You know you married someone special when they first agree to a fourteen-day solo bikepacking trip and then offer to drive you the 10+ hour round trip drive to the start and promise to be there on the other end when you finish. That is exactly what my wife Laura did so on a Monday morning we got up and were on the road by 4:30 am to drive from Saint Paul to the beginning of the route, just south of Hazel Green located right near the Wisconsin and Illinois boundary.
After a few photos standing in front of the "Point of Beginning", a big hug and a kiss, I was left alone to find my way to the very north of the state. With nearly 700 miles between me and that goal I clipped in and turned the pedals for the first of many many times.
I was on the bike by 10:00 in the morning, with 47 miles of mostly paved roads ahead of me. I made a stop in Platteville (and got lost for a second) to get lunch at a Kwik Trip and later stopped at the Pitosi brewery which has a full menu (bacon cheeseburger #1). My camp was just another few miles down the way, so I grabbed a crowler of IPA to enjoy at camp.
I camped at Grant River Recreation which is right on the Mississippi River. You'll find tent only sites at the very end of the grounds but bring your ear plugs as the trains run and honk all night long right nearby.