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Old 05-02-2008, 06:53 AM   #1
humvee OP
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Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Winterpeg, MB, CANADA
Oddometer: 1,655
Beltrami State Forest, MN...AKA Firetower Tour

I planned out this route 2 years ago, but haven’t had the chance to do it. I received an early kitchen pass for my birthday, so the first ride idea I had was to scratch this ride one off the list. Beltrami State Park in Northern MN. Originally I planned it as an overnighter with my riding buddy, Tobi, but we couldn’t come up with with a weekend which would work.

So…we compressed the route, took a day off work and made it a day trip. The trip isn’t nearly as adventuresome as some (most), but it was great to get out in Spring, and check out some future camping spots for the family. I’m also posting as a way to show other locals an idea for a day ride and what to expect along the way. Our route looked roughly like this:

Tuesday, April 29. Tobi lives out of town, so we met up Steinbach. Temps were around 2C, and I warmed up with coffee with the Mennonite grannies in A+W. Tobi arrived shortly thereafter and we filled up with gas. We’d be doing this often, as Tobi has just a 150km range.

Very nice roads all the way to Woodridge, (curvy, by Manitoba standards), at which point you have your choice of gravel to get to #12. No pics, but it’s the Sandilands area, with pine trees on both sides, with ATV trails in and out of the forest.

We crossed at hwy #89. The border guy was cool, talked about the bikes and how Tobi can get there faster, but I can take the shortcut (cruiser vs. dirt bike). He said he’s had groups of Harleys, or groups of Gold Wings, but never seen an odd couple like us…and wondered why we even bothered hanging out with each other.After 15 minutes were on our way.

We stopped in Roseau for gas and lunch. Typical small town Americana. I like this town, angled parking downtown, hardware stores on every corner. I had potato dumplings for the first time. I asked the waitress what they were, as I had never had them before. After the meal (where I had left 1 dumpling un-eaten), the waitress comes around with a smile on her face, puts her arm around me and asked how I liked them. I (lied) and said they were good, but admitted they taste like perogy dough. She laughed and said that you kinda need to be brought up on them to like them. 2 thumbs up for Nelson’s Diner. Where else can you get a burger for $1.95 these days?

Oddly enough, Tobi’s wife’s name is Kerri and my first 2 initals are RJ

Next we’re off to Hayes Lake State Park. Plenty of forest rodents along the way. Tobi almost bagged one while looking down at the GPS. This is one of the entrances to Beltrami Forest. Originally this trip was called “Tour of the firetowers”, but due to time contrtaints, we were only able to see 2 of them. FWIW, One had a no trespassing sign, and the other had a ladder that started 30’ up.

Still quite a bit of snow, They got hammered by the same storm which has postponed the Icebreaker Rally in NW Ontario.

I went alone to check out the campsites, there was no-one there.

There are unserviced campsites in the Forest, so we followed some gravel to Bemis Hill campground. Nice, indoor motorcycle parking while you camp…Fancy!

Next we tried getting to Blueberry Hill campground, but the GPS maps weren’t working properly, and I had neglected to bring my paper maps. Gives us a reason to go back.

We finished up the day with dinner in Warroad at the Lakeview Restaurant. Again very friendly staff who wanted Tobi to stay the night. Then another gas stop in Steinbach and home before dark to put the kids in bed.

Deep Fried Walleye, $14.99 includes salad and soup bar.

We just scratched the surface of the trails and roads within Beltrami Forest. Next time hopefully we can spend a night or two there.
"Explore an unpaved road with a new friend" - Fortune Cookie, September 30, 2013

humvee screwed with this post 05-02-2008 at 08:08 AM
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Old 05-02-2008, 09:18 AM   #2
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: ND
Oddometer: 113

Good report and pics. Being from ND, I been to several of the spot you rode just can't mistake those upper midwest towns/cafes/hardware stores.....not to mention the walleye fries. Looks like fun...except the white stuff.
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Old 05-02-2008, 09:22 AM   #3
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Joined: Oct 2005
Location: Denver, CO
Oddometer: 1,805
I was born in Beltrami County and spent several summers out there growing up. I would definitely like to try and make it back on a bike. I will aim for summer, though.
RISK: "The loftier your goals, the higher your risk, the greater your glory."
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Old 05-02-2008, 09:44 AM   #4
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Joined: Aug 2002
Location: Toronto, ON
Oddometer: 56,744
It sure looks like a nice place to ride! Thanks for the report and pics
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Old 05-02-2008, 10:37 AM   #5
tv guy
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Joined: Jul 2005
Location: South Louisiana
Oddometer: 103
Thanks for the report you have added yet another area I have to put on my "to ride" list. Now I just need to find the time.....and more maps.
Motorcycling, it's more than Adventure....

It's Transportation!
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Old 05-02-2008, 01:16 PM   #6
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Joined: May 2008
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Oddometer: 134
Originally Posted by humvee
Tobi arrived shortly thereafter and we filled up with gas. We’d be doing this often, as Tobi has just a 150km range.
I just wanted to pipe in. I did make the home stretch to 147KM without going to reserve... So My bike isn't quite as pathetic as it sounds! that all aside I still have twice the range of the average harley!

Humvee.... It was an awesome ride... Let's do it again!
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