web analytics
Popular Tags:

Riding with Dan & Tim- Our Last (and best) Day in the Keweenaw. Wednesday, March 1, 2017.

March 2, 2017 at 9:44 am

It was 20 degrees with clear skies and a brisk northeast wind when Tim & I checked out of the Calumet AmericInn, loaded our gear in the car, and took off on our last day of riding in the Keweenaw Peninsula. Yesterday we discussed options for our last day in the U.P., and after talking to several people at the Mosquito Inn, we decided to stay north to ride instead of trailering south and riding down that way before heading home. We had ridden every trail north of Hancock (and some south, too) in the previous day and a half, but we decided to revisit some of our favorites today instead of venturing south into marginal conditions. We made the right choice.

We headed north out of Calumet on a freshly groomed 17 trail, then further north on a freshly groomed 3 trail. Last night’s snow was clinging to the trees, making for a very scenic ride down the rail bed trail up to Phoenix, where we turned left on the 130 trail and ran into a groomer on the twisting, hilly trail north and east. We enjoyed freshly groomed conditions as we passed by Eagle River and Eagle Harbor on a loop back to the 3 trail. The 3 was flat, smooth, and hard packed as we rode east, then north up Brockway Mountain.

Today visibility was much better, and we enjoyed views of the mountains and forests as well as views of Lake Superior from atop the Brockway Mountain trail. It was very windy up top, and we took some quick photos before pulling our gloves back on and heading down the mountain trail to Copper Harbor. We stopped and Tim topped off his tank, and we headed out of town on the 134/135 trail, which was groomed a day of two ago but still in decent shape. We took the 135 trail right down to the 134, which was freshly groomed to High Rock Point, where we stopped for a few photos of the waves crashing into the icy shorelines.

From there we doubled back on the freshly groomed 134 trail west to the 132, where we dropped down on a freshly groomed trail to Lac La Belle where we stopped for lunch at Bear Belly’s Bar & Grill at Lac La Belle Lodge. We enjoyed Wacky Wing Wednesday with some homemade chili, along with good conversation with two riders from New Richmond, WI. One was riding a brand new SkiDoo MXZ Blizzard- just like the one I bought this week. The only difference was that his sled was on the trail, and mine is still in the crate at the dealer!

After lunch we took the 132 south to the 133 trail, which was pretty rough and bumpy for the first couple miles, then smoothed out for the rest of the ride down to Gay. Remembering the poor service and indifferent attitudes we experienced there the other day, we bypassed the Gay Bar and continued down the trail- taking the freshly groomed 124 north. This twisting, winding trail was a very enjoyable ride north to the 3 trail, where we took a left and rode a flat white ribbon back west. The trail had a few rough and cocoa colored sections along the way near Mohawk and Copper City, but smoothed out again and the 17 was nice and flat all the way back to our SnoCap at the AmericInn. We ended our journey today with 136 awesome miles of near perfect trails and 421 total for our three day trip. We trailered up and made the 3 ½ hour drive back to Chute Pond.

Our 3 day experience in the Keweenaw saw the trails go from decent on Monday to good on Tuesday to very good+ today. The scenery was beautiful, the history was interesting, the places we went were nice, the food and drink were well above average, and the people were very friendly. It’s a place worth visiting again- maybe even not on a snowmobile some time.

Warm weather is heading our way once again, possibly bringing an end to our snowmobile season in Wisconsin. It snowed a little here at Chute Pond yesterday, but even thought the trails are open and we saw a few sled tracks on them along the highway yesterday, there can’t be much trail left.

If you ride- please be smart. Ride sober, ride safe- ride for life.

Dan & Dylan

Riding with Dan & Tim in The Keweenaw Peninsula- Day Two. Tuesday, February 28, 2017.

February 28, 2017 at 10:09 pm

It was 29 degrees and snowing steadily when Tim and I left the AmericInn in Calumet, heading northbound on the flat and smooth 17 trail. We picked up the 3 trail north of town, which was rough as a cob- it did not get groomed last night. Thankfully north of Mohawk it was fresh groomed and smooth sailing north on the 3 trail to the Brockway Mountain trail. It was snowing hard and very foggy, so we had zero visibility- which from what I heard we missed a lot. We enjoyed our smooth ride into Copper Harbor, where we stopped for a trail break at the Mariner North. The service was friendly and the beverages were tasty, and soon we were back in the saddle heading south and east.

We took the 134 trail out of town, and it was a very rough ride until we got to the end of the Clark Mine trail and turned east and north for the lake. This section of the 134 was freshly groomed and in good condition all the way to the end of the trail- at High Rock Point. We enjoyed the waves and the view, then doubled back on the 134. I noticed some fogging on my face shield- and the big problem was that it was inside the double shield and I couldn’t wipe it off. I managed ok with limited visibility west on the smoothly groomed 134 to the 3 trail- then west further to the 130 trail north. This trail was nicely groomed all the way to Eagle Harbor, where we stopped for lunch at the Eagle Harbor Inn.

We enjoyed tasty sandwiches and friendly service, and gathered some information about the trails south of Houghton from some other riders. After lunch we saddled up and headed back out on the twisting, wooded 130 trail south and west. My face shield fogging had somehow multiplied during lunch, and now it was still snowing and blowing, and I couldn’t see at all through my face shield. I put the shield up and lowered my amber sun shield, and rode about 10 miles before pulling into Vansville Bar in Phoenix to look for a better solution. I ended up prying the double shield off and going with a single thick face shield- at least now I could wipe it clean.

We followed a perfectly groomed 3 trail south, skirting east of Calumet, and heading south past Lake Linden all the way to Hancock. We rode past an abandoned historical smelting plant on our way to the lift bridge. The trail goes across the river on the bottom level of the lift bridge, and it was a lot to see and a fun overall experience. We crossed over, then followed the 3 trail south though Houghton, through South Range, and though Toivola to the Mosquito Inn, where we stopped for a trail break. We gathered information about the trails south of there to help us plan our final day of riding before heading back on the trails.

We then doubled back on the 3 trail to the 120 trail- an ungroomed, winding, wooded, very bumpy trail that took us to the 121 trail- to a dead end in Freda, where the Redbridge Steel Dam was built in 1901. We then doubled back on the 121, which curiously was freshly groomed (the 120 and 121 form a loop) and thankfully a smooth ride back to the 3 trail. We turned north and soon enjoyed great night views from high above the cities of Houghton and Hancock. Before long we were crossing the lift bridge again, and this time taking the 17 trail north though town, and then further north to Calumet. We rode the city streets in near blizzard conditions to the Michigan House Cafe and Red Jacket Brewing Co- where we joined in on the Fat Tuesday celebration.

They had a live jazz band playing, and served up some awesome food and drink while the senior citizens danced like crazy to the music. After dinner, we walked down the block to Shute’s 1890 Bar for one before saddling up and heading home on the 17 trail. We enjoyed our day on the trails- total snowfall while we were riding was between 0-6”, depending on exactly where in the Keweenaw you measured. It was a fabulous day, totaling 189 miles on the trails, and even though we rode every trail up here, we have decided not to trailer south tomorrow. Instead we’ll head out north again and ride our favorite trails one more time. Because we can!

Ride sober, ride safe- ride for life. Get out and enjoy the trails before they’re gone!

Dan & Dylan

Riding with Dan & Tim in the Keweenaw Peninsula- Day One. Monday, February 27, 2017

February 27, 2017 at 10:24 pm

Tim and I loaded our sleds in the SnoCap at 9:00 am and took a road trip north to Calumet, MI, where we had booked a last minute room at the AmericInn. We arrived at 2:00 pm, and after a stop for a Michigan trail pass and a quick skeg change for Tim (I had already swapped mine out this morning), we were unpacked and ready to hit the trails at 3:00 pm under overcast skies with a light flurry, and 29 degrees.

We took the 17 trail adjacent to the motel north to the 3 trail out of town. Trails were snowy and a little worn and bumpy but in decent enough shape as we made our way north to the 124 trail, which we took south. This trail was twisting and winding and in overall good shape as we made our way south to Gay, where we stopped at the famous Gay Bar for lunch. Service was inattentive and pretty much uninterested in our business, but the sandwiches were pretty good- which made the stop worthwhile.

After lunch we headed north on a worn 133 trail to Lac La Belle, where we stopped at the Bear Belly Bar & Grill for a trail break. Service was friendly and attentive, and the many craft beers on tap gave us a good selection to choose from. We chatted with the bartender and enjoyed our local brews before heading back out on the trails. We doubled back a short ways on the 132 trail, then taking the 132 trail east and north. The 132 was in pretty nice overall shape considering it was getting late in the day. We took the 132 to the 3 trail, where we turned left and headed south.

The 3 trail is mostly a rail bed trail, and it was freshly groomed (we ran into a groomer along the way) and in good condition down to Phoenix, where we stopped at the famous Vansville Bar for a trail break. They had an impressive collection of police, fire, and snowmobile club patches on display- and we found Chute Pond and 100 Miler patches tacked to the wall- among hundreds of other patches. After our trail break we continued south on the 3 trail back to Calumet, where we rode down the city streets to the Michigan House Café and Red Jacket Brewing Co for dinner. We had delicious gourmet sandwiches and delicious craft beers and enjoyed talking to the bartender and locals about the history of the 1905 building which housed this unique establishment.

After dinner we walked a few doors down to an 1890 bar which was pretty much preserved to the original state in many ways. We enjoyed talking to the bartender about the history of this place, too- but soon it was time to call it a night. We rode back 5 blocks through the city to the trail, where we made our way back to our motel, completing a really fun and very interesting 97 mile ride.

We’re looking forward to tomorrow- hopefully the forecast is wrong and it won’t rain on us all day. Either way, we’ll make the best of the adventure- like we always do.

Ride sober, ride safe- ride for life. Hope to see you on the trails!

Dan & Dylan

Riding with Dan & Tim- A Sunday Afternoon Ride. Sunday, February 26, 2017

February 26, 2017 at 10:55 pm

It was 30 degrees and sunny when I left the Pond via West Shore Dr to the goat path to the NST at 10:00 am today on my way north to Lakewood. The trail was groomed and lightly ridden- in fair to good condition with some pretty substantial lengths of gravelly trail- all the way to Lakewood Motorsports, where I stopped in to finalize my purchase of a 2017 SkiDoo MXZ Blizzard sled. I signed the paperwork, and then made my way back south to the Maiden Lake trail south.

This winding, wooded trail was not groomed but in fair to good condition south to Halfway Bar, where Chute Pond trails took over. These trails were groomed but thin and in fair to good early season condition as I made my way south and west to Four Corners. I turned south, through the Big Y, over the hill to Hwy W, and back to Chute Pond through the freshly groomed tunnel and 2112. I followed 2112 to the Kitty’s trail to Tim’s cottage, meeting up with my Man Friend and riding buddy.

We talked about the day’s plans, then headed back out onto the trails. We headed down the Kitty’s trail, then east on 2112, crossing Hwy 32 twice, and riding very thin trails to Rhode’s Junction where we stopped to top off out tanks. We then headed back into the woods and headed north and west, picking up the 18W trail back to the NST. We took the rapidly melting NST north, following the 18W trail across Hwy 32 into the woods. The wooded trails were nicer than the grade, and we enjoyed a nice ride west to Four Corners, where we turned south and followed the trail to Hwy W, then south to the tunnel and 2112.

We took a nicely groomed 2112 back to the NST- where we turned south and rode a freshly groomed, lightly ridden trail to The AA Bar, where we stopped for the monthly drawing- which Tim is part of. We enjoyed a nice trail break (Tim did not win), a pizza, and some conversation with other patrons about sledding, NASCAR, and life in general before saddling back up and heading back to Tim’s cottage. We caught up on old times and some DVR’ed “Walking Dead”, grilled some burgers, and had a few laughs before I headed back down the trail for home with 85 miles on my MXZ’s odometer.
During our “Man Time” together today, we made plans to travel north tomorrow to Calumet, MI to give the Keweenaw trails a try. We’ll head out tomorrow morning to see how that goes. We had a fun day on local trails today ranging from poor to good- in early season condition. I don’t personally believe our local trails will survive in good enough condition to ride next weekend. If you’re going to ride, I’d do it now.

Ride sober, ride safe- ride for life. See you on the trails.

Dan & Dylan

Riding with Dan & Tim and James & Taylor- “How Sweet it is to be Riding Again With You” in Oconto County.

February 25, 2017 at 8:38 am

I spent a few hours earlier today in the Chute Pond groomer with Kevin, and I was pleased to see how the trails were grooming up. So needless to say, I was very happy when later in the day Tim said “Let’s ride!” I headed over to Tim’s cottage via West Shore Dr to the goat path to the NST to 2112 to the Kitty’s trail- and soon we were joined by James. We fired up the sleds and left via the Kitty’s trail at 6:00 pm with 22 degrees and a freezing mist in the air. The Kitty’s trail from Bonita Lane to 2112 was ungroomed with a few wet spots, but like all trails tonight very pretty with snow clinging to the evergreens.

We made our way west on Bonita Rd (2112) into the tunnel, where Tim was having problems with his face shield freezing up. We stopped and thawed if out, then continued down the freshly groomed trail. We crossed Hwy W and rode ungroomed trails up and over the hill, then north to the Big Y, where trails were again freshly groomed and in really nice shape through Four Corners and out to Animal’s Bear Trail, where we stopped to thaw Tim’s face shield and take a break. There were only a few other sleds in the lot, which surprised us a little, but talking to people we found out the roads up from the south were really bad- which could be part of the reason for so few sleds out.

After our break, we headed north onto the ungroomed Bob Kroll Memorial Trail. There was plenty of snow in most places, the Eichoff Road through the farm field being one notable exception. We got into the woods, and then took Saul Springs Road north. After turning onto Jones Springs Rd, I waited a minute for James to catch up, then asked about Tim. James wasn’t quite sure about Tim, so after waiting a few more minutes, we doubled back to look for him. We made it back halfway to Animal’s, then decided to text Tim. As soon as I texted him, my phone rang- Tim had made a wrong turn on Perch Lake Rd and we soon met up with him again at Jones Springs Rd.

We continued north on the Bob Kroll, which was not groomed, pretty rocky and thin through the hills and woods up to Mosquito Lake Rd. We turned east and cruised over to the Valley Inn, where we stopped for a bite to eat. There were no other sleds in the parking lot when we got there, and only two other sledders arrived while we were there. We enjoyed burgers, fish, and turkey/bacon sandwiches and made our game plan for the rest of the ride. At 9:45 we left and headed south on the freshly groomed NST, fueling up at the Townsend Shell, then meeting up with Tim’s son Taylor at Mulligan’s Sports Bar in Lakewood. We then cut east into the woods on a freshly groomed winding, wooded trail. We took a right turn towards Crooked Lake, and enjoyed the rare pleasure of many miles of cutting first tracks on a ungroomed trail. There were a few wet spots, but overall it was a really nice ride to the Iron Snowshoe “F” trail, where we took a right and headed south towards Crooked Lake.

The “F” trail was groomed thin- too thin- and was gravelly and rocky all the way to Crooked Lake. They must have had the cutter blades down too far, because it was way thinner than any other groomed trail we rode so far tonight. We were happy to turn west onto the ungroomed trail into town, and soon we were at DJ’s Rocky Top, where we stopped for a trail break. There were no other sleds in the parking lot. We took a short break before saddling back up and heading through town on the 18W Corridor, passing a closed Randall’s Resort before heading into the woods on an ungroomed trail with only one sled track ahead of us.

The 18W trail was very scenic, with our headlights illuminating the snow laden evergreens sagging down over the winding, wooded trail as we made our way west- through the Bear Paw Scout Camp, past the jalopy, and back through Mountain to Chute Pond. We followed the 18W trail to the NST, where we turned south, with me turning off at the goat path to West Shore Dr, and the rest of the crew heading down to 2112 to the Kitty’s trail and home.
I thoroughly enjoyed our 91 mile adventure today- I had given up hope of any more rides from home this year, but this “perfect storm” has changed all that. Tim and I are reevaluating our plans of travelling to the U.P. on Monday- we may just stay here and ride the local trails for a few days. I think we’ll have to discuss it further over a beer or three…

Trails are in overall fair to good “early season” condition. There are plenty of stretches of really nice trail to be found. There are also thin spots, rocks and gravel popping your skis at times, and numerous wet spots- including a few where you just need to “squeeze it and hang on”. It’s all part of the adventure- and I can’t wait to get out and enjoy it again!

Ride sober, ride safe- ride for life. See you on the trails.

Dan & Dylan