Looking for a weekend road trip around the Midwest, or is it the East Coast? Defining the exact location of this part of the country will leave some readers upset or confused based on their understanding of where they live. Pittsburgh actually lies on three fault lines, thus making it neither Midwest or East Coast. Cleveland seems to be a little less of a controversial selection of the country so let's start from beautiful ‘Midwest,' Cleveland.
Bordering closer to the country of cold and snow, Canada, this area of America enjoys a shorter motorcycle season than the lower forty-eight. With interest in maximizing your summer fun, we put together a road trip route that winds its way across some savory city stops and meanders through some inviting countryside landscapes. Food, photos, and throttle-based excitement are what this little weekend route has to offer and will get those tires rolling!
Quaker Steak and Lube
I'm never one to let cleverness of a well-marketed name go unnoticed, and I'm sure the petroleum giants are happy to have their logo and name re-mixed across many burger & beer joints. The good people at Quaker Steak and Lube welcome engine noise and throttle junkies at their Valley View location with open doors, every Wednesday at their Sheffield location, and Thursdays during the warmer months. It's basically a biker show-off and shine event with cash handed out and burgers on hand. Make it part of your long-weekend start from the Cleveland area and watch the parking lot filled with all types of bikers. Wings, burgers, beers, and classic shakes are all on the menu. If you are passing through when there are no significant events on it's still a good lunchtime hang out. Try the 'O-Rings,' or if you like a little mouth-pain, pick up a bottle of 500,000 SHU ’Triple Atomic’ hot sauce!
To keep the flow, it’s best to set off from Cleveland and head towards the Valley View location which is about 20-minutes from the city, just off the I-480.
Image: Biker Brew House
Is that a Harley dealership or orange & black pub?
A road trip must if you are a Harley enthusiast. Or, if you’re looking to get a little encouragement to buy a new hog, having a few brews always helps when making those long-term decisions. The Biker Brew House in Youngstown, Ohio, is actually located right inside the Harley dealership. Yes INSIDE the dealership! Ahh America, you never let us down. You have the luxury of shopping for an iconic motorcycle while enjoying your favorite comfort brew.
The Biker Brew House is located in Youngstown Ohio. If you think I’m making this stuff up, the evidence is all right here, BikerBrewHouse.net. Just over an hour from the Steak & Lube, you can stick on the I-80 to get you right there or veer off onto the 82 if you like riding the small town routes.
Image: Mines and Meadows
Biker Friendly Camping & Cottages
This part of the ride is for those wanting to incorporate an overnight stop, a base camp, or just add in a little fun along the way. If this is what you're looking for, plan to stay for the day or the night at the Mines and Meadows ATV/RV resort. An adventure stop to get you off-road or underground! They have over 87-miles of trails spread out across 877-acres of land, winding through every level of experience from beginner to full throttle. They even offer 8-miles of dirt bike only single tracks. As the name suggests, they also have some hidden routes in abandoned underground mines. These take you 250-feet underground, past sub-terrain lakes, through total darkness, and offer up surprises at every bend. There is camping and cabins, tours and rentals, and plenty of options nearby for other excitement if you are looking to diversify your adventure.
Check them out at MinesAndMeadows.com
They are located at 1307 Old Route, 18 Wampum, PA. If you take the 680 down and then cross onto the 76, it should be about a 45minute drive.
Image: Primanti Brothers
Primanti Brothers Pittsburgh
Have you ever had an obnoxiously large sandwich with enough meat to induce your next colonoscopy! Then watched them add a heaping-helping of coleslaw and fries just to add to the gluttony. Well, that culinary dream was initially brought to life back in 1933 by the Primanti brothers at this flagship location in the Strip District in Pittsburgh. It is 80-years later, and they are still slicing meats and stacking them high. On your foodie and fun weekend getaway, you'll probably want to add this detour to the list. Try the Joe, Dick, & Stanley sandwich if you're looking to fill that hollow leg of yours and have endless room for amazing food. You might even work in a Steelers game if you feel like your life needs a little face paint and some gold glitter to cheer the boys on!
There are many Primanti Bros. locations. However, the Strip District spot is the location with the most historical significance and a great part of the city. Check out Primantibros.com if you want to do some pre-search.
The 76 to the 79 to the 279, it is more or less a straight shot from the dirt bike camping with some GPS guidance needed through the city. Depending on traffic it’s about an hour’s drive.
Image: Breitenbach Winery
An Amish Detour
Like any quality road trip, it is usually less about the destination and more about the journey. You should do your eyes a visual favor and give your taste buds a treat by winding through Amish farming country around Berlin, Ohio. Making sure to stop in at some of the unique eateries where the Amish are making themselves known to the new world. You are going to want to explore this quaint area in depth. The best place to start is just outside of Sugarcreek at the Breitenbach Winery, savoring some of their unique dandelion wines. Then make your way towards Walnut Creek to the Coblentz chocolate shop so you can appreciate some of their hand-dipped chocolates. Next up, fondue your way on over to Heini’s Cheese Chalet for a fromage fix of their yogurt cultured cheeses, or interesting cheese fudge. Next stop will be for fresh baked goods at Hershberger’s Farm and Bakery. Pick up some fry pies, apple fritters, or some homemade muffins as fuel for the rest of your ride.
For a little less Amish finish to the route and to keep your bad-ass biker profile in good shape, you can Instagram some shots of the microbrews at the Millersberg Brewery. Get your leather gloves on a pint of Peanut Butter Porter or Pope’s Pumpkin Ale.
It’s about a two-hour drive from Philly on the 22 then up to the 250. From there, you may need to stencil in at least a half day for exploring the abundance of stops along the way.
Image: AMA Motorcycle
AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame
If you have ever hoped to achieve Hall of Fame status, you might want to set your sights here. An all-encompassing realm of people that influenced the culture and business of motorcycle history. It is all on display, and you will have the pleasure of enjoying every last detail. A walk through the Hall of Fame will give you the opportunity to learn about the individuals who set the path for various directions in motorcycling. On-road, off-road, racers, business people, designers, technological advancements, and high-achievers, it has it all! The motorcycles on display range extensively from a 1930 Henderson Four, to Doug Domokos 'Wheelie King' bike that he won a $10,000 bet on by wheeling a full lap around the Anaheim Stadium's supercross track.
Located just outside of Columbus, it’s a great way to spend a day. To see if you can line up a visit with one of their events, check out their Facebook page: AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
All in it will take you about 90-minutes from the finish of your Amish adventure day. If you take the 77 straight down, you can catch a glimpse of the Salt Fork State Park, then cut over to the I-70. There are also a few back-road options like the 16 from Coshcoton, if you prefer a nice country drive instead.
“The Best Wurst in Town”
For a television-worthy food fix on your weekend-warrior road-trip, you'll want to set your studded tassels towards Schmidt's Sausage Haus. As featured on Man VS Food, this place does not disappoint! They've been in business for over 120 years now, and it would seem like they've got their recipes figured out. If you're feeling fast, you can pony up to the Autobahn buffet or one of the tasty sausage dishes, like the highly-awarded 'Bahama Mama.' This is a delicious beef and pork sausage that gets hickory smoked. Another option is to get your mouth around one of their other sausage-style creations on the menu and give your opinion on ‘The Best Wurst in Town.' For those of you looking to take your German fix further down the road, you can pick up some sausages, sauerkraut, spicy mustard, or even a t-shirt from the retail shop.
Schmidt’s Sausage Haus is located right in Columbus and is known for being a great food-stop after spending some time reveling in the motorcycle museum. If you are hoping to line up an afternoon of Oktoberfest music, or avoid it altogether, see what they've got going on at Shcmidthaus.com.
It’s only about 20-30 minutes from the museum sticking on the I-70, then watching the GPS for the last few turns.
If you are looking to get in some seat time on your sofa-like Honda Gold Wing or crack the throttle on your V-Twin Suzuki Boulevard, this weekend might just be the perfect opportunity to do that. A day of food and cultural fun is one of the best ways to get to know the parts of the country you call home, or maybe even discover another state’s hidden gem. America has so much to offer that even crossing one county line to the next can often reveal some beautiful scenery and food stops that are definitely worth pulling over for. As a couple, a crew, or solo adventurer, the Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Columbus route will not disappoint!