2015 Museum Tour
The tour began on June 19, 2015. The original 2015 trip was to cover ALL the remaining 10 states in my 'ride all states' bucket list but was cut way short by illness. So I settled for the three states the closest to home: Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Needing an excuse to ride to these states, I decided to visit three museums: The National Motorcycle Museum in Iowa, the HD Museum in Milwaukee and the Mungenast Museum in St. Louis (Minnesota doesn't have a motorcycle museum.)
I rode in all three states, plus a number of others to get there and back, in 10 days with two two day layovers, one in OKC on the way out and one in St. Charles, Illinois.
Odd as it may seem, I didn't take any photos at the first museum. I had left my camera in my tank bag on the bike and didn't want to take the time to go back and get it. Most of the bikes were Harleys anyway and I would see plenty of those, and take a few photos, at the HD museum in a couple days. Besides, once one has been to the Barber, all others pale in comparison.
Highlights? Crossing the Mississippi is always worth taking a second look (but no photos). Riding the FJR. Seeing friends in OK and IL. Riding the FJR and wondering if my butt was going to last (I guess age is finally catching up with me!)
Lowlights? Having another valve stem failure! In over 500,000 miles of rding, I'd never had a valve stem fail until 2013 on the Alaska/D2D ride. Then this year, two in three weeks. These were the fault of the stems, will try to figure out where I got them and complain bitterly. But my luck holds: the first of these two failures took place within 3 miles of a tire shop and the second within 2 miles. I was able to ride to the shop with the first (the rear) but had to remove the front and have the shop owner's wife come get me and the wheel/tire. I tipped her $5 on top of the $16 repair charge. Cheap!
Another lowlight was not being able to get to the Mungeast museum due to weather. I could have waited it out but I was ready to come home anyway.
Speaking of weather, I dodged all kinds of bad weather, from torential rains and hail to tornadoes. My original plan had me staying two days in St. Charles and then riding to Troy, IL on Friday the 26th to be at the Mungenast Museum on Saturday. But the Weather Channel showed flooding, road closures, etc. for St. Louis extending through Saturday. Thus I decided to detour across Iowa and Missosuri on Friday to Overland Park, KS, 555 miles of mostly Interstate. But no storms. I started out from home in my rain gear, gentle rain all the way to Blanco (75 miles or so) then didn't put the gear on again until somewhere around Comanchee on the way back. And though that storm proved to be mostly gone by the time I got the gear on, I left it on and then in Fredricksburg, the sky opened up and dumped. But I stayed dry; good old Frog Togs!. OK, time for some more photos (mouseover any photos without captions to see the caption.)
OK, enough HD's for a bit. Here are some interesting 'road shots:'
These two huge Catholic churces, St Boniface, New Vienna, and Holy Trinity, Luxemburg, are less than 5 miles apart. New Vienna's population is 407 and Luxemburg's is 240 (2010 census)! Both are in Dubuque County, Iowa.
And of course, the object of the trip: Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Notice the wrinkle in the Wisconsin sign: it and the 'state' shape are made on that plastic board that is so popular with political candidates!
As well as head of HD's design department for 49 years (retired in 2012), Willie G. Davidson was and is a very talented water color artist. He is also the grandson of one of the founders and one of the execs who purchased HD back from AMF in 1981. I didn't realize until now that I am featured in one of his paintings. That is me with the camera in the background, far right paining of three. The old house and truck is my favorite.
And now a couple more Harley photos to finish up the trip. I rode 3266 miles in six riding days, average MPG was 48. Not bad for a bike with 60,000 miles and a rider with 71 years!