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.
Sunday, June 24
7 a.m. -- We start out the day at Kegel’s Harley-Davidson in Rockford for breakfast. They have a wonderful classic-style café with a counter top and seats that look like motorcycle seats. The local TV station interviewed me on the motorcycle and took some shots of the crew in the café.
10 a.m. -- We pull into the Harley Davidson shop in Galena, Ill. This is the home of former President Grant. The dealership is tucked inside the city. Pulling through Galena was special for me. The last time I was in town was 1974 – just before my grandfather passed away. We drove right by the historical landmark where I last saw him.
11:15 a.m. -- Lunch is in Dubuque, Iowa. The ride over the Mississippi is pretty amazing. As kids, we would hold our hands up as we traveled on the bridge (to hold the bridge up). The bluffs along the river on the way in to town are awesome. I am also impressed with the floor walls and doors that close to keep the flood waters out.
We stop in town for lunch at Culver’s. Former State Representative Gabe Loeffelholz and his wife dropped in to see us and that was a real treat. They welcomed us to Platteville two years ago and so many of our riders recognized Gabe from his cowboy hat. Next year we have to get him on a Harley.
The reporter from the Dubuque newspaper once lived in Wisconsin so he knew our attractions well and his father was once a rider, too. A photographer from the newspaper came out and took some shots.
2 p.m. -- The Cannery is a huge antique/gift shop/ice cream parlor in Prairie du Chien with beautiful flowers in front and wonderful gifts inside. One of the local folks tells me that the owner has purchased a number of the other buildings on the main drag.
I did a radio interview in advance of our run on Sunday and Monday.
On the way to LaCrosse, we saw a nut riding his motorcycle with his feet on his seat. Thankfully, our ride is put together by some very safety-conscious road guards.
4 p.m. -- We pulled into LaCrosse and I rode over to Copeland Park (home of the LaCrosse Loggers baseball team) to do an interview with a reporter from Channel 19 (it ran at 10 and looked very good with footage of the motorcycles coming in and an interview with me wearing a Brewers shirt and a Zoo hat talking about all of the great things in our area.)
Just before the game started at 5, I threw out the first pitch with a guy from the Coulee region. The crowd was pretty decent even though Loggers owner Dan Kapanke (also the state Senator from the area) introduced me as a “politician” like Gov. Jim Doyle and former Gov. Tommy Thompson who also threw out first pitches.
Our gang of riders was in the stands and we took a photo with the Logger Dog. This is a good area for the Brewers to target. I was amazed at the number of Brewers shirts and hats in the crowd. Winning does a team good.
Kapanke has a great thing going as the stands are full and the fans are having a great time. Dave Luczak’s (WKLH) son Dan is on the team and is a top pitcher for them but he was not activated tonight. The Loggers won the game 5-2 against the Thunder Bay Border Cats.
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.