Dual Sport Riding in Minnesota
Okay, I admit it, as much as I enjoy off road riding in southeastern Arizona, I DO get tired of the rocks. I had my first opportunity to ride in Minnesota and Wisconsin since my return from Sierra Vista in May. I always look forward to the change - lots of sand, trees, and some mud.
Dick (my Minnesota riding buddy) and I left my place at about 7:30 AM. It was a perfect day weather wise, clear, cool and sunny. We set out for a ride that we've done many times before. Door to door from my house it comes out to about 280 miles, about 120 miles of pavement (60 each way) and the rest is easy but fun dual sport riding in the dirt.
We stopped for a quick breakfast at McDonalds in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. We crossed the St Croix River into Wisconsin at Osceola (Polaris has an engine plant there) and headed north towards Wolf Creek, Wisconsin. We normally do a creek crossing at Wolf Creek but by-passed it because of all the rain recently. We crossed at a bridge that is used by horses and judging by the level of the creek we made a good decision not to try to cross in the water.
After the bridge, I got really stuck in the mud. I wouldn't have been able to get out of the situation if I didn't have help. This was some really bad mud. It reminded me of coliche when it gets saturated. The rest of the ride was just plain fun.
My riding buddy asked me what I would have done had I been alone and been stuck the way I was. My answer - I would have walked out and come back in a week or two. It was the kind of mud that latched on to the bike like a giant suction device and wasn't about to let go. Fortunately, Dick is in excellent physical condition for his age so we managed to get the bike to high ground but not before I thought I was going to have the 'big one' (not really, but my heart was really pounding for a bit.
There were lots of trees down from recent storms but we managed to work our way around them all and eventually stopped for gas at Grantsburg, Wisconsin. We then continued north through the Crex Meadows wildlife area and on to the Yellow Lake Lodge for lunch. Got there about 1 PM and had a great hamburger and some good Wisconsin beer (only 1 beer, that's my limit when riding). We then start heading south taking a somewhat different route than the one that got us to Yellow Lake.
One of the things that I really enjoy while on this ride is the wildlife. Here's an accounting: 1 Baltimore Oriole, 1 Turkey, 1 Pheasant, numerous hawks, 5 deer, 1 Bear, and 1 Otter. My wife asked me how big the bear was. It was a full grown adult and seemed to be just out for a stroll in the woods. It wasn't spooked by us at all.
After 280 miles of riding a DR650 my butt was pretty sore and the beer at the end of the day tasted really good (Leinenkugel's - a tasty Wisconsin beer - the locals refer to it as a Leinie. Dick and I are headed for a two day national dual sport ride on June 10th at Wabeno, Wisconsin. We're ridden this event before and its always fun with plenty of challenging terrain. The club does a really good job of route layout and providing lots of prizes and a great steak dinner on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday.
I wish I could send some of the rain we've been experiencing here to southeast Arizona. Keep the rubber side down. Tim Zierman
[Editorís Note: Tim along with SEAT member Pat Walsh organize the Annual Scenic Adventure Ride through the southeast corner of Arizona. A great ride in the Arizona Rocks!]