Our newest addition to the family a 2017 Ultra Limited Harley Davidson has conjured new and longer rides as time goes on. We have decided to alter every other year as a designated motorcycle vacation. I’ve agreed to this just as long as we take a fight out of the country to our following years vacation!
Packing – Tight Quarters
So, with Pawtoberfest and my own Oktoberfest party under my belt I have ONE day to pack for our Harley Davidson motorcycle trip to Minnesota.
As you can see in the picture below, I don’t have much room for Everything I’d like to take with me on trips. One side saddle bag compartment each is all each person gets if you are not pulling a trailer behind you.
However, this is our third moto trip so I’ve gotten used to wearing the same few outfits for two weeks, I just need a laundry mat and I’m refreshed and good to go.
The morning came too early. However, we were eager to get on the road and try out our new microphones in our helmets. Now we can talk to each other without having to yell with our faces turned up to the wind. After a few minutes of testing our microphones we were out on the open road by 5am — Minnesota bound!
See our ride here!
Our first stop will be a short night in Chamberlin, South Dakota.
Rain, Rain Go Away!
My First Harley Davidson Rain Suit
Well, it was very warm to say the least on our way to South Dakota from Colorado. However, after a few hours on the road, it began to drizzle and soon turned into a full steady rain. My leather jacket faired well, but it began to get a bit saturated after an hour or so. Luckily we found J&L Harley Davidson in Sioux Falls, SD.
I tried on the rain suit and felt like the Pilsbury dough boy! I could barley move. But we paid the “Harley Davidson tax” (paid too much) and were on our way for another three hours of rain. But our “Black Beauty” held her own the wet roads and it didn’t effect the ride one bit. She rode like a champ.
Hello Alexandria, MN
With the rain behind us, we pulled over to the side of the highway and stripped off our rain gear. After about 30 minutes, we came upon the Minnesota state line and took the infamous selfie.
We arrived at Haley’s parents house and were warmly greeted. However, they asked if we had brought the cool weather with us as just the day before it was a 92 degrees. Now a mere 67 degrees, Autumn weather was here to stay. So, we built a fire at the side yard pit and talked about our ride as we sat around the fire with a view of their mini apple orchard that surrounds their farm house.
After we chatted up the afternoon around the fire, the evening was upon us, so we headed into the house where dinner was waiting in the oven. Barbecued ribs, homemade coleslaw, sweet potato, and local wine was the perfect meal. A perfect end to a long day on the bike.
Everly, Delany and Harrison Sitting In An Apple Tree
I couldn’t get enough of the 30+ year old apple trees that surrounded Haley’s parents property. So I walked through them every chance I had and just admired the apples and the trees that held them.
The kids where following me around too, so I began taking pictures of them with the apples trees. Soon, grandma J’Nell followed and she had a great idea to place all three of them in the coveted apple tree that grew directly in front of the house. It had a perfect strong limb for all three kids to sit and get their picture taken.
Leaning How To Make Apple Sauce
For a couple of years now, I’ve been eating J’Nell’s homemade apple sauce from the orchard she and her husband had planted over 30 years ago. So it was fun to finally participate in creating and making my own small batch of apple sauce. J’Nell let me choose the spices and called it “Rachel’s Apple Sauce.” Fortunately, J’Nell was headed to Colorado Springs in October so she was kind enough to deliver the apple sauce to us upon her visit.
The Boys Go Fishing at Lake Mary
Catching Sunfish – It’s A Fish Fry Tonight!
The men came home with Sunfish for tonights dinner. I was in charge of frying, so I didn’t get an opportunity to take any pictures. But the Sunfish came out so moist and flavorful. Yet, another great meal to be had by all.
Parting Ways With Our Friends and Alexandria
Local Wine? Yes, Please!
The wine at our dinners with Haley and her family was so good. Therefore, I had to know where she bought it. So, upon departing our dear friends and expressing our thankfulness for their hospitality, the following day we headed up to The Carlos Creek Winery which was just 13 miles from our hotel.
It was a bit colder the next day and really windy, but we managed to get in a selfie under the grape arch that looked over the entire orchard.
To Duluth and A Ride To Lake Superior
We truly enjoyed our stay with our friends in Alexandria, but we were excited for our ride to the Lake Superior area. So, after our visit to the winery and a brief stroll through downtown Alexandria, we said our good-bye’s to this little town and headed North-East to Duluth, MN.
Half way up the West side of Lake Superior I had to stop and the famous Betty’s Pies. As you may know, I love desserts and am always seeking them out in each city we visit. With this in mind we got an early start for the ride up the Lake and headed for our first stop to the Betty’s. Dessert for breakfast isn’t that odd but I had read the this place gets really full quickly and we didn’t wan to spend too much time waiting for a table. However, everyone else had the same plan, of course. But we only waited for 15 minutes and breakfast and PIE was worth the wait. Ice cream, too? Yes, please!
Dishes, Dishes and More Dishes!
Many of you many know, I have a soft spot for anything china, silverware and anything service ware, I just do. So, when we drove up to Second Hand Rose Antiques and Collectibles on the side of the road, I couldn’t believe my eyes! This road side store had so much inventory, you could see it coming up a mile away (exaggerated). But the store did have the most variety of china I have seen in one place. Therefore, I turned on my helmet microphone and asked Bruce to pull over so I could take a “look see.” Even he couldn’t believe how much inventory they had and it seemed that some of the dishes on display tables outside in front of the store stayed outside permanently. Wow, no thieves around there, I guess.
So, I got to shop around a bit, but knew that I wouldn’t be able to “really” look but Bruce walked around with me a bit. I think he needed to stretch his legs (wink).
Visiting the Historic Split Rock Lighthouse
Many a ship has crashed on Lake Superiors’ shores when the strong winds kick up and lead ships to their death. The most famous ship wreck was the The Madeira. She was a 436 ft steel hull ship that ran into Gold Rock just north of Split Rock Lighthouse during the storm on November 4, 1905. This wreck now lies in 20 to 110 ft. of water. The Madeira is probably the most popular wreck dive in Minnesota.
Heading Back to Duluth and Dinner at New Scenic Cafe
Dinner at the New Scenic Cafe was perfect. It was a long cold ride back to Duluth along Lake Superior and a good meal was just what we needed. So, we rode up and parked the bike alongside of the restaurant. Our meals were excellent and we ended our evening with another cup of coffee. By the time we were ready to leave it was close to nine o’clock! More importantly, it was pitch dark and we weren’t counting on riding the remaining 20 miles back to the hotel on an unlit road, but we made it back to the hotel without incident. Whew!
Good-Bye Duluth, Heading to Missouri through Iowa
The alarm went off at 6am, too early to packed the last of my clothes back into my “shrinking” saddle bag as I have purchased a “few” items on our trip. I struggled to get my riding jeans packed after picking up a pair of FireHose pants at the Duluth Trading store, they are now my favorite riding pants.
Lunch Stop in Keosauqua, IA
I was about a five hour ride from Duluth to Keosauqua and a bit drizzly at that. The ride seemed a bit long as there wasn’t much to see along the way down to Missouri. However, we took a side road to get off the boring highway and found Keosauqua. A quaint little town along the Missouri river.
As we approach the center of town we stopped and had lunch at Misty’s Malt Shop were I ordered a simple chicken salad, but I’m not sure what Bruce’s lunch was all about. Some Indian bread with meat or something, but he seemed to like it. Eek!
Missouri Bound To Uncle John’s
Lunch in Keosauqua by the river was very relaxing and I really wanted a malt from Misty’s Malt Shop but I was too full from lunch. But I knew once we got to Uncle John’s we’d be eating “good” and would stop at the local custard shop near his house. I love visiting him and he lives very close to Missouri’s beautiful wine country! Yes, wineries! I didn’t know. Plus, it’s a beautiful ride through these country roads where the rows of vines leads you from one vineyard to the next. Uncle John’s house sits on a good “handful” of acres with a perfect view of his pond from the breakfast table. Sitting there a breakfast takes away any stress. . .
Our Last Days of Our Trip
Planning Absolutely Nothing While We Are Here
Uncle John is the most gracious host. Always making sure we have everything we need and always keeps us entertained one way or another. He’ll even take you shopping if you wanna! But he always stays busy as there is always things that needs to be done when you have as much property as he does, especially for one person. We just love him and try to help around the “house” and property as much as he will LET us when we visit. I never would have thought that mowing the lawn on a riding mower would be that much fun. But this California girl had a blast the first time out. There’s just something about the clean air and open space there. Different from Colorado Springs. However, we mostly visit when the weather is good. Not to cold and not to hot and humid. Though I did see my first firefly there in late Spring a few years back. So our visit this year in mid-September was another perfect time to visit.
Spontaneous Lunch In Hermann
We had lunch in Hermann, a cute little German town and had the best brot lunch. Two aromas I love most, bakeries and deli’s! Herman’s Wurst Haus was such a find. It was like being in the Frankfurt market downtown! Mmmmm . . .
The Ride Back to Colorado Springs
Weather, Weather and MORE Weather!
Our bi-annual Harley Davidson ride was quickly coming to the end. We had our custard ice cream and a Dairy Queen pumpkin pie sundae, and squeezed in some time to spend with Bruce’s Marine friend near St. Louis. But unfortunately it was time to packed and re-packed our saddle bags for the ride home. In the meantime, Uncle John was deciding on where to take us out to eat on our last dinner in Missouri (he NEVER lets us pay), but we know now to arrive with groceries before we get there, especially arriving with the “black silk” coffee pods for his machine he likes.
Dinner was early and so was our turn-in for the night. It was going to take about 10 hours to get home with about 5-6 gas stops and two quick meals along the way. However, just like the trip started, it ended with overcast skies, then rain by the time we reach Kansas. So we pulled over and rain-suited up. But not only was it raining it was getting colder. I would check the temperature every hour or so and the temperature was getting colder and colder by the hour. When we left Missouri that morning the temperature was 68 degrees, perfect riding weather. But by the time we reached Colorado it was 29 degrees!!! That’s really cold even if you’re not on a motorcycle. I turn on my microphone and suggested a quick stop to rest and thaw out. So Bruce finally pulled up to the Wendy’s in Limon, CO just at Interstate 50. He didn’t want to stop as we were only about 45 minutes from home, but I just couldn’t make it any further in the cold and just wanted to get warm.
Bruce didn’t think this was going to work and was thinking of just getting a room nearby, but I convinced him that if we just have some coffee, warm up and rest WE could make it home.
The hot coffee and chocolate worked like a charm. We were both warm again and rejuvenated enough to push on for another 45 minutes. It was still cold and the temperature even dropped further to 27 degrees but home and just around the corner and one more stop sign.
Home Sweet, Home!
Our journey ended as it started in the rain but we made it home in 10.5 hours. Bruce parked Black Beauty, thanked her for her reliability and good time and we headed straight to bed.
The next morning we reminisced about our trip and our adventures. Extreme hot weather, down pouring rain, perfect 68 degrees, cold, wind at Lake Superior and perfect 76 degrees in Missouri. Through all the various weather happenings, we still had a great time and adventure. We traveled the mid-West in one big loop and had traveled 2,891 miles and I only fell asleep a handful of times (I know, bad) but this bagger is so comfortable for me. This is the most miles we traveled in one trip. We got to see our friends in Minnesota before they shipped to Guam and got to see the country side of Lake Superior and its famous Duluth Clothing store. And finally, our last stop in Missouri to see Uncle John and spend some time with Bruce’s dear friend recovering from cancer. Another fun and successful Harley road trip. I wonder if we can organize a moto ride in Europe somehow? Hmmm?
See our route here.