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By Tom Van Horn #51550 and Sue Rihn #43753 S


aturday morning dawned clear with a few small white clouds dotting the crystal blue skies. We spread our maps out on


the table as we enjoyed our morning coffee at the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s Memorial Union overlooking Lake Men- dota, our starting point for a day’s ride into Wisconsin’s Driftless Area. We started our ride by following Obser-


vatory Drive through the campus, following the Lake Mendota shoreline, passing UW landmarks like Bascom Hall, Muir Knoll, the Carillon Tower, Washburn Observatory and eventually Picnic Point. A glance to the right at the intersection of University Bay Drive and Highland Avenue revealed the First Unitarian Meeting House. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built by a protégé. It’s a very striking and well- known example of Wright’s genius. We picked our way to University Avenue,


a divided major street which runs north- west through Madison and Middleton and which eventually becomes US Hwy 14, our escape route to the country. Minutes later we turned left on Cleveland Road, which


offered a nice set of twisties and set the tone for the day. Many of our roads on this day would be narrow, with wild flowers instead of gravel on the edges of the road, and cen- ter-line markings optional, depending on what each county had decided was necessary. Our first destination was the Cross Plains


Interpretive Center Site on Old Sauk Pass Road. This is a great place to really appreci- ate what the glaciers left for us here in this area of the state. There is a small path into the woods for hardy hikers, and it leads past little knolls and narrow, deep ravines. Much of the landscape on our route featured “ter- minal moraines,” places where the last major glaciers stopped. This is the cause of the up and down topography we rode through. The rounded-off ridges consist of material scraped in and left as the ice masses melted. mixing 400-million year- old sedimentary rocks right next to 20,000- year-old igneous


rock pushed in from


Canada by the glaciers. We continued down Old Sauk Trail over


and between these ridges, where our next stop sign was Stagecoach Road. We turned


left down Stagecoach, passed another ridge, then left again on Cty P. Climbing up another ridge afforded us a nice view from the top, and as we went down, we turned right onto Observatory Road where we saw telescopes moved here years ago to escape the city glow in the city. Our next destination was Brigham


County Park, off Cty F. On clear days, it offers a view of the higher places to the north known as the Baraboo Bluffs, which will be a subject for another ride. Visitors here are treated to cold spring water from the hand-pump. I don’t think there is any water anywhere that tastes as good. Continuing on F, we entered the village


of Blue Mounds. The Hooterville Inn on the right is a good lunch stop if you're hun- gry. We continued on Cty ID to the next town, Barneveld, which was almost com- pletely destroyed by a huge tornado in the '80s. They've rebuilt and are doing well nowadays. Taking a right on Cty T, we threaded our way through neighborhoods, eventually angling off to the left and finding more fabulously twisty creekside roads.


Bascom Hall on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


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