A moose and a biker walk into a bar…

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Jul 10th, 2013
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Day Three:

 

Leaving New York State and heading into Vermont, we were again dealing with the rain.  Big, fat drops of rain.  The kind of rain that tells you it’s gonna last all day while it runs down the back of your neck and soaks your underwear.  But we are determined.  It’s vacation, dammit.  A good time WILL be had by all.

 

 

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Vermont is full of wonderful odd little tourist traps, centering on their love of Moose, syrup and bacon.  Seriously, what’s not to love?  Any state that embraces large clumsy-looking creatures and breakfast foods is alright in my book.  I had to resist the urge to buy bacon-flavored chapstick in this particular place.

 

Along with the rain that WOULD NOT GO AWAY, the temperature had decided to drop down and make sure I was not only wet, but also cold.  Now tell me, good readers, when you pack for summer vacation, what do you throw in your bag?  T-shirts?  Cute tank tops?  A couple of pairs of jeans because you’re riding?  Well, of course you do.  Me too.  I did bring one sweatshirt, because I thought evenings on the coast may get a little cool.  I also brought my leather jacket because of the whole biker thing.  Vermont made me put all of these things on AT ONCE.  So I was basically waddling around like that one kid from the “Christmas Story” movie in a biker version of his snowsuit.

 

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Yup, this seems familiar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had visions of riding through the Green Mountains while mainlining maple syrup straight from the bottle and oohing and aahing over quaint little villages that hand everyone a block of homemade cheese when they enter town while herding smiling moose through the courtyard.  Hey, a girl can dream.  Instead I got wet underwear (and not in a good way) and a sneezing fit that threatened to knock me off the bike.  I felt icky, but decided that I had waited too long for vacation to pay any attention to not feeling 100%.

 

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My feeble attempt to take a picture during one of the 2 minute breaks     from the rain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I talked with a couple of different people about where we should go and what we should see while there, but the only person that disagreed was the weather man. One look at the radar told us that the rain wasn’t ending anytime soon, so we now had a decision to make. Try to see Vermont in the rain, or head out for drier ground.

 

 

It wasn’t a hard decision, although it meant that I had to forgo several things that I truly wanted to see.  But ONWARD!  Keep moving!  We can outrun the weather!  (Sidenote: We are fools.)

 

Somehow, and my guess would be dumb luck, we entered New Hampshire during Laconia Bike Week.  For those who have no idea what the hell I’m talking about, Laconia Bike Week is the oldest bike rally in the United States.  It started in 1916 at the pier on Weirs Lake in Laconia, New Hampshire as a place for motorcyclists to race and climb up incredibly steep hills.  Over the last 96 years, it has grown to become an iconic biker gatherings that is on a lot of bucket lists.

 

So of course we had to go.  I mean, what are the odds?  I honestly thought it was the week before, but then again I wasn’t that surprised that I was wrong.  I’m wrong a lot.  But I saw a shopping opportunity.  And at the top of my shopping list?  A new rain suit.

 

We splashed, dripped and sloshed our way into Laconia and was pleasantly pleased that the rain had died down to a gentle drizzle.  At the time it felt like a sunny beach in Bahamas.    Here’s a shot of the main vendor row in downtown Laconia, next to the pier.

 

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There might be a few bikers here.

 

 

Being from Indiana, I have a slight southern accent.  I know this about myself and use it to charm Yankees and shame my high school teachers.  But as we walked around the rally, I tuned my ears to the conversations around me wanting to hear the accent of the locals and maybe pick up some tips on what was happening in the area that day.  What’s this?  I don’t understand?  Are those real words?  Is that even English?  By this time I was running a fever and not sure I was hearing anything correctly.

 

As I stood puzzled over my lack of understanding, I happened to notice that several of the bikes had Quebec license plates.  Ack!  I was surrounded by Canadians!  French-speaking Canadians!  My charming almost southern accent was going to waste!

 

Suddenly, my plans of haggling a cheaper price for a rain suit so that I could also afford to by some sparkly things seem to fade as fast as my so-called waterproof mascara.  Like a typical self-centered American, I had “forgot” that Canada was so close.  And I’m guessing here, but I bet that bike rallies aren’t near as commonplace in the frozen tundra of Canada.  (Again, my only knowledge of Canada is hockey and bears, so the entire country must be a frozen tundra, right?)

 

The good news is that everyone also spoke English and I did get to buy a rain suit that fit.  OK, it was a little big, but that’s a good thing because I had plans to eat a large portion of the lobster population while I was in the area.  Wearing a rain suit while eating lobster may seem weird to you, but those little plastic bibs with a giant picture of a red crustacean on them aren’t attractive either.  Plus I’m saving the environment from plastic lobster bib pollution.

 

The Man and I walked vendor row and checked out all the bikes while still trying to ignore the fact that rain was pouring on our heads.  After purchasing a new rain gear for me and a pair of waterproof boots for The Man, we spent a couple hours looking at bikes, chatting with vendors and picking up some mementos.  Oh yeah, and marking our hometown on the map at the visitors booth.

 

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So yeah, we rode into one of the most legendary biker rallies in the nation.  Cool.  But the heavy rain was catching up to us again, so it was time to head out.  I stripped down, pitched my old, janked-up rain suit in the nearest trash can, donned my new full-body lobster bib rain suit and we headed out towards Mt. Washington.

 

We made it that evening as far as Ossipee, New Hampshire before calling it quits for the day.  We grabbed a room, ordered a pizza and enjoyed being dry to the rest of the night.

Fun fact:  Ossipee, NH is where the snowmobile was invented.  This fact pertains to nothing, other than there isn’t much else to tell you about Ossipee, NH.  I will try to be less boring in the next post.  Unless you like snowmobiles, in which case, YEAH!

Twenty thirteen vacation

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Jun 29th, 2013
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It’s time for vacation again, and lordy-chile, it couldn’t have come soon enough.  By some combination of voodoo, bribery and dumb luck, we managed to get two whole weeks off.  At the same time.  It was a damn miracle.  (Do you realize that’s half a month?  I was flabbergasted.)

 

As usual, we picked a general area of the goood ol’ US of A and decided to see what we could find.  Not by research, my you. Oh no, there will be none of that.  I probably did one or two quick internet searches, but other than that, NADA.  For me, not knowing is part of the adventure.

 

I will confess talking to one person that had previously lived in our chosen destination, but most of the conversation was spent talking about where I could find good food, and the fact that our kids were desperately trying to drive us both bonkers. I was a bit obsessed with the weather in days prior to leaving.  I openly mocked all weather forecasters, and gave the stinkeye to anyone who dared say the word “rain”.  The weather here in Bedrock had been one tree-shaking, yard-flooding, steamy-hot storm after another.  But I remained in denial, for surely after suffering through 50 weeks of work and kids and life in general there was no way the weather would stop me.

 

But finally, the day came.  We packed our sunscreen, underwear and electronic devices, jumped on the bike and headed out.  After years of heading south in the ass-hot part of summer, we decided that New England sounded like cool refreshing beaches and lobster in seaside shanties.  (Are shanties still a real thing? Or is it something I made up in my crazy-riddled brain?)

 

Day 1 Objective:  Get through Ohio.  I truly had no desire to see one single thing in Ohio.  (Sorry Ohioans.  I’m sure you’re lovely people, but your state is boring as hell.)

 

The sun was shining, the weather was perfect and we had 14 days ahead of us.  I could not stop grinning.  I was one happy girl, sitting on the back  of the bike, camera strapped on and music playing on the stereo on the bike.  Bliss.

 

With only stop for gas, food, and one Harley shop we crossed the state and made our way into Pennsylvania.  Not too shabby for a first day’s ride.  I have a firm belief that if you are still in a state that touches the state you live in, you are not on a real vacation.  Now that we were in Pennsylvania, it felt like it had truly begun.

 

I only have a few pictures from that day, because as I said, Ohio = boring.

We have GPS.  But only to find food.

 

We have GPS.  But we only use it to find food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ohio Barn

 

This is the best picture I have from that first day in Ohio.

I apologize.

 

 

 

 

 

When we arrived in Pennsylvania, we grabbed a bite to eat, got a room, and promptly fell asleep.  Apparently riding on the back of a bike makes an old broad tired.  Driving across one and a half states probably makes The Man tired too, but I was too tired to ask.

 

Once again, I’m sorry for the weakness of this post.  Blame Ohio.

 

Back again tomorrow to tell you all about the less boring parts.

 

 

Sometimes it’s the little things

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Aug 11th, 2012
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Our vacation was running the roller coaster of emotions. While we were overjoyed to finally be on vacation, there was a death in the family. Although we had a great room, we couldn’t stay long and had to return sooner than expected to attend the services. Up and down. Up and down.

 

 

But sometimes, a little thing can make you smile when your thoughts get too heavy. Lemme show you what I mean. (Bear with me, my photography skills were on vacation too.)

 

 

 

These are the pain relievers stocked in our room. I wanna hug the person that wrote this and made me giggle. “These pills contain 500mg acetaminophen. They don’t contain Red Dye #40. If you enjoy Red Dye # 40, you will have to eat it separately.”

 

 

 

 

“Oral Fixation Mints” Snort!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biker-speak for maid service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Do Not Disturb sign ever.

 

 

Don’t you just love little things that make you giggle out of nowhere?  Kudos to the Iron Horse.  If more companies showed this kind of sense of humor, the world would be a better (and way more funny) place.

 

Let me just give a couple more shout-outs to the great folks at the Iron Horse.  From my impeccably clean room, to the great girls at the front desk who helped us find a local florist (not to mention they comp’ed us some tickets for a really cool thing that I will tell you about tomorrow).   If you’re ever find yourself in Milwaukee, please stay here.  Because where else are you going to find a place that’s biker friendly, pet friendly, LBGT friendly, and horsing around friendly?

 

Here’s the link, check it out for yourself.  Then book a room and check yourself in. http://www.theironhorsehotel.com/

 

Check back tomorrow and I’ll tell you how I single-handedly boosted the economy in one gift shop.

 

 

 

I fell in love with an Iron Horse.

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Aug 11th, 2012
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If you missed part one of the World Vacation Tour Extravaganza 2012, click here:http://hushwoman.com/2012/08/10/vacation-interruptus/

(go ahead, I’ll wait right over here. Done? Ok, good.)

A week or so before we left on vacation, I googled “What the hell is there to do in Milwaukee that doesn’t involve Pabst Blue Ribbon or Cheese?” Because honestly, those are the only two things I know about Milwaukee. Well, those and Laverne and Shirley. Google produced results containing things like boat museums and poetry house readings. (Google apparently thinks I’m all classy and shit. Hmph.)

 

More searching revealed a hotel that catered to bikers and other such riffraff. From the website it looked a hell of a lot less scary than the famed “Motel 3” in Pennsylvania where I spent one dark and creepy night, so I tucked that little bit of information into my phone for future reference.

 

We rolled into Milwaukee about dusk. Fate had once again brought us into a strange city via the roughest neighborhoods. I mean seriously, just once I would like to enter into a new place along an elm tree lined boulevard with gardens and children playing in yards. Instead I get this. Every damned time.

Still better than Motel 3

 

After a few missed turns and a map check or two, we finally pulled in to The Iron Horse Hotel.  And I promptly fell in love.  Past vacations have yielded room accommodations that have varied from ironic newlywed suites with heart shaped tubs to corporate business rooms to that one scary night we were asked if we wanted the room for the whole night, or by the hour.  This wide range is usually due to availability (if you don’t know where you’re headed, it’s hard to book in advance), proximity to delectable foods, the current condition of my hindquarters and more importantly, the weather.  Many times a rainstorm has driven us into the nearest empty motel room.  Such is the life of the spontaneous vacation biker.

 

In my haste to rid myself of 400 miles of road grime and bug-encrusted chapstick, I honestly did not look around too much when we entered the lobby.  I just wanted a room so that I could take my shoes off, wash up and check on the condition of my sunburned nose.  (More about the nose later.  Much more.)  Two very nice ladies quickly checked us in and directed us to the elevator.  I will admit to stepping off the elevator and vaguely noticing that the carpet in the hallway was of the funky-cool variety, and there may have been some great artwork on the walls, but honestly, the days events had left my brain pudding-like and hazy.  I just wanted to get to room 303.  And then HOLY HELL, we walked in.  Here, let me show you.

And my heart went all pitter-patter

 

Is that some room or what?  Yeah, yeah, I know that I had briefly looked at the website before vacation, and there were a few pictures, but we all know that those pictures are usually taken by magicians that have the ability to make Madonna look like she’s not an alien.  So, grain of salt, is all I’m saying.  Well, color me flabbergasted, my room was prettier than the pictures and at that point I may have dry-humped an arm chair.

 

This room was cool, hip, well-designed, comfortable, well-stocked and wonderful.  From the leather headboard (*swoon) to the horse-hair bench at the foot of the bed (Squee!), everywhere I looked was something delightful for my eyes.  Custom artwork (see wall) and the refurbished original warehouse beams gave the place an off-beat groove that made me happy on a day that really needed a dose of happy.  I spent the next few minutes running around the room shouting, ” Look at this!”  and “Check this out!”.  My dork level was so high that it was like I had never been out of my house before.  After running around like a three-year old jacked up on pixie sticks, I realized two things.  A. I was too grimy to be in this nice place, and B. I was starving.

 

See that lovely bathroom up there in that picture?  The one with the beautiful soap and thick, luxurious robes?  Well there’s a secret about that bathroom.  And this time it didn’t involve an unfortunate smell or unidentified pubic hair!  Win!  Lemme show you…

 

Photo credit: Iron Horse Hotel

 

Yes, you can totally see anyone showering from the luxury of your comfy bed!  I will leave it to you as to whether that is cool, sexy, pervy, or completely inappropriate.  But anyway you look at it, not your average hotel room, right?

 

We cleaned up (sorta), jumped back on the bike and headed out to find some food.  Although there was a restaurant or two in the hotel and a bar, we wanted to make the most of the few days we had and see the city while we could.  Dinner was uneventful, as we just ended up finding a diner and grabbing some burgers since it was so late.  Or maybe I didn’t want to spend any more time than necessary away from my lovely room.  I still had the lobby and grounds to explore and they did not disappoint.  Here’s some random pictures I took that night and the next morning.

 

The lovely lobby. I could hang out here all day.

 

Common area chic. Well done.

 

Outdoor bar, sadly not open at 8 A.M.

 

The staff at the hotel were wonderful, the breakfast was divine, and the fact that they had covered bike parking and a bike-washing station made The Man extremely happy.  I have about 40 more pictures of various things around the property that I will share with you later, but for now let me just say that if you ever find yourself in Milwaukee, please consider staying here.  I’m sure you will love it as much as I did.  And if you like to watch your travelling companion shower, it’s a total win.

 

This post is not sponsored by The Iron Horse Hotel or any of it’s affiliates, nor have I been compensated in any way.  The Iron Horse has probably never heard of me, but I’ll try not to hold that against them.  Honest Injun.

 

 

As Promised, A Biker Rally

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Sep 23rd, 2010
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Feel free to smack me on the ass and tell me I’ve been bad. I’ve been away so long and I don’t even really have a good excuse. Except that work is hard. And relationships are hard. Raising kids is hard. Life is hard. As a result, I am whiny.

But this is not the time for being a whiny-ass bitching. It’s a time for storytelling. Time to get my hand-printed ass(you shouldn’t smack so hard)busy and channel the funny. For realz.

Anyhooters, not long ago the Man and I spent a long weekend at a biker rally, in a tiny little place called Bean Blossom. We and the besties loaded up the camper for the four of us and dived head first into the melee. The rally is held in a campground that is famous for hosting the Bill Monroe Bluegrass festival every year.

The next three days and nights were spent watching revelry and bad decisions. It was glorious. If you ever need a place to feel better about yourself, it’s here. check out these distinguished members of society:

Someone should really tell her that this does not flatter her body type.

And there’s this: (Sidenote, a backpack, thigh high hose and combat boots. Seeexxxyyyy!

I did how ever meet a knight in shining armour. Or a fool in a tin-foil hat. Either way he was drinking out of a horn.

Now, lest you think it was all horror and scenes that make you want to bleach your eyeballs, here’s some man candy, who incidentally had the voice of an angel. I tried to buy him, the ladies surrounding him weren’t hearing of it.

One memory from the weekend that stand out in my mind (through the drunken haze) is the field games. Think of it as the Biker Olympics, only for “special” or “challenged” bikers. Events included are the Slow Ride (yes, it’s a contgest to see who can go the slowest without putting their feet down) The Weenie Catch, The Keg Roll, and The Great Escape. Since pictures of the Slow Ride are boring (I mean, really?) here’s a self-explanatory picture of the Weenie Catch. Boobies Optional.

That’s a hot dog coated in mustard hanging from a frame. I’ll let you figure out the rules from there.

But my favorite is The Great Escape. A whole stage is set. It’s a production! There are props! And a story!

First a mattress is placed on the ground. Then the “entrant” lies down and is joined by two girls. The girls are there to “hold” the guy down and keep him from getting off the mattress. The premise to the story is this: when the time keeper says Go! the man is to jump off the matress, throwing the girls all wily-nily to the ground, as if he has just been busted by a jealous husband. Next to the mattress is a window (frame) for jumping through, then they must jump a hurdle (in this year’s case, it was a keg) and mount their bike. They must then start their bike and ride through a series of cones to cross the finish line. Confusing? I have visuals. Of course I do.

Didja notice that one gentleman decided to complete the task sans clothing? I have photographic evidence that he completed the task at hand, but did not win the gold. That honor went to the man-candy shown above. The cutie-patootie. The one I tried to buy. But naked man did ask everyone not to put any pictures on the net showing his face. Because he is a high school girls volleyball coach. But at least one of the women sitting astride his naked body was his wife. The other was her best friend. And they sat on every man that entered the contest. THAT’S the kind of weekend it was.

I’m leaving out alot , but this nonsense has dragged on long enough. I’ll tell you next time about the killer camper (and I mean in a stabby kind of way, not an awesome kind of way) and the bike show and leaving one evening to accept my Mother of the Year award. I’m tired and that’s all I got tonight. But I’ll take my Geritol and write more tomorrow. Pinky swear.

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