The beginning of my US bike trip

Trip Start Sep 14, 2009
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59
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Trip End Aug 31, 2011


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Flag of United States  , Wisconsin
Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sunday night my dad and I headed North to the Milwaukee area for our bike trip. about a year and a half ago I came up with the idea of a beer, wine and cheese tour of southern, WI. After my surgeries and cold weather I decided to cancel doing it myself, then just shelved it till I could afford to do it. Since I was coming back to the US this summer stronger (at least for touring) than I've ever been I figured now should be the time. Since my dad wanted to see me and he would need to get a hotel anyway I figured now would be a good time to at least take a mini version of the

The hardest part about a bike tour pretty much is getting ready. Most of it is equipment and getting a theme down. The rest, to a degree, can be winged. Other than planning the general area and where we decided the specifics of 'where to go' the night before from information on www.wisconline.com

Since my dad really isn't a cyclist and really only was able to put in half the recommended training (along with him being always on call for work) instead of doing a tour where we travel from place to place we decided to stay at one place, travel out to the area we wanted to see, then return there in the evening. We started off spending the first few nights in the Waukesha area.

The first thing we did was go to the Harley Davidson engine plant in Menomenee Falls. It was advertised as a free tour so we figured what the hell and that was better than a beer at 9am. We bike out there and take the tour. As we arrived we found out that there are two different tours, the free one on Monday and a much bigger and more expansive one on Wednesday and Friday. The Monday tour lasted only 30 minutes and only went into a very small part of the factory. We saw where the stators were assembled, finished crankshaft/flywheel/connecting rod assemblies as well as the end of the final assembly and testing area. We also went there on break, so there was very little going on. I was actually slightly disappointed and happy that we biked there.

The guy giving the tour was a little weird. He didn't really seem at all interested in motorcycles, nor did he really seem like he was just into the culture of HD. However, later in the week we found out that he was a career tour guide doing several different places in Milwaukee. Thus, the extension of HD is more than a welcome addition in his repertoire.

From there we went on over to the Sprecher brewery. Around this part of Milwaukee the Oak Leaf bike trail is nearly impossible to follow. Add into the problem of detours and we were really confused. I had found the Sprecher brewery before by complete accident. This time, we were biking down some unknown road trying to figure out where we were (we knew we were close) and then I completely realized where we were. Again, while biking through Milwaukee I completely found the brewery by accident.

We had a ton of time to kill, so we went over to the brewery a couple hours early and asked the employees if they knew of a good place to eat nearby. They recommended a nearby joint called Solly's. Solly's is known for their butter burgers. They put a 1/4 cup of butter on every single one. I didn't realize this, but I got the steak sandwich, which was quite tasty. I recommend this place to all who are in the area.
 
The tour of the brewery was pretty much what it normally was. Go through and see the ingredients, go check out the bottling machine and hear about the dude that started the factory. The tour generally changes every time ever so slightly due to the person who is giving the tour. This time they told us that they triple hopped their beers, which explained to me why I don't like them (hops make beer bitter). However, their soda pops are as good as ever. I ended up drinking something like 5 or 6 8 oz glasses of soda pop. Very sweet and sugary soda.

Since it was later in the afternoon at that point we decided to head back for the hotel and plan for Tuesday.

Tuesday we decided to go to the Wisconsin Automotive Museum in Hartford, WI and on the way back check out the Mason Creek Winery. The route we chose out to the museum was absolutely wonderful. I haven't encountered biking that good since I biked around my church near Wausau. Everything was just so silent save for the animals and bike noises. Lots of little animals running and flying around. Also a lot of bugs. When you're moving on a bike you don't get bitten, but my dad was following me and was gasping at the amount of bugs that were flying around me and keeping up with our pace.

 I thought it was going to be just some tiny little collection. Completely the opposite. One of the high class auto manufacturers in the US up to 1931, named Kissel, was built in that town. Kissel started around the turn of the century and has hit exceptionally hard during the Great Depression and went bankrupt shortly after. Thy stayed in business doing outboard motors after that, but their 'custom cars' were no longer produced.

Since that company was the museum's specialty, most of the cars on the first floor were from that era. And since it is the only public auto museum in Wisconsin, they had a number of vehicles, donated of course, that you wouldn't expect to find. They had the 1,000,000 mile Saab, a couple old dirt track race cars, an 82 DeLorean, a fully functional steam engine locomotive, and even an 87 Fiero and 90 Miata. When we checked out the train one of the employees was bumming around the area and invited us to go behind all the yellow lines and let us into the cab of the train so that we could check it out and ask him some questions. This wasn't the first time that I had been in the cab of a steam engine, but it was the first time I'd been able to ask some better questions since I'm not 9 anymore.

The way back was somewhat of a repeat of the way we came. Since we did want to check out that winery (which ultimately it would have been closed when we arrived anyway) we headed off in that direction. Thanks to google maps we arrived directly in the location that it was not. At the destination there was nothing but corn. We decided to look it up on the GPS device my dad brought with and found that it was 18 or so miles away. Not going to happen since they were already closed and my dad definitely doesn't have the leg for that type of distance. So we called it a day and returned home just before dusk.

Just a note on the pictures. I have a picture of the car first, then the plaque. If there are more pictures of the car they follow the information of the car.


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