Seeing a new place is a fun way to build relationships. Seeing new places with a Cruiser Bike and the outdoors makes it even more fun! Sometimes the fun comes in VERY unexpected ways……
Having just come off a successful Music Festival in Oshkosh Wisconsin, the company decided to invest in a trip to the same promoter's festival in Tennessee........In July.
Using some of the same assets as our Wisconsin show made preparations a little easier for the upcoming event. We had our signage, we knew that people would all want to ride the bike, and how to get that done, and we had GREAT momentum on our side.
The big difference is the venue. We would be staying on-site in one of our partners’ RVs rather than heading back to a hotel in-between days. This seemed OK as the required hours of operation for a booth at this event was 9-9 for Thursday and Friday, Saturday was a little shorter but it was still longer than we were used to.
We had three staff going, Myself, my partner, and my oldest daughter, Julia.
Julia always helps out because she loves to see new places and gets to take road trips on our dime. Little did she know that WE were getting a great deal as she is a super people person, loves our bikes, and knows quite a bit about them. We paid way less than the market rate, but if you meet her don’t say anything I have a couple of trips set for this year!
Turns out the drive would be about 14 hours, depending on Chicago traffic, unfortunately, if we wanted Julia’s free help we wouldn’t be able to leave until about 10:30 AM Central time. We weren’t happy about this but we needed a third person to make sure we had coverage and could still take breaks.
What happened next we couldn’t predict. My partner got sick. Very sick. With everything going on with Covid despite his negative test, he didn’t think he wanted to make the trip. We also didn’t want to get sick and try to run a booth.
More bad news, I had never driven a 28’ RV before, and my daughter would not be able on this trip.
We had the venue, we were loaded, we paid the fees. We decided to go.
About 10:30 that Wednesday morning Julia and I left Wisconsin with an RV loaded with bikes, food, water, and a great attitude to see what we could do in Tennessee to help the brand.
The trip was far from fun. The RV steered like nothing I had ever driven. After about 20 minutes, I got the hang of it, on rural Wisconsin Hwy 57, however, we were soon passing through Milwaukee which has multiple lanes of traffic. Merging the beast and getting in the right lane was CRAZY, but the best was yet to come. Our route took us through Chicago and Indianapolis.
Thankfully we got through Chicago with minimum traffic and in one piece. I am pretty sure I took a few years off my life and maybe had some bad thoughts about Illinois motorists, although to be fair, I didn’t have much time to figure out where each driver hailed from. After we made it through still had some hair left in my head and it was kind of fun to get a sandwich made and delivered to you while driving.
We gassed up in Indiana after speculating about the EASIEST on/off and pull in/pull out station we could find while we still had fuel. We were making steady progress, though the day was slipping away faster than we thought with our late start time.
We ate sandwiches, drank as little as possible, and trucked on. We made it through all our major traffic hazards unscathed. We kept on Trucking for 11 more hours and then the GPS had us exit the interstate with about 100 miles left on our trip. This did seem strange, but Google has been pretty good to us so far…..BIG MISTAKE.
Night was falling fast and the temperature and humidity of the south in July was formidable. We could barely see and the country highways and bi-ways seemed to drop off in front of us to nothing. My grip on the wheel tightened and I had to slow down. My fear of the unknown did help keep me WIDE awake throughout the night and four and a half more hours of nail-biting pretzel turns (or so it seemed) and we were close. We couldn’t’ see the signs 50 feet ahead, but managed to make it to our site around 1 AM. No one was there to help us, go figure, so we made our way around the facility doing some off-roading with the beast.
We could not hook up to the onsite power so we sweated through the 95 degree high humidity until morning.
The next day we were shocked to see how close we had come to a large ravine – praise the Lord we didn’t end up in it! Luckily we were able to get a power adapter fire up the AC and get our spot set up under the big top. Which was a blessing as it never really cooled down! The heat index was 100 every day.
Fortunately for me, Julia is a trooper and we had a great time with each other. We chatted, met a ton of really nice people, and ate a ton of Chic-fil-a (because we can’t get any back home.) Interestingly we met a former Sheboygan county resident who was great friends with my wife. She was originally from the Memphis area and never really liked Wisconsin, she had moved to Tennessee and come to check out the festival. More interestingly she complained about the heat and said it was CRAZY to have a festival at this time in this area. Overall though, it was great.
We had a little downtime and explored some of the historic areas of the venue taking the pictures for this article in front of Johnny Cash’s Hideway storyteller farmhouse.
We got a chance to ride our cruiser bikes around the grounds. I can tell you if you have an RV, this is THE BEST way to get around. Park anywhere, pick your level of effort and move quickly when needed. The ride quality is WAY better than folding bikes as well, just ask our friends at Always on Liberty, they LIVE the RV life and can’t say enough about how much of an improvement our bike is over the 20” wheel devils they used to ride.
After a few days, we wrapped up and headed back home. It seemed really weird to be on the interstate almost the whole way, and because it was Sunday we breezed through the cities. We stopped two times and made at just about 14 hours flat.
What a great time with my daughter! The company is about bringing people together in the outdoors and we sure had a chance to do that!
Let us know if you’d like to start your own ebike adventure!
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