Monday, July 24, 2017

Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail - North Half - 2017

We Had A Big Time!

As individuals, we've done bits and pieces of Chad's Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail (he's on Facebook too) over the last few years, mostly the southern sections. A few years ago,  I did most of the southern half one weekend (most only because of catastrophic GPS failure) and a few weeks later, the northern half.  Both sections were done on my trusty TW200.  Last fall I did the section from Point Detour south to Clam Lake.  Now it was time to do it with friends!

Thursday evening, on my way east to Neillsville where everyone was gathering.  I stopped at our jumping off point....we'd be back here in 12 hours to start The Ride.

A hot, humid day, our motel that evening was exactly what we needed.

Friday's ride, Neillsville (US 10) to Phillips (County W)

Saturday's ride, Phillips to Herbster to set up camp at our favorite place, then on to Point Detour.

To summarize, home, safe and very satisfied!!

Our Ride ------

 Giving instructions for waving to any kindred spirits we may meet...."Use left hand"

 We were just west of Thorp and Jeff wanted fuel, so he led .... the BP directly across from the Thorpedo.

 My timing just off....this cart, full of 4 or 5 young kids, was being pulled by a pony.  We'd been following the tire tracks in the wet gravel for quite a distance.  Something else I noticed here east of Thorp, there were many bicycle tracks in the road.

 Right where the good trails were starting...this gentleman looked at me and said, "You really don't want to ride in there, very wet and I'd suggest that you stay out."  But then he looked at Eric and Jeff and said, " probably could do it but be careful.  The guys are laying down matting under the rock.  Please don't tear it or spin your wheels...we don't want holes in it."

Brand new, unpacked rock went on and on and finally we got to a spot where it stopped.

 I stopped and went back to ask the guys if they thought it wise to keep going.  Rod didn't seem all that convinced, but there appeared to be more thumbs up than down.

 We were gentle.....

There were many sections where the rock had been well incorporated, well used and easier to ride on.

 Our first puddle of any size.....maybe 10,000+ to go.

 The guys wondering if this was a Stop or a Rest Stop....I should have spent less time on the waving and more on useful hand signals.

 This puddle caused us a bit of kerfuffle.....but we proceeded on.

We are all now a bit better at Picking Lines....quick, spontaneous guesses need to be done on SlopeIntoPuddleTraction computations, especially so on blind corners.



 Big Falls County Park....

My bike started having cooling fan issues...on/off at will.  It will need more attention once home.

 On the front lawn of the motel in Phillips....agreement all around that Life Is Pretty Good

Saturday morning, the plan was to stop in Clam Lake for a late breakfast.

 On our way....

 Here we were wandering too far from the Track so Eric rode ahead to see if around the corner the trail was going to work its way back to where we were supposed to be..... wasn't so we turned around.

This was the section that Eric and I saw video of at Chad's seminar....and was the part south of Clam Lake that I was most concerned about.  By this time, we were way, way, Way past worrying about puddles.  This trail was obviously for machines that had handlebars centered over that strip in the middle, not biased to one side or the other.

There was foliage....and then more foliage.  I had leaves stuck under my helmet camera, caught in my jacket's armpits, stuck behind me and wedged under my duffel.

 I've ridden plank roads before but those planks were at 90 degrees to the direction of travel....not here. 

 There wasn't just one of them....visibility was poor, the sun off/on and for a ways, they just kept coming.

 We got through it, my camera was still on top of my helmet and we all had our topknots, surprising considering the branches and bushes we literally rode through.  Jacket's soaked as we dried off the leaves while passing....and we met not a soul.

Clam Lake for lunch at the Elkhorn....


 I DID wash my hands too.....but it was this sign that really caught my eye with words To Live By.

North of Clam Lake I started bird-dogging these two tracks.....someone was obviously ahead of us and not very far.  The fact that at every turn they were doing what we were doing told me that we'd eventually catch them......and we did.  My first reaction to the close-coupled tracking told me that someone was on a smaller trailbike.....and they for all practical purposes were.

A stop in Drummond...Bear Country.

We got to the Delta Diner and there they were....he on a DR400, she on a lowered TW200.  We looked at the license plates and then learned more when we started visiting.  Florida is a long ways away and I guess I already knew that.  They have property in IL and were following the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail as we were, except they started at the IL/WI border.

Discussions back and they lowered the TW200 to make it a better he rode the DR400 all the way UP from Florida....and then we heard something I never, ever thought I'd hear in Wisconsin, "you guys should come down and ride the Everglades, the roads go on and on...."

 And off they went....we continued to see their tracks but never caught them again.

Rod and I did some foraging, unsure of what the future might bring.....Yes they were good.

Since we were riding right by the campground at Siskiwit Lake (a place I've camped at before) I showed the guys where we might end up staying for the night, though Eric and I were determined to stay at the Herbster Public Campground.  So we interrupted our quest for Point Detour once we got to Hwy 13 and headed west the 7 miles to Herbster to hopefully find a spot late Saturday afternoon.

We found a spot but only because the 3" of rain the night before had driven some of the campers away.  Our plan from the beginning had been to stay on the beach in Herbster,  one of our favorite places.  Next time I'm north, I'm going to contact Open Air Places, a service that our niece is providing for people looking for an experience a bit different than the norm.   Check out her webpage and look her up on Facebook!

 What 3" of rain will do....

Once setup, it was on to Point Detour to complete our quest.

 The end of the road.....

 Like herding cats.....we really will have to work on our hand signals for next time.


Back to Corny for some dinner....

Some exploring in Cornucopia....

Then in Herbster....The Gym

Finally ....some quiet time on the it should be.

 Sunday morning, almost ready to go....

Breakfast in Iron River....

Rod headed west from here, Jeff, Eric and I went south to Hayward.  From there, Eric went SE, Jeff and I SW until Turtle Lake.  Jeff back to Minneapolis and me south to Red Wing.

We done pretty good for some old codgers and Eric.