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.
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!
It’s so cool when online friendships become offline meet-ups, particularly when they happen in fabulous new places. Our Twitter pilot friend PJ just happened to be flying from his home town of Houston to Austin to see Alton Brown when we were in the area. PJ suggested we have dinner at Searsucker.
Searsucker is one of the newer eateries in the Warehouse District, and the 7,000-square-foot space fits in beautifully with the other eclectic offerings. The decor is vintage Americana meets Anthropologie, and I just wanted to move right in. I’m already figuring out how I can translate the style to our RV!
Our small plate selections included Lobster Mac & Cheese and Spicy Shrimp & Cheddar Bacon Grits.
Chef Brian Malarkey is a “Top Chef “finalist and is currently a judge/mentor on ABC’s new cooking competition show “The Taste” along with Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson and Ludo Lefebvre. His New American menu at Searsucker is innovative and interesting. The “small” plates are actually full-size meals, something PJ and I wished we realized before we ordered four of them! (Mike, a less adventurous eater, stuck with steak and potatoes.) Everything was delicious, and the service was attentive and friendly.
Dessert was the King Sundae. We skipped the caramelized bacon but thoroughly enjoyed the PB Cup ice cream, bruleed bananas, whipped cream, and Cracker Jack bits.
PJ was super excited when Chef Malarkey strolled by our table. He’s apparently not always in the house. We asked our waitress if we could meet Chef, and he came out soon after our request, shaking hands and posing graciously for pictures. PJ was thrilled! Between meeting Chef Malarkey and seeing Alton Brown later in the evening, it was quite a night for him! We were glad to part of the whole thing, especially getting to know PJ in person and enjoying an amazing dinner in an amazing city.
In between our stay in Austin and our return to Milwaukee, we spent a couple more days at The Vineyards in Grapevine, Texas. It now officially qualifies as one our favorite campgrounds, and we haven’t even been there in the nice season when we could take advantage of all the cool stuff to do! One of the reasons we love it? The views out the RV window. I took these pics the morning we left. The stunning sunrise made it that much harder to go.
We’re back in Milwaukee this week, in the middle of a snowstorm, so my jaunt through Memorial Park in Round Rock, Texas, a couple of weeks ago seems like a dream. Thank heavens for photographic evidence!
Memorial Park is home to the rock that gave Round Rock, Texas, its name. The park is right off of I-35. Brushy Creek runs through the middle of it, and a pedestrian bridge under the highway connects both sides. There’s a playground on one side and the Sunset Strip apartment complex on the other. It’s a very pretty park although a little bit seedy.
I stopped there with the dogs after I saw the park off the highway when I was dropping Mike off for work. I had no idea that the famous rock was there, so I missed it entirely. I guess I was close, though. From what I’ve read, if you want to see the rock, you need to walk over the low water crossing near the parking lot and go along the north side of the creek.
I strolled in that direction but got sidetracked by the granite stadium stairs by the softball field. I just had to climb ’em! I did two sets with the dogs, but then Sadie refused to do any more. I wasn’t going to let our little diva hold me back, so I parked the bark babies in the Jeep and did another 13 sets for a total of 15.
The rock isn’t the only cool piece of history in the park. There’s also a Vietnam War memorial and a commemorative WWII torpedo to honor Round Rock residents who fought on behalf of their town and country.
What a fun outing to remind me that there’s more to life than the deep freeze!
Some say that spending every moment together kills the romance. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that. Not for us.
Mike’s never been a flowers-and-chocolate kinda guy, and he’s still not. Instead, he’s a subtle sweet talker. He woos me with simple words that show his love more than a pretty bauble ever could. Constant togetherness equals more wooing. It means every day can be Valentine’s Day.
words by mike daniels | photo by elisabeth daniels | photo editing by picmonkey
As I sit comfortably in the recliner, working and writing blog posts on my laptop, with blueberry green tea in the cup holder and a view of the marina out the window, I glance up to see our new neighbors arrive. They’re a little loud but awfully nice to look at. A small smile crosses my face as I turn back to the keyboard. This is what RVing is all about.
When you become a full-time RVer, or embark on some other kind of epic trip, it’s easy to let the pitfalls drag you down. Things break; people are strange; the dream job is still a job. Sometimes you’re gonna get sand in your margarita. It’s easy to get discouraged, but when those situations come up, remember:
Don’t worry about the potholes.
Just enjoy the journey.
Winter in Milwaukee is never a treat, and with a polar vortex descending on the city not once, but two times, this winter’s been worse than ever. The coffices in town have done a great job of making their places even more welcoming to compensate for the dismal conditions outdoors. Urban Joe Café, in West Allis, for example, serves warm apple cider that takes the chill off as you sink into a cushy, overstuffed chair – after plugging in and connecting to the free Wi-Fi, of course.
With only 50 seats, Urban Joe’s is small, but the thoughtful layout and muted earth tones make it feel spacious. Owner Joe Tairi is very friendly. If it’s not too busy, you might just find him tapping away at his own laptop across from the counter. Come for lunch as well as work because the sandwich selection is excellent, including vegetarian options. Everything is made with fair-trade or organic ingredients as much as possible.
West Allis is named for Edward P. Allis, who ran a late 19th century Milwaukee manufacturing firm. From Urban Joe’s giant windows, looking through the falling snow, the historic facades of the Greenfield Avenue business district create a softly blurred picture of the city in Allis’s time. If you squint, you can almost see men in top hats and women in bonnets strolling by the shops.
Urban Joe’s is exactly what a coffice is supposed to be: a comfortable place to work with good food and drink and a refreshing view. Well done, Joe. Well done.
When we saw this super cute cupcake trailer on the side of the road, we had to stop. How could we resist a sweet treat from an Airstream-esque bakery on wheels?!?!
The irreverent sense of fun didn’t stop there; the flavor combos were hilarious. A Michael Jackson, anyone?? Mike went with plain vanilla (of course!) while I noshed on a Sweetberry. This mobile cupcakery isn’t far from our campground on the outskirts of Austin, so I have a sneaking suspicion we’ll be back!
Hi, Everyone! Today I’m guest posting over at God Life Happy Wife for the CELEBRATE LOVE series. Just in time for Valentine’s Day (which also happens to be Mike’s birthday!), I’m sharing my love story. I talk about how giving it all up to move into an RV with Mike got me more than I’d ever dreamed. It hasn’t always been easy, so I offer some tips on making our relationship work in such close quarters.
Seven months ago, I did something crazy. I gave up my high-paying job, my house and the community I’d lived in for 12 years to move into a 300-square-foot RV with my husband, two dogs and a cat. Permanently.
Mike has been traveling nearly every week for his business as a technical trainer since we began dating. Before the motorhome, he was gone during the week, back on the weekends, while I worked at my day job, took care of the household, and did freelance writing and taught painting classes on the side. The lifestyle got old, so we decided to buy an RV and travel as a family to Mike’s gigs.
It sounds romantic: two lovebirds and their fur babies traveling the country, working side-by-side during the day and walking hand-in-hand at night. Despite that rosy image, it wasn’t easy for me to make the leap. Part of me felt like I was giving it all up. Giving up everything I’d worked for, my friends, my beloved community.
Would it be worth it? Would Mike and I survive being together all the time when we’d hardly spent more than a week together for our entire relationship? And doing it all in a hallway on wheels??
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