Madison, SW Bicycling Path

August 1 & 2

The first of August was the kickoff of the NABA Convention, and my short work week. We took a bus ride down to Monroe, WI, and toured the Minhas Brewery. They gave us generous portions of their beer to taste, and a nice lunch to boot.

That evening, the Brewmaster’s Dinner was held, and (as usual) it was a splendid affair, with delicious food, including Duck Soup (despite the Marx Brothers jokes flying around the room).

Thursday, August 2, was a bunch of workshops etc. for the beer memorabilia collectors, and my usual “day off” during the Conventions, so I can get out and see some of the local color. 

Naturally, Jack and I took another of the wonderful bike circuits around the city. We saw the sand cranes again, right next to the path near a warehouse, and they didn’t have any issue at all with me stopping and snapping some shots.

This time, we hit the Southwest Path after riding across the long boardwalk near Babcock County Park and hitting the Capital City Trail, still under construction. We crossed the “jetty” between Lake Monona and Monona Bay into the downtown Madison area again, and then, instead of heading east as we’d done the other day, we struck out west, on the Southwest Path. 


Look who we met! Of course, Jack had to take photos of Rugby Badger.

It was a thoroughly wonderful ride. Jack reported it far surpassed the ride he’d taken yesterday which tried to be the same thing, but never quite came together for him. Circling through the countryside, and a small part of the University of Wisconsin area, we finally hit the Cannonball Path, which took us back to the Capital City and thus home. 

At the long boardwalk, I stopped to see if I could possibly capture the length of the structure across the water, and I saw some ducks and turtles. 

These photos don’t do the boardwalk justice, but there simply no place to stand and get a photo of its breadth, without a boat.

Bike Stats:

  • Ride Time = 2:25
  • Stopped Time = 37 minutes
  • Distance = 28.5 miles
  • Average Speed = 11.75MPH

It was a great ride, and we completed my day off with a package meal of pork chops, potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery. It is all packed together in foil and the packets are roasted on the grill (or campfire) and what results is simply delicious.



Recently, and for the first time since we built the ponds, something like ten years ago, I saw mallard ducks on the largest pond.

We’ve had wood ducks in our large but almost fully shaded pond, with trees along three of the sides. Wood ducks can handle closed-in water like ours.

Not mallards, generally. Nor geese — both of which require long take-off “runways” and gradual-rise escapes.

I was strolling toward the “low road” through the forest that starts just beyond the biggest pond, as I often do when taking a break from work or to give the doggies a bit of a run-about, when Chase startled them (and me) by coming close while they were in a small, shallow and very protected inlet. But they didn’t just fly away. They swam toward me, and when they saw me, they took off for about ten yards, but landed again.

I went along to the dock and lay down in the sun to watch.

They were as far away from me as they could get and stay on the water. After a short interval of preening, and seeking the edge bottoms for the non-existent water grasses to eat, the male tucked his head and had a snooze. The female walked up the steep bank, a little way into the clethra shrubs, and she too, tucked her head for a bit of rest.

The dogs were paying them no mind, yet they were busy investigating the woods etc. So this pair must have come a long way, and set down in the first place that looked promising during their migration. They appeared to be so tired that nothing — not even me on the dock or the dogs rooting around in the woods — would keep them from staying put and getting the rest they knew they needed.

I was just sorry our sanctuary did not offer any foodstuffs for their energy replenishment.

I was unable to get a good photo of the two (who were gone the next day when I returned to the pond), so I found a picture on the internet and drew them into something that looks close to our habitat.

So nice to have such visitors to our homestead; and that we could provide a small time of respite for them.