Saturday, November 28, 2020

One Of My Annual Seasonal Reads

Tis the season to begin reading books got moved to the shop when our big remodel happened last winter.  A good thing too because in this safe location pilfering prevented.

This is the first one to be opened....every winter at least one of Kenny's books get a read-through, one of five I believe?

If you find our river, this sort of thing interesting and/or care at all about nature, I'd strongly encourage you take a look at the BBC special that was done on Kenny and his lifetime spent in the Whitman Swamp.  Beautifully filmed, it's definitely worth your viewing time.

To honor both Kenny (he autographed a few of my copies) and just as importantly, a wonderful, almost last day of November, I took a ride on Saturday the 28th.  Such a nice day!!


You can see that after the road makes the SW turn from West, there's a straight line right to the edge of the river.  There was a road built there when the Corp of Engineers created Lock and Dam 5A that gave access from the Wisconsin side.  This entire Whitman Swamp area is unique, protected with what I'm told is the longest dike on the river at 3 miles, isolating this backwater area from the main river's flow.

My route in...



"Nice day for a bike ride I'll bet....."

I answered, "Great day for anything, even fishing!"

"Every day is great for fishing and I imagine you say that about your riding too?!"

Where the road continued on when the Dam was built in the 1930's

Kenny's Big Lake Shack in the swamp is not far from this location.



The ride finished up with a loop up on the bluff of Frontenac State Park, unbelievably busy on a late November afternoon, the shadows getting long, our ~50 degrees of day fading fast.

Never thought I'd get another 126 blissful miles in....a shorty I told Peg.  This one may very well be it for the season, hopefully a ride or two on 3 wheels over frozen ground, possibly even frozen water before the warm weather returns.  Look for a Pie Chart soon, a bonus graph for not a dime more!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Sunday, Final Day Of Four - 2020/11/08

 The wind blew a lot all weekend but seemed particularly strong Sunday morning while I was trying to cook breakfast.  On a summer day, the site would have had a fair amount of wind protection but there was less of that in early November.  To give my poor little stove a break, I tucked down behind the log bench and it did make a difference.

It was during my Saturday evening camp fire musings that I began to study my 1953 USGS Ashland 250k map.  Not completely shown here, there's an old Dismantled Rail that appears to have run SE out of Iron River, through Delta and continued on through Sutherland to Bibon where it crossed the Chicago St.Paul Minneapolis and Omaha line, the intersection likely the reason for Bibon to exist.  While curious about the Dismantled (on this 1953 map) Line, I was more interested in the then current line running between Hayward and Ashland Junction.

I've ridden through Mason a few times, a place I'd never driven to since it's off the main Hwy 63 Route that the family has used on our frequent Bayfield trips...we see the sign but never leave the main road to go there.  I only remembered that when I'd last been there, it was likely a shadow of its formal self-sufficient size.

Saturday evening around the fire my curiosity built, leaving me no choice but to ride over there Sunday morning to see what I could see, first to Sutherland, Mason, Bibon, Grandview and then finally back down to Drummond, hoping to see traces of what might have been.

 Here's my clockwise loop, mostly east from the Perch Lake Campground.  For some reason, the Garmin map shows an arrow-straight line coming in from the WNW down to Sutherland.  There was a trace of it visible when I made that north to east turn.

 At the end of someone's driveway, a combination I've not seen before.


I will definitely be back to visit this museum!

Mason's past....

I saw where the ATV Trail left Bibon and headed south, quite obviously on the old rail line but it didn't really look like it was intended for summer, non-sled use so I didn't try it.  It may have been fine but I was apprehensive about trying it though probably could have gone quite a ways through the lowland marsh.

Instead, I got out onto Hwy 63 and headed south into Grandview where it seemed the trail was getting a great deal more usage.  I hopped on and rode it as far as I could, finally coming to a stop where a bridge had once been, now the only way forward was over frozen water.

I had already turned around, stopped before returning to Grandview.

What my location looked like on the National Forest MVUM

Looking south on the old rail line towards Grandview.

Back through Grandview on the ATV Trail, the back side of town, the side I'd never seen before and on to the west.  Since the trail runs through and on private property, summertime use is restricted right through town.  There's a road that runs adjacent to and while on the road, looked over on the huge built up roadbed to soon see this huge trestle, both high and long.  Not much further on, I was able to rejoin the trail, turn back to the east and ride the trail up to and over the trestle.

One more time, crossing the NCT.

This was a ride I was glad I hadn't missed.  I met no one except a wonderful couple on electric bicycles and their two fine Black Labs.  A great conversation about the area, they smiled and seemed appreciative that someone from Minnesota was interested in more than just racing down their old rail line.

The Drummond Visitor Center/Library/Museum....

Next trip for sure!

Back at camp, my weekend trip winding to a close...

But not before another Ham and Cheese.

As experience grew, so did the haute cuisine.

I needed to go home but didn't want to leave so hiked down to Perch Lake one last time.

Left around 1:30, a very purposeful stop in Amery on my way home.

Yep, Black Cherry it absolutely was!

296 riding miles for the weekend.  I'd love to go right back up and do it again (ham and cheese gone) but not this weekend, maybe 5 months from now??