Mini ride report - Michigan back roads

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by i64X, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. i64X

    i64X Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    12
    I've been itching to go on trail rides for days now. I just got my KLX250S on Friday and I've been looking for time to go exploring. Tonight I finally got the chance.

    Michigan has a lot of ORV and motorcycle trails throughout its northern areas, but not so much in the south (where I live). The closest sanctioned trail is about 2 hours from me, and although that's not TOO bad, it could be better.

    http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10365_15070-38330--,00.html

    I did some digging around online and found that there are a lot of dirt roads in my county that used to be maintained by the county but now aren't. The problem with these, and why they're not listed as ATV trails, is that they are still technically and legally public roads. (In MI it's not legal to ride dirtbikes or ATVs on public roads.) These roads are in such bad shape that unless you have some crazy off-road truck, there are parts of them that are impassable.

    I decided to scout out and find some of said roads. I bombed around the Yankee Springs area for a while until the roads began to get narrower and narrower... then I found this sign, which reads "End of County Maintenance:"

    [​IMG]

    Right at the sign itself the road turned from a narrow dirt road in to a two-track. It was barely wide enough to get a single car through. I took a picture of the road directly behind the sign, but my phone sucks and for some reason that JPG is 0 bytes, so I can't post it. :-(

    As I went down the "road" I encountered a lot of sand, a lot of huge holes filled with mud/water, and some DEEP ruts where you could tell people were wheeling the hell out of trucks. As I got further in, it got worse and worse (and more fun for me). Here's a shot of one of the roads. What you can't tell by this picture is that this is down hill at nearly a 35 degree slope:

    [​IMG]

    Most of it was sand with deep ruts, and it was a lot easier to go down than it was to go up. :-) I played around on these trails for nearly an hour, and there were so many of them branching off and going every which way that you could probably ride on them for days before you explore all of them. There's a healthy mix of fast riding on hard packed trail, large ruts and whoops which make your ass sing the praises of dual sport suspension, and tricky sand combined with ruts for really technical riding.

    A few times I almost lost it in the sand (having never ridden on anything like that before), but I'm glad to report that I didn't, and the rubber part of the bike was on the ground 100% of the time (sans the couple times where both wheels left the ground on purpose). :-)

    I stopped on some of the harder packed parts to take a couple of pics. I'm really fortunate to have something like this close to where I live, and I'm definitely going to do some more exploring when I have time.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. saul

    saul Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    just past the middle of nowhere in michigan
    Nice, looks like fun riding. was that over by gun lake?
    #2
  3. i64X

    i64X Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    12
    Indeed it is. :D
    #3
  4. kirb

    kirb should be out riding

    Joined:
    May 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,071
    Location:
    Musky, MI
    I'll be looking for some of that over by me (Muskegon area) in a short bit. The 990 adv is really wanting to get dirty.
    #4
  5. saul

    saul Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    just past the middle of nowhere in michigan
    we used to have a lot of roads like that up around Grant too. lots of them have been closed off, but are still accessable if you work at it a bit. ther's a pretty good amount of state forrest up in newago co.
    #5
  6. i64X

    i64X Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    12
    I really want to get up north before winter and ride some of the real motorcycle trails. My buddy Matt has a DR350 and we've been thinking about times to go. I know there are a few trails is Muskegon and a LOT up north. Matt wants to do Big O / Little O pretty bad. I think it'd be fun as well.

    I went back out there last night. I found out that this sometimes isn't a good idea:

    [​IMG]

    Got about 3/4 of the way through and the bike stopped in the sticky stuff. I wasn't going fast enough. Also, deceptively deep because it's full of ruts from big trucks, and I happened to slide in to one. I had to foot-down in the middle of it and seriously thought I was going to fall over sideways when my foot kept going past where I thought the ground was. haha

    Didn't fall off though, just ruined a pair of socks. :D
    #6
  7. Sharkguy

    Sharkguy chain lube applier

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    241
    Location:
    Ocoee, FL (downtown BFE)
    Wow, I miss all that. I grew up near Battle Creek and we always had tons of trails to ride our dirt bikes. Now I'm in FL and not much dirt here, mostly sand.
    #7
  8. jmanz6

    jmanz6 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    461
    Location:
    Waterford, MI
    I've ridden up at Gull Gap a few times and it was a blast. Lots of sand, LOTS of whoops, but lots of fun. Plus, you have to take a stab at the hill - you won't make it, but you have to try... I went to the U.P. this 4th of July and rode in Kinross ORV trails and they were pretty good too. The moto - only trails were TIGHT but the forest roads were awsome. Up there you can ride anywhere in the National Forest meaning ORV trails or just fire roads even if your bike isn't street legal. I had my GPS and I was happy I did because I got lost a couple times and had to use it to get back to the truck. I want to try out Gladwin as well. I hear it's pretty fun. Problem is I may be selling my dirtbike soon to buy my wife a street bike.
    #8
  9. mike1952

    mike1952 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,114
    Location:
    north of ann arbor michigan
    A couple of weeks ago we did the Pine Ridge trail east of Grand Marais. Between the trail and county roads it was awesome. The ORV trail is too narrow for quads therefore it was in good shape. We did Gladwin last year and it is beach type sand. Ya gotta keep on the throttle. Some county roads are good. Ogemaw Hills/Ambrose near Rose City is good too.
    #9
  10. shrk352

    shrk352 n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4
    Can you tell me where exactly these roads are, me(XR400) and my friend(WR250) want to check them out in the next week or two. We live in kalamazoo so its not too far of a ride for us. Tips on how to get there and what ones are the best would be appreciated. Thanks!
    #10
  11. i64X

    i64X Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    12
    If you go on Google Maps and search "Barry State Game Area, Delton, MI" you'll see it. Basically it's Shawn Road off of Gun Lake Road. Just take that south and it starts getting interesting REAL quick. There are trails that branch off of those four main roads. The intersection of Shawn Rd and Sager Rd is the middle of the whole shebang. They're all labeled like normal roads on Google maps and "legally" they are, but there's no way you'd get a car through them. :D

    There are all sorts of trails that branch off of them. Apparently there are more than you can get to in the Yankee Springs area but I haven't explored there yet. My brother knows where they all are... I'll have to get him to take me out there in his AWD Astro van and show me where the good stuff is. :rofl
    #11
  12. shrk352

    shrk352 n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4
    Had a bit of time tonight so I rode out there on my xr400. Its about a 30min ride from my house so not too bad. The roads were really fun I had a blast. I'm definitely going to head back out there with my friend later. I really liked that they were rutted out and had a lot of bumps, really fun to ride. Thanks for the tip! Here's some pics:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I guess some people have been littering up there.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I really wish we could ride the hiking/horse trail, that would be awsome!
    [​IMG]


    Hope you guys enjoy the pics.
    #12
  13. BusyWeb

    BusyWeb Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    99
    :clap
    #13
  14. mikesova

    mikesova Michigander

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,113
    Location:
    Gladwin, Mi
    I like it. I'm in Michigan, too. Gladwin, MI to be exact.
    #14
  15. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    108,214
    Location:
    right here on my thermarest
    That stuff that you have pictures of there looks pretty real and good to me.
    #15
  16. shrk352

    shrk352 n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4
    I think that the real trails that he is talking about are the ones in northern Michigan that are only single track trails. They are only around 24" wide on the ground and they are TIGHT. I just rode in Baldwin last weekend and I preffered the quad trails to the motorcycle trails, at least I had a bit of room to move around.
    #16
  17. PCK_4xCustoms

    PCK_4xCustoms lost

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    Back in the city :( Livonia MI
    going to finally get my new-to-me xt350 out to ride it at the evart trails this coming weekend.
    #17
  18. i64X

    i64X Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    12
    Totally. A buddy of mine and I went over to Muskegon last Saturday an rode the single track trails over there. Like you said - 24" wide, just barely enough room to get between trees. It was intimidating at first, but ended up being some of the most fun I've ever had on two wheels. Didn't have a camera, so unfortunately I didn't get pics of my bike on its side for the first time. :D
    #18