Pete's Log: Milwaukee

Entry #1794, (Travel)
(posted when I was 36 years old.)

On Monday, June 22, Jamie and I hopped on our bikes, despite some ominous weather, and headed North towards Milwaukee. The weather wasn't promising and we kept a close eye on the radar as we were going. Ten miles in, we knew we better stop, so we grabbed lunch at the Big Top Restaurant, a classic style diner in the far Northwest of Chicago. They were kind enough to let us lean our bikes against the window, underneath the awning, and we grabbed lunch there while waiting for the storm to pass. I had a pancake sandwich and it was fantastic.

Once the storm had passed, we continued North, eventually reaching the Illinois Beach State Park, 52 miles from home, where we camped for the night. We picked a spot among some pine trees, which proved to be a spider haven. A quick McDonalds dinner, a Modelo Especial, and some showers, and we were off to sleep.

The next morning we slept in longer than I think I ever have in a tent. We continued our journey North, stopping for lunch in The Tropics restaurant in Winthrop Harbor, IL. An older gentleman noted our panniers and asked us about our journey. After lunch, we crossed the Wisconsin border. Some time later, we felt it was time for a beer break, but found ourselves in a somewhat rough neighborhood of Racine. A passing gentleman thought we might be lost, and when presented with our desire for a drink pointed us to Joey's, a "beer and a shot" sort of bar. When we walked into Joey's on Taylor, the bar went quiet. But Jamie won the crowd over by ordering us some Coors Light. A helpful older gentleman informed us that Coors Light is the same thing as Keystone Light and that we could save a few bucks. When we ordered shots of Jim Beam, the bartender gifted them to us.

A few dozen miles later, including a stop at a very nice Taco Bell, and we had finally made it to the Brew House Inn in Milwaukee. This delightful hotel is located in the former Pabst Blue Ribbon brewery, and is one of the best hotels I've ever stayed in. We were pretty tired, so grabbed dinner at the attached restaurant and then crashed.

Wednesday got off to a slow start, while we waited for Kathleen to arrive, which she did in the early afternoon. The ice bucket in our room was PBR themed, so I bought three PBRs and made us a PBR bucket to welcome her. Once Kathleen was situated, we made our way to Summerfest, where we had tickets to Frankie Ballard/Thomas Rhett/Florida Georgia Line. It was a fantastic show that I don't even know how to describe.

Our first order of business Thursday morning was to switch hotels, leaving behind the great Brew House inns and switching to the Hampton Inn. Tony and Lish were supposed to arrive Thursday morning, but Air Canada had other plans for them. While we waited, Jamie, Kathleen and I checked out the Milwaukee Public Market, then grabbed lunch at the Wicked Hop, where I had a footlong grilled cheese sandwich that was absolutely amazing. We then returned to the Public Market where we grabbed desserts and then sat down at the wine bar and had them pair wines to our desserts. Tony and Lish finally got in late in the afternoon, and while Lish grabbed a nap, the rest of us had some beers at the Irish pub near the hotel. We then moved on to the Milwaukee Ale House where we grabbed dinner and sampled many Milwaukee Brewing Co beers. The night ended at the Safe House where Tony and Kathleen probably would've played Blackjack until the sun came up.

Friday Kathleen had to leave us, but the rest of us headed to Summerfest again, where we discovered the Catalonian band Oques Grasses, whose music I bought soon after this trip. Late afternoon we headed back to the Irish pub, where we met up with Mary, Bert, Ryan and Emily. We grabbed shots and beers and hopped on a shuttle to Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers scored 6 runs in the first inning and 4 in the second, so it was an exciting game.

Saturday morning Jamie and I got up early to see Bert play some rugby at the lake front. We then met up with Tony and Lish for brunch, then wandered around some, seeing the art museum and some more rugby before meeting up again with Mary, Bert, Ryan and Emily at the Old German Beer Hall where we had some Helles by the Maß, a sausage platter and played some Hammerschlagen. I lost the Hammerschlagen, so bought us all a round of Williamsbirne.

We then headed to the Lakefront Brewery for a tour. It was a good tour. The evening ended again at the Safe House, details of which I am not at liberty to disclose.

Sunday morning Jamie's parents drove up to pick us up, which was incredibly nice of them. Tony and Lish joined us for brunch at the Smoke Shack which was delightful. And then we drove home. And an amazing week came to an end.