Sunday, August 31, 2008

105 Trip: (Fri 29-Aug) Day 6 - Milwaukee WI - 1898 miles

Today was a "get a few ABC pics and dealer pins" day. Didn't hit many (any?) venues, mostly just toured around the greater Milwaukee (and Racine, Kenosha) area going to dealers and stopping by Capitol Street (HD powertrain plant) and Juneau Ave (HD Headquarters!)

Seeing the Harley facilities was cool. I have pics on the previous linked page.

Going to the dealer sites was... CRAZY. Think the 4 Corners Rally... at a dealership! Yeah... parking... oh 1/2 a mile from the place. One was in the middle of a bunch of other businesses (offices I think) and all their lawns, parking, shipment ramps, everything - were covered with motorcycles. There were definitely more vendors than at 4 Corners, and probably close to as many as Red River. And this was at EVERY DEALERSHIP we went to. Which I think was 4 of them. Plus all the venues (Millers Park, Summerfest, Museum, HOG Island - plus maybe another). It was pretty incredible. Plenty hot, tired, exhausting, sore feet... But something to definitely be a part of.

Somebody on the road asked me later, "You went to the 105? How was it?" - I explained like above, "Would you do it again?" Yeah... maybe if they do it in 5 years again - but definitely not every year.

I've never been to Sturgis - which is a whole different scene - but other than something really large like that - its hard to describe what its like to be a HOG and be in a city that size, where there are bikes EVERYWHERE - even 30 miles away! And where the whole town (even little mom and pop places) are pretty much saying "Welcome Riders! Stop on by!" Pretty cool stuff.

Downside for Christi is that most the dealers were out of dealer pins. I don't think anyone had a clue how many people would show up... You know an event is big when the US Post Office shows up as a vendor! "Ship your stuff home from here!" - so you didn't even have to carry anything on your bike!

We did stop at one store in...Ocowocon (or something like that - anyway - a big hard to pronounce name that started with a 'O' - that turns out to be the store I bought by backrest from on eBay! :)

We didn't even go "downtown" - but just hit vendors, then ate at a place on the way home and turned in early... Well OK - it was still 9 or 10 - but earlier.

And Tom was with us as of Thur - so that was cool.

105 Trip - Day 5 - Milwaukee WI - 1763 miles

Left Annawan in the rain :( - Rained for the first few hours until just about when we hit the WI border. "Welcome home!" it seemed to say. :)

Dropped stuff at the hotel and then headed for the museum. Going south into town the traffic started backing up... there were TONS of bikes. Bikes in all 3, 4, 5 lanes of the highway. Bikes pulled over on the shoulders - and as we passed Miller Park, bikes in all the parking lots; bikes backed up - 4 abreast for what looked like a good 1/2 mile or more. TONS of bikes. All said and done - I'd estimate 100K bikes in the area.

Anyway - got through that and down to the museum. Checked it out. Pretty cool. Terry and I didn't have tickets, but Ted and Christi did and Ted (Mr Extravert) was able to score some tickets from one of the staff people. We made it in.

After we went to Miller Park. Found the bleachers were the main bands were going to play and camped out. It was ridiculous! Early in the day we wanted in line for 45 minutes for a bottle of water! Later in the day folks were waiting 2 hours to get a sub sandwhich. The vendor ran out twice (going to get some more from the store - will be 45 minutes... "OK, we'll wait!") Crazy. Terry waited for water. Ted waited for sandwiches.

We all saw "The Billy Bob Thorton Band" - Think Slingblade meets blues / southern rock. Yeah... well it was something to see. Then Sugarload. Country... hey, turns out I do like *some* country music. She had a cute way with the crowd. It was good. Then Kid Rock... think emnimn meets southern rock. Yeah - not a fan. Stayed for 2 songs then cut out before the rest of the crowd.

I overheard "They build the area to hold 30K people, but I heard there were 60K to 70K here." Given the place was packed and 1/2 the people were waiting in line for beer/water/food - I'd agree. Given it was right next to the interstate - there were quite a few bikes that just parked on the highway and the people were sitting on the concrete dividers just watching... till the cops showed up and chased them off. But plenty of people stayed on the grass embankment.

Got home around 10ish... spent some time on the computer and then crashed. Up the next morning at 6:30!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

105 Trip Pics

I'm uploading my pictures to facebook. If you are on facebook and a friend, you already know that. If you aren't and are interested - you can follow this link and see them anyway!

105 Trip - Day 4 - Annawan, IL - 1512 miles

Only did 300 miles today, but took pretty much all day. Did some river road (Mississippi and Illinois rivers) and scenic rides. Very peaceful and cool. Again - heartland of America stuff. Totally enjoying it.

Ate lunch at Fast Eddies. It was as cool as the hype. Just one of those things you have to experience. If you are ever in the area, check it out! Food was great and the beer is claimed to be the coldest in the area - and it seemed to be. Had a Landshark beer! I'm trying new beers on this trip. :)

Tomorrow up early and try to make it to Milwaukee in time for Ted and Christi to drop luggage and get to the museum by noon. So I guess that's it for now!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

105 Trip - Day 3 - Saint Louis - 1218 miles

Went to Xenia IL today to get the X. First stopped at the Arch and got some pics of it and some Mississippi river boats. Pretty cool. IL was pretty much corn and soy bean fields, for miles and miles, as far as the eye could see... But some rolling and lots of trees. I actually liked it.

I like going through small town America. Plenty of towns with population under 100. Pretty much all of them with "We support our Troops" banners, Knights of Columbus Halls, and flags. And the "grocery store, liquor store, gas station, snake bar, etc." combo. I don't know... for me, gives me a sense of community just going through there and seeing it. Hard working farmers, proud of who they are and in what they do. Good stuff.

Terry grew up in the region and we stopped at his High School and then coming back dropped in and said Hi to his mom for a few minutes. Cool stuff. :)

Stopped at a gas station that also had a restaurant, for a late lunch. The girl working took our order, cooked it (did a good job) and served it. And did a good job waiting on us the whole time. A fresh change from people at McDonalds who can't even get your order right - and that is all they do.

Anyway... that's the report for today. It was good. Tomorrow we head to Alton, IL (to stop at Fast Eddie's) and then up to our stop in northern IL before heading to Milwaukee on Thur.

105 Trip - Day 2 - Saint Louis - 981 miles

Day 2 - weather was great. Missouri going across Hwy 50 was really pretty. Rolling, windy, green. Stopped and got 9 or so ABC pictures. Took some photos of the route... best I could while driving at 65MPH. :) Got in to the dealer party at Gateway Harley, met up with Ted and Christi and hung out for quite a while - then to their house. They have their Toy Hauler all set up for us and it is great. Just hanging out, sipping a beer chatting.

Still a bit tired this morning - but not sore. Plan to go into IL today to 'X'enia - pick up about 4 more ABCs then back to their house where Christi is making some ribs. YUM!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

105 Trip - Day 1

Left home at about 6:15, running a little late but got to Pueblo about 7:10 and we headed out. It was a good first day. I got tired in the afternoon and pretty sleepy, but once it cooled off I was fine. Got 11 ABC pictures today!

Stopped in Kinsley, KS for lunch. Asked a fireman doing the "boot for MDA" thing where was a good place to eat. He directed us to a Mexican place that was pretty good. Food wasn't very spicy, but alright and the quality was pretty good.

Had one car passing a lane of traffic, heading at us, and we had to slow down (and so did the lead car) to let him in w/o hitting us. :( - Other than that (and it wasn't close or anything), no mishaps or potential ones.

Radio is acting up. Didn't come on twice. Will have to have someone look at it later.

Dinner, after dark, in Emporia, KS, was at the S & S cafe. Little tiny, "Good Food - Open 24 hours" place. VERY LOCAL. Old time mid-west type salad bar... radishes, green onions, cucumbers and onions in vinegar! Young waitress - a little attitude. Chicken fried steak was homemade. Meat was good. Gravy was good. Hashbrowns "done crispy please" were PERFECT. This was definately my kind of Road Food place. Just what I wanted in all aspects - even the locals smoking (not too much smoke) wasn't bad. It all screamed road food diner, and the quality and taste was exactly what I was looking for.

Time to hit the hay soon. We made it over 1/2 way to Ted & Christi's on day one, so should get in early enough tomorrow to go to the dealer party. Plus did 11 ABCs today and only plan on 9 tomorrow... But some are standard letters so if I don't get them all, no big deal.

Oh - and one more thing. There is nothing like going down the road at 65 MPH, cool breeze rushing past you, worship music on the iPOD, across the plains of CO and KS, looking at the farms, green, streams, trees, etc. - to bring God's creation into focus and clarity.

Day 1 was a great start to the trip!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Harely 105 / HOG 25

Many of you know this, but perhaps not everyone...

In about 1 week I'm heading to the Harley 105 / HOG 25 celebration in Milwaukee. Originally Tina was going to go to; but she hasn't been feeling well lately and decided it would be too long of a trip. Because she was going to go; I planned the trip to be 3 weeks. Take a few days to get to St Louis where we'd meet up with some friends; spend a day there; then all of us head up to Milwaukee. Stopping about "a hundred miles out" somewhere on Wed (to avoid the high event hotel fees) then stay there Thur, Fri, Sat. Tina's Aunt Pat and Uncle Ward live in MI which is "so close", so we'd leave on Sun morning, take the ferry across a Great Lake, and then hang with them for a few days; then start the long ride back. Given Tina gets tired of riding after a few days, the plan was to do light riding for a couple of days; then spend a couple of days somewhere. Maybe stay in St Cloud, MN for a few days and just check the area out. Then go on to SD and check out Mount Rushmore, Sturgis, etc. Then finally head home. So all in all a 3 week trip. Lots of riding, but lots of breaks as well. So late last year I OKed that much time off at once with my boss and then have been double checking throughout the year.

So... I've got the time, and we discussed it and Tina still thinks I should go - so I'm going for it. However, now I'm going alone so the plans changed.
  • I'm still taking the full 3 weeks, since I have it off anyway
  • Terry, who is another Sheriff Architect, just bought a Harley this year, and has family in St Louis, is going with me.
  • We are still meeting up with Ted and Christi in St Louis and hanging out there for a day or two. They are awesome and have a Toy-Hauler with double beds all set up and said the fridge would be stocked with beer and snacks and just show up when ever. Awesome. Also for the whole HOG "ABC Rally" thing I always do - there is a town with that starts with 'X' 2 hours away, so we are going to all go ride over there on Tue just for the fun of it, then head north as planned on Wed.
  • Stop at Fast Eddie's; which I've mentioned before in this blog, on the way up.
  • Then its the big event for 3 days. Lots of bands, lots of fun, lots of motorcycles... what could be cooler? :)
  • Head to Aunt Pat's and Uncle Ward's as planned.
  • While there get my bike serviced somewhere
  • And from then on the plan is kind of up in the air. I've got about 12 days till I have to be back, and it would take maybe 4 to ride it! Even less if I pushed it. So I'm just heading down the road. I've got two different thoughts right now:
    • The plan was to come home through SD and I've got friends in WA, and haven't been "home" to MT forever - so maybe head up through MT to ID and then into Spokane.
    • Tif and Brian are going to be in MI about the same day I was planning on leaving Pat and Wards; but they will be down south in Detroit and maybe heading up to Sarnia for the day. So... I could meet them wherever along Lake Huron, then do some Canada traveling for a few days! Go into Sarnia and then up around the "outside" of Lake Huron and end up at Ste St Marie... And then maybe still head to MT.

So... I'm not sure at all the plan after Aunt Pat's... but that is kind of the plan. To hit the road and see where it takes me. I could also go up through Thunder Bay! Don't know. Basically there are a few goals:
  • Not to be too planned
  • Hit plenty of states, territories, counties, cities for the ABC Rally
  • Cover lots of miles
  • Go wherever it looks good
  • Get home right before I have to go back to work.

If I hook up with Tif and Brian then that will add a bit more planning, but that is fine. So... lots of decisions to make in the next few days!

As noted on another post, I have set up Twitter. One of the main reasons I did that is that I can update my status via my cell phone, so while I'm on the road I can text msg where I'm at and anyone watching my facebook status or following me on Twitter will know what is going on. Pretty cool.

Plus I'll be taking plenty of ABC pictures, and hopefully other pictures as well, and I plan on uploading all of those to the computer and to facebook albums every night. That's all the plan... reality will probably be different, but hopefully close. :)

God is a supporter, not a controller

[Originally put this on Facebook, but decided to start entering all my notes on Blogger and let them get pushed to Facebook; so I have them in both places.]

Many people say that God is in control. Personally, I don't believe that God is in control. I don't think He can be, given we have free will. Free will isn't just a personal thing, its something that is true in all of those around us. And we interact with way too many people for God to be in control of our lives, given all those interactions.

I do believe however that He is there constantly watching and holding out His hand. And that He provides the comfort, joy (in the biblical sense) and support to help us get through whatever life throws at us. As well as the Holy Spirit guides us as much as we will listen; helping us to avoid some of those pitfalls.

So - although He isn't in control, He is there to help get us through life in the best way possible; if we'll just listen to His voice.

So many interfaces - but all connected

So I'm on Facebook now, which allows you to blog, but only your Friends on Facebook can see it; which is fine. I view it, at this point anyway, as a way to write short notes. But that is not its primary purpose. Anyway - I found that I can have Facebook automatically pull these entries; so that is kind of cool. Enter journal stuff here, recipes, etc. Stuff I want to easily go back and look at later. And then Facebook will automatically pull it to my Notes section. That way I don't have to figure out where I want to store this stuff. Just put it here and it will copy to Facebook. Excellent.

And then today I set up Twitter - which will update my Facebook status. So again, Facebook can pull from something else. Cool. So now I can use Twitter for what its good at, and folks can get updated that way; but I can also set Facebook to copy it; so that I don't have to update status in two places.

Cool stuff... :)