From Chicago, Illinois, our next stop took us to Wisconsin, the 15th state in the U.S. on our trip. The state’s largest city, Milwaukee, is also home to the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, founded in 1903 – the mother of American cult bikes. Of course, it was a must for us to make a stop here.
So we looked for a campground near the city and finally ended up at Sander’s Park Campground near Racine. Even though we would have preferred to stay at Cliffside Park Campground (unfortunately everything was booked), this small and simple campground was ideal to make a day trip to Milwaukee before continuing our tour.
A day at the Harley-Davidson Museum
Even though we love our two BMWs more than anything, the cult brand’s motorcycles do have a certain attraction for us. Consequently, we did not miss the opportunity to ride with Gernot & Gisi right up to the Harley-Davidson Museum. Admittedly: We were a bit proud to have the only non-Harleys on the motorcycle parking lot. Therefore, we did not miss the opportunity to take a photo. 🤣 The two best motorcycle brands in our eyes in one place … just wonderful!
For $ 22 per person no bargain, but definitely worthwhile. The history of the motorcycles with ups and downs over the years is really very nicely prepared and above all also presented perfectly. It is fun to stroll through the rows of motorcycles or along the Engine Mall or the wall with selected tank designs. The audio guide in German for $5 per person is quite nice, but in our opinion not really necessary. At the exhibits themselves, much is described in detail, which is supplemented by historical narratives in the audio guide.
Particularly impressive for us were the very first Harley-Davidson “Serial Number One” (the picture of which is included in our gallery) or the Harley that was caught in its trailer by a tsunami in 2011, washed 4,000 miles from Japan through the Pacific Ocean to the coast of British Columbia in Canada and found there one year later.
Equally impressive is the black Harley with accompanying car, which was provided for the company’s 100th birthday so that all employees could sign their names on it. More than 6000 signatures in silver color make this Harley something very special.
And of course we both had to take the opportunity to sit on one or the other model to test it. (You can find my picture in the gallery. ) 😛
In addition to the museum, there is of course also a store on the property, where every Harley fan (including us) can find a piece of clothes or accessory that suits him or her. And not only that – we were lucky that Anja and Marco from Halle an der Saale had the same idea as us that day and our BMWs caught their attention. Together we not only enjoyed the super delicious food at the associated MOTOR Bar and Restaurant (thanks again to the sponsor), but also shared our travel experiences in the USA. Many thanks to both of you for the tip with South Dakota! 👍🏻
But Milwaukee is not just Harley-Davidson
Even though our focus here was on the cult brand, there are other things to marvel at in Milwaukee. Before we went back to our campsite, we made a small tour through the city. We passed the North Point Lighthouse and the Milwaukee Art Museum with its impressive architecture. The city itself made a good & well-kept impression on us. With its direct location on Lake Michigan, you can certainly spend a few nice days here.
Crossing the Mississippi River to Sioux Falls
Following the tip of Anja & Marco, we made our way to South Dakota. Our route led us through Wisconsin and Minnesota, which was admittedly a bit boring for us. Especially in Minnesota it went straight for miles – thank God Gernot & Gisi are equipped with cruise control … 🙏🏻
Did you know that the Mississippi River is the natural border between Wisconsin and Minnesota? We didn’t really realize it until we crossed it on our trip from our campsite near Sparta, Wisconsin to our tentsite at Bray Park & Campground on Madison Lake in Minnesota.
Since rain was forecast for the day after our arrival at the lake, we took the opportunity to visit a typical American movie theater. At the AMC Classic in Mankato we got ourselves soft drinks and popcorn. Of course, we didn’t think of this one being served salty; but with the warm butter on top, it was actually quite tasty. 😋 Afterwards, we went to the Atomic Star Tavern for an after-work beer and thus managed to escape the rain that day.
We then drove to the eastern border of South Dakota – to Sioux Falls, to be exact, the largest city in the state. Here we visited Falls Park on the Big Sioux River, famous for its waterfalls. With an observation tower, the remains of an old mill and of course the waterfalls (even if they are not very high, but wide & multi-tiered) the park is quite nice.
But that’s also the only thing worth seeing here in our opinion. Especially our campground – Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park just outside – is not recommended. It may offer a lot for kids, but I absolutely can’t understand why there was so much going on here than at any other campground. And we were really on beautiful places … But form your own opinion: