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November 10, 2003

Elm Road - Oak Creek, Wisconsin

Beginning Mileage:   1219.1
Ending Mileage:      1227.4
Total Miles Traveled:   8.3

Compared to Friday, Monday was a beautiful November day!!  After physical therapy, I had the urge to go for a ride.  After considering several options, I decided that Elm Road would make an ideal bike ride.

I parked the truck on the west side of Howell Avenue (WIS-38), across from the end of Elm Road.  There was once a road here known as Glen Oaks Road (1), but a couple years ago a large pile of dirt was dumped across the end of the road, effectively eliminating the road.  I started riding east on Elm Road.  The first ½ mile, up to Shepard Avenue, is newly paved asphalt, although the first ¼ mile had been in existence since I can remember.  The ½ mile from Shepard Avenue to Nicholson Road is paved with concrete, and was paved about 10-15 years ago or so.

East of Nicholson Road, the road is just an old country road, although it had obviously been repaved within the past few years.  Elm Road crosses a set of railroad tracks, Union Pacific's Milwaukee Sub (formerly Chicago & North Western), the first of four railroad rights-of-way to cross Elm Road.  A short distance further, the Oak Leaf Trail (formerly Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee interurban) crosses.  I noticed that someone had put "North Shore Line" decals on both gates of the trail. 

Past Shangri-La Ln. and 10th Avenue, the pavement is older and in poorer condition, and there is evidence of some underground utility work in the past.  Chicago Road (WIS-32) is a busy highway, and I had to wait a few minutes to get a break in traffic.  I rode up here several years ago when my sister lived in an apartment house on the corner of Chicago and Elm (2).

Elm Road crosses UP's Kenosha Sub (also ex-C&NW), and the parallel right-of-way of the former Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company interurban, parts of which are used as Wisconsin Electric (WeEnergies) utility access road.  (Amazingly, this is the only right-of way to cross Elm Road that still belongs to its original owner, as TMER&L later became Wisconsin Electric!)  Further south, the same right-of-way becomes Racine County's M-R-K Trail.  It would be neat if more of this former railroad could be converted to trail use.

Beyond the entrance to the Oak Creek Power Plant (3), the pavement is in very poor condition, with the entire top layer of asphalt crumbled away in many places.  There are also a couple of sizable hills before the road Dead-Ends.  I am surprised that Oak Creek hasn't already closed off the end of this road, like they have done with Ryan Road, Fitzsimmons Road, and Oakwood Road to the north!!  I really wouldn't recommend riding all the way to the end of the road anyway, instead I recommend turning around at the entrance to the power plant.  Besides, I had a heck of a time getting back up the two hills!!

On my way back, I turned north onto the Oak Leaf Trail, then west on Oakwood Road.  I went past an antique cement mixer, and an old school building (4) that is now a residence.  I turned south on McGraw Drive to get back to Elm Road, then back to my truck.

Let's see what else I can explore before winter really comes!!


http://www.fuzzyworld3.com/bicycling3/2003/j1110.html ©11/12/2003 Mark W. Hintz -- Last updated 1/8/2006 -MH
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