Rock River Ride Day 1: 'Ter-ree-sah' Or 'The Riza'?

Jun 11, 2018

 Carl Nelson and I have spent our first day riding the Rock River Trail. We started in Theresa, Wisconsin— which is not locally pronounced “Ter-ree-sah,” like the saint, but “the Riza,” like the Wu-Tang Clan fellow. Though it was raining hard, Carl and I headed out in good spirits. 

Dan Libman (L) and Carl Nelson.

We met up with Greg Farnham, who coordinated the Rock River Initiative, and George Marsh, the president of the Village of Theresa. They gave us good advice about the ride, and Greg even chaperoned us several miles in his car.

Though the weather was cold and rainy, these Wisconsin towns and vistas and hills and farms never failed to charm us. We paused for the first time in Horicon, where the people at Danny Boy’s Pub and Grill said we could take shelter from the rain and let us eat there a half hour before they opened because, as the barkeep said, “You’re cute.”

This was, of course, the greatest moment of perhaps my entire life, until I realized she was talking about flaxen-haired Carl Nelson, whose insistence on not wearing a bike helmet had just paid dividends. I got the BLT, which was great, and “tots,” which Carl ate—he earned them—and then we headed back out into the rain and cold.

We viewed the Horicon Marsh, North America’s largest freshwater cattail marsh. Carl used his drone to get footage from 500 feet in the air — 494.5 feet higher than how I usually view cattail Marshes. The expanse of marshland and waterfowl was large and stupefying.

In fact, Carl and I saw an amazing number of regal heron and sandhill cranes, egrets and lots of birds we never could identify. The farmland scenery was gorgeous; and, whenever we’d go a bit without seeing the river, we would wonder if we had taken the wrong road. But there it would be, sweeping alongside us or cutting across our road like a demarcating hashmark. There were stretches where we never saw the river, but it always returned to us, like a stalwart friend.

After riding many hours in the rain and cold, we arrived in good spirits in Watertown, where we met wonderful people -- some of whom waved to us from porches, and others who met and talked to us in the bars and restaurants of Main Street. It was a tiring day, but we're eager to see what we find tomorrow.


Wish you could have come along on this adventure with us. We’ve met a lot of new friends, seen some gorgeous farmland scenery, and are having a wonderful time. Wish you were here.

Dan Libman
Sent from my iPad