Sorry I’m several weeks behind; most folks know why and more to come on that in the next series of posts. To catch up you can find TheBroad Ursula on FB here…
Once I left Lemont, I knew my friend Scotty was hanging out in Milwaukee so I caught up to him at JP’s shop in the city. I arrived Sunday afternoon and met JP, got a tour of the place, and met some of his crew. Shortly after unloading, a few of us mounted the scoots and went to Little Kohler Haus; nothing like a bit of rain with new friends to kick off a new adventure. We had hoped to see Dave of Dave Cook Custom Choppers, but he was unavailable when we arrived. The place has a great little tiki hut type of bar in the back and the sun had come out by the time we got our beverages. JP’s friend Roberta and I were the only girls on this particular ride. She was a great match for me and we quickly made friends. Naturally I was already wearing my bikini, cuz that’s how I roll. Berta however had to change in the ladies room – it was a one seater! Without any hesitation she came right in with me. I love people that are not pretentious and uptight; she for sure is none of that. We took turns going tinkle and made jokes as she donned her bikini top. Back out to the sunshine we went. Matt, Scotty, and JP talked shop and Berta and I talked shit. HeHeHe – I love the chance to be silly with another cool broad.
We stopped for fuel on the way back and Berta showed me the collection of goggles in her purse. The ones she wore this day were green tinted with brass trim which matched her shirt perfectly. When she whipped out the white fuzzy goggles I cracked up laughing. They actually matched my bandana so what the heck… I wore them! Now I know why bunnies always have a twitchy nose! I really had a great time with Berta and was actually pretty sad that we didn’t get the chance to hang out again on my visit.
For the next couple of days I was able to get some work done and bid on a few more jobs. (I tell ya; sooner or later one of these bids has got to come through.) Scotty and I took a break one afternoon and went to the grocery for the salad bar and a short tour along the lake. I had not slept very well in the past couple weeks and it was really wearing on me. I know it showed as I was not my usual happy go-lucky self. And for those of you that thought you read about a roadway romance, I’m sorry to tell you… Scotty and I will remain friends always and you will likely see more of our stories as we find each other along the path of life, but that folks is all of ‘that’ story. I learned a great deal from this man and he is a fascinating person; I will always cherish his friendship.
I took a little bit out of my Tuesday to fetch oil for My Girl. I changed the engine oil and primary oil all by myself, except that damn primary drain bolt. ARGH – I need steroids… Scotty had to tweak that dern thing for me. Who the heck torqued that sucker down so tight? Even Scotty wrestled it for a bit so I didn’t feel too bad.
I did get the chance to sit with JP for a while the night before I left. He’s a brilliant bike builder and all-around great entrepreneur. I was fascinated to learn that he started building stuff when he was a kid, sort of like me piecing together bicycles and lawn mowers. Only JP is waaaaay more talented than I. He told me that he used to help his buddies build their Pinewood Derby cars and they were always the best. He has dabbled in all sorts of ventures and has obviously done well for himself over the years. From the stories shared with me, it seems that JP always has folks coming through his place and I have to say that he was a most gracious host. I spent a few evenings chatting with his sister Diane; she helps with the place and the animals. We shared stories about our pets – she taught me a few things about birds and I taught her a few things about rabbits. As I’ve said too many times, I so enjoy meeting folks of all walks of life. There is much to be learned from our fellow humans. I didn’t get much time to chat with Colleen as we were both working during the day however she was extremely hospitable… “If you need anything that isn’t here, let me know. If it’s here, help yourself cuz I don’t have time to wait on you.” She is not only a lovely lady, but funny too. Warren and Ben gave me direction to the local auto parts store for my goods and let me use a drain pan for my oil. Ben and I had a short but very good conversation after his work day. He was intrigued that I do this journey alone. We shared a few our goals together and a few funny stories as well. And Joe sent me to Red Dot one evening when I just needed a break, a beer, and food. I got an excellent deal on $1.50 tacos. JP and I had just missed each other as I learned later that’s his dinner spot of choice since it is right down the street.
I wish I would have had more time and rest because there is a lot of action with JP’s crew and in the city of Milwaukee. JP invited me back for the party they have each Labor Day weekend, however my journey will have me farther from there than will allow my return this year. I’ll see them again though, that much I will write into the story of my life for sure. You simply cannot meet such great people and never return.
From Milwaukee I was headed to the northwoods of Wisconsin.
Jimmy Z from ULRB has a friend (also a member of ULRB) that owns a resort in Phillips, WI. Jimmy asked me if I wanted to ride there after Milwaukee before heading to Sturgis… Sure, Why Not?!?!
I bid ado to Scotty and the crew at JP’s place. I loaded My Girl and made my way to meet Jimmy Z. A sunny day riding in Wisconsin was a lovely, much needed day of peace. My hour plus ride to meet Jimmy proved to be a fresh start for this BROAD. Though still feeling tired and sluggish I was glad to be on the road to Sturgis… in the fashion that I travel.
Jimmy Z and I met at the Silver Fox in Marshall, WI. We ate lunch and began our ride to the northwoods; Phillips, WI to be exact.
Ms. Lori Johnson is the proprietor at Long John’s Resort and I was really looking forward to meeting this remarkable lady whom I had heard so much about. Many challenges in her life have not kept her from being a great business owner and overall adorable person. She’s a mother, sister, business woman, and of course… a biker. We may have taken a slightly longer route than necessary but the scenery in the northwoods is lush, green, and has loads of lakes – clearly my kind of place. I used to enjoy fishing up there when I worked for the tackle company years ago and I was delighted to be back in this part of God’s country. We arrived around 9:00 pm and strolled up to the bar and waited for Lori to get home. We sat for a while, but this BROAD was tired as all get-out. I made my way to the cabin that Lori gave Jimmy and me. I brushed my teeth, put on my new favorite t-shirt Scotty gave me (it’s huge – I call it my biker lingerie), I put in my ear plugs, and believe it or not – I was out cold until 10:00 am. You have no idea how much I needed that. I do believe that the fresh air and long ride did my soul and my sleep good. And, I slept great every night in WI; a much needed recharge.
I spent time in the mornings working while Jimmy meandered around and Lori and Dale prepared the lodge for the daily visitors. On the 2nd morning of my visit, Lori and Dale were woken abruptly by loud crashing. They thought somebody was breaking into the bar and armed heavily with a killer pocket knife, Dale purveyed the lodge and … well… just some shelves in the kitchen had crashed down from their no-longer permanent home upon the walls. It was a mess indeed, but no burglars and no fending off of intruders. After that chaos Lori had a migraine to down an elephant and we didn’t see her the rest of the day.
Lori woke the following morning in much better shape and by midday Jimmy and I were able to get her out for a ride. What a nice jaunt to some local pubs and meeting some really cool people along the way. During our stop at Flambeau Forest Inn, I spoke with Patty the bar owner and learned that her daughter and she walked from the east to west coast a few years back. That journey took them 9 months. Her daughter Robin is now hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with a friend. Patty and I snapped a picture and sent it to Robin on FB. You can follow Robin and her friend Rachel on FB here…
Our next stop was the Blind Pig in Winter, WI. No cool story here except good times with great people but I did learn why it has its name…
We then made our way to Buckwheat’s. Now this is a MUST FIND – if you can. Located off 27/70 just a few miles southwest of Winter, the resort / bar is marked only by a small simple sign under the mailbox on the east side of the road. Jo (Buckwheat) is a wise-cracking, feisty lady that was actually born in the dwelling where so many bikers love to have a $2.00 beverage; any beverage – $2.00 and she practices a very long pour. The bar contains 7 bar stools and about 15 ashtrays, a dart game, and one small round table. In short, it seemingly appears to be a glass patio turned bar. Upon our visit there were many folks in and out, particularly I enjoyed talking with Claudia and her husband (I don’t even think I got his name – if I did, epic fail as I have now forgotten). They had just returned from touring South Dakota and they showed me some awesome photos and videos. They gave me many cool ideas and I’m hoping to hear from Claudia soon in more detail on some of the little places they found along the way. Claudia was headed home to NY for a while and brought some sausage and cheese to share so it wouldn’t waste at their place in WI. The friendliness in the northwoods is unsurpassed!! Sitting around at Buckwheat’s was sort of like sitting around the garage with a bunch of buddies.
Jo was fascinated with my journey and asked me several questions about camping, safety, and eating. She was quick to tell folks that came in what I was doing. Lori had some other folks waiting to meet me at another stop, so we wrapped up and took some fun photos. Jo gave me a big hug, told me to be safe, and spread her arms in display of her vast property and told me that anywhere I wanted to put my tent was always open to me. I certainly hope that I can take the opportunity to use her offer on my return loop of the USA.
Off to Red’s Big Bear Lodge we went. Lori had told some of her friends and even the local radio station about my journey and apparently folks were intrigued by some crazy BROAD that lives on her motorcycle. We were also able to coax Dale out for a bit. These boys were true old school bikers. They wrench and they ride – ride hard and long. Charlie (Slippery) was damn near determined to take My Girl to his guy so they could rock her with power. He’s riding an early model Sportster 883 also but he’s pulling power like a 1350. That freakin’ Sporty of his is Rockin’ cool. When he first told me he was on an 883 I said, “So, are we racing for pinks tomorrow?” He and Brian instantly burst into laughter and Brian offered him $3,000 for my bike. Clearly at that point, I knew he had tweaked his old girl. We all got a great chuckle out of that one. In the northwoods, most bikers head home before dusk because the deer are worse than the mosquitos. We made our meeting plans for the cancer run the next day and bid goodnight. Lori lead us home and indeed, we saw a few deer and WE had the audacity to be in the road when one little doe was making her crossing. She stopped just over the double line more-so in our lane than the other. She stared at us as if, “How dare you be in my road.” She slowly sauntered off into the brush and we continued on.
Jimmy and I sat at the lodge bar at Long John’s Resort with Niina (that is not misspelled) the bartender that evening and played my Put-N-Take game as well as Jimmy’s Ship-Captain-Crew. Now the retirees in FL may have gotten the best of my laundry money for a spell, but I made up for it in Wisconsin. HeHeHe
Jimmy and I woke at 6:00am to ready ourselves for a Cancer Run with the locals. Again, folks had heard of this BROAD on a motorcycle and I suppose since I was NOT a local, they assumed it was me. I had great conversations with some really great people that approached me and that I met during the day. I spent some tom-foolery time with some cool characters and I even won a prize at one of the stops. For a few hours that day, it was almost like being with my ULRB kids. Before I ever returned to the resort this night, I had many new friend requests and followers on FB as well as followers on this blog. I was delighted to hear stories of others’ travels and took some notes of places to go, rides to do, and sites to see. I tell the stories when they are asked of me and I answer all questions, but I find it more fun to hear where others have gone so I have ideas for my journey.
On Sunday I contacted my buddy Ryan that lives not far from Phillips and invited him on ride with Jimmy and I. We had a lovely day and ended up taking a hike and seeing some interesting waterfalls. I was really shocked at how dark the water was; like coffee. They say it’s from the types of rocks and the sediment.
During my visit in Phillips and while creating new friends, I was fortunate to meet a young man named Brian Edmunds. Brian wasn’t quite 22 when he took about 7200 volts into his body from a main feed line while working in a residential area on April 19, 2010. They used the defibrillator on him at least 4 times to bring him back to life in the hospital. He has short term memory problems, is permanently disabled and he couldn’t talk for three months following the accident. Lack of oxygen to the brain has been the main factor in Brian’s issues. He has come a long way since then. His family calls him their hero and miracle. He used to ride a Suzuki 850 that his Dad gave him. He now rides with his Dad (Brian, Sr.) and with family friends. I had a great time hanging out with Brian and although he was somewhat shy the first day I met him, the day of the cancer run he opened up and we enjoyed a few good laughs together. He’s truly an inspiration!!
I had a grand time but of course, there’s always that day when I have to move on. So the sun had set on my visit to Long John’s Resort.
I left Lori, Dale, and Jimmy Z at Long John’s Resort. I was headed only 28 miles to my friend Ryan’s house. Ryan is actually best friends with my riding buddy Ed aka Squirrel from ULRB. I was going to spend one evening with him and take a little time riding the ATV. On my way there I had a strange skip in my bike and a weird shuttering in the front. I checked her over and didn’t find anything obvious so I continued my ride to Ryan’s. When I got there I contacted some locals I had met in order to find a trust worth shop. I got several recommendations and Ryan helped me load my bike onto his motorcycle trailer and I took his truck to Steve’s motorcycle repair in Phillips, Wisconsin.
As soon as I arrived, Steve looked the bike over quite thoroughly for anything obvious he might find. He did not seem to think it was front wheel bearings, didn’t think it was anything in the forks, he didn’t see any motor-mounts missing, he saw no cracks in the motor-mount, and he had a few other things that he needed to check but it would take a little bit more time. I felt confident in his abilities as he was a 30 year Harley dealer mechanic prior to opening his own shop and he spoke to me in detail about all that he was doing and was considering as options.
I left my girl with Steve that evening and Ryan and I did our ATV trip as planned. We stopped for a great dinner and had some wonderful conversation. I started out a little slow on the ATV to get back into the swing of things, as it had been a couple of years since I had been on one. After I kind of got back into the groove I was able to hit the bumps and the mud just beautifully. I had such an exhilarating time I can’t even begin to explain. Doing 30-35 miles an hour over bumps and through the mud and curves in the woods with a friend was more fun than I think I’ve had in great long while as far as non-motorcycling goes.
Ryan’s family home was very comfortable, his dogs were so friendly and so fun, and with Wi-Fi he provided I was able to get a lot of client work done. He too works remotely so it was nice to have company during the day and we’d stop to chat periodically and throw the tennis ball in the lakes for the dogs to fetch.
My bike took longer than expected the following day, but I think it was a good thing that something strange happened. As it turned out Steve said my rear brakes were completely worn. By the looks of them I was lucky that I got as far as I did. Oddly though, they didn’t seem to give me any issues up to that point. So perhaps it was just an odd thing in the road that was a lookout for something I wasn’t aware of. All in all the bike was in great shape and Steve took excellent care of me.
Since that day ran longer than expected I stayed with Ryan one more night and we took one more ATV trip. We ate at Big Bear Lodge and I was able to run into some of the locals I had met previously. I had an absolutely phenomenal time hanging out with Ryan. I look forward to going back there to hang out and ATVs with him. Hopefully next time our good buddy Ed will join us.
I loaded up my bike on Wednesday morning and bid farewell to Ryan. I was on my way to go through Minnesota headed towards Sturgis. Along the way there was a weird rattle that I could not quite place; my paranoia made me think that something was wrong. I stopped for lunch at a local grocery store and sat next to my bike to eat. When I had finished my lunch I started my bike and I drop something on the right-hand side, I bent to pick it up and the rattle noise was quite apparent to me. I touched the highway peg in order to listen more closely and the noise was gone. I put my hand on and off of the highway peg and wouldn’t you know it the Harley inlay was loose and rattling metal against metal. So after all, it was absolutely nothing to be concerned about except I needed to glue that sucker down because it was driving me nuts.
I gassed up and was headed across Highway 8 West into Minnesota and was enjoying a beautiful sunshiny day; actually getting a little pink on my arms and legs. When I crossed into Minnesota to catch Highway 95 south, I had only gone a few miles when my life changed forever.
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