Island of Lake Superior resounds to echoes of four centuries past, when rollicking French Voyageurs  paddled their canoes in tempo with the songs they sang, opening the trade routes to the north country wilderness.

It was a time that knew the  tread of explorers who followed, and before that sheltered  nomadic Indians in their campgrounds. And today it brings not only that fascinating history but forested retreats and the sound of its surf to visitors like us, the inquisitive riders of Jim Klobuchar’s Adventures in their 38th annual bike tour. And this year in June were taking our celebrated Minnesota good will into the state of Wisconsin, a land that is home to clans of widely acclaimed Cheeseheads, who tell us they are a forgiving people ready to excuse our flounderings on the football field.

We always tell them cheerfully  to wait until next year. Wisconsinites are accommodating people. They say they’re prepared to wait forever..

What our states share in common, of course, is the  splendor of  our outdoors and the commitment we have mutally made to preserve it and to engage with it. So this year the dates are June 9 to 15, for a ride through some of the finest of Wisconsin woodland and its hospitality, to the shores of Lake Superior, to  a lovely waterfall seldom seen and some of Wisconsin’s finest countryside. At leisure we will be able to visit Madeline Island of the Apostle Islands archipelago  lying just off the Lake Superior shoreline. It’s accessible by ferry from the town of Bayfield, where we’ll spend two nights. The island is laced with bike and hiking trails leading to diverse picnic grounds  within range of the rhythmic surf.

So you’re invited to go “Relaxin’ in Wisconsin” on the 38th annual Jaunt With Jim Ride that began  in the 1970s,  when 3-speed bicycles were still being manufactured, and Tracy Chase pedaled in oxford  shoes with a blue and yellow a  propeller mounted on his beanie cap. Obviously, it’s refined now. Our folks include globe trotters who have biked on all available continents  and locales from above the Arctic Circle in Norway to Africa’s Tanzania to Nepal. They include more casual riders from ages 20 to 80, and we invite fresh faces so that this has become literally a community on wheels, valuing the renewal of friendships that the  ride invites.  So we’ll gather on the grounds of the Spooner, Wisconsin high school the afternoon and evening of June 8, the day before the round-trip ride begins on June 9, a Saturday. We camp primarily on school grounds where we’ll take most of our breakfasts and then head for the horizons. We’ll average somewhere around 65 miles a day, a few days less, a few more, take most of our meals together and settle into our somewhat hairy traditions. These include the rank and abusive  shouts of rebellion when the  ride’s founder  and conductor tastefully blows his whistle to arouse the camp dwellers for breakfast.

But invariably it is a week to remember. Our valued support team will be the same. Pat Rivers will provide matchless professional repair service from his Penn Cycle van, and John Witt again will  the haul the  duffel bags from overnight site to the next campground. We camp out on school campuses and take most of our breakfasts at the schools.           Elsewhere in this newsletter you’ll find a registration form and the address where it should be mailed. If you plan to make the trip, it’s recommended that you register earlier than later. For a variety of sensible reasons, we try to confine the ride to somewhere close to 135 riders. That has come to be a sensible number that can be accommodated by most of our providers  and can travel together comfortably. Detailed day to day itineraries plus honorary T-shirts will be available the morning of departure from Spooner.

The Bay

In almost all cases we’ll breakfast in the schools where will have camped on the ground overnight.. We’ll shower there after arriving and usually enjoy a group dinner at an establishment nearby.  Toilet facilities will be available overnight in the schools but the school service will be confined to that except in case of violent or dangerous weather. Our riders bring enough money to pay for meals which usually range around $6 for breakfast, a comparable amount for lunch  and $10 for dinner when we dine together. Bring towels  and the usual toiletries plus after-ride clothing. Do try to limit the weight in your duffel bag as a courtesy to John Witt’s aging quads. Take the duffel  to John’s parked vehicle after you strike your tent and then head for the school kitchen for breakfast, usually served around 6 a.m. Please remember that one of the few rules on this trip that has to be observed from start to finish deals with safety, yours and the other riders. Where there is a road shoulder, use it. Where there isn’t, avoid riding side by side. Not observing that simple precaution is an invitation to trouble.

The Route:

Town Park Beach

Town Park Beach

You should arrive by car at the school ground in Spooner by mid to late afternoon June 8, or by early evening.  There’s a quality bike path  into town from the school, making it easy for  you to head off malnutrition if you haven’t eaten lately; and Spooner is a neat town. Pack lightly for the trip. We’re not going to base camp.  Two weeks before departure, you’ll receive by mail directions to the Spooner school plus color coded ID tags for the duffel bags. Before breakfast, you’ll receive day to day itineraries and T-shirts.  From Spooner on June 9 you’ll ride to Stone Lake, pause there for rest and a snack, then on to Hayward for lunch, then ride to  our overnight at the Drummond school. Dinner in Drummond , then breakfast. From Drummond we’ll head west June 10 along quiet roads  to our luncheon stop at Lake Nebagamon in an idyllic northwoods setting, then head for Superior on country roads and camp beside the modern middle school, where we’ve been guests before. Dinner in Superior, Breakfast at the school June 11 and then we’re on to Bayfield on the road that will eventually carry us to marvelous views of Lake Superior and our two nights not far from the lakeshore and the opportunities to visit Madeline Island. Riders will pretty much be on their own in this absorbing town June 11 and 12, with its sounds and  invitations to spend time in the delightful atmospherics of a New England town lifted out of another time. You’ll be free to take a ferry ride (with or without your bike) to the island, with time schedules available to you at the ferry dock.

On June 13 After breakfast we’ll ride south to the  lakeside town of Washburn with its tantalizing shoreline, then lunch in historic Great Lakes town of Ashland. From there were on to the small but  delightful little town of Mellen and overnight there after dinner.  You’ll have plenty of time to explore one of the hidden gems of Wisconsin scenery , the nearby Copper Falls state park not far from the Michigan border. June 14- From Mellen to Hayward, on one of the loveliest woodland roads in mid-America. June 15 –Hayward to Spooner, by way of Stone Lake and return to our parked cars there.

To register for the trip, fill out the following registration form. I look  forward to seeing you for the pre-ride gathering in Spooner June 8. Unless you hear to the contrary, your registration assures you membership on the tour. Please understand that we normally limit the number of riders  so it’s prudent to register early.


Yes, please add me (us) to the  Relaxin’ in Wisconsin bike ride.trip.(Complete this registration form, include a check for $190 per person and mail to Jim Klobuchar Adventures, P.O. Box 47063, Minneapolis 55447.) I (we) understand that neither Jim Klobuchar nor Jim Klobuchar’s Adventures can be held responsible for injuries or illness incurred during the trip.

All who register will receive in postal mail, sometime in late May or early June,  color coded ID tags for your duffel and day to day self-guided material  covering the route, stops and other  other information.


Here’s my (our) registration for the June 9-15  Jaunt with Jim  bike ride, Relaxin’ In Wisconsin.


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See you June 8


Jim Klobuchar