June 21, 2020 – Washington Co., WI – It is Father’s Day, my dad’s birthday and the first year he is not with us having passed July 18, 2019.
I have been asked the past few weeks where my annual bicycle tour will be this year and I will confirm there will be a tour and in a cozy fashion it will be close to home.
The tour will be called – Pedaling the Townships of Washington County: A tour of Families, Farms and Faith.
I am choosing to stay closer to home this year because I had a hitch in my giddy-up earlier this spring and on May 19 trusted Dr. Joel Wallskog to give me a new hip. Dr. W. came highly recommended by Gail Bonefant. “He looks good, smells good, and is a great surgeon,” she said.
Accurate on all counts.
Although I managed to get back on the bike nine days after surgery I am still on the mend and regaining strength and stamina.
Credit Mary Moll of Barton for coming up with the idea of exploring the local townships. One night at dinner she presented me with 15 maps from 1999 created by the Washington County Landmarks Commission.
The individual pamphlets provide details of each community with history and regional highlights.
– Town of Addison: A visit to the Addison House Bed and Breakfast will provide an opportunity to see the orginal beer caves.
– Town of Trenton: Schwalbach Brewery brewed an old-style lager beer. The bottles were made of clay instead of glass.
– Richfield Township: A home on Monches Road is a cross-shaped 2 1/2 story clapboard Victorian home with gabled roof and covered entry porch. Reportedly the home was purchased from a Sears catalog.
– Farmington Township: Founded Feb. 11, 1847 it was originally named Town of Clarence after the first boy born in the township. Soon the name was changed to Town of Farmington but for nine months in 1854 it was changed to Town of Carbon after settlers thought they discovered coal in the area. Later they found it wasn’t coal… and the name was changed back again to Farmington.
So, you get the picture…. there is plenty of exploring to do across Washington County.
Aside from the hills and the history I would like to delve into the area churches and cemeteries and the locally owned family farms. If you know someone in the townships who would like to swap out a story for a safe overnight stay – please send their name and contact information my way.
I would love to document the history of the family farms in photos, videos and even take some drone shots of the barns, silos, and homestead.
I plan on collecting names of family farms and laying out my route in July and then taking off and exploring for two weeks in August.
This year’s tour will be a tribute to my father who taught me a solid work ethic, a strong faith, and a love of bicycling.
My dad would have turned 96 years old today.
He was a veteran, a graduate of Marquette University, a father of seven and grandfather of 13.
When we were growing up, he made sure we all had bikes. Most were not the newest, but they all worked.
We were the Wallendas of Whitefish Bay when he attached three tandems together. It did not work like we thought but it was fun to try.
Old school German ingenuity.
My dad was a ‘happy’ Alzheimer’s and this year I will be raising money and awareness for Alzheimer’s; all money will go to Cedar Community which is a 501c3 nonprofit in West Bend. Stay tuned!
If you are a family-owned farm in Washington County that would like to be featured in the 2020 Amazing Ride for Alzheimer’s bike tour please contact Judy Steffes before August 1, 2020 at [email protected]