Green Bay -> Milwaukee
After a nice lay in at the KOA near Ford Du Lac we unhooked Bertha from the good stuff and made our way to the north end of the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive. The drive which was the length of the very picturesque Kettle Moraine State Park took us away from the highways and along the country roads. It extended the journey by about two hours but the drive was worth it.
The drive was so pretty that if I had the option of moving to anywhere in American I would choose the southern Wisconsin countryside. it is a beautiful place with lots of small villages and towns that have their own charm. This was where we got a real feel for the white picket fences that are so often associated with the US. When we were due west of Milwaukee we come out of the woods and headed east into the city. As we only had an afternoon and evening in Milwaukee we decided to go to the Harley Davidson museum. Before researching the trip I had no idea Harley Davidson was a Wisconsin brand, I thought that with it becoming so synonymous with bikers all over the world it would be based out of Los Angeles. The car park was full but the museum itself was empty, it took us a couple of circuits to find a space big enough for Bertha. We got the audio tour so we actually knew what we were looking at and and started upstairs with the first ever model dating back to the start of the 20th century.
Harley Davidson Museum
I quite enjoyed the more mechanical side of the tour whereby you could see every individual part of a bike broken down into pieces and how they all fit together. Another favourite of mine was learning how they get the distinctive noise from the angle of the pistons on the bike. They had an engine cut in half that rotated at a slow speed so you could see it all working. Near the end of the tour they had a display showing the motorcycle that was washed up on the coast of British Columbia after being dragged out to sea by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
After such a great museum and taking part in all the interactive shows I left wanting a bike more than ever. I had always said I would learn to ride but never got round to it. As we walked out there was a bike on rollers to the left of us and a bearded guy standing by it looking bored. He said that so long as I signed a disclaimer I could ride one. I explained i had never worked a Harley before so he talked me through changing gears and accelerating. The noise was great and revving it was a dream, I can now understand where the pleasure from revving the bike comes from. One of the main things I took away was how much the bike vibrates when you rev and accelerate. I now know why girls like riding pillion so much. There was a corporate event there later that day so we headed out before everyone arrived.
It was late afternoon so we went to check in at the RV park. It was not a KOA for the first time on the trip so I was a little apprehensive.The location was fabulous in relation to the city centre. It was a pretty run down warped tarmac RV park right by the motorway at the Wisconsin State Fair Park just behind the trees from the NASCAR track. We pulled up and walked into the office to find it empty and shut, yet the door was wide open. We could have just made off with all the computers and other hardware. there were no bookings waiting for us or anything so we had a look around and found a note saying that the office shut at 3pm and late arrivals should just pull up an pay the next day. We got in Bertha and looked around. The place was barely 20% full so we felt no need to hang around and left without hooking Bertha up. The first port of call we were excited about. It was called the Holler House and it is the oldest certified bowling alley in the whole US. It was a tavern upstairs and a bowling alley downstairs with only two lanes tended to by human pinsetters. We pulled up outside the Holler House to find it rather quiet, too quiet. The place was locked up and there was certainly no hollering coming from the house. It was a one of kind tavern that I doubt will be around in its current form much longer and I feel we missed our chance to see a slice of Wisconsin history. The tavern is 105 years old and still has the original woodwork for the lanes. A bit deflated we headed for dinner at a place we had highly recommended to us called 4th Base.
We found 4th Base quite easily and with a fair amount of space on the road outside Bertha parked up with room to spare. We walked in to find the place pretty empty as you would expect on a Monday night. The bartender was polite and we got some drinks while gawking at the memorabilia around the room. We were after food and requested a couple of menus which to my surprise didn’t exist. Choosing their food was pretty simple; you walked over to their delicatessen counter and told them what you wanted from the cooled display. We let him tell us what their specialties were and ordered a few things. A starter of bacon scallops and Cajun shrimp with a main meal of chilli for me and Salmon for Emma. The food was delicious and we ate it all down until we were ready to burst. We stayed for a couple of hours chatting to the staff about our trip and Milwaukee and anything really. They gave us a 4th Base t-shirt before we left, a nice gesture. The only thing that was out of place in this strange oasis of cool in the suburb was the price. Without a menu nothing had a price on it which meant it was very easy to rack up the cost of the bill. I suspect this is the point as people would scale it back if they knew that a dinner in a bar was costing so much. What makes it better is that the food is fresh an delicious. With the new t-shirt we headed back to the RV park and engaged in a small mission to find a slab of tarmac not unwarped by time and the weather.