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Old 09-18-2013, 09:57 AM   #1
Tetreves OP
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Location: The Big Minne
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TMAT North

A while back I rode the southern portion of the Trans Minnesota Adventure Trail Central and Eastern tracks. I just finished riding the northern (relative to Minneapolis) portion.

Day 1: I started the trail late morning in Lake Elmo, heading north. Notice that the bike is fairly clean.






A quick stop for some lunch in Hinckley.



A few miles of gravel roads later, I was on to the more difficult ATV/OHM trails in the St. Croix State Forest.






Over this bridge the hill goes straight vertical.





This hill got pretty sandy.



After a bit of digging, a couple guys on ATV's stopped by and gave a push. Here's the hole before I filled it in again.



Leaving the St. Croix trail, I noticed I exited through a dead end. I had to laugh.



And another dead end straight ahead.



Side note: the Hay Creek Outpost gas station is NOT open for business. It's labeled on the TMAT East trail as "Get gas here if going north!" So I planned to just that. Upon seeing the "No trespassing" signs, spider webs on the gas pumps, and a locked store-turned-cabin, I thought perhaps instead of "Keep Out" they should post "No gas". It's also 20 miles from anywhere. So what did I do? I headed north.

Starting the Gandy Dancer Trail



later on it gets narrower



and narrower



and...



Wait, I know I've seen a picture of this puddle here on ADV. There was a warning that it's really deep. Time to turn back and hit the county road.

At this point, finding gas was on the priority list. The GPS told me the best bet was Kerrick. Not exactly on the route, but without gas I can only ride downhill.

I camped for the night at the north end of Nemadji.

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Tetreves screwed with this post 09-18-2013 at 10:55 AM
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:22 AM   #2
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Day 2:

It rained steadily most of the night. The next morning was foggy and grey, and turned into misting showers for most of the morning, and early afternoon.



One of the county roads had a bridge that was closed for construction.



Damn.



The road through Jay Cooke was also closed. Eventually I made my own detour to Skyline Parkway. This road is a blast! I stopped at a scenic overlook and decided to try the panoramic feature on my phone. It turned out pretty well.



Further up the same road I see this:



There had not been a previous sign warning to the impending closure "Road Closed Ahead" could have been politely placed at the start of the road, but this was aggravating 8 miles into this road. I could fit the bike past if I removed the luggage, so I decided to take a look. I'm glad I did as I found this cool bridge they're building.









I also found this at the end of the construction area.



You can walk around to the right, but the steep dropoff made it questionable. I guess I get to ride that great road back down the hill!



After another self made detour, I was back on top looking over Duluth again.



There was another road closure on Seven Bridges. Needless to say, I was tired of that nonsense. I did end up down by the lake north of Duluth, but the pictures from this part of the trip went missing.

North of Duluth, on the way to Ely, the roads were pretty wet, but I was staying dry.









Later, in the Superior National Forest, the sun finally came out. I stopped for a snack.



Here's a bridge:



There are all of 3 places to choose from for dinner in Ely, so I picked the one that said "Boathouse". It looks like it belongs in a backcountry outfitter town, so that's good.



The wait staff directed me to a nice camp location nearby. The lady that runs the place said I could help myself to the firewood piled over there.



This was a very good thing, as it was supposed to be a chilly night (34F). So I took the campsite closes to the wood pile and proceeded to dry out my gear from the night before (I was dry, but some gear was slightly damp).



As the temperature dropped, I kept the fire going for warmth, and relaxed.

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Old 09-18-2013, 10:43 AM   #3
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Day 3:

It was cold in the morning, but should be warming up throughout the day. So I took my time in camp before hitting the trail, waiting for some warmth to come back.

I got started up the Echo Trail, another wonderful road that goes through the wilderness and passes nothing on the way to no where. It was beautiful.













I must have ridden for over an hour without sign of another car, and the only people I saw were way out on a lake in a canoe.

I came to Vermillion Falls and stopped to stretch my legs and have a look around.












Back on the trail, I came to the most difficult section of the TMAT. They call it a "road". Or something...



The puddles started getting really bad, so I put the phone away in a ziplock and kept it there.



It was a good thing, too. Some of those puddles are deep and slippery. Everything was coated with mud, my right foot was soaked. It was quite the adventure in there.









I must be doing something right!



One puddle was deep enough that the skid plate hit the far side with some force and caused a dent while exiting the puddle. I heard it hit at the time and noted that it was the skid plate hitting the ground. That puddle was deceptively deep.



Made it to Canada, eh?



I figured I had about an hour of riding time left in me, so I headed south.



Logging roads:





I really hadn't taken any pictures of myself yet, so here you go.





The shadows were getting long, and I was exhausted from the days ride. I was excited to finally reach the intended campground until I got there and saw this:



Seriously, why is everything closed!!

Ok, there's no good place around for dispersed camping, but I'll look on the way to the next campground, 40 minutes away. Instead I find this:



A porcupine. Ok, enough of that cuteness, time to sleep!



The panoramic function on the camera doesn't know how to handle waves.

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Old 09-18-2013, 10:51 AM   #4
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Day 4:

I spent some time going over the bike to make sure all was well after the previous day's hard ride through the mud. Other than lots of dirt, and a bent skid plate, it seems to be alright.



Along the way, down some gravel road, I saw a sign that I thought was odd.



Hmm...that's kind of different. Then I see the next house.






Here's a lake.





From here, there isn't much to tell. Follow the river road into St. Cloud, ride home, sleep.

Now to wash that mud off the bike, change the oil, change the tires, change the air filter, clean the chain, fix the skid plate...
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Old 09-18-2013, 11:37 AM   #5
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Thanks for the report. I may have to put this on the list for next year with fresh tires on the DR. My biggest concern will be running with the stock tank for fuel. If I don't change it I'll have to make sure to have at least 1 rotopax can attached.
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Old 09-18-2013, 12:21 PM   #6
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Nice report.
This is also on my list of things to do next year.

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Old 09-18-2013, 06:35 PM   #7
Tetreves OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FirstPath View Post
Thanks for the report. I may have to put this on the list for next year with fresh tires on the DR. My biggest concern will be running with the stock tank for fuel. If I don't change it I'll have to make sure to have at least 1 rotopax can attached.
The V-Strom has a nice large tank (5.2 gallons or so). As a cheap backup plan, I have a "tool tube" (really it's a user manual holder for a tractor). Inside the tool tube perfectly fits a standard large MSR fuel canister (from REI or your camp stove). I didn't need the extra fuel on this trip, but there was a time (when I didn't fill in Hinckley and found out Hay Creek is closed) that I put almost 5 gallons in.
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:08 PM   #8
Xanthophyll
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Surprise, surprise... everything closed in Minnesota. I would have never guessed....!

Great report, I really want to do this sometime!
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Old 09-19-2013, 07:55 AM   #9
GordyMN
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Thanks for the RR. Looking to do part of that northern section in a couple weeks.

Now wishing I would have ordered up those TKC 80's
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:07 AM   #10
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Awesome!
Thanks for sharing, it's always fun to see stuff you've ridden a number of times in a ride report.
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Old 09-19-2013, 12:00 PM   #11
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That cool bridge...

The bridge you saw being worked on is being repaired, not built from scratch. It was mightily damaged in the June flooding last summer. The road at the bridge had washed out and there were drop-offs of 4-5 feet from the damage. I was just past there a week or so ago and we were able to get past the heavy equipment. They are doing some cool rock work there and it looks like it will be quite nice. Nice report in a great area !

Brent
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Old 09-19-2013, 07:07 PM   #12
2whl-hoop
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Nice!
I've been wanting to do a day trip leaving from my parent's near Moose Lake, riding up to Ely, and then the Echo Trail. Seeing those pictures makes it a must do!!!
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Old 09-19-2013, 09:34 PM   #13
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Nice ride.
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Old 10-13-2014, 03:35 PM   #14
XCSkiingrocks
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Could a 1982 nighthawk 450 handle a trail like this? I want to start some advriding but want a highway capable bike for getting to school. I am looking a on CL but I dont got much $ but do own the 450. First post I hope more to come.
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