DAY 14 - It's Off To Milwaukee - Art Museum For Her, Harley-Davidson Museum For Him

Published: June 8th 2017
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Total Distance: 0 miles / 0 kmMouse: 0,0

Day 14 - Chicago to Milwaukee

It's time to leave the hustle and bustle of Chicago and head a little further north. Today we are off to Milwaukee, just 100 miles up the road. We were a little slow in starting this morning, those Doubletree beds are really comfortable. I also hadn't finished uploading the blog pictures from the night before, so I had to do it this morning. By the time we left it was getting close to 9:00. It takes a little while to escape the confines of Chicago, even if you are staying 20 miles west of downtown. The first part of the ride was through industrial areas, eventually leading to middle class suburban homes and finally to a really nice upper middle class bedroom community. It was about 30 minutes before we could really call Chicago behind us and we were on US-45 heading north. The Garmin lady tld us we had 42 miles ahead of us on US-45, so it was time to look for some breakfast. Jody spotted an IHOP and eggs and pancakes were there in no time.

We left IHOP and continued north on US-45 jamming to Credence Clearwater Revival on the bike when I totally missed the detour sign. The next sign I saw was telling me that the road would be closed in 1 mile. So we turned around, found the detour sign and headed off in the right direction. By then, the Garmin lady had settled on a slightly different route, so we moved over to US-31 and continued north. Fortunately this only impacted our arrival by about 15 minutes. We finally arrived in Milwaukee at around noon. Milwaukee seems like a really nice city. There's a very pleasant vibe surrounding the town. It's reasonable clean, even the run down sections we passed through looked much cleaner and safer than some of the places we saw in Chicago. Not too crowded, and not too much traffic either. Our first stop was the Milwaukee Art Museum, located at the harbor right on Lake Michigan. As we got closer to Lake Michigan, there was an appreciable temperature drop from a balmy 77 degrees to a brisker 64 degrees in a space space of a few miles, I expect some sort of lake effect.

The Milwaukee Art Museum itself is a magnificent building architecturally. All white with massive corridors and magnificent ceilings, outside is stunning also. The website called it large with over 25,000 pieces on display, but we were a little jaded after the Art Institute in Chicago. It turned out to be a reasonably good art museum with some especially good contemporary art which we both liked a lot. There was also a lot of Georgia O'Keefe and even an exhibit of Haitian metalwork making large metal wall hangings using the steel from 55 gallon drums. I will probably be our last art museum for a while as there's not a lot of call for art museums in the upper peninsula of Michigan. Still, we both enjoyed it for a couple of hours and there was still time to visit the Harley-Davidson Museum before we could check into the hotel.

It turned out the Harley-Davidson Museum was less than 2 miles away so we were there in minutes. They had lot's of motorcycle parking, so I made sure to park my Honda Goldwing right out front. They also offer an audio tour, where they hook you up to a set of headphones and explain all the exhibits. The Milwaukee Art Museum had a similar audio package available. We had tried some of these in the past and found that they just talked too much and you spent more time listening to someone explain the obvious rather than learning any new information. So we passed on the audio tour and settled for reading the placards at our own pace. They had a really good selection of early Harley's especially from the 1900's to the 1930's. These were the days when Harley Davidson were the real innovators and the mechanical aspects of these early motorcycles were fascinating - at least to me.

It was a pretty good display, not as large as the Barber Museum in Alabama or the National Museum in Iowa, but in all fairness, the Harley-Davidson Museum is all about a single brand. It was a little sad to see what had happened to Harley-Davidson over the years. With all the pioneer innovation of the early bikes, the later racing heritage both on and off road, with even some hill climb bikes. There were many different sizes and models and many different uses. There was lots of specialize bikes for the military in WWI ad WWII. But all that sort of stopped in the 50's or 60's so that by the time the resurgence of the Harley name in the 80's, they were just making motorcycles for the consumer. There were several models, but all really based on the basic 1930's era design with some modern improvements for speed and reliability. Maybe I'm just too hard on Harley's as a Honda owner, but it's hard to beat a Goldwing for comfort, handling, and long term reliability. It may not have the sound and the mystique of a Harley-Davidson, but on a long trip like the one we are on, I'll take my Honda Goldwing any day. But Harley does have much better t-shirts!

When we left the Harley-Davidson Museum it was time to check into the hotel. We're staying at a Hampton Inn northwest of downtown. Our next stop takes us further north and I wanted to get a jump on it by staying on the north end of town so we wouldn't have to pass through downtown on the morning we left. When we pulled up to the hotel, we were a little concerned as there was scaffolding all over the front of the building, and you had to pass over some plywood planking to get to the front door. I remembered while booking, there was a mention of construction. But when we got up to the room, it was awesome! Evidently all of the room renovations are complete, as everything in the room is brand new, and they are just now completing the exterior.

We are staying here an extra day from our original plan. We're going to sleep in late, catch up on some errands, laundry, do a little supply shopping, ship some excess stuff back home, and maybe do a little sightseeing. After 2 weeks it's time for a little battery recharge before heading north to the upper peninsula.

110.2 Miles Today

2007.1 Miles Total

0.0 Gallons Today

45.983 Gallons Total

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