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Old 06-02-2013, 08:29 PM   #31
kingbee OP
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After a frustrating week of things breaking down- cars, lawn tractors, computers, even the trusty DR- I finally got some riding in.


First, the breakdowns: never mind about the car, mower, or computer- this is a MC forum. You want to know about the bike.
Saturday afternoon I took a short ride on some trails around the neighborhood with my daughter- her first riding of the year. I noticed that my bike was making some weird internal rattling sounds from the right side, so we cut the ride short and headed home to investigate.
All bikes have some weakness, a “known issue”, an internet-myth-until-it-happens-to-you type of thing. KLRs have the doohickey, DR650s have the NSU and 3rd gear blowups, Beemers have FD failures. For the DR350 it's the shift drum bolt- comes loose, creates all manner of havoc inside the motor. It's easy to check and fix, and costs nothing but some oil and maybe a gasket. But I've never checked mine. So, pulled the cover off, bolt's tight, hmmmm. Poked around, found that the nut holding the primary drive gear onto the end of the crank was loose. Shudder to think what carnage would have resulted from that falling off. Back together, smooth as silk again.
Obligatory photo of the princess before we bailed.



Sunday, after a few honey-dos, I headed out for a short ride near home. I wanted to find an old cemetery I'd heard about, but the road I thought would get me there was gated and posted. Then I rode down a forest road I hadn't been on before, but got turned back again, this time by impassable mud. Dead ends and turnaounds happen a lot when I'm scouting new stuff but it still can be


So decided to hit some Super Secret Local Trails that I've ridden before, just to end the weekend on a positive note. Here are some pics I took.
Plenty of mud in the woods still:


Even roads that drain well have water in spots. Old M-28:

There were Trilliums by the trillions. Here's a few:



This muddy little 'wheeler trail leads to the top of a bluff:

Where you get this view of Wakefield. That's Sunday Lake in the distance:

The water that leaves Sunday Lake flows underground through a tunnel and comes out this hole:

It creates a nice little waterfall and rapids. Not a named fall, so nothing that will make it into Cannonshot's waterfall thread, but still a pretty spot:

This becomes Planter's Creek, and just a bit downstream is Root Beer Falls, which is in Cannon's thread.


Headed home on a RR grade trail that uses this cool trestle:



Hit another SSLT that follows a RR grade along a swamp. High and dry until this:

I've been through that hole later in the summer when it's dry, and I can tell you, it's a deep hole. There's at least a foot and a half of water there, plus another foot of loonsh*t, so I turned around and took a bypass. The rest of the trail is nice:

Passes right by a golf course. Didn't see anyone playing. Must all be at the 19th hole.



Well, that was my ride today. Hope you enjoy the pics, and thanks for coming along.


Cheers,
Dave
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Old 06-09-2013, 06:24 PM   #32
kingbee OP
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I had Friday off and the plan was to join the Princess and the Queen at the cabin for the weekend. I decided to ride the bike and take the scenic route. The cabin is south, so naturally I headed north.
Thought I'd head up towards Porcupine Mountain State Park, look at Superior, then ride over to the Norwich Mine area south of Ontonagon.
It had been a while since I'd been on South Boundary Road, and I'd forgotten how much fun it is.

On summer weekends it can be quite an RV parade, but this was a Friday in early June, so I saw only 5 cars, 1 motorcycle, 1 Can-Am trike, and a guy on a pair of those cross-country-skis-on-wheels things, whatever they're called. It was a beautiful ride.
This looks like the end of the earth but it's just the end of South Boundary Rd.

Couple pictures of a tranquil Lake Superior:



This motel has seen better days:



Headed south into the Ottawa N.F. to the Norwich Outcrop. This was the site of a flourishing copper mine in the mid- 1850s. There are some ruins of foundations,dams and shafts left now, and a nice interpretive hiking trail to guide you through it. There is a road to the top, but it's presently closed, so you get to hike from the bottom of the bluff:

Some nice views from up there:

Some info:



It's worth the hike up there if you're at all interested in U.P. Mining history. Budget a couple of hours to do it, and bring something other than riding gear to hike in.


After that, I slabbed it to Bruce Crossing (hit reserve 1 mile before town), gassed up, then down 45 to Watersmeet. Duck Lake Road from Watersmeet to Land O' Lakes is as entertaining a road as you'll find anywhere. I was having so much fun I forgot to take any pictures. After that I meandered my way over to Pea Eye and my waiting girls.


Headed home Sunday, in a light but steady rain. I only had a couple hours so I just took the back way through the National Forest. Even though the Ottawa doesn't offer much for off-roading the forest roads are still very entertaining:

Nice overlook:

The oft-photographed Bridge on the River PI:



Overall, a nice weekend of riding.


Cheers,
Dave
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Old 06-10-2013, 02:36 AM   #33
WVhillbilly
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Now if my company doesn't send me up there I'm going to be very unhappy.

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Old 06-14-2013, 09:08 PM   #34
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Sometimes the best rides are the short ones

Summers are short here in the U.P., so I try to get some riding in every weekend. Sometimes I can take a whole day, and sometimes it's just a couple hours. But even a short ride is better than nothing.
This weekend I have a bunch of stuff to do so, knowing that ride time would be scarce I got up early Friday (I work 4 tens) and rolled out at 0600 for a couple hour jaunt.
I live right on the MI/WI border; across the line in Wisconsin lies a great riding area (here) that's become my go-to place when I have only limited time, like today. I find something new to me almost every time I ride there; today was no exception.


My objective was this:

That's the Mellen fire tower there in the distance. Naturally I didn't go straight there. Today's ride took me down the aptly named Snake Track Road, to the just as twisty Apple Creek Road. Just after a bridge over the Potato River I saw a little two-track that I'd overlooked before. When a trail peels off near a river or lake it usually leads to a cool spot by the water. I've found some great camping spots that way, and even more promising fishing spots, although I'm not much of a fisherman. So I tooled down this trail:

Which led to a little clearing right near the river, with a footpath down to the water. Looks like somebody's fishing hole:

But what surprised me was this old stone building on the trail:

I have no idea what it is or was. It's sure built for stout though- even the roof is concrete, and the door is plated with thick steel:

The whole thing was a little eerie.


Onward to the Tower! The road up the hill is pretty washed out in spots:

The tower itself was a bit of an anticlimax- you can't see past the trees unless you climb the tower, which I didn't do. But here's what it looks like:

Just below the tower there's a side trail that leads to a pretty nice overlook. That's Mellen there below.

But the highlight of the ride turned out to be the mine ruins I passed on the way up. This old structure is right next to the road:

I got off and hiked around a bit and found more ruins:

Pretty cool the way they kind of loomed up out of the woods as I walked. It was just like discovering an ancient temple in the jungle somewhere. But with 'wheeler trails to it. And graffiti. And beer cans.
I'll get back there soon, with a better camera and hopefully better light- this kind of stuff fascinates me. But I was running over my self-allotted time limit, so it was time to slab it back to the barn.


Thanks to all for looking in, and for the kind comments.


Cheers,
Dave
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Old 08-03-2013, 02:14 AM   #35
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Talking Absolutely right...

After carefully reading and looking at every picture you posted here, I would agree. It appears there is little there with any redeeming values for a two wheeled traveler to see or do. Wouldn't so much as make a wheel track up there if I can avoid it.
Not......
Love the pics man. I have been through there a few times in commercial vehicles over the years but never on the scooter. Seeing this stuff makes this move up considerably on my list of places to go soon. I hope to follow some of the tracks of Cannonshot and you and the others who have been there before.
Thanks for sharing your rides with us.
Stay safe man...
Ken
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Old 08-03-2013, 07:09 AM   #36
WVhillbilly
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I'm hoping to be up there in the next few weeks working.
I'll bring my LC4
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Old 08-09-2013, 05:07 PM   #37
kingbee OP
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It's been a while since I've added anything to this thread, but the sad reality is I just haven't had much time for riding- family responsibilities, projects at my Mother-in law's house, and a week's vacation that didn't include motorcycles pretty much ate up July and half of August. I had planned a 4 day camping ride at the end of June but that had to be scrubbed (see "family responsibilities"). Actually it's probably for the best, since with the wet spring and early summer we had, the mosquitoes have been terrible this year, worse than anyone can remember. And camping with all those skeets really bites. And sucks. They're still thick in the woods now, but nothing like June and July was.

Anyway, I rescheduled my trip for mid-August, so next weekend I'm taking 4-1/2 days and heading in a generally Northeasterly direction, up to the Huron Mountain area, to do some more camping and scouting for our annual Labor Day family riding weekend. After a couple days there I'll head down through Crystal Falls and Alpha, on into Wisconsin to check out some Cannon tracks in the Nicolet. Then who knows?

That's the last weekend of the rally in Eagle River so maybe I'll cross paths with some Adventure Rider rockstars. Here's hopin'

If I have any sense of duty at all, I should have some pics to add to this thread.

WVhillbilly- Definitely bring a D/S. August and September are the best months for riding up here. Cooler, fewer bugs, and soon, fall color.

Cheers,
Dave
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Old 08-10-2013, 05:27 AM   #38
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If I make it I'll bring a dual sport for sure.
I just finished a job in Connecticut, not sure where I'll be next.
Could be the U.P. could be Miami.

I gotta go where I'm sent, but I did put my request in for da U.P.
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Old 08-10-2013, 06:46 PM   #39
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Having Lived on the Marathon/Lincoln County Line Road{between Wausau and Merrill} back in the brutal winter{and the following Summer was no better} of 1977/78, those photos remind me of years gone by...10 months of winter and 2 months of rough sledding
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:29 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingbee View Post
That's the last weekend of the rally in Eagle River so maybe I'll cross paths with some Adventure Rider rockstars.
Dave...if you hit the rally, be sure to look me up (I'm the big ugly Yooper with a cheesy mustache, and my only redeeming character is that I ride a KTM 640 Adventure).
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:40 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper_Bob View Post
I'm the big ugly Yooper with a cheesy mustache
Guys matching that description are pretty thick on the ground. Can ya narrow it down a bit?

I'll be the big ugly guy, no mustache, on a loaded down DR350. I'll be lookin' out for you.

Cheers,
Dave
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Old 08-21-2013, 07:32 PM   #42
kingbee OP
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Here, as promised, are some words and photos from my 3+ day ride last weekend. Had a great time, weather was perfect, scouted some places I'd never ridden, and revisited some trails I've enjoyed before.


Day zero was after work Wednesday evening. I had decided to have the bike all loaded up and split as soon as I'd cleaned up from work and had some dinner. Left a little later than I wanted, due to the princess forcing me to eat some lemon meringue pie she'd made. I was already pretty stuffed from dinner but I applied myself and managed to get the pie down. The sacrifices we make as parents!


I wanted to get to Burned Dam campground in the Ottawa N.F. for the first night, about 75 miles from home. It's a nice quiet spot that also happens to be free- I really hate paying ten or fifteen bucks to hang a hammock for 7 hours. I've been called cheap. I prefer “frugal”, “thrifty”, or “abstemious”, but I guess cheap covers it too.


Anyway, it was dark before I got to Watersmeet where I gassed up (and saw a Cannonshot card BTW) and I still had another half hour to go. I don't enjoy riding at night, and the DR's headlight is pretty pathetic which made it even less pleasant. Oh, and it was cold- got down to the low 40s that night. So I was glad to see the sign for the campground.


The place was empty, no surprise there, so I picked a spot and got the hammock rigged. Slept like a log. No pictures from day zero but here's the campsite the next morning:





A shot of Burned Dam Falls:





Day one started with a pleasant ride through the National Forest and into farmland along M-28. A well-known sight on 28 at Golden Glow Road is this chimney-without-a-house. I think this is the third such chimney I've posted in this thread. If someone starts a “chimneys without houses” thread I'll have a head start.



Slabbed it down M-28 to Sidnaw, then back into the Forest following the Sturgeon River. An absolutely stunning area, worth some time to explore if you've never been there. I have, so only made a couple of stops. Here is the Sturgeon River:



Thought this was an interesting view- kinda lopsided.



From there I cut East onto the Baraga Plains. There's an ORV area there but it's a very sandy area and muscling a heavy bike in sand ain't my idea of fun so I stayed on the roads and bypassed it, which the roads are bad enough, thanks. Another cool thing on the plains is the abandoned prison. I didn't go there this trip but I'll try to post some shots from last year. My computer crashed a couple months ago so getting at them might be a chore.


Once the woods start back up north of the plains the trails are excellent. The soil is still sandy in places but it's firmer, and the trails twist and swoop and are lots of fun. They look like this:

and this:

and even though we hadn't had rain in a long while, there's some of this:



Got onto the blacktop near L'Anse. Was hoping to get some breakfast thing off the dollar menu at BK, it being about 10:15, but of course I was now on Eastern time so brekkers was over. Had to settle for a dollar burger instead.


The plan for the rest of the day was to do some scouting around the Silver Lake and Dead River storage basins, then up to Big Bay for gas, then find a campsite for the night. Day one To Be Continued.


Cheers,
Dave
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Old 08-23-2013, 08:35 PM   #43
kingbee OP
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Day One continued.

From L'Anse I headed east eventually getting onto the Peshekee Grade. At “Four Beers Corner' a road heads north, to the Yellow Dog Plains and beyond. I always like to see what decorations have been added at the Corner, Bit more junk than last year, I think the phone is out of order, and no Cannonshot card.



I get 95-100 miles before I hit reserve with my stock tank; I figured that might be pushing it since my next fuel was Big Bay, so I decided to continue on into Champion to top off, then double back up the Peshekee to Dishno Road, my next turn. Dishno would take me into Wildcat canyon and up by Silver lake storage basin- some very remote country. I didn't want to have to worry about fuel, and later I was glad I'd done it.
This area, between Peshekee Grade and 510, north of 41 and south of the Yellow Dog River, is some awesome country. At times it seems almost mountainous, especially if you're a midwesterner and never seen real mountains. The roads roll and twist, sometimes in dense woods, and sometimes opening into sudden vistas that take your breath away. But always there is the sense of isolation. When I'm scouting alone in places like this I get a strange feeling that mixes fear and anxiety with a deep sense of self-reliance and accomplishment. I always leave prepared to deal with common problems, but I realize there are countless other issues that could arise and strand me, or worse. I imagine strange noises from my bike, I worry about fuel, and I wonder how long it would take to walk out, or how long before anyone found me. Next hunting season? Next time the land is logged? Never? Solo riding in areas like this is something I cannot possibly in good conscience recommend to anyone, but at the same time, I think everyone should try it.
I spent several hours back in the woods and barely scratched the surface of what's there. Didn't take many pictures but here are a couple:
How can you resist a road named Grapevine?




Eventually I hit the southwest side of Silver Lake Storage Basin. I found and noted a couple of nice campsites on the lake, which I hope to come back to some day. This view of the dam is from one of the camps.

The old dam failed in '03 and the resulting flood closed bridges on the two highways into Big Bay, so the residents were isolated for a time. The new dam was built in 2008.
Had to keep moving so headed onto the Red Road, well named:

then to 510 north towards Big Bay. Stopped at Big Pup Falls, a pretty spot right next to the road:



Took Bushy Creek Truck Trail off 510. It follows the Yellow Dog River, and there's a side trail down to Yellow Dog Falls. Another nice spot.



These truck trails are fun to ride. This one features a deeply rutted, washed out gully that leads to a small creek crossing (Bushy Creek, actually. Or Brushy Creek as some maps list it) It wasn't too tough on a bike but ten years or so ago I took it the other direction, east to west, in a stock Toyota 4X4 pickup. Looking at it now I'm surprised I made it. I recall dragging the rear bumper crossing the creek, and the gully was so narrow- barely wide enough for the truck- that I was riding more on the sidewalls than the tread. My son was along and took pictures; I'll have to see if I can find them. Pictures. You know, prints. Made from film. Anyway, here's a view of it now. Hard to get any sense of scale, guess you'll have to ride there to see it.

and a little fall on Bushy Creek, just below the crossing. Not sure if it has a name or not:



Nice view of the Yellow Dog:



Then on to Big Bay for gas and a snack. Sitting in the harbor I talked with the owner of a 1956 Chris Craft that was still running the original Universal marine engines- flathead sixes- that have never been overhauled. Impressive.


Wanted to hit Alder falls as long as I was over this way so on down to Alder Creek Truck Trail. Missed the trail to the falls the first time by and had to double back. It's a short hike from the road to the falls but well worth it. You hike down into this ravine:

And the falls:



A sketchy bridge on the Truck Trail:



Classic deer camp architecture: the repurposed city bus:



From there I took the Northwestern Road back over to Big Eric's Bridge, where I used the water pump to fill my canteen, then on south to a campsite I've used in years past. Free, of course. Sitting around a campsite, alone, is pretty boring to me so I generally ride until an hour or so before sunset. That gives me plenty of time to set up camp, get organized, and eat something, after which time I generally just hit the sack.
Evening shot:

Next morning- better light:



More later. Thanks for coming along.


Cheers,
Dave
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Old 08-24-2013, 08:38 AM   #44
WVhillbilly
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Once again I may be headed up there for work.
Enough riding season left to drag my bike with me?
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Old 08-24-2013, 10:13 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by WVhillbilly View Post
If I make it I'll bring a dual sport for sure.
I just finished a job in Connecticut, not sure where I'll be next.
Could be the U.P. could be Miami.

I gotta go where I'm sent, but I did put my request in for da U.P.
Sounds like we could be in the same line of work.....I work on cell towers, well....the little boxes or buildings at the bottom of cell towers actually.

I was working in Northern Michigan last fall and I took my 650L with me. You will be very sorry if you don't take a bike. And don't worry about the weather, just take more clothes!

BTW....I grew up in West Virginia.... do you know where Mason County is?
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