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Old 08-04-2013, 08:07 AM   #1
BSUCardinalfan OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Atlanta OTP - North
Oddometer: 213
Three days, kids are gone to grandparents, let's go!

Although I've been riding for a while now, and have made a few week long trips down to the Smokey Mountains, my wife (who just got her first bike this summer) had never been further than about an hour away from the house on her CBR250r. So while our two girls were off at the grandparent's house for a week, we decided to take off.

Ultimately it would be a 650 mile, three day trip that not only was really fun but allowed us to be 'us' again (amazing how kids being around changes a relationship dynamic) AND by the end of it my wife was really enjoying riding, having FUN. Up until now she had been mostly concerned with not falling over! (and she hasn't had any incidents at all so far, which is a very good thing!)

I had planned the trip a bit in advance and had the route roughly identified and accommodations planned in advance. She only knew that we were going to be gone for three days and what to pack. While risky, this proved to be a really good idea. I guess sometimes just taking charge is a good thing.

Allow me to introduce my wife and I:

Me: 41 year old engineer/project manager for a consumer goods company. Riding a street triple.

Her: 33 year old mom, nursing student, all around amazing person. Riding a cbr250r.

A bit of a warning, this little trip was as much about us just having a good time as it was hard core riding. And we ate a LOT, so quite a bit of this will be about that, too.
This was our basic route, going clockwise.

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Old 08-04-2013, 08:33 AM   #2
BSUCardinalfan OP
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Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Atlanta OTP - North
Oddometer: 213
Since this was the first trip my wife had taken on a bike, I tried to keep the daily mileage close to 200 miles. And since she is both a new rider AND on a bike that makes around 25 horsepower, I had planned a route that would keep us almost exclusively on two lane roads, mostly Wisconsin's "letter" country roads which are usually scenic, winding, and sparsely travelled. Roads that the CBR250r is very comfortable on.

We managed to pack most of our luggage into my Nelson Rigg tail bag. We each used a Cortech tank bag as well. We communicated via a Sena Bluetooth intercom system, and I cannot say enough about how well it worked and how much it added to our trip.

I should also add at this time that it was NOT warm for this trip. One of the things I had been stressing over was riding gear for each of us. My wife has a nice enough textile jacket with small vents in the chest and sleeves, but I was fearing 90 degree days and humidity, and actually ordered her a jacket with large mesh panels. I was planning to wear (and deal with the lack of convenience) my two piece ventilated leather suit. As it turns out, it was in the 50s when we left home, so she was in good shape with the textile jacket, and I had to go to my well worn, not great fitting, but much more convenient, textile jacket. Riding gear always seems to be a compromise of some sort, but what we had turned out to be really good for this particular little adventure.

With the bikes prepped, gassed up, and packed, it was time to hit the road:

Our first order of business was to get out of town and away from the Milwaukee traffic. That meant a half hour ride to Mukwonago, where we stopped for a quick coffee and breakfast at Expresso Love Coffee.

I was in my best ninja costume. I did get considerable numbers of quizzical looks. And yes, I am equally amazed to have gotten so lucky in the wife department.

One other thing to keep in mind for this report. Some pictures are from my dslr, some are from my iphone 5, some are from my wife's iphone 4, and some appear to have been taken with the flintstone's device with the little bird that chiseled images into a rock.
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BSUCardinalfan screwed with this post 08-04-2013 at 08:41 AM
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:20 AM   #3
BSUCardinalfan OP
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Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Atlanta OTP - North
Oddometer: 213
That first break allowed us to make an adjustment to my wife's Sena unit, which was catching on her jacket every time she looked to the left. We left the coffee shop and headed out on what would end up being our longest ride without stopping to get off of the bikes on the trip.

We took county road Lo out of Mukwonago, over to 67, then up S to 59 in the Kettle Moraine. We stayed on 59 all the way over to near Brooklyn, where we took 92 and then W into New Glarus. This first main leg of the trip gave us a chance to calibrate how we were going to ride together on the trip. Although I was in charge of directions, the Sena communicators allowed my wife to lead (and ride at a pace she was comfortable riding) and I could alert her to upcoming turns. This worked very well for most of the trip, but at times she asked me to lead. This usually ended up not working as well because I felt compelled to check on her in my mirrors too often, and I worried about riding too fast.

New Glarus is known as "Little Switzerland" here in Wisconsin. The downtown area has a very small town European feel, complete with specialty shops and restaurants. The entrance into town on W is very scenic:

It was a bit too early for lunch, since we had just had our coffee stop a couple hours before. However, one of the attractions of New Glarus is the New Glarus brewery, where delicious beers such as Spotted Cow, Two Women, Totally Naked, Fat Squirrel, Road Slush, and Serendipity are brewed and bottled. The entire facility is really nice and they have a nice gift shop and 'outlet' store on site. Here my wife was not appreciative of my opportunistic photography.

You can also take free tours - so we did!

tours are self guided and you basically just walk up to the workers and can have a chat with them while they do their thing....I work for a company that does a lot of bottle filling and this was familiar yet different, so I enjoyed it quite a bit.

they also have a really nice courtyard where you can sample some of their products and enjoy the scenery. I'm not sure what they are doing with the 'bombed out village' look they seem to be going for, but it is a nice area. Since we were riding we just shared a small sample and enjoyed a break off of the bikes.

After the brewery tour and a bit of time sitting outside, we road over to the main part of town, gassed up, and grabbed lunch at the Sportsman.

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Old 08-04-2013, 09:43 AM   #4
Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Wisco
Oddometer: 72
I sincerely hope..

.. that the next post on this thread starts with "Then we took county H out of New Glarus to County F past Yellowstone State Park"..

.. because that is my favorite road, and it would be a shame to miss it!

Nice post, looking forward to the rest. Maybe I'll find some new roads for my wife and I to explore...
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Old 08-04-2013, 12:44 PM   #5
BSUCardinalfan OP
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Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Atlanta OTP - North
Oddometer: 213
Had I known J was really good I would have made sure we took it! However, we took H west out of town, but then jumped onto 39 and took it west. We eventually got to Platteville, where we stopped at a Wal Mart to pick up a few things - the Mrs. had discovered that she really didn't like having bugs on her visor, so we picked up a pack of Windex Wipes to shove in a tank bag.

I should mention how beautiful it is in this part of the state. Patchwork rolling hills, everything very green, I was so glad that I turned on the gopro to take pictures at one minute intervals when we left New Glarus.

.... only I guess I didn't, because I got NOTHING. Oops.

Regardless, we were having a great time, chatting away, just riding and sightseeing. We did see a pretty serious wreck in Platteville, I watched an old lady in a Cadillac run a red light (we were approaching it from her right) and tbone the pickup two cars in front of us. no one was hurt, and somehow the old lady was mad at the truck!!

After our WalMart stop (and a snack and bottle of water) we headed south on county roads to Galena, Illinois. Now, Mrs. Bsucardinalfan does not like hotels. She just finds them 'icky'. So my original plan was to make this a camping trip. Only - we don't have ANY camping gear, it might be really really hot (and that would suck) and I was a little concerned over the length of the trip and how she would handle it (I need not have worried about that!). So I did some research and discovered that there is no shortage of Bed and Breakfast establishments in Galena. So I finally picked The Stillman Inn.

I was feeling pretty good about that as we rode past the place, and my wife, still not realizing we were staying there, came over the intercom to announce to me that she thought that place was 'cute'. So far so good!

We arrived, unloaded the bikes, showered, changed, and met the owner, Dave. Dave then proceeded to blow one of my big surprises for the trip by announcing where we needed to go next, but I didn't really tell him it was a secret, so I can't be all that upset with him I guess. The Inn itself was pretty nice. Everything was clean and you can tell the owners take pride in it. My wife was comfortable with it and that is what really mattered!

The inn is basically across the street from the home of U S Grant, the former president and war general.

We walked past (it was a Monday and not it was already about 6 pm) and checked out the grounds, and eventually down to Grant Park, where there are many old cannons and a nice statue of Grant himself.

then, for the big no longer a surprise, a horse and carriage arrived to take us to dinner. (My wife is a bit of a sucker for romantic gestures, and likes horses). Galena is a town that has really embraced it's 1800's heritage, and has a very nice little downtown area. It was really a perfect place to spend the evening, even if on a Monday things aren't as lively as they are on the weekends, according to the carriage driver.

The carriage ride took us across the Galena river and into downtown, eventually stopping off at our restaurant, Vinny Vanucchis.

I cannot recommend the restaurant highly enough. Affordable, fresh, delicious, and this dessert was amazing. (and I wonder why I'm overweight.)

After dinner we walked down the main street, stopped in for a drink at a nice little hotel/bar, and then made the walk back up the hill to the Inn. At this point I was pretty much husband of the year.

I promise more motorcycle related pictures for day two!!
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Old 08-04-2013, 02:36 PM   #6
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Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Maryland
Oddometer: 401
A 3 day ride, really nice.
Having an adventurous wife
along on her bike....
Looking forward to more.
2008 KLR rider
Lets ride !
"The poets down here don't write nuthin' at all
They just stand back and let it all be." Springsteen
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