Mini-touring in Mt. Horeb

We’d intended to take a mini-tour the week of my birthday, but because of some extenuating circumstances, we couldn’t make any reservations until only a few days before we might have left.

While I was casting around southwestern Wisconsin for a vacation rental, I came across the Gonstead Guest Cottage in Mt. Horeb. It’s a little closer to Madison that I’d originally wanted, but we made a reservation all the same, figuring that we’d just take a rambling, leisurely two-night mini-tour close to home and enjoy what could be enjoyed.


Beer and sweet potato tots at the Grumpy Troll, the best liquor store around in Trollway liquors, coffee and quiche at Sjolind’s, relaxing under the deep eaves of the cottage during a hard rain on Monday night, the best sound system in any vacation rental we’ve ever had, taking the tour at Cave of the Mounds, screaming downhill on the new Brigham Park connector, sitting on a park bench looking at the water at Stewart Park, tasting surprisingly good wine at the Fisher King, and leisurely riding to and from home on the Military Ridge Trail.

This mini-tour was a good way to ease my into the idea of bike touring. No camping required (and a good thing, given the rains on Monday night), within easy rides of home, and filled with plenty of good places to eat, drink, and poke around in the countryside.

Now she’s talking about planning more adventures. Mission accomplished.

Bike nerdery

K rode her trusty Soma Saga. She carried all of her clothing and other gear in a Rivendell ShopSack (medium) in the matching Wald basket, strapped down with a pair of John’s Irish Straps, also from Rivendell. Add a single Kleen Kanteen and she’s ready to go.

I rode the 650b Troll with a bunch of Revelate soft baggage: Tangle (tools, tubes, lock, map), Pika (clothing), Gas Tank (electronics, wallet), Feedbag (water bottle).

We were both comfortable and well-equipped, but we’ve both decided that we can refine our packing plan somewhat, both for non-camping trips like this, and for camping outings.

7 thoughts on “Mini-touring in Mt. Horeb

  1. Nice one! And nice to see everyone travelling so minimally for a short tour. (I guess I notice things like this more than some, since I work at a lodging facility where millennials regularly bring suitcases that can fit a dead body for a two day trip.)

    Is there a route map?

  2. I still felt like I carried too much, though I did return home having used all of my clothing at least once, except for the rain jacket. But mostly I just want to get things sorted out so that I use just one bag for everything but tools and spares.

    There really isn’t a route map, since it’s a straight shot from Madison to Mt. Horeb and back on the Military Ridge Trail (which is also how we got to Cave of the Mounds and up to Brigham Park on the new connector). And much of the touring about in town itself we did on foot, since it’s a tiny little place with a real main street.

  3. Cool. I ALWAYS feel like I carry too much!

    As for other “not-truly-camping” touring options, are there any state parks nearby that have rentable cabins and/or yurts? You’d still need to carry some sort of bedding, but there’s no need for a tent. I love doing “yurt/cabin” camping in the winter.

  4. Unfortunately, there aren’t. I’d much prefer that sort of thing, especially as it would definitely extend the touring season for us.

  5. Brilliant. I’ve been pondering a short one or two night non-camping from my door to some little old ranching towns with a little history and amusing diners. It’ll be fun to pack light and sleep in air conditioning. And still pretty cheap. Thanks for another nudge in that direction.

  6. Ah, air conditioning–the one thing that keeps me from camping more in the summer months. Though it’s not been that warm here this summer…so perhaps I really have no excuse.

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