- Associated Press - Saturday, September 26, 2015

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) - From the shores of the Mississippi River to the shores of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, Ray and Jo Resch, a retired couple from Madison, spent the summer carrying out a mission - visiting 72 counties in 72 days using pedal power.

Their bicycling journey took them across nearly 3,000 miles through the Badger State, approximately the distance from New York to California. They started their journey on July 10.

They saw bald eagles, foxes, a black bear off in the distance and even endured a race with curious deer that looks as if he wanted to outrun them. One night they had to wait out a storm in a farmer’s shed.

As untraditional bicyclists, they traveled at approximately 10 miles per hour and averaged 50 miles a day. They were in no hurry. They had planned a leisurely, easy-pace scenic route trip that would have them stopping at restaurants in each of the counties they visited. The Wisconsin Restaurant Association and Culver’s Franchising System donated some gift certificates.

For lodging, they used the Warm Showers, a bicycle tourist hospitality network, and friends and family throughout the state. Ray estimated they spent $3,000 to $4,000.



They made friends along the way and saw picturesque scenery Jo believes they never would have discovered by car.

“We hadn’t seen all of Wisconsin before. It has just been wonderful. We saw eagles and all kinds of wild life,” Jo Resch told the Kenosha News (https://bit.ly/1iBT2iF).

On their last leg of their journey, the morning Sept. 16, they traveled along the Lake Michigan shoreline from Racine into Kenosha where they stopped at the courthouse and marveled as a streetcar passed. Their next stop was to be Lake Geneva, where they celebrated Ray’s 61st birthday. The previous day, they celebrated Jo’s 60th birthday.

They traveled in well-planned loops that had them covering sectors of the state and occasionally coming back to Madison.

The couple used Trek 7300 bikes with upright handles and wider seats. “We ride in a manner that is pretty unconventional,” said Ray. “We don’t wear typical biking gear and we ride in an upright fashion.”

Ray recalled some people they met say, “you’re making bike riding look fun.”

They got the idea for the tour after hearing that someone had done it by car. They thought it would be more enjoyable by bike, explained Ray. “This trip was three years in planning.”

The Resches are no strangers to distance riding. They often rode 40 miles a day. Years ago, they’d sometimes ride with their three children.

Now as empty nesters, the Resches, who have been married for 40 years, were looking for a controlled adventure. They wanted to keep busy, but have fun doing it. This trip, they said, was a learning experience that gave them more appreciation for Wisconsin.

On Sept. 17, their Facebook post read: “Today we want to say THANK YOU to all of you that have followed our adventure here on Facebook; cheering us on and posting encouraging words! We are SO appreciative!! Here is a picture of the sunset we enjoyed last night as we continued to celebrate our birthdays and the many, many blessings in our lives!”

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Information from: Kenosha News, https://www.kenoshanews.com

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