So after a lot of thought and planning, I decided for my last road trip of 2011, I was going to attempt to pull off a 1600 mile road trip in a single weekend. Milwaukee and the midwest in general have been on my travel bucket list for a long time and I figured why the hell not. The trip went something like this:
I left Syracuse, NY around 6PM Friday afternoon and struck a blizzard in Erie which slowed me down to 35MPH on the unplowed PA section of 90 West. I made a quick call to my pal Souva and decided to wait for things to clear up in the morning. Woke up around 10AM, and after a quick stop at Chick-Fil-A, I was on the road for the quick 2 hour drive to Cleveland Ray’s.
I’ll divert you to my previous “Dudes in Ohio” article for coverage on Cleveland Ray’s since I didn’t take any pictures inside. (I was only halfway to my intended destination anyway!). After meeting up with TMA’s Jimmy Barnicle and shredding all day, around 7PM I decided I needed to hit the road; but not without getting some of cleveland’s finest, MELT! I had to wait an hour for my sandwich, but it was a necessary evil with another 7+ hour leg of my trip ahead of me to Milwaukee. Highly recommended, just get there early!
This drive was mostly a blur of doing 80MPH past corn fields and run down barns, but once I hit Chicago, shit got CRAZY! I have never driven on the Chicago Skyway prior, and with cars going in excess of 100MPH on a packed 5 lane highway at 230AM in the morning, I was in complete awe. This kept up for almost 20 minutes, before finally getting out of the city limits and onward to Milwaukee.
So at this point, it’s about 430AM Sunday, and I finally make it to Milwaukee… with no where to stay. In true road trip fashion, I do a quick search for Walmart on the Garmin and found a suitable spot. I fall asleep but was quickly awoken to single digit temperatures and some asshole banging on my window. So it was time for Plan B – Grocery Store. I drive across town to a Piggly Wiggly, where this time I actually got to sleep for about 3 hours. I will let you in on a little secret: if you’re stuck and need to sleep in your car in the dead of winter, it can run all night on about a quarter tank of gas, roughly. Just fill the tank to be safe. Regardless of how much you burn, it’ll always be cheaper than a hotel.
In the morning, I got myself a big ass cup of coffee and explored downtown Milwaukee for a while. It’s the birth place of the Champagne of Beers; Miller High Life, not to mention other 40 ounce classics such as Beast Ice and Old English! Luckily, PBR had moved out in 2006, or I might have ended up never coming back.
Once I finally made it to Ray’s, I met up with Brooke, the person who, more or less, gave me the idea of making the trip. I followed her around the park a few times to figure the lines out, and holy smokes, the girl rips. She had all the lines, even the big stuff, completely wired and made it look super easy.
It also so happened to be Bike Night and a whole crowd came out including a bunch of the Division dudes. I tried to keep up with Brooke and her friends but continued to be left in the dust. I was even actually talked in jumping the large expert stuff a few times where I’m pretty sure i bent my left pedal nose casing a landing. Oh, the woes of a street rider.
Trying my luck in the park was not much success either, but watching everyone rip the place to shreds was worth the drive alone. I was so busy riding around the place, that I completely forgot to take any photos of all the shredding, which as I’m writing this, hate myself for. Oh well, just another excuse to go back.
Milwaukee Ray’s is super fun. After riding Cleveland Ray’s so many times, the new layout and park rekindled old feelings of my first trips out west.
Information about Milwaukee, WI:
Approximate Travel Time (from Syracuse, NY): 13 freakin’ hours… ONE WAY!
Random Fact: Interstate 90’s speed limit turns to 70MPH once you get outside of Cleveland heading west.
Riding: Home to Four Seasons Skatepark and Ray’s MTB 2. Walking around downtown also yielded a lot of exciting finds street wise. With some heavy hitters coming out of this city, you know there’s stuff there. If you ever did get burned out, Chicago is about 1 Hour and 45 Minutes south.
Favorite Place for Food/Drink: All I ate was chicken and red bull the entire weekend.
Don’t Forget Your… : Caffine Pills. This was not a drive for anyone to do solo with even half a brain. I’ve lost mine and I do not suggest recreating this.
Quick Story : So I didn’t think it was possible to do in a weekend, but I’ve exceeded certain thresholds for a single person driving distance wise in under 3 days. In 71 hours, I drove 1606 miles, which breaks down to about 25 MPH nonstop for 3 days straight. With a flight and rental car, I would have saved almost 50 bucks, when compared to gas and tolls. Getting together a group of dudes and sharing the driving and expenses can make this a much more enjoyable trip. The 13 hour straight shot home was an absolute nightmare that I do not plan on attempting again.
Shout outs to Brooke and all the locals, including the old school Chenga guys that were willing to take out the dice once again to rob me my money in 4-5-6. I will without a doubt be doing everything I can to make my way back there this winter.
These photos were shot on a Nikon F100/18-35f3.5/Portra 400VC, Nikon D7000/10.5f2.8, and an iPhone4. You can also follow these adventures in real time by following me on Twitter: @koreysayshi