SAGBRAW 2007 – Introduction

Synopsis: Overview map and travel to Kewaskum.

General Location


Overview of our travels. We spent five days covering 235 miles from Door County to Kewaskum along the shore of Lake Michigan.

Base map courtesy OpenStreetMap; overlay by Reid Priedhorsky.
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To Kewaskum – Saturday, July 28

Loading two bikes onto the car started our adventure out right — making sure they were well attached, not rubbing each other or the car, and secure gave Reid a bit of a project/headache before we hit the road. But, we had a largely uneventful five-hour drive from our home in Minneapolis to Sunburst Ski Hill in Kewaskum, Wisconsin.

We arrived around 5pm expecting to see more people, but there were just a few other cars in the lot. The ski hill was the staging area for the ride, and some folks, including us, would be overnighting there before everyone else arrived for registration in the morning.

We added our tent to the handful already present, locked our bikes to a fence near the chairlift, and got back in the car for a further hour’s drive to Milwaukee for dinner with my dad, stepmom, and sister. This turned out to be more adventurous than we’d hoped — the map had a typo which led us in circles in some very sketchy neighborhoods, and when we did finally locate the right place there was a street fair going on and parking was ridiculous. Finally, we gave up and paid to park, but, as it became clear, this was the right thing to do.

Fortunately, Dad &c. were running late, too. We arrived at the restaurant only a few minutes after they did and sat down to a lovely dinner with the fam. It was great to see them all. We talked about shoulder surgery, and dog training (which was more interesting than it sounds!).

After supper, we loaded back into the car for a much more straightforward trip back to good ol’ Kewaskum, WI. A few more tents had appeared by the time we arrived back at 10, but no signs of life except loud snoring from the tent next door (whose color and properties we memorized for future reference).

To Sturgeon Bay – Sunday, July 29

We were awoken before our 6 o’clock alarm by the sound of tent poles clicking, a soon-to-be-familiar early-morning sound. I rolled out of bed at 6:00 and wandered up to the bathrooms — Reid counted 18 tents when he got up a few minutes later.

At the registration area, there was a man selling minimal breakfast items. I had some yogurt and some of the worst coffee ever, which I managed to spill all over myself as I chatted with my new friend Tom, who’d ridden SAGBRAW a few times previously.

He opined that there were fewer people milling around than usual. Perhaps this was because of the change in ownership. There are three major bike tours in Wisconsin each year, and the couple who had been running the smallest for about 8 years — Eric and Kathy Schramm — had this year purchased the two others. SAGBRAW is the biggest by participant count, but not miles — it’s a “beginner’s tour”.

Shortly before 8:00, there were quite a few people milling around. Kathy appeared and greeted us with a very perky “YOU’RE ON VACATION! WOOOO!!!”. It was a bit much at eight in the morning. Registration was scheduled for 9:00, but Kathy apologized and promised that they’d be getting started soon, which they did about 8:30ish. I got in line at 9 or so and it promptly stopped moving for some time. The rumor was that the staff left to have a meeting. The staff of five or so all seemed slightly frantic, which would turn out to be a theme of the trip.


Waiting in line for registration.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Each registration packet included a wrist band, luggage tags, a bicycle number, reflective butt triangle, and two thick cycling catalogues. We did a little final packing and headed to the staging area — our bicycles to a pair of blue semi trucks and ourselves and bags to a fleet of six buses.

We boarded our bus. Soon Kathy appeared and told that we were “ON VACATION! WOOOO!!!”. Sigh. We hit the road at 9:30, arriving at Sturgeon Bay High School about noon. Our driver only got lost once.


Disembarking from the bus. Reid finds the name of this bus company endlessly hilarious (these buses occasionally appear in Minneapolis too).

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Being one of the first to arrive (something which was not a theme of the trip), we staked out a primo tent spot on the soccer field near the net.


Home sweet home for a couple of days. Ours is the yellow tent in the foreground with me in it.

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These tents are for people who’ve paid for “Happy Camper Service” — local high schoolers will set up and take down your tents, provide fresh towels & camp chairs, &c.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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The bikes hadn’t yet arrived, so we wandered downtown (6 blocks) and to Perry’s Cherry Diner for some lunch. Door County is known for its cherries and wineries. It’s a popular vacation destination and has lots of “quaint” shopping. After lunch, we explored the town a little and walked back to the school to read and hang out.

Shortly, the bike trucks lumbered into the parking lot, and everyone wandered over to help unload.


This semi and another arrived stuffed full to the gills with bicycles.

Photo by Erin Tatge.
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Our bikes and the massive pile of moving blankets disgorged by the truck. Reid is clearly working hard.

Photo by Erin Tatge.
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We started off folding and stacking the moving blankets that poured out of the truck, and soon Reid climbed in to help. It was incredibly hot inside the truck.

Most people quit helping and wandered off with their bike as soon as it was unloaded, which we thought was pretty obnoxious.


Unloading finished. Unclaimed bikes were left around the parking lot, waiting for their owners.

Photo by Erin Tatge.
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Back at our tent, a fellow on a recumbent “tadpole” trike came by. It turned out that he was from Darlington, Indiana, population 850 and 7.5 miles from my childhood home in Crawfordsville, and his cousin had been one of my classmates.

We rode to the grocery to buy some supper from the deli and then went to the auditorium for the “all rider meeting”. We chowed down in the back next to a “No Food” sign.

Kathy opened with “YOU’RE ON VACATION! WOOOO!!!!”. Sigh. After an hour of repeating herself and telling us only a few useful tidbits of information, we were treated to a safety video that actually wasn’t too bad, if a bit pretentious. It was pretty funny to hear the collective loud gasp of horror as the onscreen cyclist (demonstrating what not to do) pulled out in front of a van.

Next up was an ice cream social, which mostly consisted of standing in line for a long time and then people getting their ice cream and going their separate ways.

We turned in about 10pm, very late by biker nerd standards.


Moonrise in Sturgeon Bay.

Photo by Reid Priedhorsky.
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Please continue reading on Day 1.

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