There certainly was nothing to complain about when I left home at around 7:00 a.m. to start the SPOTUM Tour. Right away I can tell you are smitten by the catchy name; sort of rolls off the tongue, so to speak. SPOTUM stands for, of course, Small Part Of The Upper Midwest and should never be confused with sputum. Anyway, after a short stop at the local Kwik Trip, I headed south. That is to mean "I rode in a direction more or less opposite of north" as opposed to "things started to go bad." Sorry. Another digression.
Blue sky and deep green wooded hills in the early morning light made it about as good as it gets around here. Ten miles in I made my first climb. County O eventually turned abruptly east, dumping me off on County K which I rode down into the river town of Genoa, declaring it self, quite proudly I think, as being on America's Original West Coast. It was not a whole lat* further when I turned off of the highway again, this time to climb up above Victory. Right from the start, this was not looking too good. As soon as I turned off I went by a signs declaring Road Closed and Bridge Out. I decided to ride on anyway (it was only 0.8 miles to said out bridge) to see if it would be possible to get my bike across, but that was not to be.
* lat; that's either a misspelling of "lot" or a reversion to writing "Southern," as in, "that's a whole lat o' collard greens you put in my bowl." I'm not so sure which myslef.
Riding along the river was certainly not a penalty although the wind was picking up. Say, did I mention the wind? Well, it was out of the south and already brisk when I left home. And it only increased in intensity as the day wore on. It was a factor, to be sure. Lunch was in the small town of Ferryville where a sign on the gas station/convenience store I stopped at declared "Ice Cream is Back." I had no idea it had gone anywhere. Perhaps it was out with the bridge? I was, nonetheless, glad at this happy turn of events. Not far from Ferryville I turned towards the hills again, eventually climbing County UU up to Mt. Sterling before battling the wind to get through Seneca then down again to the river at Lynxville.
By now it was what you might call "very warm." You might add "very windy." And you might call it a few other things which I won't mention. Furthermore, it was obvious that while the railroad had invested heavily in laying out a very flat roadbed, the highway department had not. The road started to increasingly undulate. Not that the ups were like climbs or anything, but combine them with the heat and wind and I was beginning to appreciate the bridge that fell into the creek at Victory. Not taking that loop saved me about 5 miles and 600 to 700 feet of climbing. And then I had a flat, maybe five miles from Prairie du Chien, courtesy of a small piece of wire that was certainly just a bit of the blown-tire detritus that litters the shoulder. It was a quick fix, but I was now ready for Prairie du Chien and the Country Inn and Suites Hotel. I wasn't up and running but a couple of minutes when Shirley drove by and waved. As I waved back, I realized we hadn't discussed the difference between waving, which means "Hi; things are good; I'll see you later," and raising a clenched fist in the air, meaning "Please stop because if you don’t stop, I might just cash it in right here." We did get that straightened out, by the way. It was a long five miles.
We ate an early, light post-ride (for me) meal at the hotel then went to a movie in town - Knight and Day. Afterwards it was a late, light meal to end the day.
2,812 of climbing
Along the river and above Stoddard on County Roads O and K:
My favorite road sign:
Genoa to Ferryville:
Genoa to Prairie du Chien:
My sentiments exactly