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Old 08-15-2008, 02:24 PM   #1
Guano Loco
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Joined: May 2006
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Oddometer: 599
The Angle of the Dangle and the Mighty Mississipp


When my ride to AZ and MEX fell through because of time issues, I decided to take a shorter trip that I've had brewing on the back burner for a while ... up to the Northwest Angle. This is as far north as you can go in the US (except Alaska, of course), involves a trip through Manitoba, and seemed like a pretty cool destination.
I kind of wanted to head over to Rouleau, SAK if I had time to check out the set for Corner Gas ... there wasn't time. I did manage to plan a route that took me to the headwaters of the Mississippi River, though.
Before I left, I put some fresh paint and "graphics" on my helmet and took off my 46L Givi for a bigger top case ... a monster box I got for seventeen bucks at Wal*Mart. I put some "graphics" on that, too.

Helmet from the rear:

The big Wal*Mart top case:

That was about it for preparations ... time to saddle up!

Coming up: Day 1

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Old 08-15-2008, 02:48 PM   #2
Guano Loco
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Joined: May 2006
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Oddometer: 599
Day 1: Grand Rapids MI to Little Cedar River MI

I decided to take a northern route up through the UP of Michigan, across Wisconsin, into Minnesota at Duluth up to International Falls, and then along the Rainy River to Warroad MN for my crossing into Canada.

Ready to go Tuesday:

I decided to take a leisurely tour on back roads instead of making time.
That's a nice way to ride.

Found this funky little sculpture park north of Kalkaska:

Another pic:

And another:

That place was pretty close to the famous Shoe Tree along US 131:

Kind of a goofy little area, there!


Obviously, I intended to get much more north than this!

I stayed on 131 up to Petosky, and then hooked over to M-119 and its famous Tunnel of Trees.
Here's a shot from 119:

I must confess to hauling some serious buttock down the miles and miles of this tree-lined, narrow road.
It's gorgeous.
I only stopped once to get a view of Lake Michigan. Traffic was real light, which was a treat. I did hit my highest speed of the day on this road, however, as I ran into a slow-moving parade of Heavily Blingedsons. I just couldn't imagine staying behind them the whole way, and they were spread out pretty well with no way to pass them individually.
I shouldn't have done it, but at least I know the 'Strom is rock steady at 103 even with all the bags and luggage!

After M-119, I just took random roads that headed north or east and worked my way over and up to the Big Mac bridge to cross the straits.

I held off on lunch until I crossed over into the UP because I had my heart (and stomach!) set on one of these:

Lunch, Baby!

I ate everything but the fudge (mmmm ... Turtle!) - I could only make a small dent in that.
Little did I know that this would be the first of only four "real" meals that I would eat over the next six days. Well, I sure made the most of it.

I had always wanted to take US-2 all the way, so I did.
Escanaba in da' moonlight:

Yikes. Pretty blurry.

I kept on out of Escanaba until I came to the campground right where US-2 crosses over the Little Cedar River.
Nice place - eight bucks. That's a good deal.
Got in about 12:30 and made camp.

Day one's stats:

It sure took a long time to cover just 429 miles!
Rouleau wasn't looking good ...

Coming up: Day 2!
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Old 08-15-2008, 03:24 PM   #3
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Wow...that's some storage you have there. Looks like a great trip.
Marty F
'13 Triumph Sprint GT; '14 BMW G 650 GS
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Old 08-15-2008, 05:58 PM   #4
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Old 08-15-2008, 06:41 PM   #5
Guano Loco
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Joined: May 2006
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Oddometer: 599
Day 2: Little Cedar River MI to Rainy River MN

Took off the next morning heading north and west toward Iron River MI.
Went through the town of Spread Eagle MI ... as I was riding in, I was thinking that they wouldn't dare ... it wouldn't be allowed!
But, someone did it:

This ain't JM, so I'll spare the commentary, but here's a close-up:

UPer humor.

Shot of a UP mining town:

Lovely Crystal Falls MI:

A view from Superior WI.
Beautiful town.

Stopped along some WI back road for a little break:

Crossed into MN at Duluth.

Got rained on in MN, which actually felt pretty good as it was well into the 80s.
Was rewarded with a little cool-down and this:

I thought that if I moved a little,
I could make it look the the 'Strom at the End of the Rainbow!

That's MY pot of gold, y'all!

Typical back-road rest break location:

Stirred up a local while I hung out here for a few minutes.
Retired cop - came out with a Python .357 to see what was going on.
Just me!
We checked out each other's weaponry and BSd for a while - nice guy.
I didn't overstay my welcome, though .

The moon over International Falls MN:

There was a tree in the way!

I ran into a couple of guys up fishing, and they told me about a free campground with free firewood (!) about 45 mins away. Sounded pretty good.
Great guys ... they asked me what I was gonna' do for dinner since everything was closed. I proudly mentioned my stash of Doritos, Bud Light, and fudge. They weren't as impressed with my haute cuisine as I thought they'd be ... they gave me a turkey sandwich, a bottle of water, and some apple sauce. I took it.

I headed west on 71 outta' Int'l Falls toward Baudette.
Went about 45 minutes to Nelson State Park.

Here's another shot of the moon along the Rainy River just west of Int'l Falls:

Same MO ... arrived after midnight and set up camp.

I coulda' fished from my tent!

Had the sammich ... it was good: multi-grain bread, big hunks of cheese, and some red onion. Saved the apple sauce for b-fast.

Reflective pr0n:

Took a pic of the trip stats and sacked out about 2:30 (again).

Next up: Day 3 - My Assault on the Angle!

SloNEZ screwed with this post 08-15-2008 at 06:47 PM
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Old 08-15-2008, 07:10 PM   #6
Guano Loco
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Joined: May 2006
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Oddometer: 599
Day 3: Nelson State Park MN to Angle Inlet MN (via Manitoba CAN)

Insert Dr. Evil joke here:

Oh yeah!

A view of Lake of the Woods from Warroad MN

And another:

Finally across the border into Manitoba CAN.
That was quite an adventure in and of itself ... let me just say that the guy working the counter at NAPA is not the one you want to ask for customs advice.

Cruised up through Sprague MAN on the way to the Northwest Angle.
Bought some Export A cigarettes ... two packs at $12.00 a pack.
At least you get 25 per pack ($.48 each!).

Back into the Angle:

If you aren't familiar with the Northwest Angle, you should google it.
Pretty cool!

After a nice, long, FAST haul on some dirt roads, you get to the customs station at the border ... it's just a shack with a video phone in it!
One of the easiest border crossings I ever had.

The basic low-down on the Angle:

The northern-most school in the US (except for Alaska) and the only one-room school in MN:

A shot of Lake of the Woods taken from the northern-most point in the US:

Here's the 'Strom as far north as you can go without a plane or getting wet:

And here's me way up north!

Kinda' hard to read, but here are the GPS coordinates:

Folks, you are looking at the northern-most permanent resident of the 49 states. Mr. Dale Prothero.

He runs a very cool resort up there.

Some more locals.
I was hoping to meet the school marm of the one-room school. No such luck. However, the guy on the right (with yellow bag) is her husband!

He's working on a log cabin back toward Angle Inlet.
The big guy to his right is a fishing guide.
He had one line that just cracked me up.
We were talking about how cold it can get up there (40 - 50 below) and how hard it is to work outside. He said you just have to go bare-handed in that cold sometimes ... and that the only thing you can do with your gloves on is pi$$ your pants!
That struck me a real funny at the time.

A shot of the docks at Prothero's Post - each cabin comes with a boat.

The log cabin being built by the teacher's husband:

This is Jesse. He lives in the northern-most house in the 49 states.
He can only get back and forth from town by boat - no roads.
He only lives there 10 months out of the year, though - not a permanant resident. Great guy.

Had dinner at the northern-most bar and grill ... well, you get the idea.

Here's the owner.
Ex-Marine Great guy.

A shot of my $85-a-night cabin. The thing was HUGE.

Couple of inside shots:

True to form, got to bed about 2:30.

Next up, Day 4. Decision time.
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Old 08-22-2008, 05:49 PM   #7
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Joined: May 2006
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Oddometer: 599
Day 5: N-West Angle to Mississippi Headwaters and Menahga Park


Time to wrap this report up!
Is there a time limit on how long we get to finish these?

Anyhew, took off out of the Angle and headed back into Canada and down back to the US.
Stopped in Sprague, Manitoba to snap a pic of the town in miniature:

Kinda' strange.
I know the winters are long up there, but someone has too much time on their hands!

Took some shots on the fly as I rode through MN down to the headwaters at Lake Itasca.
Here's one:

And another:

Went by lots and lots of sunflower fields ... they were all facing east for some reason. Pretty cool.

Here are my first views of the Mighty Mississipp.
It flows N and then E before heading south ... it's flowing E here.

Hey, Mississippi: You don't look so tough!

Me at the headwaters:

That's Lake Itasca behind the rocks, and the Mississippi River in front!

I walked across the river on the rocks:

And I walked back across this log:

I then rode to Menahga Park.
A bear and a deer both ran across the road in front of me ... lots of wildlife in MN!
The bear ran out right as it started to rain ... the deer right after it finally stopped. The rain was pretty hard for a while, and I kind of wanted to get a room. All the motels were booked, however, so I went to bed wet.
A shot of camp the following morning shows the sun back out the next morning. Schweeeet.
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Old 08-22-2008, 06:01 PM   #8
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Joined: May 2006
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Oddometer: 599
Day 5: Menahga MN to Mt. Horeb WI

Got on the road pretty early on day 5 and followed the Mississippi River south.
It sure is getting big fast!

A shot of Minneapolis:

Getting really big now.

Cool bridge:

A shot over Lake Pepin in the Minnesota Blufflands:

Beautiful area around Lake City.

Another shot of the blufflands:

I crossed into WI at Prarie du Chien (sp?).
Took a pic of the cool fields through that area as sunset was approaching:

Obligatory sunset shots:

Rode another hour or two and made camp in Mt. Horeb:

I know, I know.
I just didn't feel like setting up camp with wet gear in the dark.
Sure was nice in the room, though!
Went out for a walk before bed and found $40.00 cash. Nobody home at the cop shop, so I decided to take care of that in the morning and hit the sack a little after midnight.
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Old 08-22-2008, 06:18 PM   #9
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Joined: May 2006
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Oddometer: 599
Day 6: A tour of Mt. Horab and the long ride home.

Woke up the mext morning in what turned out to be the troll capitol of the world.
Odd - and worth a look.
Stopped by the police station to report the found money. None had been reported as lost, so I left them my contact info just in case and went for some breakfast.
Walked past a LOT of these carved trolls:

Downtown - very charming place:

I ate here:

It was my fourth and final real meal of the trip. I can't believe I only lost two or three pounds.

I had a breakfast that featured lefse ... kind of a Scandinavian tortilla, but it's based on potato:

Mmmm. Two lefses with sausage, potato, cheese, hollandaise, onion, ...

Very, very good. I'm glad I took a pic of the recipe.

I don't know if it was the lefse or not, but my Motoport pants broke.
The same exact place on the zipper - must be right where they bend or something.
I'm hoping to get them back from Wayne early next week.
Guess I'm riding the rest of the way in jeans.

I stopped into the Mustard Museum (that's right - over 5000 old mustard items on display ... very strange and cool).

Evidently, Ken had beaten me to the place - at least they had a picture of
him there:

These things are everywhere:

Took off out of WI, blew through IL and didn't take any other good pix the whole way - except for one lame self-portrait while I was lost in Belvidere.
Here's the first pic I took back home in MI ... at a gas stop.

Finally home late on day 6. SWMBO took a pic of me in the driveway back safe and sound:

I love to travel - but it's always nice to get home.
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Old 08-22-2008, 06:27 PM   #10
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Joined: Oct 2006
Oddometer: 19
Cheers from a fellow Grand Rapids ADVer! I just finished my first legit Adventure Ride -- The Lake Superior Loop!

Always looking for potential ride-mates this fall!
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