The People We Meet

IMG_0398When Cathryn and I travel it’s not all about the journey or the destination, or even the food and drink. Granted, those are all good reasons as to why we travel, but we also love to meet new people and share in their culture. People are one of the reasons you’ll see us perched on stools at the bar instead of sitting at a table by ourselves.

It’s not that we don’t enjoy each other’s company, we do, and we travel well together. Spending days or weeks together 24/7 can be trying for any couple or even close friends. Consider yourself lucky if you can get along with your travel partner.

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The Grove Brew House

18221824_448953188785097_1230751276462164033_nWe have a new stop to add to our annual Kingsville Krawl – the Grove Brew House. It’s right on the main drag and attached to its own Inn, formerly the King’s Inn. Cathryn and I checked it out, sampling their craft beers and two appetizers during a late afternoon visit.

The Inn has been refurbished and a brand new brewery has been built beside it where the outdoor patio once was. Although the two buildings are attached, I don’t think they blend well architecturally. That doesn’t seem to matter to the people who have been filling the place on a regular basis.

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Rino’s Kitchen & Ale House

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Formerly the Nesbitt Inn, Rino’s Kitchen and Ale House is a small restaurant on the fringe of downtown Windsor that is big on character and flavor. Meals are served inside a one hundred year old stately brick home on Elliott Street at Pelissier. It’s far enough from the bar scene to have ample parking right next door.

Chef Rino Bortolin proudly uses local ingredients for his ever-changing menu, and he offers local craft beer and wine. His prices are fair and offerings range from burger to lamb shank. The atmosphere is cozy and casual. In the warmer weather tables are set up outside on the deck and sometimes in the back yard.

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Hopping Around the “D”

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Things are hoppening in Detroit. Just pop in to one of the dozens of downtown bars and sample for yourself. Cathryn and I did just that, the other day, after dropping off family at the airport. We planned on eating in Greek Town so I parked the car in the lot at the corner of Munroe and Brush. Right next to the parking lot was a place we knew as Marilyn’s on Munroe, that is now called the Firebird Tavern.

We liked the place right off the bat, with its turn-of-the-century dark wood bar and tables, and tin ceiling. Lisa greeted us at the bar, offering a list of craft beers, adding that anything local was half price during happy hour. They had a tasty selection of bottles and draft to choose from, and she happily let us sample a few before ordering.

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The Two Bill’s – Part 2

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This story appears in my first book, A Casual Traveler

 The Way Back 

            Usually, going somewhere is more fun than coming back. Whenever I plan a trip I try to take that into account. I don’t know how everyone else feels, but I hate covering the same ground twice. I’d much rather make a loop and go out of my way, than drive down the same road more than once. Unless something is worth seeing again, from a different perspective.

            Cathryn and I had a great ride getting to Vancouver, but I knew I had my work cut out for me, trying to find an eventful and scenic way back home. The whole idea of the trip was to cover new ground, since both of us had been out west before. Seattle came to mind. Although I’d been there twice, I never had time to see more than a few token attractions on the waterfront.

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The Two Bill’s – Part 1

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This story appears in my first book, A Casual Traveler

 Westward Ho

Cathryn’s big question was, “How do I pack for a whole month?” She was faced with the dilemma of how to get her clothes, shoes, and toiletries into one small suitcase, that fit into the trunk portion of our Harley Davidson motorcycle. I had laid out a plan to ride all the way to Vancouver, and back, within a month…or so.

“You only need to pack for five to seven days,” I offered, “We can do our laundry along the way when we stop for more than a day.” I broke the trip into segments, staying in a few different places for more than one night at a time, so we could take a rest from the bike, and not have to be on it every day of the trip.

We met with our friends Greg and Brenda, to discuss the first leg of the trip. They changed their final destination, deciding to only ride as far as Milwaukee with us. It didn’t matter, we were going on with or without them. Figuring traffic would be lighter, and a hotel in downtown Milwaukee cheaper, we left at 9 am on Sunday, July 3rd.

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Steerfish in Spearfish

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You never know what you’ll end up eating when you’re on the road and looking  a  good meal. Cathryn and I struck it rich in Spearfish, South Dakota when the manager at our motel recommended Steerfish Steak & Smoke.

Spearfish is one of those towns that most folks have never heard of, but this restaurant and the annual motorcycle rally in neighboring Sturgis have put them on the map. If you are ever anywhere in the area, visiting this eatery is a must.

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Seattle’s more than Seafood

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Seattle deserves a lot more time than we allowed ourselves there, but with a Kamikaze agenda, we hit enough bars and restaurants to give us a good taste of the seaside city. For me, downtown Seattle means Pike’s Market on the waterfront. You could spend a whole day wandering through the dozens of shops in buildings on both sides of the street, and not see it all.

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3,200 Miles to Granville

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So far, Ruby has carried us (Ed, Cathryn and Axle) over 3,200 miles…that’s about 5,000 Kanadian miles, from Windsor, Ontario, to Surrey, British Columbia. She’s resting in the garage as I write this, but has an appointment at the hawg  dealership tomorrow, for a new front tire, oil change, and minor damage repair from a hitting a bad pot hole somewhere out there. Yes, Tim, the Harley made it all the way across  the country…just follow my oil slick.

Although it’s been nice to get off the bike for a few days, we’ll be back on her soon enough, heading to Seattle next, to visit an old friend. We’ve had a mixed bag of weather, but none of it bad enough to stop us. A couple of close lightening strikes did give me pause.

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Bikes n Brews

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin…home of the Brewers. And I don’t mean the baseball team. Shlitz, Blatz, and Pabst put Milwaukee on the beer map years ago. The Harley Davidson Museum is now a tourist attraction for motorcycle riders from all parts of the globe. They have their world headquarters and a factory there. IMG_2995

The old brewery buildings downtown have been converted to upscale condominiums. The city also converted other industrial buildings along the river into trendy shops and restaurants, creating the River Walk. It was hard to look at the old brewery buildings and not think about Laverne and Shirley.

 Milwaukee was our first stop on our cross-country motorcycle trip. Our friends Greg and Brenda made the first leg of the ride with us and did the museum tour at HD. Cathryn tried out one of the bikes to get the real feel of riding a hawg, then her and I took a ride along the lakefront, where they set had off 4th of July fireworks the night before.

We stayed in the Astor, an old hotel downtown that has been refurbished to include trendy apartments.

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