I am so far behind on our summer activities.
After many months of planning the day finally arrived for our Milwaukee Trip with the HOG Chapter. The owner of Beartooth Harley made arrangements with the powers to be in Milwaukee that we were able to get VIP access.
Two groups left to get to Milwaukee, the 3 day group took I-90 and left on Friday morning, the 2 day group took I-94 and left Saturday morning. We went with the 3 day group, didn't want to ride 600 mile days.
Friday morning arrived and we met the Billings group in Hardin. There were 12 of us all together on 10 bikes. Friday was also our only real excitement day, we stayed in Wall SD and there was a tornado later that night at 9:30 pm. We were in our motel room when we got the alert on the tv. I have to laugh because as tourists we don't know what county we are in in South Dakota. It wasn't until they gave the mile markers on I-90 that I told Gary that we are in this alert. He went outside and yelled at me to get dressed and get down, that tornado is just out here. The first thing I grabbed while heading out the door was my camera.
We didn't know where to go and the motel was not informative, some people we saying that we had to go to the church (what church and where). There was a group of church kids staying at the motel and they left in their bus. We hunkered down in the ice machine room. The actual tornado touched down just north of Wall, but we did get some wind, rain and hail. There were other motel visitors with us. Scary night. We did lose power and it didn't come back on until 4:30 am.
Needless to say we didn't get much sleep, our room was hot and stuffy (we were on the second floor in a corner, didn't get any air flow). We didn't shut off the switches on the lamps, so when the power came back on, that hurt. We saw the aftermath of the storm on our way to Albert Lea. Pretty scary when we saw the highway speed and construction signs twisted and bent like pretzels, semis tipped over on the road, road construction equipment mangled and laying in farmer's fields. We even saw a farmers barn and silo on the other side of the highway.
In Albert Lea, as we checked in some of the guys asked where do we go in the case of a tornado and what county are we in. Bonnie came to visit me in Albert Lea, a very nice surprise. She got to meet all of my biker gang. We had a good time and a nice visit.
Arrived in Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon. We did pretty good staying together in the heavy city traffic. Found our motel very easy. Some of us stayed at the Ramada Inn and some stayed at the Hampton Inn. We were in the Ramada Inn. Stayed three days in Milwaukee.
The highlights of Milwaukee were the tours of the Harley factory, Harley Museum and Harley Corporate Office. We also went to a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game. The owner of Beartooth Harley paid for our way into these places. At the museum and corporate offices we were able to go into places where the general public is not allowed. Our seats at the baseball game were fantastic, we were right at the home dugout between home and 1st base and 15 rows up from the field. I was able to get some great photos, just had to shoot between heads. We had a great time.
On Monday night we all ate dinner together at a place called Mader's (German Restaurant). To me it was pretty pricey, Gary and I shared a meal which was plenty for both of us. While on our walk back to the motel, some of the guys were wondering how we are getting to the baseball game the next night. Didn't want to ride bikes. I found a sign at one of the bars that said free shuttle to the Brewers games. Gary and another guy went to get the details. All we had to do was be there about 90 minutes before the game. Sweet!!!
We had a free Tuesday afternoon, didn't do anything fun, just rested. We did make our way to the little bar got a bite to eat and just enjoyed the afternoon. They had tables set up outside on the sidewalk. At the same time, the Rolling Stones had a concert in the park, so free shuttles to concert and ball game. Pretty soon our waitress came out and informed us that our ticket has been taken care of. She said that the couple with us at the next table paid our ticket. The people were not with us and we don't even know who they were. Didn't talk to them.
Now it's time to make our way home, by this time our large group had dwindled down. People were going in different directions. Our friends who we mainly ride with had left Milwaukee Tuesday afternoon, we didn't see them again until Wednesday in Anamosa Iowa.
Wednesday morning we rode with three other people and made our way to Anamosa Iowa. We met another guy in La Crosse Wisconsin, then rode along the Mississippi River to Anamosa. We had to alter our route just a little bit because of a storm. We rode through Dickey Wisconsin, which I'm going to have to go back. We went by a church and next to it was a grotto. Looked like a bunch of shrines made out of rocks. Bikers don't really stop and sight see besides we were trying to beat the storm.
We didn't quite beat it, got caught in the rain right at the city boundary in Dubuque Iowa. We were in rain for just a few mintues, waiting it out at the Harley Dealership. We finally made it to Anamosa, but it took us longer that planned. The storm didn't help and neither did the 20 mile detour earlier.
In Anamosa we went through the National Motorcycle Museum in the morning before making our way to Cedar Rapids. The other guys we were with took a side trip, but we just went on. The rest of the trip was spent getting back home through the back roads of Iowa. It was pretty and we went through some neat little towns.
Our final two stops from Cedar Rapids were Sioux Falls SD and Deadwood SD then home.
We had a fun time on our 10 day trip. I will say that I will never complain again about Montana roads after riding through Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. I think Minnesota had the worst roads ever.