9/19/20 Second Salem Brewing CO.

Leave it to Steve P. to suggest a lunch ride with just 2 days notice and with no destination in mind.  He made this announcement this past Thursday morning at the Old Farts Coffee get-together at Funky Java coffee house in Villa Park.  He needed to ride somewhere was the stated reason.  After waiting all day for ride details I suggested a return visit to a rather comfortable small brewery in Whitewater, WI, Second Salem.  We had been there last summer checking it out for a possible LRW ride which never happened.

The name “Second Salem” comes from the early 20th century, when locals referred to Whitewater as “Second Salem” due to its reputation as a site of witch gatherings, strange murders, unearthly creatures in the lake and other unexplained phenomena. Whitewater is also the stomping grounds of the Beast of Bray Road, a werewolf-type creature that was sighted in the early 1990’s.  Thus the quirky brewery, Second Salem

Figuring this was my suggestion it would be up to me to plan the ride.  A few hours on Google Maps and I had a quick ride up to Whitewater and a leisurely country roads ride back with the terminus being the No Wake B&G in Port Barrington.  Ride details were sent to a few of our LRW riders of which 3 were good-to-go.  We met at our HE McD’s with a 10:15am planned departure and a target of a noon arrival.  Our little group was myself, Steve and George G. meeting Cosmo at the destination.  We arrived on time hungry and thirsty and happy to find Cosmo and Miss Kathy waiting for us.

Needless to say the food and drink were outstanding  George had a pulled pork poutine bowl that I swear would clog a 2” diameter artery but it sure looked good and it was good (I snuck a sample to taste).  Their home brewed beers all had clever names on the spooky side:  Wildman of LaGrange, Bone Orchard, Wytches’ Brew and, of course, Beast of Bray Road, to name a few.  We had such a good gabbing and eating, eating and gabbing that before we knew it, 2 hours had slipped by.  Just as lunches should be.

For the ride home we travelled Wisconsin’s “alphabet” roads, the 2-lane country roads that wind and twist, rise and fall and seem to go nowhere making great motorcycling roads.  I did miss a planned turn though, the final county road I wanted to ride for our exit from Wisconsin.  In Walworth there is Wisconsin’s idea of a round-about but instead of being configured as a circle, it was a square.  Yes, a square with 4 – 90° turns to negotiate.   Well, I was focused on Rt. 14, which we were on, and I missed the exit to County B.  However neither Steve nor George knew my route so they had no idea that I missed my turn so I just kept going and wound my way to Port Barrington and the No Wake.  No harm no foul, right?  We grabbed a table under to tent overlooking the river inlet and boat dock, I called the Boss and Joni joined us for a relaxing sit down and a beer.  All in all it was a great day of riding, of eating, of conversation with friends.  What more could you possible ask for.  And we have Steve to thank for all of this.

Submitted by:  HGB

8/19/2020 Rusty Nail Saloon

On Wednesday, 8/19, seven of us left Stark’s Corners at 10am and headed toward the Rusty Nail in Ringwood for lunch.  Frank led us on a leisurely ride through multiple suburbs, past cornstalks, barns, a large variety of homes, past wild turkeys, over hill and dale (what the heck is a “dale”?) until we arrived at our destination.

The Rusty Nail is known for its very crowded Friday fish fries:  Bill Lindwall advises staying away from visiting on Fridays if you don’t want to be shoulder to shoulder during these Covid times. 

The restaurant’s deck is very roomy with tables far apart.  It overlooks a bicycle path with woods behind it.  We had nothing but sunshine and blue skies and a very efficient server.  The food was excellent but the company even better!!!

08/05/2020 LRW HalfTime- Johnsburg

Hello Cruisers!
Wow! What a great LRW lunch at HalfTime Bar & Grill in Johnsburg, IL.

The weather was absolutely perfect, the riding was great and the scenery was dazzling (I’m using poetic license here).

The weather on Wednesday for the ride to Johnsburg was great, the weather was in our favor, with cool breezes, temperatures in the low 70s with big puffy white clouds scattered across a bright blue sky. Seven bikes and seven smiling faces rolled out of the Hoffman Estates McDonalds at 9:45 AM and headed north. We were following what I refer to as my “Standard Route.” 95% of the time when I take a ride and I head north I ride this route. Now the end-point can vary depending on how I feel or what I want to accomplish, but the majority of this route remains the same.

We had a leisurely 90 minute ride to Johnsburg, and I must admit it was great to see the line of bikes behind me again as we rolled along the back roads to our destination. We arrived at HalfTime around 11:20 and finding that their patio was open we requested seating out there for 7.

As usual the 7 of us, 6-Cruisers & a visitor from behind the “Cheddar Curtain,” managed to sample a good deal of their menu, which, by the way we were only given 1 copy of because they throw them away after use. The Specials for the day were 2-dollar, 20 oz. domestic drafts and the full slab of ribs that George ordered and enjoyed immensely. I heard no complaints as everyone seemed to enjoy their meals. As is to be expected the serving of the food did nothing to stifle the conversation around the table which in my mind is the reason to lead rides like this. Exchanging ideas, or even arguing with fellow Cruisers’ make this a great way to enjoy getting together.

After lunch we lined up outside for our group photo taken by our lovely waitress, and after this everyone saddled-up and left at their own pace. I want to thank everyone Hugh, George, Bill, Cosmo, Frank and Candi for coming along to make this an enjoyable LRW lunch and ride. It was a good day with good friends.

Enjoy the photos below and if you missed this LRW, there will be a chance for a repeat LRW journey to a different location on August 19th.

Submitted by: SLP w/photos from HGB and SLP

Lunch at the Bunker 7/31/2020

Mr. Brandt had phoned me on Thursday morning and suggested to me that it just might be time for us to make a pilgrimage to the “Bunker” in Waterford WI for some Spam Burgers. I immediately expressed my enthusiasm for his idea; however I already had an existing reservation for today’s lunch but I was wide-open on Friday if he could work this into his schedule. Later that evening I received another call from Mr. Brandt where he reported that he was able accommodate my wishes and lead the ride to Waterford on Friday. He also mentioned that Mr. Gauss would be joining us on the ride.

George Gauss and I met up at the Brandt Mansion in beautiful Wauconda Illinois on Friday, July 31st at 11 AM. When I arrived, Mr. Gauss, Mr. Brandt and the Mistress of the Manor, the lovely and talented Mrs. Brandt, were already deep in conversation, but took the time to greet me.

At 11AM we bid our goodbyes to Mrs. Brandt, hoped on our bikes and headed out with Mr. Brandt in the lead. We enjoyed a leisurely 90-minute ride to Waterford as Mr. Brandt had put together a new route for this ride which consisted of parts of previous rides along with a selection of new roads for our riding pleasure. The ride went off perfectly until we were minutes from our rides end where an erroneous left-turn was made into a business’ driveway. Fortunately the driveway was quite wide and we were able to execute some absolutely perfect U-turns to get us back on our way in the correct direction.

We arrived at the Bunker around 12:30 and went inside to claim our rewards. Mr. Brandt and I each ordered a Spam Burgers and Fries but for some reason Mr. Gauss had to be different and ordered Italian Sausage. To wash this down we each enjoyed a (1) frosty-cold Amber Lager from Westein Company out of Milwaukee. The sandwiches were terrific, the service great and the bartender/cook friendly. Everything you expect from a Wisconsin eatery. After our respective pit-stops we headed for home.

Mr. Brandt had put in the effort and taken the time to plan a scenic return route but I had to disappoint him because I had promised Mrs. Penczak that I would be home around 3pm so we could step out for our Friday dinner. After riding the quick route back, which by the way was also on mostly back roads, I managed to walk in the door before 3:30. I am sure his new return route will not go to waste as we plan to return to the Bunker in the not too distant future.

I would like to thank Hugh for making the call and putting in the effort to plan a new route for George and I to enjoy. Combine this with a tasty lunch and the results were a great day.

SLP

Sunday Morning Breakfast Club 7/5/20

Wrapping up the 4th of July weekend activities was a Cruisers Sunday morning breakfast ride. Most of the usual suspects of the breakfast club met at the Hoffman Estates McD’s for an earlier than normal 8:30 am start. Our destination was a small & friendly restaurant just north of Wauconda on Rt. 12, Deacon’s Restaurant & Bar. The early start was due to a request by the owner, Deacon, to arrive by 9 am due to an anticipated big breakfast crowd. By 8:30 am we had 13 riders lined up for a straight shot to Deacon’s. Kick stands up and we were on our way. My good buddy Steve doubted we would arrive by 9 am but this was my riding area so I was confident. As luck would have it we had all green lights and no trains in Barrington arriving at Deacon’s in 25 minutes.

Upon arrival we found 2 more of our riders waiting us and we were now a group of 15. For the restaurant, no problem as the back deck was big with plenty of seating and there was also indoor seating available. CDC protocols were being followed and I believe our group felt comfortable. Once seated coffee was served and orders taken. The meals arrived promptly, looked and tasted great. The omelets especially looked terrific. Our group must have enjoyed the meals as I didn’t get one (1) complaint. From this group, that’s saying something.

After breakfast I had a 60 mile meander through the northwest countryside with the final stop being in Port Barrington on the Fox River. The first big challenge (read that as a big concern) was leaving Deacon’s parking lot. Our destination road was directly across Rt. 12 meaning we had to safely get 15 bikes across 4 lanes of race track traffic without much road to work with. With everyone cautioned we lined up for departure. I looked left, then right and was amazed not see a single car or truck insight. PERFECT! Accelerate, lean right to get into the turn lane and then lean left to cross the southbound lanes and onto Case Road. All 15 bikes made it safely; a good sign for the ride to follow.

Meandering through Island Lake, Crystal Lake and north to the Bull Valley area brought us to open farm country. The turn-back-to-home point was just west and south of Hebron. We continued to the Wonder Lake/Glacial Park area and then south through Ringwood to our rest stop in Johnsburg. From Johnsburg it was a quick ride on River Road to Port Barrington and to the No Wake Bar & Grill where the survivors (5 of 15) relaxed under a huge tent enjoying refreshing beverages and a cool river breeze to keep the afternoon heat away. Many, many topics were explored, including toilets for some reason, to everyone’s amusement. A proper ending to an enjoyable days ride.

Note to the SBR riders: Great job of group riding. We maintained a steady pace with no delays over the 80+ miles travelled. Thank you all.

Note to Round-About Robert: Route featured five (5) round-abouts.

HGB

Sunday Morning Breakfast Club 6/21/20

Our JPC Father’s Day breakfast group gathered at McD’s in Hoffman Estates on Sunday, June 21st.  Frank Wenzon led the group of 10 to Pub 72 in Gilberts for an alfresco breakfast under a very large tent, due to restrictions dining indoors during Phase 3 of Illinois’ Covid virus edits from the honorable Governor Pritzker.  The weather was sunny, dry, calm and traffic was light.

Heading northwest toward Williams Bay, we enjoyed a relaxed ride through Lakewood, Lake in the Hills, Crystal Lake, Bull Valley and smaller towns beyond.  Somewhere around tiny Sharon, Wisconsin, Frank’s GPS malfunctioned and Bill Hominick volunteered to take over as the leader of the pack.  

Lots of scenery, usual farm fields………..the corn fields we passed seemed to be doing well, plants are between 1-2 feet high already………so we’ll be able to enjoy what seems to be everyone’s favorite vegetable (which is a starch) in July sometime.  We opted NOT to travel through the downtown areas of Williams Bay and Lake Geneva, as the reports of large crowds turned us off to the slow trek we would have had to endure riding through those popular lake towns. 

We all agreed that on the road back to civilization, we needed to stop in Hebron for ice cream.  That seemed to be the “hot spot” of little towns, lines of hungry people waiting for ice cream and so many motorcycles, cars and a very large truck (maybe overweight???) unlucky enough to attract the attention of the Hebron police.  Definitely NOT a pleasant Father’s Day for the truck driver!

Arriving home at 3pm, we enjoyed the after-glo of a very nice ride!

Thanks to all who participated and a special thank you to Bill Hominick…..a very kind man with a big heart, willing to take over in a pinch!

Sunday Morning Breakfast Club 6/14/20

Got back into the Sunday morning breakfast ride routine this morning! FELT GOOD!
Did things a little backwards– a short ride to the Rose Garden, where they bent over backwards for us.
Then a relaxed ride to the Chain O Lakes State Park

As Willie Nelson wrote:  “I can’t wait to get on the road again”

With restaurants now open for “al fresco” dining, the Cruisers hit the road Sunday, June 14th for the first Sunday Breakfast and ride of the season.   To make the day interesting our ride Leader, George G., reversed the normal order of the ride to have breakfast first followed by a lazy afternoon guided ride north to the Chain-O-Lakes State Park.  A quick 5 mile ride to the Rose Garden for breakfast followed by a 45 mile meander to the State Park was the plan for the day.  Half way to our destination the breakfast group picked up 3 more members (2 bikes, 3 riders) for the final country ride to the park.

Once in the park we stopped for a break and to appreciate the scenery of this park.  Plus we were overlooking an inlet of the Fox River making the view that much better.  Lovely, relaxing stop.  Here the group proceeded to do what Cruisers do best:  mill around, swap stories and lies and simply enjoyed the camaraderie of friends.

Back to Willie.  Our leader had a route back to the city and while riding home a tune written by Steve Goodman and covered by Willie, “City of New Orleans” came to me and a few lines of the lyrics seemed a perfect fit for our day ride.

“Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders

“The train pulls out of Kankakee.  Rolls along past houses, farms and fields”

Kinda sounds like our travel today.  We had 11 bikes and 13 happy, smiling riders and we certainly rolled past houses, farms and fields.  No twenty-five sacks of mail though.  Works for me.

Great job George.

HGB

Lunch @ Poopy’s, Saturday, 5/30/2020

Saturday, May 30th. The weather forecast looked great, high in the low 70s with only a 10% chance of rain. Perfect weather for a ride to Poopy’s in Savannah for an early lunch. I knew for sure that Poopy’s was open and has been pleading for business. Three of us, Hugh Brandt, George Gauss and yours truly left from Stark’s Corner (Rts. 47 & 72) at 8 AM.

I had a 115 mile route I put together a few years ago in my GPS so I dusted it off and we followed it to Savannah. We came upon a few surprises as in a couple of paved roads that I had ridden a few years ago were now gravel. I know I was on the correct route because I had Way Points along these roads. As always the troops followed with minimum complaint but I did promise to revise the route before I use it again.

As I stated Hugh and George rode with me and we had perfect riding weather. We arrived hungry around 10:45. We sat outside under the canopy, but inside seating was available had we wanted to do so. Poopy’s is quite large so even though there were a lot of people, no one was forced to be seated near anyone else. We had a cocktail (and one of us had a beer) along with a hardy meal and we were on our way by 12:30. Poopy’s was starting to get crowded at this point because the live entertainment, a band, was to begin playing at 1 pm. It was good to be able to sit down and eat out again.

I will mention that on our ride home down Rt. 64 we observed a steady stream of Harley’s heading west, almost all riding 2-up and I’m willing to bet a good portion of those would end up at Poopy’s. It was a 270 mile day for me and I enjoyed every mile of it.

Submitted by: The Editor

Attached is an unsolicited testimonial from Mr. Brandt.

Boss:
Thanks for organizing yesterdays ride and for the invite. I thoroughly enjoyed the day. Gravel and all J and I must admit I’m rather out-of-shape for long distance riding. Pretty stiff today. Still, totally worth all the aches & pains. I got home to an empty house so I grabbed a cold drink and went out on the deck to enjoy the quiet and the sun. And promptly fell asleep. Which is how a good day should end? Thanks to you.
Hugh Brandt.