The U.P.? Don't bother.

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by kingbee, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

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    180
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    Western U.P.
    Forget what you've read and seen in Cannonshot's ride reports, or anyone else's for that matter- there's no good riding in the U.P. or northern Wisconsin. Don't bother. Nothing to see here folks. Move along.
    I enjoy reading those ongoing ride threads other inmates submit, so I decided to try one of my own. To prove that the U.P. sucks. And to give me something to look back on next winter. That is, if this winter ever ends.
    Today's ride wasn't technically my first ride of the year- I did 40 miles or so the first friday in April, to try out my new T-63s. But then we got 3 weeks of nothing but snow and more snow, so that ride feels more like it was last season. That's why I'm calling today's ride the "first ride" of the year.
    Decided to make a loop down through Winchester & Mercer- I know, not the U.P., sue me. We still have a ton of snow on the ground but the paved roads are clear & dry. I was hoping the gravel roads would be rideable- some were, others not so much.


    It was pushing 60 today so the Black river is starting to flow- this is where it goes through Ramsay; the Keystone Bridge is just visible upper left.
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    Went south out of Wakefield into Wisconsin, took Old County O towards Winchester. Old O is gravel here, was mostly clear with a few patches of snow:
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    Waterfowl are having a tough time finding open water. Geese on No Man's Creek:
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    Which flows through Some Man's Land:
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    Lots of ice still on the lakes. Be a while before they open up. If you're gonna fish the walleye opener, bring an auger!
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    A bit of snow...
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    This great huge chimney was once at the end of a great huge lodge on what was once Whispering Pines Girl's Camp. It's so big a person can stand upright in the fireplace. The land has all been subdivided and homes built on it. So now there's a driveway where the girls once sang "Wataliacha".
    [​IMG]


    Good thing I was riding a Thumper.
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    Cramer Lake Road started out okay, but the further I rode the deeper the snow got, until I was looking at this:
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    And the bike was doing this:
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    So, turn around and back to County H. Plenty of open water on the Turtle River, so lots of ducks, geese, and swans. H is a nice road to ride also.
    [​IMG]


    After that it was a nice ride to 51, then north to home. About a 90 mile loop, a great way to start the season. Tomorrow the queen wants to take a ride with me. O frabjous day! I just installed oversize footpegs and a Seat Concepts pad & cover on her XT- I told her it will feel like riding in a Cadillac car. I don't think she's ever actually been in a Caddy so I think I can make the story stick. The waterfalls on the Black River should be cranking so mayhap we'll go have a looksee at 'em.


    Hope you enjoy the pictures. More to come.


    Cheers,
    Dave
    #1
  2. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

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    Nice RR.

    I grew up in Mercer so most of that was familiar to me.
    #2
  3. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Looks like a bit of extra late season snow this year. Nice pix!
    #3
  4. 8trackmind

    8trackmind Chainsaw Monkey Juggler

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    Memphis in the Meantime
    You're right...Who would want to ride in a place like that. :lol3

    Keep the photos coming. :lurk
    #4
  5. WECSOG

    WECSOG Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Just past the pavement's end in North Alabama
    Several years ago I spent a couple of days riding my YZ490 on the dirt roads around L'Anse and out to Point Abbaye. Not the perfect bike for it, but it was what I had at the time.
    #5
  6. kels

    kels Adventurer

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    Location:
    flat part of Kansas
    So you are saying that a nice leisurely ride
    on the back roads thru Northern Wisc and the UP
    would be an absolutely bad idea in July?:rofl

    Because I am NOT going to visit the INLAWS in
    southern Mich unless I can ride the trike up and
    make the trip worth while.......
    #6
  7. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

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    Thanks Bryan. Yeah we got hammered in April- I like snow as much as the next guy but I'm about tired of it by now. Really melting fast these last couple days though.

    Well, exactly! If I can spare just one person the trouble of wasting time & money to come here, I'll feel like I've done a fine work.

    You absolutely should NOT :nod come to the U.P. in July to ride the crappy back roads. And furthermore, you should absolutely NOT :nod check out Cannonshot's GPS tracks when you're planning this trip you're NOT :nod going to take.

    What with one thing and another the Queen didn't ride today :cry, hopefully tomorrow. I did get out to The Lake, which is how we cool people refer to Lake Superior. Got some pics of Little Girl's Point and Superior falls which is really pumping right now as can be expected. Will post some soon.

    Cheers,
    Dave
    #7
  8. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

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    The country north and east of L'Anse, past Skanee, is one of my fave areas to ride. We always do at least one camping trip a year up there.
    Camping on the rocks at Abbaye is cool too.

    Cheers,
    Dave
    #8
  9. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

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    As mentioned, the Queen didn't want to ride on Saturday but I had time for a quick run out to Lake Superior. First stop was Little Girl's Point. There's a nice park and campground there, poorly run by the county. We go to the beach sometimes but haven't camped there for years because the place gets taken over by "squatters"- locals who park their campers there all summer and just go out on weekends to use them. The management allows unlimited stays so that's what people do. Cheaper than buying lakefront property I guess.
    The view east from one of the (currently vacant) campsites. If you're wondering about the little concrete house that's sitting in the water, all I can tell you is that it's a little concrete house that sits in the water. And it's fun to jump off of.
    [​IMG]


    This charming little homestead is at the mouth of Oman's Creek. There's a boat launch ramp across the creek from the house. The creek is constantly needing to be dredged and you can see in the background how it's filled in now- no dredging yet this year.
    [​IMG]


    Lots of pro-mining signs around. Here's one I hadn't seen before:
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    Rode along the lake to Superior Falls, near the mouth of the Montreal River. During the drier months this is reduced to a trickle because most of the water goes through a pipe into a powerhouse to make juicitricity, but right now it's full. A few years back a guy took a kayak over this fall. There was much publicity, camera crews, a helicopter, you know, just the usual stuff a guy needs for some early season boating. You can Youtube the event I'm sure. Anyway, here's the falls. The main drop is something like 50 feet.
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    The saner boaters run the section of the river further upstream, between Saxon Falls and Superior Falls. There were three folks at the take-out here; they said the conditions were ideal.
    [​IMG]
    Side note: What is it with kayakers and Subarus? Is there some kind of deal, buy 3 boats and get a free Sube? I happened to be in Washburn last year during a sea kayak festival of some kind, and I swear, the town was overrun by Outbacks with roof racks.


    Above Saxon falls is a dam with another pipe that feeds water to another powerhouse that generates another 1.21 jigawatts of electricity. Here's the dam:
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    And here's the powerhouse, and by the way, the kayakers put in here- they carry the boats down a long flight of stairs not visible in the foreground:
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    And in case I got my facts screwed up, here's the official version:
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    You may have noticed that most of the snow is gone. One of the oddities of lake effect snow is that right near the lake not a lot of snow falls, while a few miles inland we get dumped upon. There was 12 to 18 inches of snow on the ground in town, and almost none at the lake.
    Well, that was my Saturday ride. I predict that on Sunday afternoon, my wonderful wife will take her first ride of the year, and since I'm typing this on Sunday evening, chances of my prediction being accurate are better than average,
    Till then,
    Cheers,
    Dave
    #9
  10. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

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    As I so accurately predicted, the Queen went riding with me Sunday afternoon. Yay! I really enjoy riding with her. I'm not sure why- after all, she's slow on the road, timid in the woods, slows me down, holds me back, lags behind, and complains about riding in sand. But we've been married thirty-, let's see, thirty-four years, so I'm kinda fond of her, and after all, she didn't start riding until her mid 40s, so It's not surprising that she's not a natural hard charging rider. I just feel fortunate to have a wife who rides at all, even if it's not as often as I do.
    Oh yeah, and her bike has a nice big rack so we can take a cooler if we want.
    Here's the Queenbee and her little mountain goat:
    [​IMG]


    And here's the cliche' over the shoulder shot:
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    Nice place north of Bessemer. My wife used to clean the guest house (visible behind the barn) and the main house (out of sight over the crest of the hill), until the owners got transferred out of state. The house is said to be the highest residence in Gogebic County, and while I can't verify that, I've been on the front deck and the view is incredible- you can see all the way to Superior, and you are looking down on Copper Peak. The property is for sale for something like $660,000, which may not sound like a lot to a city buyer but around here it might as well be a hundred thousand million. Reportedly, the local realtors didn't even want the listing- they had to list it elsewhere.
    [​IMG]


    We rode out to Rainbow Falls, probably the most popular of five very popular waterfalls on the Black River. To see them, you hike a quarter mile, then go down about 10,000 steps:
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    To this platform:
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    The water is so close that it's hard to photograph, but the sensation is amazing. You can barely hear to have a conversation, and the platform vibrates from the flow. Today the falls were as full as I've seen them, and the rainbow was working:
    [​IMG]


    That guy in the picture had the better vantage point- but you have to hike up the other side of the river from down at Black River Harbor, and we weren't into that much walking. Done it many times, but not today.


    Down at the harbor we watched this guy make slick work of getting his boat on its trailer with a strong cross-current running:
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    The ski hills have been closed for almost a month now but this one looks like it still has enough snow to be rideable:
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    Speaking of snow, we had a fair amount this year, and heavy snow loads can be hard on structures. Here's one that didn't make it:
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    And here's a closing shot:
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    Don't really know what to say about his one.... Words to live by I guess.


    Might be a couple weeks before I get out again. The snow should be all gone by then; maybe it'll be dry enough in the woods to hit some trails.


    Thanks for riding along,
    Cheers,
    Dave
    #10
  11. Yooper_Bob

    Yooper_Bob Long timer

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    Da UP, eh! (Marquette, MI)
    I'll back you up...there's no good riding in 'da UP!

    I did a quick 260 mile jaunt on Saturday....I rode south from Marquette and worked my way all the way down to the tip of the Stonington Peninsula.

    It was weird...started out with snow banks as high as my shoulders, and watched the snow levels drop the further south I went...soon, there were only occasional patches of snow.

    I took my camera and two sets of batteries...both of which were dead! No pictures. :baldy
    #11
  12. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

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    What is all that white stuff in your photos???
    #12
  13. Stealthy1

    Stealthy1 Adventurer

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    North Central WI
    Nice report! Thanks.
    #13
  14. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Long timer

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    Nice report.
    I may be working there this summer, now I see I don't need to bring a bike as there is no good riding in the area.
    #14
  15. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

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    Western U.P.
    Naw, don't bring a bike, just plenty of DEET and maybe some long johns :rofl

    What a great place to grow up. My childhood was back and forth between the west coast and the north woods, but during my high school years I lived in Presque Isle, went to Lakeland High.

    Pretty country over there. I've driven all over the U.P., and we have friends in Marquette, but I've never ridden a bike east of Gwinn. Have to check out the trails & back roads over that way soon.

    Cheers,
    Dave
    #15
  16. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Western U.P.
    Special deal, this week only: FREE SNOW to all Texans! You haul it.

    You're welcome, and thanks for reading.

    Cheers,
    Dave
    #16
  17. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Long timer

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    DEET is in the truck. Nearly a year in south Florida, I think I am still oozing out of my pores.

    Long underwear goes with me all the time too.
    Folks think you are stupid when you are working in the south during the winter and have insulated Carhartts in your tool box.
    Until it's 18 degrees in the morning :D

    I have a dirt bike, dual sport and a street bike.
    Looking like I should bring the dual sport.
    #17
  18. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

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    Western U.P.
    Hooray hooray the first of May
    12 more inches on the way:becca

    [​IMG]

    The snow was ALMOST all gone from my yard, now this. A "Winter Storm Warning". That's how it goes in 'da U.P.

    Actually, it doesn't always snow in May. Sometimes it snows in June.

    I love it here. Really.

    Cheers,
    Dave
    #18
  19. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Western U.P.
    Last week in the western U.P. we enjoyed widespread flooding followed by a snowstorm that broke a 100 year old record. True to the adage, "If ya don't like the weather, just wait a while and you'll probably like it even less." We got over 15 inches of wet heavy snow, and some areas got even more. Now the forecast is for more warm weather and that means, you guessed it, more flooding.


    But today the sun tried to shine, and the temps attempted to reach 40, so I rode!


    The pavement is clear, but the back roads still look like this:
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    Or this:
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    While some are more like this:
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    I got stopped on this particular road by a washed out culvert, the victim of last week's snowmelt no doubt. I considered jumping the gap but decided not to... the old culvert was in my way.
    [​IMG]

    One good thing: I am getting better at riding in snow...

    It was when I was viewing the ducks and geese swimming on the water treatment plant's pond that I realized it was Cinco de Mayo. As far as I know, there's no connection between waterfowl and May 5, but that's when it popped into my head. Riding in snow on Cinco de Mayo. Hmmm...:huh
    Oh yes, here are said 'fowls on aforementioned treatment pond:
    [​IMG]
    Lousy picture I know.


    These photos probably make the U.P. look like a dream destination, and I'm sure all reading this want to move here right away. But belay there! In the weeks to come, as the roads and trails dry out, I'll show you the uglier side of the yoop, it's seamy underbelly. And then you'll see why you must stay far away...


    Cheers,
    Dave
    #19
  20. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Long timer

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    It was 75 in WV today.
    I enjoyed it after a long, cold winter.
    #20