Amazing Historical Places and People
Day 3 – June 24, 2015
Berlin to Portage – 52 miles
Weather Warm and sunny 80 degrees, slight head wind
This morning we started at Riverside Park in Berlin and while eating breakfast our campground neighbor came over to visit and ask about our trip. He was a minister from Green Lake and a very nice man. We enjoyed visiting with him, it was a nice way to start the day.
We then headed to Princeton to meet up with Jerry Disterhaft from Fox of the River Voyager Canoe. He met us in town in his full Jean Paul Pauquette costume – very cool!! He showed us the canoe and explained what they do on their trips and the history of his family and the area. The Voyager canoe trips sound like lots of fun and I am sure Jerry and his partner Glen do a great job of not only explaining the history but bringing it to life. We then went to breakfast with Jerry and had a great meal at the Blu Café in Princeton – Jerry even treated – thanks Jerry.
With full bellies we headed off on our 16 mile ride to Montello to meet with Kathleen McGwin a freelance writer who is also a member of the Montello Preservation Society and Marquette County Historical Society. We met Kathleen at the Granite Quarry and she provided us with a brief history of the quarry. I bet you didn’t know that the quarry has the hardest granite in the United States and has been used for some amazing projects throughout the world. She has even coauthored a book about the quarry and graciously is giving us a signed copy – we can’t wait to get home to read it. We then bicycled down the road – County F to John Muir’s boyhood home – Kathleen who is an expert on John Muir was a great tour guide and was able to share lots of unique information on John Muir. The area also has seven different John Muir historical sites to visit. If you are a John Muir fan or just want to learn more about him then the Montello area is where you need to go.
Our day and tours were not over yet – down the road to Portage. The ride to Portage was great – quiet country roads with little or no traffic. We arrived in town with time to spare before our tour of the Historic Indian Agency House. It allowed us to get a snack and then head out to the House. Our guide for this facility was Jane an avid bicyclist. She goes on frequent rides with the local bicycle club and lots of rides around the Portage area. She told us about the Columbia County Bicycle Loops with three of the loops going thru or starting in Portage. The loops are numbered with a total of fourteen loops in the county with distances of 12 – 34 miles. We saw the signs along the road on our way in on County F. What a great idea to encourage people to get out and take a ride – way to go Columbia County Silent Sports Trail Committee.
Sorry back to the Historic Indian Agency House – Jane gave us lots of history about the house and the key people involved. The house has been refurbished and is open to the public. For more information check out their website – www.agencyhouse.org
Later that evening we met with Mayor Bill Tierney and his wife Val for a tour of the Portage Canal and the Waunona Trail project. The trail is located adjacent to the Portage Canal and was a busy place when we were there. Work will hopefully continue on Phase two and three to extend the trail and clean up the canal. It is a huge project but it will be amazing when it is done.
After a busy day we will happy to get back to the hotel and relax for a while!!
Sorry I did not get this out sooner – by the time we got back to the hotel I was pooped and just wanted to go to bed. Then the next day we had no connectivity in Spring Green – so two days without a blog. Hopefully I am back on track now.