Honeymoon, Harley and Highways

I am sitting here in Hartland in early February up to my ass in snow having just had 16” of the white stuff dumped on us by good old Mother Nature and the arctic blast, the second in a one two punch, expected tomorrow.

It’s times like this when you get out the photos and remember the past like I, when sorting through photos taken last year, turned up pictures of our trip around Wisconsin.

Last year was an eventful year for us, we got married. Our wedding was to have been in late October but finding a place for a big reception proved difficult and my wife’s new job meant that Labor Day was impossible to have off unless you’re dying or getting married. The former wasn’t an option so; we changed the date to August 25th and wrapped our honeymoon around the Labor Day weekend at Bagley Biker Days.

Lucky for us the wedding day was the first sunny day in nine straight days of rain. The reception in our front yard consisted of a pig & corn roast with a live band that went off without a hitch. Sunday and most of Monday was spent hauling out trash, tearing down tents, tables, stage, and saying goodbye’s to those that traveled. Finally we were free.

In spring our riding group entered the KMC HOG Chapter statewide poker run and weekends were spent hitting stops. Our honeymoon plan was to ride the northern portion making as many stops as we could before Labor Day. We packed the Road King and decided that we‘d travel without destinations and stay at B&B’s or unique places along the way.

Monday having finished with the cleanup and anxious to get going we headed north. While stopped at the Boar’s Nest in Campbellsport we decided that Sturgeon Bay was the destination for the night (out of the way but hell neither of us had been there).

Getting the scenic route directions from the bartender we headed east then north on Hwy 42 along Lake Michigan and after having a close encounter with a deer outside Kewaunee after dark we decided that Algomawould be the first nights stop.

We stumbled upon Hotel Stebbins in downtown Algoma, Kewaunee County’s longest running business and biker friendly. We had great food and drinks prepared by Kristine & Kendall Ruehl, the hotel’s owners. They both joined us later after everything quieted down and we spent time getting acquainted. Upon learning of my love for music their son who’s in a local band joined us with his guitar. The food, conversation, music, and quaint B&B style rooms were superb and I’d recommend anyone passing through the area take advantage of their accommodations.

Tuesday morning after breakfast in Sturgeon Bay we backtracking though Green Bay and made our first stops. By mid afternoon we’d made eight including Wolf’s Roadhouse in Thornton which my buddy’s brother owns. We’d hoped to spend the night in Iron Mountain, MI and were making one last stop in Athelstane, forty miles away when to the west we could see lightening. We were told that bad storms were just to the west.

Quickly getting our stamps and donning rain gear we beat feet back to Wausaukee and just made it to the only motel in the area.With the bikes, ours and another honey couple seeking shelter, safely hidden behind the cinderblock building, we drank beers chilled in a garbage can while we watched the storms pass by.

Wednesday we made it to Iron Mountain then headed west hitting stops along the way. The weather was cooperating, cool and overcast in the morning, and then warming into the low 80’s. Traveling through the Nicolet National Forest was spectacular.We made numerous stops before stopping late afternoon in Mercer at the Beaver Lodge Resort for the night.

The bar on the bluff looked west out over Martha Lake and the beer and food made watching the sunset all the more enjoyable. The waitress’s daughter was the bartender and both were very enjoyable. Night brought the rest of the folks staying at the resort, half a dozen blasters from Appleton working construction in the area. Needless to say, all were had by a good time.

Thursday we made stops in Ashland, Bayfield and lunch in Cornucopia at the northern most tip of Wisconsin. Riding along the Lake Superior shore was phenomenal. Four stops later found us at my folks place for the night and a chance to do laundry. This was the longest of the days at about 375 miles.

Friday we left Eau Claire and made several early stops then by way of back roads caught Highway 35 running along the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River to Bagley. Riding through the coulees was an experience I truly enjoyed. Twisting, turning, up and down, around, spectacular! As a kid is use to travel Hwy 35 every year from southern Illinois to northern Minnesota and I can remember the beautiful scenery seen from a car window.

Having the chance to ride it with my wife was a dream come true. How this stretch of highway remains unchanged and a true part of Americana, Wisconsin’s version of Route 66, is truly amazing.

Friday afternoon, our group, twelve in all, met in Bagley. Friday night was spent catching up with everyone else at the farm.

Saturday and Sunday were spent riding along the Mississippi on both the Iowa and Wisconsin sides stopping at Porkies Hilltop Inn in De Soto and the Dew Drop Inn outside Prairie du Chien. Lastly the hay ride into Bagley Sunday night for the street party.

All too quick it was Labor Day and time to head back. After saying our goodbyes our group blasted east through Madison and soon we were at Sussex Inn for our ritual steak and beer with time to reminisce about our adventures one last time.

The trip for us, 1200 miles in all, was a perfect beginning to our lives together. Spending time with each other, viewing the scenery, smelling the smells, and enjoying the company of all those we met created memories for a lifetime.

Damn, now if it would only stop snowing and warm up!

To memories! Greg & MaryAnn

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