Beer, Bikes, Baseball and Bowling

They say 8 days is the sweet spot for vacations. That point where you leave feeling fully rested and aren’t beginning to get homesick or come back to a lot of chaos.

But this isn’t the average vacation. It’s a working vacation for us. We still have businesses to run and customers and clients to keep happy. So we take time out most days to deal with things our businesses need us to deal with. 

We’ve gotten a few things down for traveling. We each clearly know our roles for setup and tear down and don’t experience any of that “I’m sorry for what I said when we were parking the camper” syndrome.

There are still a few things to work out. Like choosing where we want to visit early enough to get tickets in advance if necessary. But it’s all part of the process and we work well together, 99.9987% of the time.

We have some great stories to share.

Like when Jeff watched with curiosity and some amusement as a new RVr set up to tow his rig out of the campground, only to come upon that same guy stuck in the road with his rig totally detached from his truck. Jeff got out in the sweltering heat and helped the guy jack up the rig and get it, PROPERLY, attached to the truck. 

Or when Google didn’t exactly communicate her directions well and took us on a 20 minute detour into a very rough area outside of St. Louis, MO. 

And then seeing the fire in that same area from our campground a couple of hours later.

We made it to our first MLB game, the St. Louis Cardinals; not to be confused with the Arizona Cardinals. I’m told that’s a different sport…

We met a gentleman and his son who were also touring the different baseball stadiums. They were at 15 so far. This was my 9th and Jeff’s 11th.

The next day included a tour of the Anheuser-Busch headquarters. The grounds were MASSIVE and included production, bottling and keeping 8 of the 100+ world famous Clydesdale horses.

The stables were one of the original buildings to the facility from 1885. 

Jeff wondered how many bricks were used in all the buildings. They didn’t know but they had figured out that there are ??

We also learned that before beer becomes beer, it becomes “wort”. Wort is something that looks like beer but doesn’t taste like beer. When asked if they had any samples, our tour guide said no but if we really wanted something that looked like beer without the taste, we could go buy some Coors.

As part of the tour, we were given bottles of “day fresh” beer. Beers that had been produced that day. Ours just happened to have a best buy day that coincides with Jeff’s birthday next year. Happy early Birthday!

After a very long travel day (6+ hours), we enjoyed a nice little walk from our campground to the coast of Lake Michigan.

If you’ve never been to one of the great lakes, it’s hard to believe you haven’t landed on an ocean beach.

One of the challenges(?) of RVing with a dog or two is that you have to learn to coordinate your excursions with their needs. Not many museums or indoor places are going to be pet friendly, unless you have a service animal. And, while our dogs provide us lots of love and comfort, they do not even remotely qualify as service animals.

So, even if it means breaking up your day and making two long trips into town when one would normally work, that’s what you do.

For our day trip, we chose to visit the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, WI. Even though I grew up with motorcycles and Jeff had a strong dirt biking past, this museum was well suited for all kinds. There’s something there for everyone. 

Interested in business and entrepreneurship? Spend some time learning how Harley-Davidson got started and grew to the cultural juggernaut it is today. We could all take a lesson from the cult-like status this company has.

Enjoy architecture? Browse the blueprints and history of how the Harley-Davidson mega complex was built.

More into pop culture?  There are many, MANY stars that have owned Harley’s and movies that have featured the brand name product.

Of course, if you like Harleys, there are plenty of those there to see too.

After the museum, Jeff got a round of bowling in at the Castle Lanes. It probably should have been called Cabin Lanes as it had a very fun cabin feel, complete with ducks flying across the lanes. And Jeff was pretty happy with one of his games in particular.

In the evening, we headed back into Milwaukee to meet up with some business networking friends (shout out to The Idea Collective) and head to American Family Stadium for another notch on the stadium belt. 

Madison, WI is our longest stop yet. FIVE glorious days in one place! There’s a balancing act between pushing too hard to get to a place to be and being on the road for too long. Or, at least there is for us since this was our first trip. We didn’t want to take too much time away and knew we’d be spending a full month in Wisconsin with Jeff’s family. So that only left us so much time to get there and back and see other things along the way. Or it meant stretching the trip even longer.

So finally making it to where we could stay put for 5 days was wonderful. We had plenty of time to do some site seeing, enjoy the great outdoors AND just relax. And, as a bonus, we connected with the Charming Millers (aka: Jeff’s sister and brother-in-law).

I managed to take my first 10 mile (ish) bike ride without dying.

Photo courtesy Tessa Miller with Charming Millers

I lived by the motto, “When in Rome” and wore cheese on my head.

Photo courtesy Tessa Miller with Charming Millers

Some of the most fascinating sites, though, just aren’t in a museum or a national park. Sometimes they are in your local Walmart with parking in the garage below the building. How do you get your cart to your vehicle when your vehicle is underground? A cart escalator of course!

One thing they rarely tell you about RV life is that it’s not always fun and adventure. Sometimes you break the toilet at 10pm and have to get your handy, hopefully, husband to figure out how to fix it. Then spend the morning calling all the RV parts locations within an hour drive to find a replacement. Two hours and 5 minutes later, the toilet was fixed.

Fortunately, it didn’t dampen our day and we were still able enjoy a catch up day and some Dueling Pianos in the evening.

We started our Saturday at the Dane County Farmer’s Market. This place has over 200 producer vendors on site. That means if you sell something, you had to grow or make it yourself. There were the typical vegetable stands (with LOTS and LOTS of corn) and expected cheese stands (we are in the cheese capital after all).

It’s always fun to see how different vendors market their wares. Like the Honey Guy.

Photo courtesy Tessa Miller with Charming Millers

We stocked up before heading to The House on the Rock. This place is truly hard to describe. It’s like Willy Wonka and Walt Disney had a love child and this place is the result. It started out as Alex Jordan’s dream for a retreat home built on top of a rock. From there, it morphed into a fantasy world beyond imagination. Room after room is filled with more collections than you can imagine. I’m thinking he was lucky enough to have the space to display his collections or he may have been considered a hoarder. Instead, he’s considered a brilliant mind, albeit a bit eccentric.

The Infinity Room juts out 215′ with approximately 165′ being fully unsupported on the bottom. Just imagine having to clean all those little windows…

Alex loved music and musical machines. He collected and created many musical machines and displayed them throughout his property.

He opted to display his extensive collection of ships and other nautical items by creating a MASSIVE sculpture of a whale and an octopus in a battle. It was the last creation he was a part of before his death.

Wrapping up our time in Madison involved a walking food tour of downtown Madison including a tour of the Capital Building.

We started out at Great Dane pub and brew house.

Ian’s Pizza By the Slice not only had THE BEST pizza crust but also the cutest Men’s and Women’s signs for the bathrooms. Who gets it?

The capital building was quite breathtaking, and I’m not referring to Elaine’s version when describing babies.

Tomorrow we pack up and head to Baraboo. This time it’s not for a part either…

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