Should actually start calling this leg of our trip the BK Road Trip; but that could get confusing….. 😉 This morning is the last day Uncle Joe & I will be in the United States until Sunday afternoon. We head into Ontario, Canada today, then move on into Quebec, eventually stopping in Quebec City for 3 days for the Blue Knights Northeast Conference Fall Meeting. That being said, I won’t be using smartphone data while in Canada, so the only Internet access I’ll have is when we manage to connect with free wireless service – Am not quite sure when that’ll be or how often. As for yesterday (September 2nd)….
Topped off with gas and hit the road at 7:40 Monday morning, virtually NO traffic going around Chicago (Surprise!), took I-94 East into MI, where we stopped just across the IN/MI border for gas at the 181.1 mile mark. What a GORGEOUS day! Connected with I-69 & I-96 to get on the East side of Lansing, MI, pulled into town, topped off with gas (Sunoco – Yay!) and arrived at the hotel at 2:30, having covered about 340 miles. Since we crossed back from Central to Eastern Time Zine, the math for hours traveled is an hour less. 😉 Was getting a tad warm at our first gas stop; but got noticeably cooler as we headed North & East – Another great day of riding! Had an awesome supper & great local beer (Elliot Ness) at Gilbert & Blake’s Steak & Seafood, right next door to the hotel, and that was just what the Doctor ordered. 🙂
Today we wound down the Milwaukee leg of our trip; heading to the Harley-Davidson Museum for a tour. IT…. WAS…. AWESOME!!!! Every bike imaginable, from every year that Harley ever built a bike. Many one of a kind bikes, too. Even got to see the restoration area, where they work on the bikes. While walkign in the Gift Shop came across some guys from China – One of them could only speak two words of English – “From China” he said as he handed Uncle Joe & I pins from his native land. I smiled, thanked and and gave a slight bow of respect – I also felt kind of bad that I didn’t have anything on me to give him in return; but it was one of those HOG Brotherhood moments that I’ll always remember. After leaving the Harley-Davidson Museum, probably around 1:00-1:15 (but not before going to take on last look at the Memorial Rivets for Dad & Aunt Claire), I got Frank & Parker headed in the right direction to head back home on I-94 East, after which Uncle Joe & I went back to the hotel. Less than an hour later got a call from Frank that Parker had a flat rear tire & they were off the road at Exit 327. Looks like they need to get towed back in this direction to get it fixed. By the time that gets done, probably a good 2 hours or so, am not sure if they’ll be getting very far up the road today, though Frank swore they’d be in Elkhart, IN by the end of the day. Kicked back in the late afternoon, then headed to the Athens for supper – Every supper since we arrived on Wednesday has been here. Excellent food, ice cold drinks, oh-so-yummy desserts & really great staff!
It was another great day today. Don’t think we even did 100 miles; but had a good time at Hal’s Harley-Davidson in the morning (New Berlin, WI), then took a swing by Harley-Davidson Headquarters (Milwaukee, WI), where I signed the official 110th Anniversary logo with a tribute to Dad, and then Holy Hill in the afternoon (Hubertus, WI). Meanwhile, across from our hotel things were REALLY hopping at Milwaukee Harley-Davidson – At one point I think bikes were backed up at least a mile trying to get there, if not more!
Was a lazy morning…. Uncle Joe, “Mr. Crack-of-Dawn”, actually slept in! Was supposed to be even hotter today than yesterday – Mid 90’s with 100+ heat index. Ugh! With it being a Friday, the start of Labor Day Weekend, and the heat, we decided to head North. Ended up at the Air Museum (EAA) up in Oshkosh. Spent almost 3 hours there (easily could have spent more) before heading back – 150 miles total. On the way back it was obvious the skies were darkening; but did we put on our rain gear? Not just “No”; but “Hell, NO!”. Someone in the group even said, “Maybe we’ll just skirt right around it….” Yeah, hold that thought, famous last words…. It started spitting, then misting, then showering then raining, then MONSOONING! And about that time the Emergency Weather Band on my bike radio kicks in – “Yeah, no kidding!”, I’m screaming at the top of my lungs. Most folks would slow down; but I figured the faster we got through it the sooner we could dry off, and that actually worked! To an extent – My shirt was dry by the time we got to the hotel…. And not even 20 minutes after we got there the nasty storm front caught up with us, looking a bit more ominous.
That story being said, and having had another great supper at Athens Greek Restaurant, here’s some pics from the museum – Took a LOT, so showing a sampling of our day…
Well, today the 110th Anniversary festivities started in earnest. Started off heading to the H-D Powertrain Operations Facility a few miles up the road from us. We got there just after 9 AM, and there were already a bunch of bikes there. The tour was interesting; but no cameras allowed inside; so no pics of the inner workings. The engines built there get shipped to the other production facilities, including York, PA, which I’ve been to a few times. The 2014 bikes were on display; very interesting seeing the new WATER COOLED engine on display. Yes, I did say WATER COOLED. Possibly the future of H-D engines – We shall see…. After that, we went the H-D Headquarters, commonly known as 3700 West Juneau Avenue. Had a great photo opportunity, with each of us on our bikes in front of the entrance to HQ – NICE! Then it was off to the Summerfest Grounds for activities that were only open to HOG members. It was great, with bands playing constantly at various sound stages; but it was turning into a pretty hot & humid day, and about 3 hours later we were pretty beat up and ready to call it a day. Traffic was pretty bad, and Frank & Parker got separated from us at an intersection. I thought they’d catch-up, since we were stuck in traffic; but we never did see them again. I did manage to finally get a hold of Frank on the phone and they had found directions back to the hotel and were fairly close behind us. They ended up doing their own thing for supper, and Uncle Joe & I went back to the Greek restaurant (Athens) for another great meal. Another GREAT day for the road trip books….
WE’RE HERE! 🙂
Another day of no real rush to hit the road…. Was looking like a gorgeous day ahead; and decided to take in some sights on the way to Milwaukee. Today may be the 5th day of my road trip; but it marks the true beginning of our Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary celebration. Left Elkhart, IN at 8:50 AM, after topping off with gas, and cranked it up on I-90 West. Hit some dense fog along the way, or maybe it was just low hanging clouds. By-passed Chicago via I-80 & I-294, though the roads were still pretty darn busy & got jammed up at points. Eventually got off onto US-12, which turned out to be much more congested with traffic lights than what I remembered. Stopped for gas at about the 150 mile mark, then continued on to the Volo Auto Museum, having covered nearly 170 miles. The last time I was there was with Dad & Rachel back in 2003 – It was a great place to visit back then, and proved just as enjoyable this time around. One car in particular caught Uncle Joe’s eye, and let’s just say there’s more to the story that’ll be told another time. We spent about 3 hours there before continuing on to Milwaukee. Made it to the Harley-Davidson museum at 3:00 & spent about 1.5 hours there. Got to meet the girls we’d been dealing with via emails & phone over the past few months, and finally got to see the memorial rivets for my Dad & Aunt Claire (Uncle Joe’s wife). Very somber & emotional; but very happy, too. Ran into some serious traffic trying to leave there; but managed to get on back roads and eventually made it to our hotel. Had a great supper & drinks at a Greek restaurant within walking distance of our hotel. Also a Harley Dealership across the road from us with live bands constantly playing, as well as other entertainment. Feels good to be here, and look forward to taking in more tomorrow, after a good night’s sleep.
Well, today was to be a more laid back day – Well under 300 miles. BUT….. When we woke up there was one Hellacious storm front moving in. Dunno where the heck it came from, because there was nothing showing the previous night; but we just had to deal with it. Kept our fingers crossed that it would be like yesterday, and we’d manage to break out on the other side. Touched base with Blue Knights buddy Glen Wheat & am going to connect with him in Elkhart. He says there’s a BK Chapter there, so maybe we’ll meet some new friends. Left Brooklyn, OH at 8:55, took I-480 to US-20 West; got a little over 15 miles before….. He hit a wall of water, with a few very nice lightning bursts, just to highlight everything. So, we ended stopping under a bridge in a torrential downpour & lightning storm. It was truly a beautiful thing….. The way the water was flowing off the bridge, we felt like we were behind a waterfall. What REALLY made it great is that there was a low spot in the highway right at that point, with water almost a foot deep at the left edge of the highway on BOTH sides of the highway – SO, every time a vehicle went through at 60 MPH it made a giant rooster tail, sometimes coming right over our heads. Definite highway hazard and major issue…. ! About 20 minutes later it was at least a little bit better, and I told the guys I’d rather be riding on my bike & getting wet than sitting on the side of the road and getting wet, so we hit the road again. Finally got on US-6 West at Fremont, OH, about the same time we hit dry pavement, and stopped for gas & a break in McClure, OH, 128.something miles into our day. Later up the road (LaGrange, IN, I believe) we came across the World’s biggest cow – Or something at least close to that. Arrived at our hotel in Elkhart at 3:00, having covered 259.1 miles. Much like yesterday, first half wet & second half HOT! REALLY hot….
Glen Wheat drove 2 hours to meet up with us, then we all went to Applebee’s for supper & drinks. When we were done, a bunch of guys from the Indiana VIII Chapter (Elkhart area) were at the hotel waiting for us. We socialized for a while before they continued on their way, then we chatted with Glen a bit longer before he headed for home. Very nice of them to come meet us, and a great ending to another great riding day.