Monday, March 18, 2013

Wisconsin's Backyard - Part 1

Motorcycle Rides on the less traveled roads over long distances......the T.A.T. (TransAmericaTrail) is one of the grander examples but there are variations most everywhere, not only in this country but around the planet.  Friend Chad put together a wonderful version for Wisconsin and once I learned of it, plans began immediately to do the Route.

Here's Chad's Site
An Map Overview

Many Adventure-style riders have done Chad's Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail, a route that makes every attempt to traverse the state of Wisconsin from the Illinois border on the south to Lake Superior on the north using back roads as much as possible.  An online search will pull up all sorts of ride reports, many of them documented on the ADV Forum, a motorcycle forum that has become one of the universal Sites to gather online; for riders of most every stripe.  Some of our Blog friends are regular visitors there....possibly you are one of them.

600+ miles, primarily on gravel (or less) on public roads is an interesting way to see parts of one of my favorite states.  In a way, it reminds me of riding on Amtrak as it snakes through parts of the villages, rural areas, cities normally unseen to most residents.

My goal was to do the route in two weekends; there are some that run it in one setting.  I chose to do it more casually, mixing in some other stops as well as the Wisconsin Moto Guzzi Rally which I used as a launching location.  In August of 2009, I rode my TW200 Yamaha to the 'Guzzi Rally and Sunday, while most other attendees were headed for home, I rode the few short miles south from the Lake Joy Campground rally site, near Belmont, Wisconsin in the far, southwest corner of the state to the Illinois border.

Rather than highlight the entire first half of my run of the Route here, I'm going to link to the Thread I created on ADV back in August of 2009.  That links to my Picasa Photo albums, all of the photos are there, many if not most of them have captions that tell the story.

My ride that weekend was cut a bit short due to the complete and fatal lockup of my Garmin Quest.  For some very redundant and rare reason, I chose to print out maps of the Route's southern half while still at home.  I normally never do that but did in this case and for awhile, those maps kept me on track.  You have to see what the detailed maps of the Route look like to appreciate the hundreds of twists and turns the ride takes on back roads.  Looking at my tankbag (a very small one on the TW), trying to remember "......two left, then skip the next right, taking the next right....." got really old and next to impossible for me to remember without stopping at most every intersection.  Adding to the aggravation factor was that I used Wisconsin Bicycle Federation Maps highlighted printouts (I'm a huge fan and use them religiously);  they accurately detail 99.9% of the time gravel vs. paved routes over the entire state, but the issue is that often the road names on the maps differ from the locally-named road signs at the intersections.

So, by the time I got to Sparta, I'd had enough and cut short my planned stopping point of Neillsville (which is where I began the 2nd leg later that year).

Enough's the link to the Thread on ADV where many photos w/captions tell the story better than I can here.  There are 4 days of photos, including the Rally, my exploring and my ride on the Wisconsin Cheese  Country Trail.


  1. Sounds like quite the trip. I wsh I had the yen and desire to ride gravel. I sem to be a dedicated street biker with a little MotoX mixed in. Mi think however if I had an adventure touring bike instead of a cruiser I could get into it. Have fun!

    1. Dar, it makes fun riding and I think you'd be surprised at how much of this Route you could accomplish on your bike. I've done a few of these roads on my old CX500 Custom and now do a lot of them on my Ascot, which isn't really all that much different than a Honda Shadow....mine even has a Shadow gas tank :)

      Thanks for tagging along!

  2. Looks awesome, will need to add that to my plans.

    1. Thanks Roger, when you plan to Execute, be sure and let me join you.