August 2016 Rideabout – Leg 3

Leg 3 – Milwaukee to Green bay WI

My third leg was to ride from Milwaukee to Green bay WI, merely 120 miles away.  I had 6 days to get there so I did what I do best, headed southwest to go north!  My route would take me west to Iowa with a jog north to Nebraska then into Wyoming and Utah, north to Idaho and then turn east to South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, and then into Wisconsin. I had to hard goals for this leg, meet a friend of mine in Dubois Wyoming on Tuesday August 9 and then meet my wife in Green bay on Thursday August 11 since she was attending a writer’s conference there.

On Saturday August 6 I said goodbye to my friends who were headed home and pointed west towards the veteran’s memorial in Muscoda WI.  This was a fairly straightforward ride that began with a short stint on I-94 but then I was on US-14.

Veterans Memorial – Muscoda WI

From there I turn south on US 61 and headed towards the Delmar Veterans Memorial in Delmar IA.  Along the way I started thinking about other places to visit in Iowa, namely the National Motorcycle Museum and J&P Cycles in Anamosa Iowa however it was too far off my route

Delmar Veterans Memorial – Delmar IA

Delmar IA

Next I was headed southwest on several US highways towards Fairfield IA to visit the Jefferson County Veterans’ Memorial.  As I made my way south I came across the Iowa 80 truck stop which I had seen on the History Channel. As I needed gas I made a quick stop and ran in for a postcard for a friend of mine and then continued on my way.  As I got close to the memorial in Fairfield I happened upon a Statue of Liberty so I also stopped there for a photo.

Iowa 80

Jefferson County Veterans’ Memorial – Fairfield, Iowa

Fairfield Iowa Statue of Liberty

Leaving Farifield I was heading west on US 34 towards Randolph IA to visit the Randolph War Memorial and a few miles down the road I saw a sign for Ottumwa IA.  I had to laugh as that was the home of Radar O’Reilly from the TV show MASH, so I ducked into town for a quick photo at the train station.

Ottumwa IA

I got back on my way and pulled into Randolph a few hours later and collected my photo of the memorial

Randolph War Memorial – Randolph IA

Randolph IA

Leaving Randolph I had a short 1 hour ride to Strategic Air Command Museum in Ashland NE.  I had visited the museum in the past and it was a great museum.  Unfortunately when I got there it was closed so I had to settle for a photo of the gate.

Strategic Air Command Museum – Ashland NE

From there I had another short 1 hour long ride to Wilber, Nebraska to visit a veteran’s memorial.

Veterans Memorial – Wilber NE

With that I was done for my stops for the day.  I picked a hotel in Grand Island Nebraska which was close to my first stop in the morning.  I arrived around 9pm, checked in, found some food, and relaxed.

Total miles for the day were 821 with 7 stops and mostly on US highways.  It was a long but enjoyable day of riding

Total miles for the trip to date were about 4,520

Sunday August 7

My plan for the day was to head west towards Utah.  I had a bunch of stops planned for the day however as I looked at my route I realized it was just too long as I wanted to be able to get into my friend’s house as early as possible on Monday.  Part of my plan was to head south into Colorado and head west on US 40.  However, as enjoyable as that route would have been I realized it would likely be slow going and there was no easy way to get back up  I-80 if I wanted to make time due to mountains being in the way.  Also, there did not seem to be any hotels in the area where I was hoping to stop. So my modified route had me on I-80 for much of the day however the good news is I would be at my hotel before dark so I could relax and get a decent dinner.  At least that was the plan.

As I left my hotel I decided to stay on US 30 for a bit to enjoy the ride.  I had ridden on US 30 in Nebraska a few years ago and it went through a bunch of small towns as well as a few ghost towns.  My first stop was a firefighter’s memorial in Wood River NE a few miles down the road.

Firefighters Memorial

Downtown Wood River NE

I continued west on US 30 enjoying the scenery of the small towns

Shelton NE

Lincoln Highway sign in Elm Creek NE

I came across the town of Cozad NE so I stopped for a photo of an old train station.  There were signs indicating Cozad was on the 100th meridian and they explained that all rain west comes from the Pacific Ocean and all rain east of that point comes from the Gulf of Mexico

Cozad NE

Down the road I came across the small town of Brady NE.

Brady NE

At that point I had to get on the Interstate and start making some time. I got on I-80 and headed west.  My schedule still had me getting into my hotel in Toole Utah before dark which I was looking forward to. Even though I was on an Interstate the scenery wasn’t bad

I-80 Monell NE

From there I continued on to my next stop in Cheyenne WY for the Buffalo Soldier Memorial.  This was a cool memorial and I spent some time checking it out along with some of the other monuments at the location

Buffalo Soldier Memorial – Cheyenne WY

Later in the day I saw a rain storm ahead. No big deal I thought, I had ridden through ran plenty of times.  Then as I was riding along I hear a strange sound.  It was like a rock bouncing off my helmet. Then I realized, HAIL!  I shut my face shield just in time for the start of a hail storm.  For about 30 seconds I figured I’d just ride along, after all I was wearing a helmet , riding jacket, and riding pants so I wasn’t going to get wet and wasn’t going to feel the hail. Then a hailstone bounced off my hand and it hurt, a lot.  I didn’t think about the fact that I was wearing simple fingerless gloves.  And then I took a look at the highway and it was covered in a layer of hail, which is ice, which is no fun on a bike.  By dumb luck I was right near an exit so I got off and figured I would hide under the overpass, however both were full of cars.  Just on the other side of the highway was a rest stop, so I pulled into the lot and ran into the building to wait out the storm.

WY Storm

15 minutes later the hail had stopped and I could see sunlight to the south, unfortunately I was going west. Back on the highway and I continued to head west.  All was clear for a while until I saw I was coming into another large storm.  Looking at radar I could see it would likely pass in 30 minutes or so plus I needed gas, so I pulled into a truck stop and topped off, then went inside for something to eat.  They had a Taco Bell so that was dinner.  After I ate I tossed my trash in the trashcan and went outside to leave, and realized I did not have the key to my bike.  I retraced my steps several times then had the sickening feeling that I had left the key on my tray and tossed it in the trashcan.  Fortune was smiling on me as the trashcan had been emptied just before I tossed my trash in and one of the workers opened up the trashcan and I saw my key in the bottom.  That was twice in the trip where I had thrown out my key.

From there I got back on my bike and pulled into my hotel in Tooele UT around 11pm.  Since I had tried to throw out my key several times I decided to check my shaving kit and make sure my spare key was there.  And … it wasn’t.  It was hanging safe and sound on my desk at home.  Good thing I had found my key both times I threw it out!

I had ridden 840 miles for the day and 1,660 for the leg to date

Total miles for the trip to date were 5,360

Monday August 8

Monday I had a rather short day ahead of me.  I was planning on picking up a memorial close by in Tooele, and then head north to Dubois WY picking up a few more as I went along.  I got on my bike and the first thing I noticed was my rear brakes were spongy.  Great, what is it about the state of Utah and the rear master cylinder on my bike?

I headed into town to get a photo of the Veterans Memorial in Tooele UT.

Veterans Memorial – Tooele UT

From there I was headed north to the Golden Spike Workers Monument in Brigham City UT.  After a while I noticed my two GPS units had different routes in them but I could not figure out what the issue was.  Eventually I realized that the GPS I was following had somehow skipped the monument in in Brigham City and was taking me to my next stop which was the WWII Memorial in Richmond UT.  AT this point I was too far along to go back to Brigham City so I skipped it which was a shame as I was looking forward to seeing it.  A short time later I was in Richmond UT taking a photo of the memorial

WWII Memorial  – Richmond UT

I was enjoying this ride since most of it was on US Highways rather than Interstates.  My next stop was the Franklin County War Memorial in Preston ID.  Idaho was a new state for me so I was now down to just two of the continental states that I have not visited on my motorcycle, Washington and Oregon

Franklin County War Memorial  – Preston ID

From there I was heading northwest towards Wyoming enjoying the scenery and an old car sitting in a field

I came across the town of Montpelier ID. This was a small sleepy town whose claim to fame was being the home of one of the banks that was robbed by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  Of course I was going to stop!

Downtown Montpelier ID

Robbery information

Bank

I continued on my way towards the Multi-War Memorial in Afton WY and along the way I passed through the Caribou and Bridger National Forests

Caribou National Forest

Bridger National Forest

Multi-War Memorial – Afton WY

From that point I continued to the town of Jackson WY and the Teton County Veterans Memorial and of course continued to enjoy the scenery

Teton County Veterans Memorial  – Jackson WY

I was now getting close. I was riding along the Tetons until I had to turn off towards Dubois.  Out here towns are about 70 miles apart.  This was familiar territory as I had been here in 2015 during the Iron Butt Rally

Shoshone National Forest

I was enjoying myself riding and as I got close to Dubois I noticed some of the recreation areas were closed and others had signs such as marshal point XX and similar signs indicating some sort of event had been going on.  I got into town and found my friend’s house around 3pm.  We hung out and chatted for a while and he mentioned that there had been a big fire that had just been put out a day or so ago and what I saw was the remnants if the incident management signs.  Apparently they had over 1,000 firefighters in town. We opted to go out for dinner and ate in a small local restaurant, and then headed to a small local bar for a few beers.  We got back to his house and did some troubleshooting on my rear brakes and sure enough, my master cylinder with a whopping 10,000 miles on it was shot.  Fortunately he had a rebuild kit left over from the ones I had sent him in 2015 after he had replaced my rear master cylinder.  20 minutes later the master cylinder was rebuilt, brakes bled, and rolled the bike outside

After the bike was done we hung out for a while and had a few beers

Total miles for the day were 386 and 2,050 for the leg to date.

Total miles for the trip to date were 5,750

 

Tuesday August 9

Tuesday morning we said our goodbyes and I headed out. The plan for the day was to head generally west picking up a few memorials in Wyoming and then stopping somewhere in South Dakota.  The first part of the day would be on US routes in western Wyoming, however I eventually had to get on I-90.  I enjoyed my ride through western Wyoming which included the Bighorn National Forrest

Eventually I came to my first stop, the Johnson County Veterans Memorial in Buffalo WY

Johnson County Veterans Memorial  – Buffalo WY

Along the way I happened to notice that a friend of mine from High school was with a band at a place in South Dakota.  I thought that was odd, then realized that Sturgis was going on and I was going right through town.  How did I miss that?  I planned to swing by to say hello however the event she was attending ended before I got there so I continued on to my next stop which was the Crook County War memorial in Sundance WY

Crook County War memorial – Sundance WY

While I was in town I saw a gentleman with dress pants, dress shirt, and hat wearing a six shooter.  I was puzzled for a bit then realized he must have been some form of re-enactor.

From there I was back on I-90 and I came upon the Sturgis exits.  I considered stopping however decided to keep moving so I could get in at a more reasonable hour. I came upon Wall SD and decided to stop and see Wall Drugs, which like South of the Border on I-95 on the east coast has a bazillion signs saying it is X miles away.  I got into Wall after their ice cream shop and other food places were closed and only got to see the drug store portion.  A pity as when I was in Sturgis several years ago I stayed in Wall and never visited Wall Drugs.  From there I continued on to Pierre where I spent the night.

Total miles for the day were 660 and 2,710 for the leg to date.

Total miles for the trip to date were 6,400

 

Wednesday August 10

For Wednesday I had a long ride planned making seven stops and covering much of South and North Dakota and ending in Minnesota. The first half of my route was on US Routes, but I had no choice but to spend a fair amount of time on the Interstates. My first stop as usual was near the hotel, the South Dakota War Memorial – Pierre SD.  I got to the memorial and they were doing some construction at the site and it was very windy.  Some locals who apparently were associated with the local government were there and offered to take my picture for me. Also, is was fairly good sized so it was tough getting a photo of the entire monument to positively identify it

South Dakota War Memorial – Pierre SD

Next I was heading due north to Herrid SD which was near the North Dakota border.  As I was riding along enjoying the scenery I came across field after field of sunflowers which were pretty cool

Sunflowers

I got to Herreid and got my photo of the Campbell County Veterans Memorial.

Campbell County Veterans Memorial  – Herreid SD

From there I continued north to my next two stops which were close together, the Peace Officer Memorial in Bismarck ND and the POW/MIA of North Dakota Mandan ND. The Peace Officer memorial came and went without issue, however the POW/MIA memorial was in a cemetery and there was a funeral going on so I had to wait for a bit to find a place to park within view of the memorial

North Dakota Peace Officer Memorial  – Bismarck ND

POW/MIA of North Dakota – Mandan ND

Next I turned southeast to the USS Robalo Memorial in Fargo ND. This was in a nice little park with several other memorials so I checked them out and then relaxed for a few minutes and took a break

USS Robalo SS-273 Memorial  – Fargo ND

From there I had an uneventful ride south on I-29 to the Watertown Veterans Memorial in Watertown SD

Watertown Veterans Memorial – Watertown SD

I then headed east to Ortinville MN and the WWI Monument.  I got there not long after dark and took my photo

WWI Monument  – Ortonville MN

Now I had a bit of a ride to my hotel in New Ulm MN.  Along the way it started raining heavily at times and I ended up riding for about 45 minutes in the rain.  I pulled into my hotel and dripped my way into the lobby where I checked in and went to my room.

Total miles were 986 for the day and 3,700 for the leg to date.

Total miles for the trip to date were 7,390

 

Thursday August 11

Thursday was a relatively short day.  My plan was essentially to head due east to Green bay Wisconsin where I would be meeting my wife who was attending a writer’s conference.  My first stop was the Veterans Memorial at the Brown County Courthouse which was close to my hotel which has been typical for this trip. I stopped at the courthouse and took my photo. I noticed there were two large gun barrels in front of the courthouse so I took a few minutes to check them out.

Veterans Memorial  – New Ulm MN

Next I rode due east to St. Paul MN to see the Military Family Tribute at the State Capitol Grounds.  I had been to a memorial here two years ago and recalled that there were quite a few located there.  It was tough finding the correct location due to the way the grounds are laid out but I eventually found a place to park.  The memorial was cool as it was for the families who support our troops

Military Family Tribute  – St Paul MN

I continued east to the Dunn County Veterans in Memorial Menomonie WI followed by the 9/11 Citizen Soldier Monument in Cadot WI which both came and went without issue

Dunn County Veterans Memorial – Menomonie WI

9/11 Citizen Soldier Monument – Cadot WI

And now I was in the home stretch for this leg.  I continued on to Green bay WI and stopped at the Brown County Veterans Memorial in Green Bay WI which was next to Lambeau field.  This time there was no traffic and I was able to get in and out without issue

Brown County Veterans Memorial – Green Bay WI

Lambeau Field – Green Bay WI

And from there it was just a few miles to the hotel .  Total miles for the day were 374 and 4,070 for the leg to date.

Total miles for the trip to date were 7,760