Our usual Labor Day for the past decade or so has been to haul the bikes up north for some riding and camping. This year we decided to stay at the family cabin instead, but we took the bikes and got a couple good days of riding in.
Since #3 son got married and moved to Alpha I don't get to ride with him as often as I'd like so on Saturday we trailered the bikes over there and he, his little sister (princessbee), and I rode the roads and trails between Channing and Gwinn. Son rode the queen's 225; he's 6'2” so it's kind of a mis-match. But he's always liked that bike.
We unloaded the bikes near the Porterfield singletrack area- none of that for us though, we just stayed on the back roads.
We found a nice campsite on a lake:
Complete with toilet facilities:
And a launch ramp:
We visited Fred's helmet:
And we found the location of the Escanaba River lookout tower. I wasn't too surprised to find the tower gone- most towers have been torn down. All we found of it was a couple of footings:
But adjacent to the tower location was an old foundation and chimney- yes, another chimney-without-a-house. I assume it was living quarters for whoever manned the tower. It was a pretty cool find.
A great day to ride.
About halfway through the ride I swapped bikes with my son so he could try out the 350. then about 10 miles from the end I let the princess ride the 225 since it'll probably be her bike next year when she's street legal. She's ridden it before and does fine on it. She pronounced the Seat Concepts seat “amazing”, and after 55 miles on a CRF150 seat I can see why she'd feel that way. Oh, by the way, guess who rode the 150 the last 10 miles? You guessed it, good old Dad, looking like a clown on it.
A few miles from the end we stopped at this nice picnic area on the Michigamme River.
Total miles was about 66, the longest ride by far that the princess has ever taken, and she did most of it on her CRF which has a 2x4 for a seat.
A great day of riding, followed by a terrific meal with the in-laws, then back to Presque Isle for the night.
The plan for Sunday was a day-long ride with the Queen, mostly into Wisconsin. There's really no areas around P.I. where my daughter can legally ride, but she was willing to stay at the cabin so we could go. Thanks sweetie!
And, truth be told, her butt was so sore she probably couldn't have ridden anyway.
Our route took in parts of Cannonshot's tracks through the Northern Highland- American Legion State Forest. I've ridden there before and I thought the Queen would enjoy it. She likes trail riding as long as it's in moderate doses and not too gnarly. And if I take her through too much sand she starts looking mariticidal. So I figured these trails would be fun. I also mixed in some pavement and promised her a nice lunch at the Wolf Pack in St Germain or Leif's in Eagle. My plan worked, mostly.
It rained pretty good Saturday night, and Sunday started off gray and threatening. We packed some munchies, water, and of course, rain gear, and headed out.
Crab Lake road is always fun:
Trail near Boulder Junction:
She's never seen the Stevenson house, so we stopped there and poked around:
Here, the Queen stumbled upon a letterbox
, which is a hobby I'd never heard of. We signed the book, but I guess we'll have to go back sometime and stamp it to be right and proper.
The stretch of trail south of Plum Lake had plenty of puddles, none too deep and all with nice firm bottoms. I went through them the fun way:
While the Queen went through them the boring way:
We were pretty hungry by the time we hit St. Germain, but alas! the Wolf Pack Cafe had closed at noon, which we were well past by then. No problema
, we'll go to Eagle and hit Leif's. So onward, through the fantastic fire lanes of the Vilas County forest, into Eagle River. I'm sure you know what happened next- Leif's was closed as well. “You sure know how to show a girl a good time” was the Queen's comment. It was looking like McDonald's until I remembered the Friendship House. So she got the lunch I'd promised, although it was more like an early dinner by then.
We took some paved back roads from there to County B, the on to the epic Thousand Island Lake Road, which had her grinning from ear to ear. She really likes twisty blacktop the best.
A bit later, we crested a rise near Cisco lake and came upon 4 deer, one of which was an albino. I've never seen one before, so it was pretty cool. We shut down the bikes and watched them for a couple minutes, then coasted slowly down to try and get a closer picture. They casually crossed the road and wandered into the woods, never alarmed by us at all.
Made me wish I had my good camera with some long glass. My beat-up old P&S just wasn't quite up to the job.
Got back to the cabin a little before dark. We'd managed to dodge the rain all day, sometimes riding on freshly wetted roads but never in the rain. That pattern held right up to the end- the cabin is on an island and five minutes after we got across in the boat the sky opened up.
As usual, we saw no other dual sports on either day. There was a pickup with 2 dirt bikes headed to Porterfield on Saturday, and we saw the tire tracks of a bike on one stretch Sunday, but no bikes. Where are all the dual sporters?
Even though we broke with our usual tradition, it was a great way to spend a long weekend. Here's hoping for a long, mild fall.