Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Hogs and art and beer

Weather – 60f and sunny.

lake sunrise 1

Sunrise at the lake side campsite in blue mounds, Wisconsin.





Harley Davidson museum

The Harley Davidson museum in Milwaukee is very cool. It’s full of bikes, of course, and they’re arranged chronologically in columns of 2. It also has enough stuff for petrol heads, cross-sectioned engines and stripped bikes. Weirdly, I didn’t see many girls there and even steff declined to come along and she spent time in the art museum instead – strange.

Harley started in 1901 when William S Harley, aged 21 drew up plans for 116cc motor to put into a regular bicycle frame. Over the next 2 years he and his mate, Arthur Davidson worked on it and once it was on the road it turned out to be a bit weedy and unable to climb the greater of Wisconsin’s few hills, so they started again and went for a 400cc and created the first ‘proper’ motorcycle.

They set up, like all good tinkerers, in a 10’x15’ shed in one of their mum’s gardens. The first bike they put together, the very, very first was this one:

IMG_6887 - 1903 HD

1903, this rolled out of the tiny shed.

They went onwards and upwards from there and started selling bare engines in 1905 and a dealer sold 3 complete bikes. During WW1 they shipped 15,000 bikes for military service and became the biggest bike manufacturer in the world by 1920. They produced 28,189 bikes and in 1921, a Harley became the first bike to win a race at an average of over 100mph. They’re hardly any faster 90 years later!

They were bought by AMC in 1969 and even branched out into speedboats, snowmobiles and even scooters. Not for long though as the company was bought back from AMC in 1981 after the quality suffered and Japanese bikes took an increasingly large slice of the HD market.


All the engines Harley have made on one wall. Still can’t think why there were no girls there.




They had their ups and downs from then until now, but have remained only ever an American built brand and employ around 10,000 people.

I think they’re not really me, but it’s a very interesting companies and a almost a concentrate of American culture expressed in a bike. Shame they don’t still make Buells, I think they’re really interesting and they still make the evocative Harley noise.

Art museum

Steff went here, she’ll tell you about it.







Miller Brewery – this place is massive! It covers 80 acres, has 72 buildings, fills 13,000 kegs a day and ships 500,000 cases of beer a day. It’s not my favourite beer, but it’s seriously popular


This is Miller lite being spewed out of the packaging area, they make so much of it it’s ridiculous. Chicago alone drinks as much as the 5 adjacent states




This is where they boil the stuff. It smells good!


Grumpy Troll 

This was an unexpected find in Mount Horeb, WI. They have 10 craft beers on their menu and they’re all brewed onsite. Nice! Sadly, I was driving.

They even had one called Maggi’s IPA which was extremely bitter and very strong, way too strong for the driver, 9.8%!

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