After a lovely visit to MA, we are back on the road, headed to Milwaukee. We headed west on the Mass Pike (Interstate 90) over to NY. While in NY, we stopped at the Woodstock Harley Davidson, which was pretty cool. They are celebrating their 50th anniversary, and had special shirts to reflect that. They have a cool gong that says Woodstock HD on the front of it for the buyers to strike when they buy a new bike. As we moved on, the rain was right behind us. We tried our best to stay ahead of it, but eventually, we got caught in it. That led us to find a hotel where we were, in a small town in upstate Ellensville, NY. There weren’t a lot of options, but we found an old hotel that was clean, but could use some updates.
In the morning, we got up extra early to try to make up some mileage. It was cloudy, cold, and damp as we rode. The mountains of upstate NY are beautiful, and you can tell people really attempt to be stewards of our Earth. We passed yoga retreats, Buddhist temples, and billboards promoting peace on Earth. It was a cold, damp, and windy morning with highs in the 50s. I wore my jacket and gloves, but I was FREEZING! I got so cold that I started getting drowsy, and my eyelids were heavy, so we pulled off at a local cafe to get some coffee and breakfast and to warm up. The locals were friendly and asked about our trip. When we headed back out, I put on my rain suit to provide another layer and potential wind resistance; I had 4 layers on the top and two on the bottom (including the rain suit). I looked like the Michellin Man.
As we got back onto our bikes, we met a local man who drives a truck to carry bales of hay and/or cattle. He is the proud owner of a H-D Road King, his son has a Heritage, and his aunt, who is 73, rides her own Heritage. This man said he was in his 50s, but he is in excellent shape, which makes sense since he loads the bales of hay himself. The countryside is beautiful, but that is a lot of hard work!
After NY, we headed into PA. We saw some beautiful farms in the golden hour, but due to traffic, I couldn’t stop much for photos. I was still really cold, and an hour later, I was drowsy again, so we had to stop. We were not doing a great job of making up our lost mileage. Luckily, my dad was understanding and focused on safety first. After PA, we cut into Ohio. We rode into Cleveland, OH to visit the Rock N Roll Harley Davidson. I was in the front, and traffic was a bit nerve wracking, but we did well and changed interstates smoothly. The Rock N Roll H-D was a lot of fun! They have fun signage and cool t-shirts. The lady who waited on us had dark black hair, styled like Elvis.
As we cut through Ohio, we went through Toledo, OH. Unexpectedly, we came across their H-D dealership, so we stopped. People were friendly, but it wasn’t a super exciting store. They had a sign that they are hiring “awesome people” so I teased my dad and said he should apply. We still had 1 hour and 45 minutes to get to our destination, and it was already after 5:00 PM. Rush hour traffic was in effect, so we stopped at a local diner to eat. My dad and I enjoyed some great club sandwiches, and the wait staff and locals were excited to hear about our journey.
Next, we got back on the road to head to Michigan. We had 1 hour and 45 minutes left, according to Google maps. We were on back roads, cutting through farm land. It wasn’t too long before we were in Michigan, and their sign says they are the “pure” state. For a few minutes, our path took us through a small piece of Indianna, and then we were back to Michigan. At about 8:30 PM, we arrived to Cloudwater, Michigan, where we hunkered down for the night. When we got into the hotel, the top priority was turning on the TV for the final game of the Stanley Cup. When we tuned in, St. Louis was ahead, 2-0. Sadly, the Bruins lost, 4-1. It’s disappointing that they didn’t win, but it provided excitement for all the Boston fans.
Due to the rain, we stayed in Michigan for an extra day. I ended up with an upset tummy, so that worked out well. I pretty much laid around all day and watched movies on HBO. In the evening, it stopped raining, so we went for a walk. We walked by anther hotel that looked like a dump, and the sign out front advertised their Wi-Fi, amount of cable channels, and that it is “American owned.” Things that make you go hmm…
On Friday, we got back on the road again, and we were headed to Milwaukee. We originally planned to take a ferry across the lake from Michigan over to Milwaukee, but the winds were crazy and they said on the news that they were experiencing 5 to 10-feet waves. Additionally, I thought the price was too much. It didn’t save us any time, but it would have saved riding. So, we rode our motorcycles, and we headed south and went through Indiana (the heartland of America), over through Illinois (the land of Lincoln), and up to Wisconsin (the dairy capital). Chicago was a nightmare. We got there at about 1:00 PM, and we rode the clutch the whole time. (For those of you who don’t ride motorcycles, that means we were so slow that we never actually engaged in first gear to move.) It was stop and go for 45 minutes to an hour. I actually strained the middle finger on my left hand from squeezing the clutch for so long! (Do I get any sympathy? LOL) We passed by the White Sox stadium, which I have never been to. I have seen a Cubs game, but not White Sox.
After we made it across Chicago, we stopped at Lakeside H-D, where the staff was super excited about our road trip. They came out to check out our bikes. One guy laughed and commented that he never knew you could pack that much luggage on a Softail. : ) They offered us water, called me sweetheart, and treated us with kindness. One of the female employees commented that she wished she would have done more rides with her dad while he was healthy, and she said it’s good I am doing this now. Next, I met a wonderful lady who worked there, named Helene. She loved the story of our journey, and it actually moved her to tears. She asked what I do, and I explained that I am a doctoral candidate of Culture, Literacy and Language, hoping to make a difference in the quality of education our high school ELL students receive. She said she absolutely loved me and told my dad, “you must be so proud!” and he smiled and said he is. She asked me to keep in touch, so we exchanged emails. It is wonderful to meet so many warm people across the country.
While chatting with Helene, I asked if she could recommend a good local place for some Chicago deep dish pizza. She recommended the Silo, which was right down the street. She did not lead us astray! That was an amazing pizza. Unfortunately, because we were on motorcycles, we couldn’t take the leftovers home. Trust me, I would have. One thing I always miss in Texas is good pizza. So, this pizza was like Heaven on Earth.
Finally, we arrived to our hotel in Wisconsin, which is nine miles away from the Harley Davidson Museum. We will go there on Saturday, and because we are H.O.G. members, we will get free admission. Everyone tells us the tour will be impressive, and several people have said we have to eat in the restaurant there. I’m looking forward to it, and I am glad we are doing this in Father’s Day weekend.