Day 53 - Harley's and Beer

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North America » United States » Wisconsin » Milwaukee
September 30th 2013
Published: October 1st 2013
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Outside Millers Brewery
Began the day with a 9amfactory tour of the Harley Davidson manufacturing unit outside of the city in Menomonee Falls. Here they produce engines and transmissions for the final assembly plants in York Pennsylvania and Kansas City Missouri.

They employ around 900 staff here working 24hrs around the clock. Each employee is able to buy 2 Harley's a year at a significantly discounted price and they must keep the bikes for a minimum of 12 months before reselling.

The free guided tour takes you through the factory line and offers a limited view of the assembly line and machining areas. The tour gives you an insight into the inner workings of these bikes using both robot and man power. Geoff says it was a great tour - it didn't mean too much to me though I did enjoy the visit.

Next on the list was a tour of the Millers Brewing Company in Milwaukee. This operation is huge taking up numerous blocks in the city (Millers Valley). Tour is free and takes an hour going into the packaging area, brew house and the historic cave areas. The cave is 60ft under the ground and is where Millers used

Packaging area
to store their beers before refrigeration was available.

At the end of the tour everyone gets to sample three of the Millers brews. Millers is currently owned by a South African company but was originally started by Frederick Miller who immigrated to the USA from Germany and opened Millers brewery in 1855.

It seems like we have visited a lot of breweries....what can we say....Americans love their beer...and when in America- do as they do!

Short drive from Millers is the Harley Davidson Museum our final stop in Milwaukee. Tour of the museum is $18 per adult and well worth the investment. Like everything Harley it is a top class exhibition of bikes dating back to 1903 - making this the 110th anniversary of Harley Davidson.

Set aside a minimum of two hours to enjoy the museum - then there's the restaurant and large gift shop to explore as well.

There are 450 motorcycles in the collection and the vehicles are displayed in their original condition. Parts are not re-plated and they are never repainted or stripped. They are all preserved in their original condition.

There is an amazing exhibit of a Harley that

Millers Valley home to millers brewery
was found off the coast of BC in 2012 that was in a trailer box and had made its way over to British Columbia from Japan after the March 11, 2011 earthquake. We even got to check out the 2014 models - Geoff has his eyes set on a heritage soft tail - now that's another story!

Had a late lunch/early dinner at a Milwaukee favourite - Kopps. Here they sell jumbo burgers and its famous frozen custard - Milwaukee's version of icecream. We ordered a grilled chicken LTM burger each - and true it's name they were huge. The burgers are freshly cooked while you wait so they are hot and fresh - certainly very tasty too.

We enjoyed the burger but we were full - not much room left to fit in the frozen custard (really the reason why we came). Kopps also sells its frozen custard in takeaway sizes of pint, 1/2 gallon and gallon so we opted for a pint size to eat later! They don't have many flavours - vanilla, strawberry and chocolate are on the menu everyday and then there is a specialty flavour each day. Today was red velvet cake -

The brew house
chocolate cate batter custard and cream frosting. Our choice was half red velvet and half vanilla. The frozen custard has a distinctly different taste from icecream - very smooth and not as sweet although it is quite rich.

We really enjoyed our visit to Milwaukee..another fabulous mid-west city and certainly worth a stop over to explore its beauty.

Started our drive into Chicago around 5pm. This was not a relaxing experience - the highway has lots of much needed roadworks going on - there are heaps of trucks on the road as well and the highway got extremely narrow in some parts. Driving alongside the big rigs the RV was being pushed into the side of the highway. Geoff had to hold on to that wheel so tight to keep it on the road. At one stage we heard a scrapping sound along the wall of the highway - turned out to be the exhaust of the RV getting a slight trim up!

Filled up with petrol before reaching the Illinois border. We paid $3.22 per gallon at here - I seem to recall that prices in Chicago were high with added city taxes (same as Vancouver)

In the cave
- and yes glad we filled up where we did - Chicago prices up to 40 cents a gallon more!

It was just after 7pm when we arrived just outside of Chicago - and we were quickly reminded that this is the 3rd largest city in the country. Wow - so much traffic and so many people. We turned around and headed back out of the city to around the 50km mark outside of the city centre (still busy but nowhere near as hectic as closer in) before pulling over for the night In South Bend in our favourite camping spot (Walmart -it's starting to feel like home!).... Oh well this was meant to be an adventure!

Have to mention that the state of the roads improved dramatically once we crossed into Illinois - they also has tolls and red light cameras - obviously good revenue raises!

Mileage to date - 5,126 km since picking up RV in Vancouver.

Additional photos below
Photos: 25, Displayed: 25


Collection of gas tanks through the era's

Archived Harley parts

At the museum

1903 Harley

My first Harley!

2003 anniversary Harley...signed by 6000 employees

Harley found in British Columbia made its way there from Japan!

Evil Knevil

Yes...he wants it!

Grilled chicken burger from Kopps

The Wisconsin cows! At Kopps

Frozen custard

Delivery motor cycle

Evil Knievels bike

Fans photo wall

1960 captain America

On my scooter

2014 CVO breakout

Harley Statue

Harley Museum

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