June 29, 2018 – West Bend, WI – The 2018 Amazing Ride for Alzheimer’s is officially underway.
This year’s tour takes us to Whitefish Point, Michigan and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.
My 15-year-old niece Audrey is my sidekick. This is the first time in a long time I’ve toured with someone else and it’s going to take a bit of getting used to.
Audrey is very athletic. She is a seasoned speed skater who trains with the Olympic hopefuls at the Pettit Ice Center in Milwaukee.
She’s been known to beat the boys in her age group.
Audrey’s also an accomplished swimmer and last night she told me she ran a half marathon and didn’t even train.
I plan on doing quite a bit of drafting this tour.
The one big difference in our makeup and travel style is Audrey likes to eat. She laid out some of her gear Thursday night and half of it looked like a grocery store. “I have these fruit discs and granola bars and some nuts,” said Audrey. “Actually my dog took my nuts and hid them. I had to give her a time out.”
To be clear Audrey is leaving out a couple of key details – mostly in regard to the quantity of her bounty. She has a family pack of granola bars. Her bag of almonds could feed a bear; she also has a jar of powdered peanut butter and she confessed to bringing eight bars of soap.
While it’s something that would make Century Farmhouse Soap maven Anne Marie Craig cheer, there is a weight factor.
”You know you’re going to be toting that all the way to Michigan,” I said.
Audrey laughed. It’s a teenager laugh; a little Bevis with a flare of ‘stop taking life so seriously.’
I have to hand it to her, she is not bothered by the fact I’m a ‘tight packer’ who carries more water than food. I can see us in the Upper Peninsula at a campground dodging mosquitoes. Audrey is funneling back a handful of salty Diamond almonds and I’m gnawing on a twig and washing it down with warm water. Who will be the smarter traveler then?
Audrey also just revealed she brought a 16-ounce bottle of sunscreen. “That’s enough for a family spending the week at the water park in the Dells,” I said.
Audrey smiled. She has her dad’s deep dimples and a ‘butt chin’ …. as she calls it.
Travel details: On Thursday, June 28 we took off an hour later than planned at 9 a.m. from Audrey’s home in Milwaukee. We pedal the Oak Leaf Trail from downtown Wisconsin Avenue to Bradley Road and then hop onto Hwy 145 north into Germantown. The rest of the way into West Bend I can do in my sleep.
We stopped for a break at the 20-mile mark at Sendik’s in Germantown and wheel our bikes out of the heat and into the entryway where we’re greeted by a woman who says, “My daughter and granddaughter have horses. I wonder if they’d be allowed to bring them into the lobby of a grocery.” That made Audrey laugh.
After 37 miles we’re in West Bend. We made a quick stop at Mountain Outfitters for supplies and visited the Samaritan Campus to talk to some residents and make a list of people to bike in tribute to this tour.