Find your own way to roar
written by Bill:
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It must have sounded like the world was coming to an end, there in the bucolic quiet of Wisconsinís vast Northwoods.
who have seen one of the summerís biggest movies ó ďPublic Enemies,Ē starring Johnny Depp ó may recognize the name Little Bohemia,
a resort property closer to Canada than it is to most American states.
It was here the FBI, acting on a tip, closed in
on notorious bank robber John Dillinger and his gang. The Depression-era bad guys intended to hide out for a few days of rest, but
it didnít quite work out that way. Agent Melvin Purvis and a squad of officers arrived and touched off a shootout that is still remembered.
of course, got away. The bullet with his name on it waited in Chicago, outside the Biograph Theater.
Little Bohemia preserves
its colorful history by not patching the bullet holes. There are holes in the walls. Holes in the balcony. Even the bullet-shattered
glass is preserved inside thick panes added to the frames after the guns fell silent.
The resort was one of the memorable
stops along the way this past weekend as my two sons, Kyle and John, joined me on a much-needed motorcycle escape. For decades, Iíve
been finding the peace of the open road when the stress of the everyday world demands an outlet. For Kyle and John, it was a first
serious trip on two wheels.
From the grins they were wearing after we arrived back home, more than 800 miles later, itís
a cinch this wonít be their last motorcycling adventure.
Thereís a reason Wisconsin remains the ancestral home of Harley
Davidson. It is, undoubtedly, a bikerís heaven.
For example, our trip started with a dash west, the better to skirt around
the edges of one of those big Midwestern thunderstorms. Keeping the storm to the north, we meandered through the dairy country of
southwestern Wisconsin, with its rolling hills and deep green pastures. Riding the ridges presents a panorama of breathtaking views.
a night along the Mississippi ó yes, it involved a riverboat casino ó the ride took us north on the Great River Road, hugging the
high bluffs as we leaned into the winding highway.
Bending northeast at La Crosse, we discovered 20 miles of heaven on
Wisconsin Highway 108, which curves through the coulee country from West Salem to Monrose. The curls and cutbacks are amazing, making
it difficult to keep oneís eyes on the road, which isnít necessarily a good thing on a motorcycle. Suffice to say, if lifeís twists
some day place you in west central Wisconsin, do take the slow road on Highway 108. If youíre lucky, you may even see an Amish family
out for a leisurely buggy ride.
I wonít bore readers with more travelogue-style ramblings, except to note that our trip
also took us to the far Northwoods ó ďabove the tension line,Ē as they like to say in Wisconsin. The beauty of the state ó its deep
woods, rolling terrain, pristine lakes and whitewater rivers ó makes Wisconsin one of Americaís foremost tourist magnets. Friendly
people in small towns complete the package.
For us, the motive was twofold ó escape reality for a few days, and renew the
joys known to all dads and sons. Or, at least, the joys all dads and sons should know.
Sure, I worry about the safety of
my boys on their big roaring two-wheelers. Like, no doubt, my mom and dad worried about me.
I do my best to convey all
that experience has taught me in nearly 40 years of riding, knowing too well that canít cover all the contingencies. Skill and caution
can be life preservers, but I also hope luck is their constant companion, as it has been mine.
I also wish them the thrill
of the open air, the sweeping vistas around every turn, the aromas of Americaís countryside rising to meet the oncoming rider, the
peace of leaving behind routine for the excitement of discovery. Properly deployed, a motorcycle is a mental health machine.
small worlds can consume us, one day at a time, siphoning away pieces of oneís soul.
Donít surrender to the mundane.
works for me. Looks as if it may work for Kyle and John.
Find your own version of escape. A more open and appreciative
mind awaits you there.