Editor's note: Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has agreed to chronicle his experience during the fourth annual Executive's Ride, which began this weekend at the House of Harley-Davidson on Layton Ave.
Tuesday, June 26
6:40 a.m. -- Live at the WEAU TV 13 (NBC) studios in Eau Claire. I am on the set with Salina Heller. She interviewed me last year and is beloved by the guys at Harley-Davidson Motor Sports in Chippewa Falls.
Salina is originally from Black River Falls so she knows all about the Muth dealership we were at on Monday. New weather guy says that he is interested in getting a bike.
During the interview, we talk about the success of the Brewers,
Summerfest and the Zoo -- as well as the ride and a few more attractions like
Holy Hill. Dave Fantle from Visit Milwaukee brought some b-roll footage and we mentioned the Milwaukee 7.
7:15 a.m. -- I do a live interview with a station in New Richmond about our stop later this morning. Good background noise of the bikes warming up.
7:30 a.m. -- The group departs from the Country Inn. We take back roadsover to Hudson and get there a bit late.
9:30 a.m. -- Our guests from the chamber and visitors bureau are outstanding.
They have cold bottled water ready and it is perfect as the temp is approaching 90. We visit the riverfront and take a picture with them and the local police officer. A photographer from the local paper takes a picture of me and the folks from the chamber.
10:15 a.m. -- We arrive at the St. Croix Harley-Davidson dealership. They hosted us for three of our last four rides. A local reporter grabs a few pictures and takes some notes for a print story.
11 a.m. -- Carter Johnson who is the publisher of The Sun newspapers greets us in Osceola by the new park they are building downtown. They have more cold water and we walk across the street to see their amazing waterfall. There is a platform and 114 stairs down to the base of the falls (114 up too).
Carter gives us a great overview of the city, their history and their economy.
11:30 a.m. -- St. Croix Falls is our next stop and we pull into a wonderful overlook of the river at a park with a new statue going up. The city administrator greets us. He is formerly from Milwaukee and says that he misses Summerfest. I suggest that this is the year to return.
12:30 p.m. -- From St. Croix Falls, we went to Siren and had lunch at The
Experience. The weather was very hot and so they had the air conditioning on full blast and plenty of cool food for us. The owner is a Harley rider and he put on a great stop.
The local reporter from the Inter-County Leader dropped by to take some notes and to get some photos. She was very good. We also did a couple of live interviews with the local radio station and had a good visit with their chamber.
Siren is beautiful with the waterfront and the wonderful log cabin buildings on the main drag. The Siren Police Chief himself brought us in and out of town.
2 p.m. -- The Tommy G. Thompson Fish Hatchery in Spooner was our next stop. It is fitting since many of our road guards (safety captains) came from the Governor's Ride with Thompson years ago.
We toured the world's largest musky fish hatchery. I spoke with two different reporters and they each got photos. The Spooner Chamber folks were great and we got a cool compass.
When we left Spooner, I wore my Harley jacket as I heard that the weather was bad in Superior. After a short while the sun came out, it got warm again and thought I might be a fool for putting on the leather jacket. Still, I unzipped the vents on the jacket and kicked out my legs on the bike to run air through to cool off.
Just as we crossed the Douglas County line at 4:00 pm, the temperature dropped nearly 30 degrees and I looked pretty smart as I zipped up my jacket. A few minutes later, lightning struck in the distance and we pulled over to put on rain gear.
Since we got off on the exit ramp to US Highway 2, getting back on the way to Superior was a trick but our road guards are wonderful and we were all safe.
4:45 p.m. -- We get in late for the Bong Center. When I served in the State
Assembly, I heard about the Bong Center at each session of Superior Days and am happy to finally get inside this great attraction with a wonderful director.
Mayor Dave Ross greeted us at the Bong Center with his top fiscal guy.
Considering the fact that we were late and it was pouring rain, we were all very impressed that he was there to welcome us to Superior.
Dave is a super guy.
Because of the rain and the time, we opt to go directly to the hotel.
7 p.m. -- We head to Canal Park in Duluth, which runs along the edge of
Lake Superior. The entire area is a tourist magnet with hotels, bars, restaurants, museums and other cool attractions. We had a room at Famous Dave's with a buffet (I ate way too much but it is soooo good).
Overlooking the area we ate in was a small amusement park inside an old warehouse type building. What a great use of space.
Even on a wet night, the Canal Park area is hopping.
After a mix up with a reporter, I rode the motorcycle down two blocks to the TV station. Interestingly, both channel 6 (NBC) and channel 3 (CBS) are in the same building. They send a photojournalist out to shoot me on the bike. After talking about the Milwaukee area, I turn on the motor and give the old potato, potato, potato...
It is nice to be near another Great Lake -- even though it is on the other side of the state.
One other observation: when I was growing up we always heard that corn should be knee high by the 4th of July. The corn I saw today was shoulder high so they must be ready to have a great harvest.
Scott Walker begins his 4th annual Executive's Ride on Saturday, June 23. The trip covers 1,500 miles through 39 cities in four states with stops at 22 Harley-Davidson dealerships. Some 50 riders will travel with Walker _ with more joining him at different points along the way.
The trip started after the 100th anniversary of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company in 2003. Walker took the Riders Edge rider safety course at the House of Harley Davidson in Greenfield and lead the parade with then-Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist.
Borrowing the idea from former Governor Tommy Thompson, Walker decided to embark on an annual Harley ride to promote all of the great tourism attractions in Milwaukee County. In 2006, he expanded the promotions to include the seven counties in the Milwaukee 7 area.
The ride will conclude on Thursday, June 28 just before the start of Summerfest on the fest grounds. Walker rides a Harley Davidson Road King and wears a black Harley-Davidson helmet and appropriate protective gear. More details can be founds at www.countyexecutivesride.com.
Each day along the trip, County Executive Walker will blog exclusively for OnMilwaukee.com about the trip and the reaction from people across the state and surrounding states.