Oklahoma 2021 | Thelma & Louise

July 2021 Thelma and Louise trip took us south to Oklahoma. Our little Louise had first trimester woes, so our trip was fast, furious, hot as hell, and still full of goodness.

Day 1 took us through Topeka for a quick lunch with Tyree’s aunt before we moved straight on to Pawhuska, OK to experience everything Pioneer Woman.

The Pioneer Woman show is filmed on her ranch at their guest lodge located just 15 miles outside of town; 11 of which were gravel, potholes and cattle guards.

I was totally jazzed to see the location and listen to the stories shared by their family friend. The wild horses were a total bonus.

After dinner at the Merc and a few cocktails (for me!) at the local bar, we made our way West to lay our head down in a sleepy little town in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma. The sunset ride was exquisite.

Oklahoma City served as our next destination to take in the Memorial and a few other sites. Humbling, educational, and 103 billion degrees.

Y’all. July Oklahoma heat hits DIFFERENT. And it’s not good.

After a quick lunch, cold water and lemonade to rehydrate, we hopped on the bikes and headed North to find ourselves a red dirt road.

Then on to a middle of absolutely nowhere bar off a gravel road, that also gifted us with a handful of sand pits to maneuver through. And the locals thought we were gonna bury our bikes….

Listen. Listen. Listen.

Never underestimate us.

If it takes you a beat to find the bar, you know it’s a good one. Always find the hidden gems. It’s a must.

After the bar, we made our way back through Pawhuska, because wouldn’t you know it, we found out Leo DiCaprio was filming a movie, and we completely missed seeing the set the day before. Never mind it was literally the SAME BLOCK we had dinner and drinks on. #observantpartyoftwo

Since we didn’t really have any more destinations for this trip, and Tyree needed to get back to Omaha for pregnancy life, we backtracked our way home with a pitstop to see the set. Wild!

And one “1 star” motel experience later, we found our way back to Omaha with a few days to spare. Okā€¦ We’ve stayed in a number of 1 star accommodations on our journey’s. This one took the cake. After this little number, we’ve agreed to stop being such cheap asses and upgrade to 2 star motels for the next T&L adventures. šŸ˜‰ Gotta keep it a little trashy but a little classy, ya know? Preferably no bed bugs. Nor critters. Maybe the mold could be cleaned up? Yaā€¦

Certainly the most mild of adventures, but no less fun. And can I just give Tyree a little shout-out? It was 10 billion degrees out, she was in her first trimester and not feeling real great, couldn’t even quench her thirst with an ice cold beer (the WORST), and she still stuck it out with me on this trip.

That’s friendship. True friendship. I love our T&L adventures and all the little ones in-between.

Cheers to many more.

A Look Back:

Thelma & Louise | South Dakota: https://harleysandheels.com/2020/10/08/thelma-and-louise-2020/

Thelma & Louise | Arkansas: https://harleysandheels.com/2018/07/24/thelma-and-louise-take-on-the-ozark-mountains/

A Look Back to Look Forward

Hi, friends.

2022 came in like a warm blanket of ongoing 2020 didn’t she? Warm because, hi… where’s the dang snow? And 2020, cuz also hi… our little pandemic friend.

Today, as I was cleaning out my iPhone photos preparing for a fresh new 13, I came across this screenshot I swiped off the Gram. While full of colorful words (sorry fam), the message is important. It was an early 2021 reminder to myself as I, along with many of you, were shaking our heads wondering what the heck just happened with 12 months of our lives. Minimal photos. Limited experiences. It was, and in some cases still is, taking a toll on our mental and physical well-being.

As I look back and share with you some joyful moments of 2021 as we all look ahead into 2022, I am inviting you to move ahead with the daily reminder to live. Experience. BREATHE. To take the photos. To make time for what is good in life. To soak it in and experience every experience for what it is, and enjoy everyone for who they are.

A look back at 2021.

Spring fishing and evening rides.

40th Birthday fun for Jess

Lake of the Ozarks with the girls.

Michigan, Oklahoma and Nashville

Fall Hikes

Hardy, Kane Brown & Iowa Football

Bonfires, Friends, Fam, and Cats

And forever chasing sunsets.

Cheers to living 2022, and embracing all that she gifts us. Wins, losses and everything in between.

And keep chasing those sunsets. They bring the promise of a new day.

2021 Summer Recap | Michigan

What’s up, friends? I’ve sat here for 15 minutes figuring out how to intro this. I’m rusty. So, here we go…

We went to Michigan this summer. I am going to tell you about it.

Good?

Our summer vacay with Cole and Tyree took us to Michigan with the goal of camping, riding, and no real direction other than to explore the beautiful Upper Peninsula. St. Ignace was our home-base for a few days, but we kept extremely loose destinations for the majority of our trip. It’s really the perfect way to vacay when on bikes. You just never know where adventure awaits, so why stifle it with strict plans, ya know? So, July 2nd, 2021, we kicked off day one towards Bagley, WI where we’d set up tents next to the Mississippi river before nightfall.

Or so we thought.

If you ride, you know to expect the unexpected. Our new reality hit about 2.5 hours into our journey when we found ourselves a parking lot and a broke down bike. Friends, let me introduce you to my friend, Tyree.

The Passenger.

Scratch Wisconsin. New destination: Cedar Rapids, IA. And instead of a tent, we rewarded ourselves with a hotel, a much needed shower and a nightcap with our friends John and Jodi at a local watering hole. I tell you what… we know we have the best of the best friends in all our friend groups, but John hit MVP status when he offered up his motorcycle to Tyree. Class act, y’all.

Cue Saturday morning.

Destination: House on the Rock, Spring Green, WI. What a delightful sh!t show of chaos, confusion, and mesmerizing nonsense that totally made sense. You should go.

After The House on the Rock, our Saturday journey took us on backroads with a itty bitty stretch of interstate in Green Bay all the way to Marinette, WI. A real quaint town with a 1 star roadside motel that served as our home for the night. Clint was so impressed with our accommodations that he took everything from his bike and hauled it into the room. Honestly, I am surprised he didn’t also remove his battery.

Adventure, folks. Highly recommend 1 star accommodations.

Also highly recommend 4 stars for peace of mind and body.

…Cuz #cleanliness.

Sunday

Happy Birthday, America and Hello Lake Michigan. You were an absolutely gorgeous sight to see. All hands in the water to leave a little bit of us behind and we moved along on our journey. The landscape, y’all. Simply stunning.

If you are up in this area, please stop by MooFinFries. Excellent burgers, delicious ice cream, and the NICEST owner who loves to engage his customers. Small shop, big hearts.

And ice cream cones.

July 4th is also Tyree and Cole’s wedding anniversary. I may or may not have forgotten until right around this time. My bad. Happy Anny, C&T. šŸ˜‰

After setting up camp at the St. Ignace KOA we headed out to the pier to hitch a ride on a ferry to Mackinac Island.

Mackinac Island is full of history, tourist attractions and about 3,002 fudge shops. We enjoyed a hike around some of the island to take in a portion of its history and the views. Fun fact: about 500 people live on the island year-round, but over 1 million people visit the island each year. I also read on a local blog that the residents of Mackinac call the tourists “fudgies”. See previous sentence.

As luck would have it, our journey off the island was delayed which ended up being a blessing as it gave us the chance to view the fireworks from the top deck of the ferry. Incredible!

Overalls compliments of Shinesty should you be interested in looking as cool as Tyree and I.

I spy with my little eye someone holding their 1st trimester belly.

Monday, July 5th we ate breakfast at Bentley’s B-M-L diner and then made our way to Driftwood Sports Bar where we drank bloody mary’s and attempted a few card games while we waited out the storm rolling through. Let’s just say card games are NOT a strong suit of Cole and I. Clint and Tyree no doubt wanted to kill us. ‘Least the drinks were good. šŸ˜‰

Rain aside, we headed south to ride Michigan’s famed Tunnel of Trees on M-119. The stretch to and through was absolutely breathtaking. 25 MPH and nothing but trees and an occasional break in landscape with views of Lake Michigan. It’s in these moments I wish I had a GoPro to bring you on the journey with us. Simply stunning.

I LIVED for the journey across Mackinac Bridge. There is just something magical about riding a motorcycle across a bridge that lights me up. Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the Western Hemisphere, connecting Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas.

Tuesday, July 6th the boys took off around 6am to for a fishing trip on Lake Michigan while Tyree and I journeyed North to the Canadian border to get our hands in Lake Superior.

Tyree and I made it back to St. Ignace before the boys, so we made the executive decision to tear down camp to head out one day early due to incoming severe storms. The one thing that can derail any motorcycle vacay is the weather. For the next three days the radar showed nothing but solid green and red for Northern WI, MN and IA; our original loosely laid out route home. Looking south into Michigan and Indiana also showed us green and red, but with little pockets of hope peeking through. So, we chose the route South which was less suck versus going West which was full suck. Late afternoon we put the kickstands up and headed South through Charlevoix and into Traverse City, MI where we’d find the LAST TWO ROOMS available in the entire city.

Wednesday gifted us with the kind of heavy rain that makes you shiver in disgust. A blessing in the form of an extended checkout time, we hit the wet pavement around noon towards South Bend, Indiana where we rolled in around dinner time for an unexpected journey through Notre Dame campus (hello stadium dreams!) and the best pretzels at an Irish pub.

Notre Dame Police Department issues equity in policing report | News |  Notre Dame News | University of Notre Dame

We woke up Thursday to a little more rain, but overall clearing skies. However, due to an extreme storm cell projected to hit Omaha Friday night combined with the need to return John’s bike to Cedar Rapids and retrieve Tyree’s bike from Des Moines Harley Davidson before they closed, we decided to embark on the 583 mile journey home.

While we technically wrapped up our vacation two days early, we also closed it out filled with love and gratitude to have experienced another spectacular vacation with two of our dearest friends.

Cheers!

Swig Sugar Cookies

A couple of years ago I posted this Swig Sugar Cookie recipe, and to this day it remains my favorite sugar cookie.

Had to pull the recipe out of the archives again, this time we just added colorful sprinkles to channel summer fun. Enjoy!

Swig Sugar Cookies

Prep TimeĀ 10Ā minutesĀ Cook TimeĀ 8Ā minutesĀ Total TimeĀ 18Ā minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Butter room temperature
  • 3/4 cups Vegetable Oil
  • 1 1/4 cups Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Water
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tarter
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 5 1/2 cups Flour

Sour Cream Frosting (Original)

  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter
  • 3/4 cup Sour Cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cup Powdered Sugar

Instructions

  1. Cream together Butter, Vegetable Oil, Sugars, Water, and Eggs.
  2. Combine dry ingredients and slowly add to butter mixture.
  3. Mix until everything is combined.  Your dough should be a little crumbly and not sticky.
  4. Use a cookie scoop or roll a golf ball sized ball of dough and place it on your cookie sheet
  5. To give the cookies the signature rough edge, press a glass bottom (dipped in sugar) into the center of the dough ball.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.  They should just barely be browning on the bottom.    Move cookies to a cooling rack.  Once they are cool put them in the fridge.
  7. For the ORIGINAL frosting: Cream together butter and sour cream and salt.  Slowly add powdered sugar.  When it gets so thick its not frosting like add a splash of milk.  Alternate this process until your frosting is the desired consistency.  Add 1 drop of red food coloring and whip on high for 1 minute.
  8. Keep cookies in a sealed container until they are ready to serve.  The magic of a Swig Sugar Cookie (apparently) is that the cookies are cold and the frosting is room temperature.  Frost right before serving.

I can attest to the refrigeration technique of the cookie.

SO GOOD CHILLED!  

I used a traditional buttercream frosting for this batch which includes 2/3 cup butter, 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp almond extract, 2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream.  Mix together until desired consistency, adding more powdered sugar and whipping cream as needed.