Tag Archives: Motorcycle Enthusiast

Lake Michigan Lighthouse Loop: Day 7 — August 22, 2014

Wisconsin Dells, Wis. to Peoria, Ill.

After a long, hard sleep to recover from our adventurous day in The Dells, it finally was time for the last leg of our journey — time to go home.

Us after breakfast

Just look at the joy on our faces at the beginning of Day 1 — my, how far we’ve come!

The sun greeted us as we loaded up the bike once more, and we hoped the clear conditions would hold out.

We rolled onto Interstate 90/94 just outside town, both of us agreeing that a more direct, higher speed ride was in order. The week had been amazing, but our days in the rain were wearing on us, and the day’s forecast wasn’t promising. Continue reading


Pizza 150 — July 22, 2018

Our major summer project — replacing more than 200 feet of fence — was finally finished, and it was time for some wind. Craving a Bloody Mary, I was thrilled to discover a new, extensive option for a custom drink: Pizza 150 in Kickapoo.

Pizza 150

Pizza 150, aptly named for its location along Highway 150 in Kickapoo, Ill.

The combination of an overcast sky and cooler July temperatures resulted in near-ideal riding conditions. Soon enough, we were grabbing a couple seats at the bar. Continue reading


Catalpa Grove Tavern — May 5, 2018

With the rare opportunity for a Saturday afternoon ride, we carefully considered our lunch options. Since I was thinking a little outdoor dining sounded good and we had not yet eaten there, Catalpa Grove Tavern was the obvious choice.

Our tires hummed along the highway, and I soon found myself lost in the rhythm of the ride, easing into a peaceful groove. As the last of my cares dissolved in the wind, we rounded the last corner into Toulon and the Catalpa Grove parking lot.

The “outdoor” bar hadn’t yet opened for the day, so we grabbed two stools at the large U-shaped main bar and explored the menu.

Catalpa Grove Tavern

The main dining area at Catalpa Grove Tavern in Toulon, Ill., has a large bar and quite a bit of natural light.

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Lake Michigan Lighthouse Loop: Day 6 — August 21, 2014

Green Bay, Wis. to Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

Our last full day of vacation had arrived. As usual, I checked the weather while he made coffee. So, you know all that rain we’d been having throughout the trip? Yeah, it was nothing compared to the splotches of yellow, orange and red all over the radar. The storms were large, strong and everywhere!

Archived Radar

This archived radar data shows exactly what we faced on our ride from Green Bay to Wisconsin Dells.

Although we had been looking forward to a stop on the day’s itinerary, we whole-heartedly agreed on a more direct route to our destination. I consulted my trusty iPad mini (the ideal size for saddlebags) and hastily scribbled our new directions on the back of the day’s original plan. Messy, but effective.

The bags were loaded, and we were off in a flash. We dodged rain drops through Appleton and Oshkosh. Our luck would not last long. Noting an ever-ominous sky, I snuck a look at the radar while at slower speeds in Ripon. The truth was undeniable: We were going to get very wet! But, we were in for the long haul and continued west. Continue reading


McMahon’s Pints and Plates — December 3, 2017

Whenever the Midwestern winter holds off long enough for a ride in December, we just gotta take advantage of the opportunity.

On this particular Sunday, the BikerSpot Magazine was hosting Funday at McMahon’s Pints and Plates in Sunnyland. Knowing the ride could be my last wind therapy session for a while, I layered up to make it easier to embrace the slight chill in the air and better enjoy the adventure. Continue reading


Lake Michigan Lighthouse Loop: Day 5 — August 20, 2014

Newberry, Mich. to Green Bay, Wis.

Well, it’s about time I finish this story, isn’t it?!

The morning of Day 5 was cold. Bone-chilling cold that felt more like mid-October than mid-August. Fortunately, the weather report promised no rain. At least there was that.

Heading south on 115, the cold started to take hold. I shivered a bit, thankful I put my leather on that morning. I was trying to keep my mind on other things, especially after he mentioned the temperature had dropped into the 50s. No wonder!

By the time our route brought us back to the lake, the rain had started. Darn weather report! Of course, we were caught without our Toggs, so we got a little wet, mostly on our legs from the splash off the road. So now, I was cold and wet … again. BUT, I was still persevering AND having fun along the way. Continue reading


Big Catz BBQ — October 8, 2018

I absolutely love barbecue. I repeat, I. LOVE. BARBECUE! Chicken, pork, beef — it’s all amazing after a stint in a smoke-filled box, so I really was itching to try a new (to me) place in Knoxville called Big Catz BBQ.

Big Catz BBQ

The bike really fits the scene at Big Catz BBQ in Knoxville, Ill.

The drive was perfect for an early October day, with hardly a cloud in the bright, blue sky. We hummed right along and found ourselves in the parking lot just a few minutes after 11 — perfect timing since we skipped breakfast to save room for our lunch feast. Continue reading


Carrigan’s Pub — October 1, 2017

It was October 1, and fall seemed to be descending upon us rapidly. But, it was one of those beautifully sunny fall days that made for perfect riding — and the perfect Sunday Funday adventure.

Since BikerSpot Magazine was hosting Sunday Funday at Carrigan’s Pub (a place we had yet to try), we were headed down the valley and across the river to East Peoria. And since it was the ideal autumn afternoon, what better route to take than the curvy, climby road through Detweiller Park?

Detweiller Park

The road through Detweiller Park is one of our favorite routes down into the river valley.

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Crank’s Bar and Grill — September 24, 2017

Since its inception, my blog has encouraged readers to send me their ride suggestions, to no avail. So when “Greg” recently commented with a recommendation for Crank’s Bar and Grill in Minonk, I was ready to roll — especially after he mentioned fried deviled eggs!

Illinois River

A serene scene along River Beach Drive on the Illinois River.

Continue reading


Alley Loop Saloon and Deli — May 29, 2017

We originally planned to see the Sister of Liberty in Oregon, Ill., on the last day of a previous summer vacation but had to cut it from our itinerary at the last minute due to weather. With a long Memorial Day weekend ahead, we decided not only to go see the Sister but also the Black Hawk Statue in Lowden State Park.

Illinois River Bridge at Henry

My view as we made our way to the Illinois River bridge at Henry, Ill.

Our first destination was Black Hawk, which is way in the back of the park, so imagine how surprised we were to ride all the way through to discover the statue was covered in black plastic, apparently the result of recent repairs. Continue reading