Geeking on some biker stuff

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Aug 14th, 2012
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Vacation Day 2 (Better known as the day we tried to do and see ALL THE THINGS because our time was cut short and we had to return the next day)

 

One of the reasons why we chose Milwaukee was to visit the Harley Davidson museum.  Our trip a couple of years ago had taken us to the Harley factory in York, Pennsylvania (you can read about it here) and The Man got to see where his baby was born.  And by baby, I mean his Harley.  It was cool and interesting and not nearly as testosterone-filled as I had imagined, so an actual museum sounded like a neat place to soak in some biker history. I was also betting that they had a huge gift shop full of sparkly things for me to purchase.
                                                                           Extremely poor picture of the Harley museum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Iron Horse Hotel had graciously given us complimentary tickets to get into the museum, so not only were we super excited to be be doing actual vacation-y type things, but we were doing them FREE!  Which means more money for me to spend in the gift shop!  (If you should find out that the Iron Horse does this for all their guests, please don’t tell me.  I like to think that I’m special.)

 

Inside the museum, I took about 200 pictures (God bless digital cameras) and I’m gonna make you look at each one of them.  (Just kidding.)  I don’t know what happens to me when I go someplace that I should act all cool and interested, but I turn into THAT person.  You know, the one that takes a picture of every damned thing that doesn’t move and usually from a squatting/leaning/standing on my head position.  I’m artsy, ya’ll.

Bronze hill climber statue in front of the Harley museum, purchased by the Davidson family for the museum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside was a biker’s dream.  From the first bikes to the newest models, and everything in-between, it was like walking through 100+ years of rubber, racing, righteous rides and ridiculousness.  (Alliteration WIN!)

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1942 WWII V-Twin used for military dispatch and courier service

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Probably my favorite picture from the entire museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Fonda was not there, I looked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bedazzled!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harley Davidson commemorated it’s 100th anniversary with this Ultra Classic Electra Glide with sidecar.  After it was built, it was dismantled and shipped all over the world, to be signed by the over 6,000 employees of the company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After spending a couple of hours touring the museum and buying approximately 38 pounds of t-shirts and assorted gift-y type things,  we ventured over to the cafe.  All those made photography skills make a girl hungry.  The cafe did not disappoint.

 

 

 

 

 

This picture makes me hungry all over again.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After our lovely meal, we had a few minutes to relax and plan our route home.  We met some other bikers while I was busy enjoying my drink with my feet up, and learned that they were on a five-week, cross country trip.  Someday, I thought.  Someday.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Vacation Interruptus

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Aug 10th, 2012
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The yearly biker vacation (heretofore known as World Vacation Tour Extravaganza 2012) has came and went and I have yet to write a single damn word about it. Oh sure, I posted some random nonsensical pictures on the Facebook thingy, but I haven’t done my usual spiel about sore butts and sunscreen and eating too much pie. Returning home, I fell into the whole “do responsible things” like laundry and actually listening to what the children are saying. Adulthood is so hard, folks.

 

I mean, I bought myself this pretty bloggy-space and then proceeded to ignore it like that unfortunate pair of skinny jeans in the back of my closet. Apologies. It’s now time to correct that and start spewing all the random crap that built up in my brain over the last few months. But now it’s time to get back to the Vacation-That-Almost-Never Was. Or Kinda-Was. Or That-Was-Twice. Lemme explain.

 

After postponing our vacation for an entire month in order to regain some of the billions of dollars (slight exaggeration) we had spent on vet bills over the last couple of months, we finally set a date. We packed jeans, deodorant, and comfortable panties and headed out. Ok, maybe that just what I packed. The man packed many, many T-shirts and sunscreen. Because he’s smarter than me. And probably didn’t plan on buying 12 new shirts in a four hour time span…like I did. Whatever, Mister.

 

I’ve explained the whole packing for a trip on a motorcycle thing before, so if you’re new here, just go back and read through the archives. And remember: Seam placement is EVERYTHING. Word.

 

This year we decided to head north, partially because we have never taken a trip together in that direction, and mostly because the temperature here had been approximately the same as the fifth ring of hell. North had to be cooler, right?

 

In an effort to make it out of the state as quickly as possible (so that we might actually feel like we were going somewhere and not tooling around our own state) we headed northwest towards the Illinois state line. Vacation! Excitement! Giddiness and the promise of adventure lay before us.

Almost out of the state!

 

As we crossed the state line we did our traditional weird high-five, finger wiggling, congratulatory acknowledgement that accompanies every monumental vacation state-line crossing.  It’s a thing.  I don’t understand it, but it makes me happy.  Just go with me on this one.  It’s a good thing.  And only marginally unsafe while traveling on two-wheels.

 

We did it!  We made it another year and got the hell outta Dodge!  We totally win at this vacation stuff.  This was gonna be epic!  Bugs in teeth be damned, I was grinning like a fool.  Northward bound, we sped through Illinois in the general direction of Chicago.  Some miles later we stopped for gas, something cold to drink, and to update Facebook with such stunning commentary as “Vacation Underway!” and “See ya next week, Suckers!”.  That’s when we noticed that we both had several missed calls.  And a text message that read, “Please call.  Urgent.”

 

One phone call later, we learned that The Man’s grandmother had passed away that very day.  We had visited her the day before.  I teased her about giving the nurses a hard time and having more sewing supplies in her room than the local fabric store.  She told me that the nurses were tolerable and the food was inedible.  At one point she asked for a steak knife to cut a green bean.  The Man urged, coddled and tried to shame her into eating more food.  She ever so politely told him to butt out and mind his own business.  She also reminded him of trying to get him to eat back when he was a little boy and didn’t feel well.  Touche’, Ma’am.

Beautiful lady. And a pistol until the very end.

 

This was The Man’s maternal grandmother.  We spoke briefly to his mother, who was practically shouting at us not to come home.  “Go enjoy yourselves.  It’s what she would have wanted.”  Only an hour had gone by since her final moments and everyone was upset.  Not thinking clearly.  Not thinking past the moment and their grief.  I think is a totally natural reaction.  We decided to wait an hour and call back to the family.  It was too soon to do anything but grieve.

 

We spoke again to the family again one (very long) hour later.  It had been decided that the viewing/funeral would not happen until Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning.  So what do we do now?  All the family were urging us to go on.  Our hearts were telling us to go back, be with family.  I told The Man that I would support any decision he made.  It was HIS grandmother.  I loved her dearly, but we also remembered that the last words she said to us when we visited the previous day were ” You kids go have fun.  Be safe.  I love you.”

 

With heavy hearts we decided to continue on, spend a day or two away and return home early.  We informed the family of our decision, and loaded back up.  The joy of earlier was gone, but as the day progressed past the initial news, I began to look around at the world as it passed by.

LIfe goes on. A little more cloudy without one lady’s sparkle.

Without me realizing it, we were almost to Chicago.  I had been so lost in my own thoughts that the miles had disappeared without me noticing.  Ok, not the best of times, but we had two days to work with and I was determined not to waste this opportunity.  The day’s events had taught me a lesson that I sometimes forget: Don’t let one single day get by without making a memory.  

 

Hello Chi-town

 

At the next stop it was decided that we would continue on to Milwaukee before stopping for the night.  There were things in Milwaukee that The Man wanted to see, and it would give me the reason to sing the opening song for the Laverne and Shirley Show.  (Like I ever needed a reason before.)

 

 

It’s at about this time that this showed up.

Sorry for the blurriness, but it’s hard to focus when you’re giggling like that one stoner friend that you used to have that always ate all the Doritos and slept on your couch.

 

Things were looking up.  We had resigned ourselves to two days of vacation escape before we had to face the reality of the real world.  Milwaukee loomed ahead like a bright shiny penny.  (I just gagged on a little cliche stuck in my throat when I wrote that sentence.  Fuck it, I’m leaving it.)

 

Tune in tomorrow for the story of how I fell in love with a hotel room.  For reals.

 

 

 

Church

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May 6th, 2012
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It seems as though our schedules these days only allow for free time on Sundays. Work, home, responsibility, sheesh…buzz kill. But Sunday, glorious Sunday. If the planets align, and someone remembers to send out a text message, we all get to ride. (And by “all” I mean our merry band of bikers, totaling 5-7 people.)

Today I realized that these Sunday rides have become like church for me. Since I don’t have a bike and simply ride on back of The Man’s, it allows me a freedom to reflect, absorb, and think. My ipod holds my songs of hope and love and serenades me down the road.

The trees and sky have become my sanctuary.

 

 

 

“Took a look down a westbound road, right away I made my choice. Headed out to my big two-wheeler, I was tired of my own voice” ~Bob Seger

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can contemplate my place in the world.

 

 

 

 

“All this time I can’t believe I couldn’t see, Kept in the dark but you were there in front of me” ~Evanescense

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I travel through this day with those I love, while their minds also turn to greater thoughts.

 

 

 

 

“Fly the ocean in a silver plane, see the jungle when it’s wet with rain, just remember till your home again, you belong to me” ~Jason Wade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the day’s end, I feel renewed and refreshed. My spirit has been healed of its bruises and bumps and I can face a new week with a strong heart again. This may not be for every one. It may not be the stereo-typical service on bended knee. There may not be prayers recited by rote, but there are prayers.

Late night conversation with a jerk

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May 3rd, 2012
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Last night I had the following conversation with mydog.  (What?  You don’t talk to your pets?  You’re weird.)

Me: Dude, you’re kind of a jerk.

Dash: Nope, I’m fabulous. Like Barbra Streisand or Charlie Sheen.

Me: In the past few weeks you have eaten an entire box of Godiva chocolates, sucked the green medicine out of four Nyquil gel-caps, chewed up three replacement cartridges for an electronic cigarette and wrapped yourself up in an entire roll of scotch tape. Normal dogs don’t act like this.

Dash: Listen here Judgey McJudgerson, I don’t bring up all the weird things you do. I’m tolerant. Like Ghandi or the Godfather.

Me: The Godfather wasn’t actually all that tolerant.

Dash: *sigh * Again with the judging….

Me: I’m afraid your actions will influence the other dogs and soon I will have total anarchy in the house. You do realize that I’m the master here, right?

Dash: I will not cave to your dictatorship. POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

Me: ummmm, you’re not…people, exactly.

Dash: I was speaking metaphorically, asshole.

I'm bad to the bone!

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