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Riding with Dan & Sherri- on One Last Ride from The Pond. Friday, February 17, 2017.

February 17, 2017 at 5:00 pm

It was 23 degrees and sunny at 10:30 am when Sherri and I left Chute Pond via Bonita Creek. We pretty much figured today may be the last time this season we get to ride from home, since the trails around here are fading fast. We made our way south on the NST to Bonita Rd and headed west. I had the scratchers down, but in some spots my slides were grabbing and the engine temps went up a little. I stayed to the edge of the trail and in loose snow when possible, and things smoothed out as we made our way west through the tunnel.

We crossed Hwy W and went up and over the hill, which was in pretty rough shape, but there was enough snow to get by. We made it down the plowed road and to the Big Y, hanging left to Four Corners. Most of the trail was in decent shape, with a few rough and bare spots along the way. We went straight at Four Corners and headed into the tornado zone. This section was pretty rough in spots, but we made it through to Hwy 64. We passed by Animal’s, since he wasn’t open yet, and headed north into Red Arrow trails.

The Bob Kroll Memorial trail was groomed 2 days ago and in good condition today- flat and smooth with plenty of loose snow for cooling and lubrication. We cruised down Eichoff Rd to Saul Springs Rd where we took a right and headed north. This trail was also flat and smooth and soon we were back on the wooded, winding Bob Kroll heading north. This section of trail was in overall good condition as we made our way to the top and turned east. The trail to Hwy 32 was flat and smooth all the way to The Valley Inn, where we stopped for lunch. We enjoy the food here- Sherri having wings, and me a chicken pot pie, and as we ate we talked snowmobiling with the other patrons and Jim.

After lunch we crossed Hwy 32 and headed north on the NST, then east on the Wildwood Trail. This trail was flat and smooth with plenty of loose snow as we headed east, then south into Paul Bunyan trails. The Lakewood trails were a little thinner and had a few more rough and bare spots, but were in overall fair to good condition through the airport, past the ski hill, and back into town. We turned left onto the NST and found some pretty sloppy conditions the rest of the way back home. The sun and high temperatures are eating up the trails- and this will continue all weekend. Our thermometer read 41 degrees when we got back home- and there was very little snow left on the RR grade when we turned off at Bonita Creek. We ended with a 58 mile ride today.

I think riding from home is over for the year, no matter what happens from here on out. This weekend’s sun and heat will be the dagger in our local trails’ heart. I do, however, believe that we will be able to trailer north to Wabeno or Laona after it cools back down, and ride from there. No scientific reasoning here- it’s just my thought and hope.

I hope you got out and rode and enjoyed the trails while they lasted. February 17 is way too early for things to end around here in my opinion. Wherever you ride next, please be careful and use common sense. We just had our 14th snowmobiling fatality up in Florence County this week. Ride sober, ride safe- ride for life.

Not sure when…but we’ll see you on the trails.

Dan & Dylan

Riding with Dan & Tom & Don- to Main Street Ed’s. Thursday, February 16, 2017

February 16, 2017 at 5:57 pm

It was 13 degrees and overcast when I left the Pond via Bonita Creek this morning. I headed north on a thin and smooth NST- there was just enough loose snow for cooling and lubrication. The Paul Bunyan and Red Arrow NST were also flat and smooth up to the Townsend Shell, where I met up with Tom & Don. We discussed several riding options, agreed on a plan, and headed north on the NST.

We took the freshly groomed RR grade up to the Valley Inn, where we turned west into the woods, finding more nicely groomed trails. We got onto the 100 Miler and headed west, then turning north on the LMT4. This trail was freshly groomed and in very good condition into Wabeno, where we rode past the ballfield, crossed Hwy 32, and headed north on the NST. We rode through the dreaded gravelly “S” turn north of town, and then took a left turn onto the LMT8. There was plenty of snow on the road section of this trail, and once we got on “real trail”, it was freshly groomed and in very good condition.

We then headed north on the 100 Miler, enjoying mostly fresh groomed trails north to Hwy 8 near Johnnie’s Resort. We continued north on freshly groomed trails to Intersection 32, where we took a right and headed north. The Blackbear Sportsman’s Club trail was freshly groomed and in good condition up to Argonne, where we stopped for lunch at Main Street Ed’s. Lunch was awesome, as usual- great food and friendly service. There were 4 snowmobiles in the lot when we got there, and when we left there were 26- on a Thursday- that’s how good this place is!

After lunch we headed east on a 21 mile freshly groomed, winding, wooded trail back to the NST, where we turned right and headed south to Laona. The NST was a little rough for a short stretch, but after we crossed Hwy O it was freshly groomed the rest of the way to Laona. We turned right in Laona and headed west on a freshly groomed 100 Miler trail to the storage units, where we crossed Hwy 8 and headed south on yet another freshly groomed 100 Miler trail. We took the LMT8 back east to the LMT7 south, then back on the NST to ride through the “S” curve again. We got back into Wabeno and took the LMT4 south to the LMT2, then north back to the NST just north of the Oconto County line.

We headed south, with Tom & Don heading home to Surprise Lake, and I continued south on the NST to the Townsend Shell. I cut into the woods and took the Cathedral Pines wooded trail south to Maiden Lake, then south to Halfway Bar. Trails were in fair to good condition and not freshly groomed. I crossed south into Chute Pond trails and found trails groomed a couple days ago- they were thin with a few bare spots, but in fair and better condition south and west to Four Corners. I hung a left, then a right at the Big Y and found thin, beat up trails south to Hwy W.

I crossed Hwy W and found freshly groomed trails through the tunnel and 2112 on my way home. I hit the NST, then paused for a few photos of Bonita Creek flowing into Chute Pond, and headed back onto the lake right there. I finished my ride today with 167 miles of pure fun and enjoyment. Tom & Don were great guys to spend the day with, and mighty fine snowmobilers, too.

I haven’t ruled out trailering north after the warm spell is over. The trails we rode over the past couple days are in peak mid-season form. They may just survive the next 5 days of unseasonably warm and sunny weather. We’ll have to wait and see. For now, my last planned ride from the Pond will be a ride to lunch on the 2up with Sherri tomorrow. After that, who knows…

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

Dan & Dylan

Riding with Dan & Dylan with the Paul Bunyan and Red Arrow Crews- on a “Well, That Didn’t go Quite as we Planned it” Ride to Florence & Marinette Counties. Wednesday, February 15, 2017

February 15, 2017 at 5:22 pm

Our master plan- Dylan gets a day off work and we join some other riders and ride to Florence and Marinette counties to ride some trails we have not been on yet this year.

Here’s how it turned out….Dylan and I left the Pond with 23 degrees and overcast skies via Bonita Creek at 9:00 am on our way north. The NST is very thin with some gravelly stretches and a few bare spots, but rideable. We crossed into Paul Bunyan trails and I burned a little bit of my slides on the super smooth groomed surface, but things cooled down and soon we crossed north into Red Arrow trails. The NST was freshly groomed and in good condition up to the Townsend Shell, where we met up with Red Arrow and Paul Bunyan Riders Jim, Gary, Sandy, Brian, Joe, Dennis, Julie, and Jeff. They all agreed to make a run at our master plan…and away we went!

We crossed Hwy 32 and headed north on a freshly groomed NST in good condition all the way to Wabeno, where we hung a right turn onto the 16E 100 Miler wooded trail. This trail was freshly groomed and in good to very good condition as we made our way north to the LMT8. We hung a left and headed west on a freshly groomed LMT8 back to the NST- thus avoiding the dreaded gravelly “S” turn on the NST north of Wabeno.

We continued north on a freshly groomed and good to very good condition NST through Laona and up to the county line. It was snowing pretty good as we crossed over into Florence County and hung a right onto the F4 east trail. This trail was a tad rough for the first half mile, then turned to freshly groomed and fabulous as we made our way east on some scenic, winding, wooded trails. Our group of 10 riders got a little spread out, so it took a while to regroup and recover when we realized something was wrong.

Jim & I doubled back and found Joe on the side of the trail. When we stopped to talk to him, I checked my phone and saw that Dylan had called. I texted him and he called me back saying his sled had broken down. We continued back west on the F4 trail until we found most of our group gathered around Dylan’s sled, which had lost all of its antifreeze on the trail. We had no serious mechanics in the group, so we hooked a tow strap on and decided to head back west to the NST.

After asking us if we needed any more help, the rest of the group headed to Long Lake for lunch, while Dylan & I headed south on the NST. I towed him and his sled over 50 miles back to Lakewood, where we left the tied-together sleds on the trail and hiked up the hill to the Pour Haus for a warm-up and some lunch. It was a cold ride for Dylan- with no hand warmers or engine heat to help keep him warm- plus being in my snow spray didn’t help, either. Jeanne was bartending, and Andy was cooking- so we were in good hands as we called Sherri to come get Dylan and we ate our lunch.

Sherri arrived, we dropped the sled off at Lakewood Motorsports, and I headed home on the NST, completing a 155 mile ride….about 100 of them without a tow strap behind me! Trails ranged from fair-Chute Pond, to good- Paul Bunyan and Red Arrow, to good to very good- 100 Miler, LMT, and Florence Blue Ox. We had intended to go east to the F5, then south to the 8 Hi Club in Goodman for lunch, then south on the 5 Corridor trail back through Athelstane to Lakewood and home. Maybe next time…

The time to ride may be running out- so ride ‘em while you can. Ride sober, ride safe- ride for life. See you on the trails!

Dan & Dylan

Riding with Dan & Jim and the Red Arrow Gang- on a “Ride ‘em Before They Melt” Northern Tour. Tuesday, February 14, 2017

February 14, 2017 at 6:59 pm

It was 33 degrees and partly sunny at 8:45 am when I left the Pond via Bonita Creek today en route to my meet point with the Townsend Gang. The NST north was thin but rideable- with some bare streaks of gravel down the middle- until I hit Paul Bunyan trails. These trails were freshly groomed and in mostly good or better condition all the way to Red Arrow trails. The Red Arrow grade was rough and in need of grooming from the southern boundary all the way to the Townsend Shell, where I met up with John, Larry, Jim, Tom, Don, and Mark.

At 9:30 am we headed north on the NST, which was rough and in fair condition up to The Valley Inn, where we turned west. Thankfully, the Wabeno 100 Miler groomer had passed through on his turnaround yesterday, so we enjoyed freshly groomed trails west into Forest County. We took the 16W Corridor 100 Miler trail and enjoyed more freshly groomed trails west and north. We bypassed Windfall Lake on a freshly groomed LMT3 and headed north on the 100 Miler and the LMT6 to the Wolf River State Trail, where we made a quick jog north and entered the Tombstone Pickerel trails.

We rode freshly groomed winding, wooded trails west to Post Lake, where we found our lunch stop- the Post Lake Inn- closed. We doubled back and then headed south on freshly groomed trails to Lil Hummer’s, where we stopped for lunch. We enjoyed friendly service and good food before saddling back up and heading east. We followed the 16E trail into Pickerel, where we stopped for fuel at the BP, then headed north back into Forest County. We rode east on the Tombstone Pickerel trail along Pickerel and Arbutus Lakes, passing Frog Alley and coming out on the WRST.

We jogged north on the WRST, and then east on the LMT3, which was freshly groomed. We took a left and rode through the Windfall Lake area, then through the Ada Lake Campground on our way back east to the 100 Miler, which took us back into Oconto County. We split up on Mosquito Lake Road- Jim, Mark, and I headed south on the Bob Kroll, and the others headed east towards the Valley Inn. The Bob Kroll was not groomed and in fair condition as we made our way south. We said goodbye to Mark just south of Fanny Lake Rd where he turned east on a goat path home. Jim and I continued south and trails improved a little when we hit the road trails on Saul Springs and Eichoff Roads.

We crossed over Hwy 64 into Chute Pond trails and found freshly groomed but very thin trails through the tornado zone- there are pretty many bare spots on those exposed hills. We got back into the woods and followed freshly groomed thin trails to Four Corners, then to the Big Y, where Jim headed took a left and headed east on the 18 Corridor trail. I took a right and headed south to Hwy W. There were pretty many bare spots on the way to Hwy W, but I found enough to ride on as I made my way to the tunnel and 2112 trail. This trail was freshly groomed all the way back to Chute Pond, where I got back on the lake at Bonita Creek, ending a really fun 150 mile day on the trails.

Most of the trails today were freshly groomed and in mostly good or better condition. We had a few rough spots here and there along the way, but with the weather we’ve had, those are to be expected. We’ve gone from “prime riding time” to “late season riding” in a matter of one week. The warm weather coming this weekend might just cause the end of our riding season. Tomorrow and Thursday may be the last decent riding around here- so I guess I’d better go riding!

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

Dan & Dylan

Riding with Dan & the Red Arrow Gang…and Dan!- on a Tour of Forest County. Wednesday, February 8, 2017.

February 8, 2017 at 6:37 pm

It was 9 degrees and overcast at 8:45 am when I left the Pond via the Kingston bridge- northbound on the NST- which was a little worn, but still in good shape all the way north to Halfway Bar. The Paul Bunyan section of the NST was freshly groomed and in very good shape all the way to Red Arrow trails, where they were somewhat worn and in good condition to the Townsend Shell where I met up with the Red Arrow gang. John, Larry, Jim, Ron, Don, Tom, Joe, Mark…and a young guy named Dan that we met at the gas station- and he asked if he could ride along with us.

We all topped off our tanks and at 9:30 am we crossed Hwy 32 and headed north on a worn but still decent NST. We made our way into Forest County and found a freshly groomed trail up to Wabeno, where we turned right onto the 16E 100 Miler trail. Once we got out of town, this flat white ribbon was freshly groomed and in very good condition- we enjoyed the winding trails and hilly forest all the way to The Green Shack in Armstrong Creek, where we stopped for lunch. Jerry and Diane took good care of us- and also Joe and Jaris- two SkiDoo riders from Green Bay that we had met on a trail break 20 miles south. We had good service, tasty food, cold (and hot) drinks, great conversation and a really nice time before saddling back up for some more fun. Diane came outside and took a group photo- check us out on their Facebook page!

We crossed Hwy 8 and headed onto still more freshly groomed wooded trails north, and then west- eventually stopping at the NST. We decided to head south, so we turned left and made our way to Laona on a freshly groomed trail. We turned west at Laona and rode a freshly groomed 100 Miler trail for a few miles before crossing Hwy 8 and heading south past the storage units on another freshly groomed 100 Miler trail. We waved to Joe and Jaris again during a trail break along our journey south past Roberts Lake and taking the LMT3 and LMT4 back towards Townsend. Every trail was freshly groomed and in very good condition on our way south to the 100 Miler that runs up to the Oconto County line.

We crossed over into Red Arrow trails and had a nice smooth ride to the Mosquito Lake Rd intersection. We stopped for a trail break and saw Joe and Jaris ride past us one last time- before we split up and headed for home. Most of the group headed east towards The Valley Inn, and Mark and I headed south on the Bob Kroll Memorial Trail. I let Mark lead, and was really impressed with how this 81 year young man rode his SkiDoo. He rode like a guy in his 30’s or 40’s through the winding, wooded trails south- which were pretty worn and in fair condition today. I hope I’m still riding like him when I hit 80! I said goodbye to Mark as he turned into the woods just south of Fanny Lake Rd and headed for home.

I continued south past Hwy 64 into Chute Pond trails, and enjoyed freshly groomed trails to Four Corners, past the Big Y, and south to Hwy W. I cruised home through the tunnel and 2112- all freshly groomed, taking Dylan’s “favorite” connector trail to the NST. I hopped back onto the lake at Bonita Creek, and was home around 4:00 pm. I enjoyed my day with the Red Arrow Gang- and Dan- on some really great trails. I ended the day with 146 miles on my SkiDoo MXZ.

On a side note, when I got home, I trailered my friend Tim’s sled up to Lakewood Motorsports for service. When I was driving past the Park & Ride in Mountain, I saw Joe and Jaris loading up their sleds. I just had to stop and say hi to them- for the fifth time today!

The weather for the weekend doesn’t look too “user friendly” for snowmobilers. Let’s hope the forecast is wrong. This Friday and Saturday I’ll be in Oconto Falls at the World Series of Ice Drags- selling raffle tickets for the MS Packer wrapped SkiDoo 600 Sport. Stop in and say hi- and get your tickets! Look for the awesome sled and the bright orange MS trailer.

The trails are awesome right now. It’s time to ride- so ride sober, ride safe- ride for life.

See you on the trails.

Dan & Dylan