Day 22 – Fairmont, MN to Milwaukee, HOME

How I feel this morning.

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

You’re almost there.  This is the last leg of the  journey, and then I plan to do a wrap up and maybe a gear report.  No, really, you’ll like it!  So hang in there.  It’s taking a bit longer trying to write this from home, but I gotta get all this down before it drains out of my sieve of a brain.

Brad's pretty stoked about his beard.

This day we woke up to another great, blue-skyed morning that did nothing for the odd pounding in my head.  Stupid last bottle of wine.  But, spirits are high, and I think we’re both looking forward to the ride home – even though it is going to be mostly freeway.  Our first run took us about 100 miles before a quick refuel and back on the road again.  We planned to stop in La Crosse for lunch, but crossing into Wisconsin side-by-side doing air high fives bumped our energy levels, so we continued on with an attempted stop near Tomah at some Bavarian restaurant only to find it closed for some reason.  But now I had brats on the brain, and while we were both thinking we should just do a quick McD stop and get back on the road, I felt that the trip deserved more respect than that being our last stop before home.  So, using the GPS, I found a German sounding place, and we beelined for it about 20 miles away near the Dells.  At least I thought it was “near” the Dells.  Nope.

Instead, it was IN the Dells.  Yikes.  Not what we needed.  Congestion and tourists, and the place we were aiming for was right in the middle of all of it.  Oops.  My bad.  We hastily choked down a lame brat served on a hamburger bun (uh, “Where’s the beef?”), sucked down some coffee and headed out.  The one good thing about the stop was that it put us on Hwy 16 that would take us all the way into Pewaukee and keep us off the freeway, which was really starting to kill us as we entered the Dells area.  Remember what I said about not driving like an ass?  Well, I may personally put up a billboard in that area.  Friends don’t let friends drive like dicks in the fast lane…  This is why there should be no concealed carry law – I might have been tempted…

Finally we made it to I-94 and started into Milwaukee.  This was by far the worst 30 miles of riding of the entire trip!  Clogged freeway surrounded by imbeciles who hate me!  All I could think was, “Dude, do not crash 20 miles from home after 8,400 miles.  That would be incredibly embarrassing.”  By the time we arrived in the city, I was actually shaking a bit just glad to be in town.  A quick stop at the Nomad for a prix fixe, and we head over to Hollander – the final destination for Team Long Road Up.

Yeehaaah! Home.

Yes, there were some banners and signs... Not wanted! But appreciated.

For posterity.

The happy couple.

Me and pops. I knew he wouldn't miss the return.

Surrounded by ladies. Sorta how we roll.

Maybe the greatest tasting Tripel Karmeliet of all time.

Couldn't resist. Just look at that guy smiling in his sleep.

It did feel great to be home, but to be honest, it just felt weird.  I was having a bit of a  hard time even communicating with everyone.  I felt like I wasn’t really there as I tried to adjust.  But it was great to sit down with my folks for dinner and talk about the trip and all things at home.  Everyone’s super excited about Cooper, and it was good to catch up on everything happening around home.  When Mom and Dad left, I honestly didn’t really know what to do with myself.  I hopped on my bike for the short ride home, and I was almost overwhelmed by a desire to keep riding.  I was seriously tempted to throw my helmet back on and head up north for the night to some random place.  But, I did have some commitments (yuck) the next day, and I knew I was tired and had had a few beers, so I headed home.

He's looking ready to go.

I think Brad had the same idea about heading out again, but he was looking forward to that ass-happy hammock seat on his Harley.  I foresee him putting lots of miles on that bike in the coming weeks..

Pretty uneventful day really, but it’s always feels really weird to arrive home after a long trip.  Everything looks a little different even though nothing has changed.  This time was a bit more intense than previous trips.  The urge to leave again was incredibly strong.  It was great to feel the warm blanket of home, but it was also discomforting to be leaving the road.

Yea, I'm ready to go again. And you knew I'd end the ride with a self-portrait, right?

But, there is great relief in being home again surrounded by friends and family.  Travel doesn’t take you away from either, it makes all your time with them all the sweeter.

Don’t think you can stop reading now!  I think there are two more coming.  Just muscle through it.

And, the final destination map:

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4 Responses to Day 22 – Fairmont, MN to Milwaukee, HOME

  1. tonieh says:

    Seriously? We’re not done yet? You have a penchant for d r a g g i n g this out, huh Wags? Eh? Well, we a) sure glad you are home; b) glad you didn’t crash at all, much less 30mi from home; c) glad you didn’t get pulled over after having a Prix Fixe at Nomad; and d) happy you appreciate how much we appreciate you through beautiful signage.

    I am wondering about one thing: how is it that you left out how HORRIBLE you smelled when you got to Hollander? Your cleaning lady deserves a medal if she can get that stank out before 2012.



  2. jennifer cizek says:

    The littke girl in the photo “surrounded by ladies” was just a random little girl having dinner with her mom and she just came over all by herself and crashed our party. She was so adorable and could not stop touching Brad! I seriously think she just wanted to come over and touch The Big Man.
    It was a heroes welcome! A fun time was had by all. Thanks to the wonderful staff at Cafe Hollander for taking such good care of us.

  3. jennifer cizek says:

    Cooper is so adorable, I see the family resemblance; looks like Wags dreaming about his next ride.

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