Posted on August 1st by Peter Reitzfeld
After arriving too late to get in yesterday, I call my contact at the H-D corporate offices and mention how cool it would be if I could get some pictures inside the factory for my blog. She makes a few calls and the next thing I know, I’m walking down the assembly line where my bike’s engine was made. To top it off, everyone there is very nice and extremely helpful, and Rob Decker does a bang-up job showing me around. Mission complete, it’s time to move on.
There’s a place in Spring Green, Wisconsin, that I’ve heard mentioned more than once in the past couple of days. It’s called “The House on the Rock.” Apparently, this guy in the 1940s fell in love with a rock formation on the top of this mountain and started to build a house. Word got out about what he was doing, and it became an attraction long before he finished. Sounds like as good a place as any to go today.
It’s a bit of a haul from Milwaukee, so I get moving and something catches my eye on the side of the road. As I turn to look straight again, I get zinged in the forehead by a bug. It’s big enough to startle me and it hurts. Several miles later, I get hit in the same spot by another bug and I realize that there are two types of big bugs out there when you’re riding: one type stings, the other squishes. . Both are unpleasant for their own reasons, but with the stinging ones, I take a certain comfort in knowing I fared better than the bug after our chance encounter.
I’m getting closer to Spring Green when I see a sign reading Next Right for Little Norway. What could this be, I wonder? Is it like Little Italy in Manhattan? I make the turn and Little Norway turns out to be a pioneer homestead founded by a Norwegian settler that walked here from Milwaukee (150 miles) with his wife. They lived the first 18 months in a cave before building their first cabin in 1856. Makes me rethink getting upset when the pizza delivery guy comes late. With few exceptions, the structures are from the original settlement and in authentic Norse style.
Onto the House on the Rock, where Alex Jordan built his dream home. Calling it a “house” doesn’t do it justice; it’s more of a museum. Its location, design, and furnishings make you question everything about Mr. Jordan, except his dedication, and describing it would be futile. There is a dollhouse collection, the world’s largest indoor carrousel, and an infinity room (a glass walled walkway that jets out from the side of the mountain and comes to a point like a needle), towards the end of which is a glass covered cutout so you can look down onto the treetops below.
In the parking lot, not part of Mr. Jordan’s collection, are two FLH’s with singled-wheeled trailers and license plates from Quebec. As I’m looking at my map, the owners return and we get to talking. Pierre and Jacques are from Montreal and are making their way to Sturgis. I ask what route they’re taking next and they say a scenic one. That sounds good to me, and I join them. We ride for about two hours and travel up the bank of the Mississippi River until we part ways. There’s a special camaraderie formed on a road trip like this. I think it’s because I become a part of their adventure, and they a part of mine. These are the kind of experiences that aren’t forgotten. They are incorporated into the story we tell about our journey, then etched into our lives. I know that should we bump into each other again, be it in Sturgis, Montreal, or NYC, we’ll greet each other with a hug, not a handshake.