Tag Archives: Milwaukee

Project LiveWire

Project LiveWire

Project LiveWire launches at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee on June 19th

Since early this year, Mike’s been working on a top-secret project for Harley. He couldn’t even tell me about it. Project LiveWire is an electric motorcycle, Harley’s first. Mike’s unique blend of old-school mechanic skills and an affiinity for the latest technology made him ideal for this project. He’s the lead mechanic touring the West Coast to show off these handcrafted, limited edition electric bikes. We spent several weeks in Milwaukee as Mike, along with the East Coast lead mechanic, helped the engineers build bikes, tested them, ordered parts, and learned everything about the roadshow.

The project was announced on June 19th, and the West Coast tour kicked off at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee on bike night. I got to see the bike and sit on it and meet the crew that we’re touring with. It  was a great evening. I was – and still am – so proud of Mike!

The bike is very sleek and weighs just 464 pounds. There’s no back seat, unfortunately, so I haven’t gotten to experience it. But Mike says is the most fun bike he’s ever ridden. It goes about 50 miles on a charge, but it can’t be plugged into a standard outlet. The truck we’re following in the RV contains the specialized chargers and holds 11 LiveWires as well as two Streets. Our tour is taking us down Route 66 to California. Then we’re veering north to Denver, Bellevue and Portland before heading back to California and wrapping up in Texas in December.

Right now, Harley execs are part of the caravan, riding the bikes for a few miles down Route 66 during the day and staying in hotels at night. There’ve also been a couple of meet-n-greets at dealerships. It’s been stressful because Mike’s working long hours – getting the bikes ready, swapping them out and waiting for people and supplies to arrive – and driving the RV, although I help out with the driving as much as he’ll let me. We’re in a different city every day, so there’s almost no time to go sightseeing. In a couple of weeks, though, we’ll be lingering in one city for a few days, which’ll be really nice.

The tour has its challenges, but it’s amazing to be part of history in the making.

Milwaukee to Cedar Key in Instagrams

Milwaukee to Cedar Key in Instagrams

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

Before we left Milwaukee, probably for the last time this “season”, we had dinner with our good friends Larry and Maribeth at Mo’s Irish Pub. The company was awesome; the steamed veggies were crisp; and I was digging the light fixtures.

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

In the morning before we left town, we stocked up at the grocery store so that we’d have healthy stuff and save money by not shopping at the truck stops.  We also popped into Hobby Town, so Mike could pick up something airsoft-related. I can’t keep track of all those gizmos!  At the checkout counter, I spotted these freaky snacks. If these are what the early bird gets, I think I’ll sleep in from now on!

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

It’s amazing how impressive a city’s skyline can be as you motor by in the RV.  The Chicago skyline was enchanting.

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

It’s not every day that you see a dinosaur as you roll down the interstate!

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The Corvette is Mike’s favorite car, so we had to stop at The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. We didn’t buy the $10 per-person tix because we were meeting Stevi for lunch in Smyrna and didn’t have time to do the full tour. That meant that we didn’t get to see the sink hole either. The docent told us there was plexiglass around the hole so museum goers could see it, and apparently there’s a live webcam of the repairs.

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One of the very best things about our RVing adventure is reconnecting with friends we haven’t seen in forever.  Mike worked with Brian at MMI; they were both instructors. But Mike hadn’t seen Brian and his wife Donna since 1997! So, after we had lunch with Stevi, we caught up with Brian, Donna and their grandson Bowe for a late dinner at the Montana Saloon & Grill in Talladega. I was delighted to meet them – such nice people! – and was sad when Donna had to take Bowe home since she had to be up early the next day. Thankfully, Brian was able to hang out for a while, and he and Mike visited over a couple of beers in the rig.

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

No drive down I-75 in Georgia is complete without a stop at the World’s Largest Peanut. There’s a picnic table and plenty of grass to walk the bark babies. As a bonus, it’s right next to Carroll’s Sausage & Meats, which has an adjacent RV park.

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

We knew we were outta the cold when we saw this orange-and-pecan stand in the parking lot of the Flying J at the Georgia/Florida border. We bought a bag of fresh oranges, a bag of homegrown raw pecans and a bag of pralines from Moses himself. $30 well spent!

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Complimentary fresh-squeezed orange juice and grapefruit juice at the Florida Welcome Center. We picked up a Sun Pass while we there to cover those pesky tolls that are so easy to miss when you’re driving.

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

We arrived in Florida two days before our campground reservation. Sunset Isle in Cedar Key couldn’t squeeze us in, so we boondocked in the Walmart parking lot in Chiefland. We snagged a lovely spot next to the water. Practicing good boondocking etiquette, we asked management’s permission, didn’t put down our jacks or push out our slide. Feel free to send us a gold star!

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Our boondocking parking lot not only had a Walmart but also a hair salon, a Radio Shack, a clothing boutique and a Mexican AND a Chinese restaurant. Viejo Amigo was a surprisingly charming eatery. It was the first time we’d been served a salsa carafe.

We’re super excited to move into our camp spot – with full hook-ups! – for a week. Bring on the famous Cedar Key sunsets!  But it sure has been a fun trip getting here.

Working at HDU

Working at HDU

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Mike has been a contract technical trainer at Harley-Davidson’s University for eight years, and he never tires of being on such hallowed ground. HDU is located at Harley’s corporate headquarters on Juneau Avenue. It’s the site where the first factory – a wooden shed – was built in 1903 in the backyard of the William C. Davidson family home. On a couple of occasions, when I’ve been traveling with Mike, he’s brought me there to see the classrooms where he teaches and meet the Harley staff he works with, many of whom he’s known for decades and are now good friends.

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I joined him there this past Friday. He had just finished up a four-day class the day before, and he was tidying things up. We brought our hotspot iPad, and Mike parked me in the third floor breakroom to do my work while he tied up loose ends.  With all the friends that stopped by, what should have taken just an hour or so ended up taking all day. It was a hoot! We ran into Becky in the Red Brick Cafe and saw the new Street bike all studded out for ice racing. Kathie, who handles admissions and scheduling for HDU, treated us to lunch at the cafe, and we chatted about social media and shared road stories. The Red Brick Cafe is awesome. Lots of great selections, including a salad bar and a pizza counter. The Margherita pizza I had was freshly made and only had 282 calories in the whole pie! Back in the breakroom on the third floor, longtime pal Anthony pulled up a chair, and he and Mike told stories of the bad old days. It might not have been the most productive day, but it sure was a good one!

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Gearing up for winter

Gearing up for winter

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Our dogs are desert dogs, not familiar with – or built for – cold weather.  But, they’ve been troopers, particularly Sadie, our little Boston Terrier.  She’s a bit of a princess, but we’ve discovered that she loves to romp in the snow.  She’s also a no-nonsense girl.  While Meeko will sniff and hunt for the perfect spot to relieve himself, Sadie gets down to business right away so she can return to her warm blanket by the propane heater.

We’re doing our best to make sure our bark babies are appropriately outfitted for the freezing temperatures, but not everything works well.  We worry most about the extreme cold damaging their paws, so we’ve tried booties.  They just don’t stay on.  We got Meeko a snowsuit with legs, but he hobbled awkwardly around, giving us a plaintive look, big brown eyes pleading to have the miserable thing taken off of him.  We obliged and try to make it quick when it gets into the single digits or lower.  Sadie likes her quilted jacket, but it doesn’t offer much more than torso protection.

I guess we’ll get better at gearing the dogs up for winter just like we will with managing the rig in the cold.  It’ll take time, practice and patience – on all our parts.