Road trips

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Howdy folks.

Yep, it's been a while since I've provided any entertainment (?) or updates - sorry about that. I can only offer the usual excuses - busy with work, running around catching-up on things over the weekend, and so on.

I did spend the last five weeks or so eating totally bad, barely running, and barely riding... so, that means I've gained about 20-pounds... it's funny (not really) how I can go from 170-ish to a solid 190 in just over a month. Ugh. I guess it's time to get back into some sort of routine so that I can shed some of those awesome pounds. Or, maybe I should just throw-in the towel with this fitness crap and "enjoy" myself. Torment...

But enough about my woes. Aside from eating poorly and not exercising, I've actually been having a fun time. I was invited to hang out at a car show with my cousin a few weeks ago, and that was a blast, even if it was 100F outside. :-)

I snapped a bunch of pictures; I won't really take time to explain them here - most of the cars I photographed appealed to me because I had some sort of familiar relationship to them from my days while working at the Auto Museum or from my days as a technician at the Ford dealership.

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Apparently the show has become so popular that they had to limit the number of cars/entries for judging to 350. I guess when you see the trophies they award, it's not so difficult to figure out why so many people are eager to participate in the show:

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I also took a road trip on the motorcycle to visit a friend of mine from Arkansas. You may recall that my friend Nat came to Wisconsin to visit me a few years ago - there's a lengthy entry about it here.

Well, ever since the bank was closed in 2008, Nat and I have kept in touch. Nat launched his own marketing/brand partner business and did really well at it. With each visit to Arkansas, I'd make sure to spend time with Nat; I learned that he was considering a life change - getting away from the rat race and focusing on something that was important to him.

Imagine my surprise when I received a text from him a few weeks ago that showed a shopping cart full of New Glarus Brewing Company products. I immediately responded with, "you're either in WI, or you're a bootlegger." New Glarus doesn't sell their products to anyone outside of Wisconsin proper.

He responded that he was in Wisconsin; sort of. He had taken a short trip "over the border" from Iowa and was stocking-up on supplies. After some prodding and interrogating I learned that he had moved to Dubuque. Dubuque is only about 1.5 hours from Madison, so we made plans to hang out for a day.

I packed my saddle bags, suited-up, and hopped on the Harley for an enjoyable cruise down highway 18/151 to Dubuque. I let Nat know that I was in town and he swung by to pick me up so that we could head to Dyersville, IA - home of the "Field of Dreams" movie site.

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While I've only seen the movie once, it was cool to check out the field and the house. The house has an interesting story - it's been family owned for quite some time; when the movie producers were searching for a site for their film, they stumbled across this farm and decided to select it for "home base."

They modified the house by enlarging rooms, adding windows, and extending the white picket fence. They installed a special irrigation and fertilization system so the corn would be tall enough by early June (when filming was taking place).

Here's the house -

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It looks bigger than it is, and it also looks like it's farther from the baseball field than it is. It's interesting how the camera can distort depth of field/distance. I walked just a bit to the left of the house and snapped a picture of the baseball field and that infamous corn:

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There were people playing baseball on the field; I didn't think to bring a glove, although it was probably for the better - it was over 100F out there and I didn't feel like shagging any fly balls. We walked around the field, checked out the corn, and then decided to seek out some food.

We drove into Dyersville and stumbled across a little place called "The English Pub." Dyersville isn't too big of a place, so our options were limited, and to be honest, we were a little nervous about the place before we stepped in.

Once inside, we quickly discovered the pub was a gem. Great atmosphere, a few friendly locals, and a sign that immediately caught our attention. It read, "Pub Pizza: 126,357 sold"

Hmm. We were starving, so we ordered a 'za. We watched as the bartender flipped the dough, added fresh ingredients, and snuck the assembly into a pizza oven just behind the bar. The result was fantastic:

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We scarfed that pizza down in no time - it was truly delicious.

From Dyersville, we made our way back to Dubuque, where Nat gave me a tour of his new digs. These are pictures from the school he'll be attending for the next 3-4 years:

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After strolling around the campus grounds, we took a little tour of the downtown area. Dubuque is a pretty cool place - much better than I would've ever thought it was. There's a great little museum that had this larger than life statue - it'll probably look familiar to a painting you may have seen:

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From the downtown area, we meandered over to Nat's favorite watering hole - Paul's Sportsman's Club. This tiny little bar was straight out of the 1950s and even had this awesome antique hamburger cooker. I can't do justice trying to describe it, but we did learn that it was manufactured in 1932 and that Paul acquired it in 1949. It's been in use every day since. The burgers looked really good, but we didn't partake.

We did have a brew - I opted for an old classic, the PBR.

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After a beverage and some popcorn from Paul's, we made our way over to the banks of the Mississippi, where an old brewery (Dubuque Star Brewing Company) had been converted into a restaurant called "D-Star." Before we walked into the restaurant, I snapped a picture of this iconic landmark:

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That's the "shot tower," and it was used to form molten lead into perfectly round balls of lead that were used as bullets and cannon balls. They'd pour the hot lead from the top of the tower into tubes of various sizes. By the time the lead worked its way to the bottom of the tower, it formed into a perfectly round ball of shot.

We walked over to the D-Star, which was filled with memorabilia from the days when the building brewed, bottled, and produced Dubuque's finest beer.

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We scored some seats on the second level, enjoyed a Potosi beer (from just across the river), and a couple of burgers. The burgers weren't anything to write home about, but the atmosphere and conversation were definitely stellar.

After dinner, we took a quick stroll through the downtown area, where I snapped one final picture for the trip - this is the clock tower in Dubuque.

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Nat graciously dropped me off at my hotel where I was able to grab a solid evening's sleep before hitting the road the following morning. On the way back to Wisconsin, I decided to take some back roads and wound-up in Monroe. It was a nice diversion, and it reminded me that Cheese Days are coming up soon! :-)

I wound-up putting on 250-ish miles on my little road trip - the most miles I've ridden in a single trip since acquiring the Hog. It rode like a dream.

And finally - a few pet updates. I bought a cat tree for Mack and Shiloh. It's actually made from tree branches, and they seem to love it.

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And last but not least, my friend Chris from work went to the EAA show a few weeks ago and sent me a picture of this B-29 flying superfortress. It's ironically named, wouldn't you say?

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It's ironic when you consider the B-29 was capable of carrying 20,000 pounds worth of bombs in a single run. The B-29 also delivered the atomic bombs that landed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One wouldn't expect such a beast to share the same name as this creature...

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steve published on August 7, 2012 8:55 PM.

Reducing the variables was the previous entry in this blog.

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