Riding the TWAT

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by rhino_adv, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. rhino_adv

    rhino_adv Gnarly Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    633
    Location:
    central Illinois (Bloomington)
    The TWAT (Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail) is a 540 plus mile dual sport route from south to north across Wisconsin. The route is made up of very scenic twisty, hilly gravel and black top roads with some sandy sections on the northern end.

    The dual sport motorcycle gods were smiling on us the entire trip. The weather was ideal for riding! The sun shown all 4 days, the temps were in the lower 80 and upper 70 during the day and down in the mid 50s at night.

    Day 1........
    I left home around 8am Thursday (8/25/2011) morning and head north towards Elpaso, Illinois to meet up with JUNIOR650. Id be riding my Suzuki DR650 and JUNIOR650 his Kawasaki KLR650.

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    About 5 hours later we reached the Wisconsin border

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    and then the start of the TWAT......

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    The trail starts out on some nicely paved roads through dairy country. Sites like these are common.....

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    This pretty much sums it up for the rual roads in Wisconsin....

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    and this.....

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    As we continue on, the route takes us along the Mississippi River for many miles. We get off the TWAT for a few min. to see where this gravel road under the rail road tressel goes.

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    It leads us to a great view of the mighty Mississippi!!

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    By this time gravel roads are becoming much more common.

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    several small water crossing.

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    We evan ran across a small waterfall.

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    As we reached Prarie Du Chien and the Wisconsin river it was getting late. We had to make a decision as to turn west and go into Iowa for the newly added gravel roads or continue on the original route and make it to Soldiers Grove for our schedualsd camp site. We chose to follow the old route to the camp site. The Iowa re-route was added because of the recent paved roads on the original route. These paved roads were a delite to ride! They are very twisty and hilly!

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    We arrived at Soldiers Grove about an hour befor dark and set up camp at the Soldiers Memorial park and camp ground. I highly recomend this camp site. They have showers and flush toilets. The mosquitos were not bad at all. There is a resturant down the street across from a Shell gas/convenient store.

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    This was parked behind the Shell gas station.....

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    #1
  2. twowheels03

    twowheels03 Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Back in the Garage/regrouping.
    Twat means a totally different thing in the UK.


    You made me laugh.
    #2
  3. Chico

    Chico Thief and Saboteur

    Joined:
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    Monterey, Ca
    Same in the US, that's why its funny.
    #3
  4. rhino_adv

    rhino_adv Gnarly Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    central Illinois (Bloomington)

    there are so many ways I could go with this:

    day 1: entering the twat
    day 2: today we hit the twat hard and fast
    day 3: loose sand makes the twat slick (although that just sounds wrong)
    day 4: pulling out of the twat and heading home
    #4
  5. rhino_adv

    rhino_adv Gnarly Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    central Illinois (Bloomington)
    After breaking camp and eating some granola bars we leave Soldiers Grove and continue on the TWAT. The day started with some more nicely graded gravel roads and beautiful scenery.

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    Old broken down barns are commom sites today

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    Not far out of Soldiers Grove we start seeing signs of an Amish community. Large farm steads with cattle an horses. Black buggies, horse drawn manure spreader, horse drawn hay rake. Then we meet several little boys with black rimmed hast and little girls wearing ankle length dresses and bonnets all walking to school. I round a corner and there is an older Amish woman walking in the middle of the road I nearly hit her. I stop and go back to apoligize, the woman is a school teacher walking to school. I fought the urge to take some photohraphs but respected their right to privacy and road on.

    Shortly after this I had a bee fly in my helmet and sting me just below my left eye. I stopped to make sure the stinger was out and JUNIOR650 pulled up along side me and asked if I had seen the old iron bridge about a half mile back. I had not seen it so we returned to take a look. The bridge is only 50 feet off the trail, dont know how I missed it!

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    After looking the bridge over we turn to head back to the bikes and we see this. JUNIOR650s KLR is laying on its side. We got it up and checked for damage. Everything looked ok, so we continued our ride.

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    A one room school house.....

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    Just beyond the school house the track ran us into a town for fuel. There we met two locals riding the TWAT, one on a KLR650 and the other on a lowered DR650. We chatted with them for a while. They were riding to the Delta Diner and then to Duluth Mn. We spent the rest of the day crossing paths with each other.
    #5
  6. rhino_adv

    rhino_adv Gnarly Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    We headed back to the trail and some more nice gravel and paved roads. The gravel roads in the Amish country were really well graded, with very fine gravel. Im guessing this is to make travel in a horse drawn buggy with narrow wheels more enjoyable.
    I soon made a wrong turn and before we got back around the two guys we had talked with a half hour earlier were in fron of us. We followed them for awhile. It was nice to follow and not have to worry about keeping an eye on the Garmin to navigate.

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    We caught up with them again at a gate across the trail 200 feet into the woods. They had a re-route planned and we followed them. We only routed out of the way about three miles and were back on the trail. This was to be our first experiance with sand on the trail. I was leading when all of a sudden the trail went from mostly grass to several inches of loose sand. Untill you learn how to ride in loose sand it can really suck!! I didnt really figure it out untill day three. The best way I have found to ride in loose sand is to just power through it, and dont fight the handle bars. Soon the gps track runs you through some sandy atv trails.

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    We stopped for a break and I had a kick stand malfunction......

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    By this time it was getting late and we need to look for a camp ground. Im not sure where we stayed, but it was near Hawkins.

    Oh, and I might mention, it seems central and northern Wisconsin is the mecca for ATVs. They are everywhere!! They are allowed to run down the roads and through towns! Every truck as one in its bed or on a trailer. Hatfield seemed to have more ATVs running around town than cars and trucks.
    #6
  7. Chico

    Chico Thief and Saboteur

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Monterey, Ca
    1. Two Twats Twat the TWAT.
    2. Sand on the TWAT makes for a rough ride.

    anyway, carry on.
    #7
  8. Sundowner

    Sundowner Bort

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    I, personally, would love to see more of the TWAT. :freaky
    #8
  9. HamboneSlim

    HamboneSlim ಠ_ಠ

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    Location:
    in the timbers of Fennario
    We used to ride the sand roads in the Jersey Pine Barrens, and you really feel it at the end of the day.

    Was just at the Powersports dealer and they had some really nice ATVs, some were as big as a little car, but still only 10 grand-ish. They should be street legal, IMO.

    Thanks for sharing these great pics of Wisconsin! Love it when folks share the beauty and local culture of their area.

    I've only been to Wisconsin once, and all I remember was the horror known as "Wisconsin Cheese Soup." I can't even remember why the hell I was in Wisconsin, but as long as I live I'll be haunted by the memory of that horrible bowl of hot slimy yellow goo. Thank you for reminding me that Wisconsin is really a wonderful and wholesome place filled with lovely views of traditional Americana.
    #9
  10. rhino_adv

    rhino_adv Gnarly Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    central Illinois (Bloomington)
    Day three we are up early and head towards Hawkins to to hop back on the TWAT. The first half of the day we ride many very finely graded gravel roads. Most of these are easily traveled at 40 to 50 mph.

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    Another nicely restored old one room school house.....

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    There are signs of logging everywhere.....

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    Just alittle after noon we arrive at the Delta Diner.

    The Delta Diner near Iron River, Wisconsin offers a classic American roadside diner restaurant experience in a completely rebuilt 1940 Silk City Diner set in the Northwood's of Wisconsin.
    The Delta Diner was established in 2003 for the intended purpose of providing a destination for people, near and far, who love a truly unique EXPERIENCE. Their daily menu offers breakfast, from scratch "blue plate specials", and specialty sandwiches. We also offer special category menus for Friday and Saturday Evenings (Fish Fry), and Mondays (Burgers).
    For more info and hours of operation you can go to their home page HERE.

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    I highly recomend the Delta Diner when in the area! The food and service were GREAT!!
    #10
  11. rhino_adv

    rhino_adv Gnarly Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    After leaving the Delta Diner we encountered more sand. The majority of the roads to the lake were sandy and in some cases deep, loose sugar sand. Sand hill road was the worst! There were places on this section of the trail where the sand was more than 6 inches deep!
    I would advise anyone with a bike larger than a 650 class, any bike with out knobbies or two up riders to really consider re-routing around this road. I dont have any photos of sand hill road as I couldnt pull my white knuckeled hands from the handle bars to use the camers. Here are a few pics of the last few miles of the trail before reaching the lake.

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    This Gentelman was riding his Yamaha Zuma on the TWAT. He told me he is from Decatur, Illinois and owns a cabin on Lake Superior. Earlier in the afternoon he had gotton the scooter stuck in the deep sugar sand and had to get off and push it out.

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    We finely reach Cornucopia, Wisconsin.....

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    1. Lake Superi[​IMG]o

    r is, by surface [​IMG]area, the world's largest freshwater lake.
    2. The surface area of Lake Superior (31,700 square miles or 82,170 square kilometers) is greater than the combined areas of Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.
    3. Lake Superior contains as much water as all the other Great Lakes combined, even throwing in two extra Lake Eries.
    4. Lake Superior contains 10% of all the earth's fresh surface water.
    5. There is enough water in Lake Superior (3,000,000,000,000,000--or 3 quadrillion-- gallons) to flood all of North and South America to a depth of one foot.
    6. The deepest point in Lake Superior (about 40 miles north of Munising, Michigan) is 1,300 feet (400 meters) below the surface.
    7. Over 300 streams and rivers empty into Lake Superior.
    8, The average elevation of Lake Superior is about 602 feet above sea level.
    9. The Lake Superior watershed region ranges in size from 160 miles inland near Wabakimi Provincial Park to only 5 miles inland from Pictured Rocks National Seashore.
    10. The Lake Superior shoreline, if straightened out, could connect Duluth and the Bahama Islands.
    11. The average underwater visibility of Lake Superior is 27 feet, making it easily the cleanest and clearest of the Great Lakes. Underwater visibility in places reaches 100 feet. Lake Superior has been described as "the most oligotrophic lake in the world."
    12. The lake is about 350 miles (563 km) in length and 160 miles (257 km) in width.
    13. In the summer, the sun sets more than 35 minutes later on the western shore of Lake Superior than at its southeastern edge.

    #11
  12. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

    Joined:
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    Great ride report! I hope you enjoyed the route. I will be running it again in a few weeks, your photos have me pumped up!
    #12
  13. Northwoods Yeti

    Northwoods Yeti Almost house broken

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    Nice report

    Now I've got to get out there soon and run that route myself!
    #13
  14. rhino_adv

    rhino_adv Gnarly Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    central Illinois (Bloomington)

    Its a great ride, thanks for all the work you put into it!!
    #14
  15. rhino_adv

    rhino_adv Gnarly Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    central Illinois (Bloomington)
    After reaching the lake, the gps said we had a 639 mile ride back home:eek1. We turned the bikes around and started slabbing it south. We road a little over 2 hours before it was time to find a camp ground. We set up camp and road into town for some dinner and made plans to pack up and be on the way by daybreak. When we left the camp ground the gps told us we had an 11 hour ride on two lane roads or a 7.5 hour ride on the interstate. We chose the interstate and fought it till we were south of Rockford, Illinois. From there we road two lane roads home.
    The Trans Wisconsin Adv Trail is a very nice ride with twisty, hilly blacktop, gravel and sand roads. The scenery in most places is beautiful. Camp grounds are everywhere, fuel and general stores can be found in most areas.
    Total mileage was 1488 miles. As mentioned in the first post of this thread, we chose to omit the re-route into Iowa because of time restraints. I plan on riding back in a few weeks and completing this portion, as I understand it is mostly gravel roads. I will follow up here with that ride to complete this ride report.

    Brad
    #15
  16. Nokmuay

    Nokmuay Plan B Specialist

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    South Western Ontario, Canada
    it does here to in Canada. had he added to it CamelToe jockey rides the TWAT and I'd have pissed myself!:rofl
    #16
  17. Montek

    Montek Eternal Noob

    Joined:
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    Where ever the motobike is
    great title - thought this was a ride to all the strip joints on a cruiser type deal:rofl. Super cool trip!! thanks for tricken me in too reading it with the title:clap
    #17
  18. rhino_adv

    rhino_adv Gnarly Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    central Illinois (Bloomington)
    As mentioned in the first post of this ride report. We skipped the re-route into Iowa and took the old route to Soldiers Grove. I had planned on returning last fall and ride the portion we skipped. Well.........that just did not happen. So, tomorrow morning when I get off work at 6am, I will ride to JAKE BRAKE's house and change out of my uniform, lock my sidearm up in his safe and we will head north.
    The plan is to take I-74 to the quad citys where we will cross the Mississippi River and pick up the Mississippi River Road and follow it to Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin where we will pick up the gps track for the Iowa portion of the TWAT. We will follow the track north to Lansing, Iowa where the TWAT crosses the river back into to Wisconsin. From there we will follow the track to Soldiers Grove where we plan to camp for the night. Saturday morning we plan to follow the old portion of the TWAT back south to the Wisconsin/Illinois boarder, and then back home to central Illinois.

    My trusty steed, loaded and ready to play....

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    JAKE BRAKE's ride......

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    Ride Report to come.................


    Brad
    #18
  19. secretk6

    secretk6 Adventurer

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    If you guys have any extra time stop and say hi at my restaurant,Ross'. We are right off I-74 after you cross the Mississippi. We are open 24 hours and serve breakfast all the time. I've been here 37 years and the business has been here longer.
    #19
  20. Jon B.

    Jon B. Been here awhile

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    Rhino,

    Why leave yer sidearm behind?

    Just wondering, is all. I surely wouldn't.

    Jon
    #20