Indians, Milwaukee, and Lake Michigan

This weekend’s trip was can only be described as eclectic.  Over the course of four days, we managed to cruise back country farm roads, enjoy a high-end Italian dinner date, tent on Lake Michigan’s lonely shoreline, have a leisurely breakfast along Milwaukee’s riverfront, and take advantage of Indian Motorcycle’s demo ride.  Despite the randomness of it all, it was a wonderful journey filled with great food, gorgeous roads, and serious Indian Motorcycle fever.

Wisconsin Farm Country is worth exploring.

Wisconsin Farm Country is worth exploring.

Since we left late in the afternoon, our first stop was also our last stop of the day. We found an out-of-the-way camp spot along Lake Michigan just north of Menominee, Michigan. It was our first foray into camping with our new Big Agnes camping gear, and we had no idea whether we would survive or not.  After all, we are the couple that sleeps with about three pillows each, but the gear was easy to set up and extremely comfortable.  The temperatures dipped into the 40’s and we stayed very warm (so thank you Big Agnes!).

Thursday’s ride brought us through Green Bay, Wisconsin, then south along the Fox River, and on into farm country.  The farm country in Wisconsin is such perfect cruising country.  Each farm seems to tell its own story in the shape, age, and condition of the barn; and often enough you’ll get a friendly wave from an old timer or a small child.  The towns that make up Wisconsin farm country are quaint and welcoming.  As we rolled through one small town, a sign in front of the church read Ham Dinner Fundraiser.  Eight dollars bought us ham, homemade mashed potatoes, beans, several salads, homemade bread, coffee, and our choice of several homemade pies.  Best of all, we had the opportunity to meet some seriously friendly people. Wisconsinites sure are “good people” as my grandpa used to say.

The next stop after dinner was a hotel in downtown Milwaukee along the riverfront in the neighborhood known as the Third Ward. As much as we loved our country riding, we equally loved our downtown Milwaukee time.  It’s hard to say enough good things about the waterfront of Milwaukee.  It’s clean and choc full of authentic coffee shops, restaurants, pubs, parks, shops, markets, and museums.  Milwaukee is one city that should be proud of its historical district’s restoration.  The old warehouses are thoughtfully being renovated into living/office space, and the green spaces are everywhere.  Most amazingly, the traffic was completely manageable!

The best cup of morning coffee I’ve had outside of New York City was courtesy of Collectivo Coffee. Once the coffee craving was satisfied, the drive north along the Lake Michigan between Milwaukee and Port Washington was reminiscent of the Hamptons.  Once you leave Port Washington and head north along the Lake, you are returned to farm country, although it is farm country with an incredible view.  Talk about some very lucky cows! It is hard to stay along the water because many of the roads dead end, but if you use Google Maps, you can find ways of staying as close as possible to that gorgeous shoreline.

Once we made our way back to Green Bay, it was time for Indian Motorcycles Demo Ride.  The Indian trailer was at Tytlers Cycle of DePere, and the 2015 demo bikes were lined up and shining in the sun just waiting to be ridden.  We arrived early, and within minutes I was firmly ensconced in the saddle of the new Indian Chief Vintage. Lorin jumped on the new Roadmaster, and away we went for a twisty, 20-minute country ride. Indian has done an incredible job of merging the latest technologies with iconic Indian styling.  The Indian bug has surely bitten me, and when I close my eyes, I see visions of a Chieftan in my future…

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