Last weekend Megan and I had the pleasure of riding up to Appleton Wisconsin with a group of friends. Their son goes to the Lawrence University music conservatory and they were on their way up to to see his final performance of the year. There was a total of nine of us in the group heading on up for the weekend. Leaving Park Ridge we went on up through Wisconsin though its always enjoyable country roads. We eventually found our way onto the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive. It is a nice collection of scenic country roads.
We stopped for lunch on the first day for a burger before continuing on north. When we finally got to Appleton I was impressed at how cool the town actually was. A nice looking college campus overlooked the river, which appeared to be dominated by an abandoned mill. As as result of the mill there looked like there were at least two locks or damns on the river. The mill has since been converted into apartments or condos, but much of the aging infrastructure around the mill, including old bridge pylons in the river remain.
Our hotel was the fantastic looking Franklin Street Inn Bed and Breakfast. It was an adorable converted victorian house with very vintage looking furniture. Megan and I waffled on our room choice and ended up with the very cool looking, but also very hot third floor attic room, with a seashell theme. The proprietor had the most northern accent I had ever heard in my life. What's more is that our group had the entire house to ourselves, which made for a great evening.
Dinner that evening was at the Stone Cellar Brewpub, just across the river. Again, I was completely surprised at how great the place was. Great food with all of the Wisconsin standards like beer, cheese and sausage. It really was fantastic. Later that evening we went to the recital which was performed in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. After the concert we went to the Viking Room, which is a bar located inside the university's union. Take that in for a moment. A bar, located inside the university. It was a strange sight, but it was a cool little basement hangout. Surprisingly it wasn't too crowded and drinks were apparently cheap.
The next day we began out trip back down to Illinois. We probably got started a bit later than most anticipated, but we went to go see the Horicon Marsh, which is a wildlife sanctuary. Part federal and part state land, it is home to migrating birds. It was well worth the side trip as it was a very pretty location. We only stayed for an hour or so.
Finally, before heading home we made one last stop at a taco stand near Delvin Wisconsin called Lopez's Anchor In. At first glance it appears to be your standard hamburger and hotdog drive up stop, and it does have that food, but what it also has is some delicious tacos and horchata. Megan got a horchata "smoothie", which was amazing.
Finally push put us back down to Illinois and home around 5:30 or so. It was a long weekend, but some great riding and some great sights.
What do you get when you combine 45 degree weather, Wisconsin roads, and a missed motorcycle meet up? Well you (sort of ) get the 2016 spring Slimey Crud Run.
As appears to be a tradition with me, I lead a motorcycle ride in cold weather. Yesterday was supposed to be the annual slimey crud run up to LeLand Wisconsin. The day started out pretty rough. Temperatures in the morning were about 45 degrees with a light rain. It was cold and those who signed up dwindled from twelve to a hardy six when the day started.
Our ride up to Wisconsin went pretty smoothly. It remained cold, but it did stop raining and we had a nice ride through the Wisconsin country roads. As a group leader though I ended up missing one my my turns, and as you an see from the map that Tim had on the ride, we ended up backtracking most of our way. I made a turn onto County Road KK instead of HH. In the end we missed the actual crud run meet up (we were really close before my wrong turn too), but we did have some great riding though. The roads were a bit hairy since there was a bit of mud and gravel on them, but they were largely deserted.
We ended our day by heading over to the Grumpy Troll in Mt. Horeb for lunch before calling it a day for the long trek back to Illinois. We hit some rain and cold on the way back so the hot shower when I finally got home was welcome.
Special thanks to Toni and Tim for capturing these photos you see posted here.
It has taken me forever to get this stuff uploaded. The recent updates to OS X have made getting GoPro video into iMovie and extra conversion step. All the way back on October 19th (remember that?) I did my second annual fall color ride down the Illinois River Road to Havana, Illinois. This is a nice scenic ride that I have done a few times and turned into an annual thing. The fall colors this year were spectacular, especially in Starved Rock.
The ride had a nice group this year with a total of nine riders I think. The weather was super cold in the morning but warmed up nicely towards the latter portion of the day.
Overall the ride turned out fantastic and the fall color was very vibrant. Special thanks to Matt C. who took some excellent photos, especially at starved rock. Below is my GoPro video, which isn't my best, but hopefully is still fun.
Meg and I had a fun time yesterday riding out to Kuiper's Farm near Elburn to do some apple picking. It was a gorgeous weekend and this is something we have wanted to do for a while.
Nothing particularly interesting about the ride itself, but I can tell you that you can put a bag of apples on a motorbike.
This past weekend I had a chance to do a nice quick ride down Route 113 near Kankakee. There is a nice thirteen mile stretch along the south side of the Kankakee River through the state park down there. If anyone is in that area, it is worth hitting up this little stretch for a pleasant ride. Unfortunately it seems like the "New Google Maps" is terrible for trying to load GPS data into it. I'll put that in another post, but in the mean time enjoy this quick video of the ride.
Today was literally the worst ride I have ever ridden. I had a tour over at Koval Distillery in Chicago today so Megan and I took the bike over to that. I figured it would be fun to drive through some of the Chicago neighborhoods and the lake on the way to the distillery. It was a miserable experience. The traffic on I-55 in both directions was crawling. What should have been a 50 minute ride each way turned into a 90+ minute ride each way. It was hot and miserable. I have never been so uncomfortable on the bike before and it didn't help that I had a passenger that was also hot.
The tour of the distillery itself was cool. It lasted only about 35-40 minutes, but it was interesting to see how whisky is made. I was surprised at actually how small the distillery was. There was a back portion that we didn't get to see, but the building was fairly small. Overall it was a fund trip and made me appreciate Whisky and the Koval brand more. I came away really enjoying the millet whisky that they make. The Bourbon had a really creamy flavor to it as well. If you find yourself in the area, definitely check out the tour there.