The U.P.? Don't bother.

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

  1. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    On Monday the forecast for Friday was "clear, sunny, high of 59", which excited me since I was off on Friday. The Queen said she wanted to go riding with me so that got me even more excited (I excite easily). But as the week wore on the forecasted high steadily dropped to the mid 40s, which it turned out to barely make. But it was indeed clear and sunny so we bundled up and rode.

    My family has a place ("cottage" is too grandiose, but it's not quite a "shack" either) on a lake in Presque Isle, and since I'm the uneducated but handy member of the family, it's down to me to do the springtime ritual known as "opening it up". This involves putting in the docks, getting the plumbing going, clearing fallen trees, etc. This ritual is scheduled for next weekend, so we decided we should swing through P.I. and see what the ice was looking like, i.e. was it gone yet.


    We made a big swing of back roads through parts of Mercer, Winchester, then Presque Isle. Still snow in the shady parts along G:
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Long Lake in Mercer still had ice on most of it; I was hoping our lake looked better than this:
    [​IMG]


    I guess I should mention here that our place is on a island, thus our preoccupation with the ice situation.


    More of the lousy roads we have to put up with around here:
    [​IMG]


    Got to the landing and the lake looked like this:
    [​IMG]


    The view across to the island:
    [​IMG]


    Looks okay for next week, except that the water is gonna be stupid cold for wading and the putting in of docks. Maybe the queen will volunteer...


    After a snack we decided to check out the dirt roads in the Ottawa N.F. on the way home. Clear for the most part but with a few sections that looked like this:
    [​IMG]


    The Queen found her lake:
    [​IMG]


    Tried to take a Super-Secret Local Shortcut into Wakefield but came to this:
    [​IMG]


    Actually there was an easy go-around but I figured it might get worse, and it was getting late and our son and daughter-in-law were coming over for the weekend so we skedaddled home on the slab.
    Oh yeah, we saw wolf tracks on the SSLS:
    [​IMG]


    A look at our loop, about 104 miles in all:
    [​IMG]


    For those interested, the Queenbee is finding her Seat Concepts saddle very comfy. Highly recommended.


    Cheers,
    Dave
    #21
  2. Yooper_Bob

    Yooper_Bob Long timer

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    Da UP, eh! (Marquette, MI)
    Looks like a nice ride.....I spent Saturday putting my dock in the lake....during the middle of a snowstorm! :huh

    At least I was smart enough to wear waders.

    We need to get together some time this summer (if it ever arrives) and do a "couples" ride. My wife rides a little TW200.
    #22
  3. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

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    Western U.P.
    I feel like such a liar. I started this thread to show off some of the crummy riding we have here in the U.P. and so far all I've done is ride in Wisconsin. And this installment is no different. In my defense though, I'd like to say that the trails and woods around here are still super wet & muddy, and although the snow is gone we've been getting more than our share of rain. So I've been forced south to drier regions, and that's my story.


    We spent the weekend opening the cabin in Presque Isle, and I had ridden the bike down in the rain Saturday planning to take the long way home Sunday if the weather wasn't too crappy. Sunday turned out nice so at about 2 I headed south.


    Crab Lake Road is a fun twisty bit of blacktop:
    [​IMG]
    Things are starting to green up- you can just about watch the popple buds opening.


    Stopped in at a state forest campground:
    [​IMG]
    Nice place but I was in for a shock when I saw what I'd have to pay if I ever decided to stay there. Holy wah! :eek1

    [​IMG]
    Bit too rich for this yooper. Guess I'll be camping dispersed. :wink: Or not at all.


    Took in a portion of a track Cannonshot published that goes through the state forest. (Thanks Bryan!) The roads and tracks down here are nice and dry, in spite of the heavy rain we'd gotten the day before.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Chimney's still there:
    [​IMG]


    Found 1 rogue patch of snow . Wanted to urinate on it but didn't have it in me if ya know what I mean.
    [​IMG]


    Overall about 130 miles to get home. I had wanted to swing up into the Ottawa and take some of the forest roads home for the last leg, but due to a late start from P.I. I ran out of time. Still a great ride. I think the Queen would have liked it.
    [​IMG]


    I'll try to get some more actual U.P. pictures into this thread next time I go out. Till then, thanks for lookin'


    Cheers
    #23
  4. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

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    EPIC road. I've forgotten how many times I've scrubbed in new tires on that road.

    At the north end of it on Co. B, take a right towards LOL, go 3 miles and there's my parents old driveway. About 1/2 a mile before Zastrow's. They sold that house and moved back into Mercer.

    So what years did you go to Lakeland? I was in high school during the mid 90's. I didn't know too many people there but knew a few. My dad's business had me all over the Nort'woods stringing wire and fixing electrical stuff where I met MANY more people.
    #24
  5. Krabill

    Krabill Long timer

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    Oh, how I miss Michigan. Keep the pictures coming :clap
    #25
  6. exoff-roadgoat

    exoff-roadgoat Will ride for food

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    Hate the UP. I'll never go back. Very nice RR.:clap
    #26
  7. siyeh

    siyeh unproductive

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    Evansville, WI
    Love the UP. Thanks for the pics. Our family had a cabin on Golden Lake between Watersmeet and Iron River for over 20 years. Wishing we still had it.
    #27
  8. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

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    Yeah, it's a fun road. County P is another good one.


    I was there in the mid '70s, then after I graduated I moved away till '94. Most of the people I knew from back then are still here.


    No riding this weekend, but things seem to be drying out in the woods, so next weekend looks good.

    Cheers,
    Dave
    #28
  9. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

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    Nice. My son and Daughter-in-law live in Alpha, so we drive right by there fairly often. I've never stopped to check the lake out though; I'll have to do that some time. There's a guy with a cedar sawmill right there at Cook's Run who I used to buy quite a bit of wood from.

    Cheers,
    Dave
    #29
  10. YRU

    YRU Hear today, deaf tomorrow

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    I miss the U.P. Great thread you have going here kingbee! Forgot just how long the snow lingers on there.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    My family moved to Hancock in 1980, a year after 356 inches of snow fell there. I remember walking along the streets of Hancock in the winter between huge piles of snow, and only seeing the smoking chimneys rising above them.<o:p></o:p>
    Rode up to U.P. 5 years ago, glorious ride, and the most memorable moment was riding across the Mackinac Bridge in the fog. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    #30
  11. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

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    After a frustrating week of things breaking down- cars, lawn tractors, computers, even the trusty DR- I finally got some riding in.


    First, the breakdowns: never mind about the car, mower, or computer- this is a MC forum. You want to know about the bike.
    Saturday afternoon I took a short ride on some trails around the neighborhood with my daughter- her first riding of the year. I noticed that my bike was making some weird internal rattling sounds from the right side, so we cut the ride short and headed home to investigate.
    All bikes have some weakness, a “known issue”, an internet-myth-until-it-happens-to-you type of thing. :deal KLRs have the doohickey, DR650s have the NSU and 3<sup>rd</sup> gear blowups, Beemers have FD failures. For the DR350 it's the shift drum bolt- comes loose, creates all manner of havoc inside the motor. It's easy to check and fix, and costs nothing but some oil and maybe a gasket. But I've never checked mine. So, pulled the cover off, bolt's tight, hmmmm. Poked around, found that the nut holding the primary drive gear onto the end of the crank was loose. Shudder to think what carnage would have resulted from that falling off. :eek1 Back together, smooth as silk again.
    Obligatory photo of the princess before we bailed.
    [​IMG]


    Sunday, after a few honey-dos, I headed out for a short ride near home. I wanted to find an old cemetery I'd heard about, but the road I thought would get me there was gated and posted. Then I rode down a forest road I hadn't been on before, but got turned back again, this time by impassable mud. Dead ends and turnaounds happen a lot when I'm scouting new stuff but it still can be :baldy


    So decided to hit some Super Secret Local Trails that I've ridden before, just to end the weekend on a positive note. Here are some pics I took.
    Plenty of mud in the woods still:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Even roads that drain well have water in spots. Old M-28:
    [​IMG]
    There were Trilliums by the trillions. Here's a few:
    [​IMG]


    This muddy little 'wheeler trail leads to the top of a bluff:
    [​IMG]
    Where you get this view of Wakefield. That's Sunday Lake in the distance:
    [​IMG]
    The water that leaves Sunday Lake flows underground through a tunnel and comes out this hole:
    [​IMG]
    It creates a nice little waterfall and rapids. Not a named fall, so nothing that will make it into Cannonshot's waterfall thread, but still a pretty spot:
    [​IMG]
    This becomes Planter's Creek, and just a bit downstream is Root Beer Falls, which is in Cannon's thread.


    Headed home on a RR grade trail that uses this cool trestle:
    [​IMG]


    Hit another SSLT that follows a RR grade along a swamp. High and dry until this:
    [​IMG]
    I've been through that hole later in the summer when it's dry, and I can tell you, it's a deep hole. There's at least a foot and a half of water there, plus another foot of loonsh*t, so I turned around and took a bypass. The rest of the trail is nice:
    [​IMG]
    Passes right by a golf course. Didn't see anyone playing. Must all be at the 19<sup>th</sup> hole.:beer
    [​IMG]


    Well, that was my ride today. Hope you enjoy the pics, and thanks for coming along.


    Cheers,
    Dave
    #31
  12. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Western U.P.
    I had Friday off and the plan was to join the Princess and the Queen at the cabin for the weekend. I decided to ride the bike and take the scenic route. The cabin is south, so naturally I headed north.
    Thought I'd head up towards Porcupine Mountain State Park, look at Superior, then ride over to the Norwich Mine area south of Ontonagon.
    It had been a while since I'd been on South Boundary Road, and I'd forgotten how much fun it is.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    On summer weekends it can be quite an RV parade, but this was a Friday in early June, so I saw only 5 cars, 1 motorcycle, 1 Can-Am trike, and a guy on a pair of those cross-country-skis-on-wheels things, whatever they're called. It was a beautiful ride.
    This looks like the end of the earth but it's just the end of South Boundary Rd.
    [​IMG]
    Couple pictures of a tranquil Lake Superior:
    [​IMG][​IMG]


    This motel has seen better days:
    [​IMG]


    Headed south into the Ottawa N.F. to the Norwich Outcrop. This was the site of a flourishing copper mine in the mid- 1850s. There are some ruins of foundations,dams and shafts left now, and a nice interpretive hiking trail to guide you through it. There is a road to the top, but it's presently closed, so you get to hike from the bottom of the bluff: :evil
    [​IMG]
    Some nice views from up there:
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Some info:
    [​IMG]


    It's worth the hike up there if you're at all interested in U.P. Mining history. Budget a couple of hours to do it, and bring something other than riding gear to hike in.


    After that, I slabbed it to Bruce Crossing (hit reserve 1 mile before town), gassed up, then down 45 to Watersmeet. Duck Lake Road from Watersmeet to Land O' Lakes is as entertaining a road as you'll find anywhere. I was having so much fun I forgot to take any pictures. After that I meandered my way over to Pea Eye and my waiting girls.


    Headed home Sunday, in a light but steady rain. I only had a couple hours so I just took the back way through the National Forest. Even though the Ottawa doesn't offer much for off-roading the forest roads are still very entertaining:
    [​IMG]
    Nice overlook:
    [​IMG]
    The oft-photographed Bridge on the River PI:
    [​IMG]


    Overall, a nice weekend of riding.


    Cheers,
    Dave
    #32
  13. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Long timer

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    Now if my company doesn't send me up there I'm going to be very unhappy.

    :deal
    #33
  14. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

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    Summers are short here in the U.P., so I try to get some riding in every weekend. Sometimes I can take a whole day, and sometimes it's just a couple hours. But even a short ride is better than nothing.
    This weekend I have a bunch of stuff to do so, knowing that ride time would be scarce I got up early Friday (I work 4 tens) and rolled out at 0600 for a couple hour jaunt.
    I live right on the MI/WI border; across the line in Wisconsin lies a great riding area (here) that's become my go-to place when I have only limited time, like today. I find something new to me almost every time I ride there; today was no exception.


    My objective was this:
    [​IMG]
    That's the Mellen fire tower there in the distance. Naturally I didn't go straight there. Today's ride took me down the aptly named Snake Track Road, to the just as twisty Apple Creek Road. Just after a bridge over the Potato River I saw a little two-track that I'd overlooked before. When a trail peels off near a river or lake it usually leads to a cool spot by the water. I've found some great camping spots that way, and even more promising fishing spots, although I'm not much of a fisherman. So I tooled down this trail:
    [​IMG]
    Which led to a little clearing right near the river, with a footpath down to the water. Looks like somebody's fishing hole:
    [​IMG]
    But what surprised me was this old stone building on the trail:
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    I have no idea what it is or was. It's sure built for stout though- even the roof is concrete, and the door is plated with thick steel:
    [​IMG]
    The whole thing was a little eerie.


    Onward to the Tower! The road up the hill is pretty washed out in spots:
    [​IMG]
    The tower itself was a bit of an anticlimax- you can't see past the trees unless you climb the tower, which I didn't do. But here's what it looks like:
    [​IMG]
    Just below the tower there's a side trail that leads to a pretty nice overlook. That's Mellen there below.
    [​IMG]
    But the highlight of the ride turned out to be the mine ruins I passed on the way up. This old structure is right next to the road:
    [​IMG]
    I got off and hiked around a bit and found more ruins:
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    Pretty cool the way they kind of loomed up out of the woods as I walked. It was just like discovering an ancient temple in the jungle somewhere. But with 'wheeler trails to it. And graffiti. And beer cans.
    I'll get back there soon, with a better camera and hopefully better light- this kind of stuff fascinates me. But I was running over my self-allotted time limit, so it was time to slab it back to the barn.


    Thanks to all for looking in, and for the kind comments.


    Cheers,
    Dave
    #34
  15. blacktruck

    blacktruck Wanderer

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    After carefully reading and looking at every picture you posted here, I would agree. It appears there is little there with any redeeming values for a two wheeled traveler to see or do. Wouldn't so much as make a wheel track up there if I can avoid it.
    Not......
    Love the pics man. I have been through there a few times in commercial vehicles over the years but never on the scooter. Seeing this stuff makes this move up considerably on my list of places to go soon. I hope to follow some of the tracks of Cannonshot and you and the others who have been there before.
    Thanks for sharing your rides with us.
    Stay safe man...
    Ken
    #35
  16. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Long timer

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    I'm hoping to be up there in the next few weeks working.
    I'll bring my LC4 :D
    #36
  17. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

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    Western U.P.
    It's been a while since I've added anything to this thread, but the sad reality is I just haven't had much time for riding- family responsibilities, projects at my Mother-in law's house, and a week's vacation that didn't include motorcycles pretty much ate up July and half of August. I had planned a 4 day camping ride at the end of June but that had to be scrubbed (see "family responsibilities"). Actually it's probably for the best, since with the wet spring and early summer we had, the mosquitoes have been terrible this year, worse than anyone can remember. And camping with all those skeets really bites. And sucks. They're still thick in the woods now, but nothing like June and July was.

    Anyway, I rescheduled my trip for mid-August, so next weekend I'm taking 4-1/2 days and heading in a generally Northeasterly direction, up to the Huron Mountain area, to do some more camping and scouting for our annual Labor Day family riding weekend. After a couple days there I'll head down through Crystal Falls and Alpha, on into Wisconsin to check out some Cannon tracks in the Nicolet. Then who knows?

    That's the last weekend of the rally in Eagle River so maybe I'll cross paths with some Adventure Rider rockstars. Here's hopin' :clap

    If I have any sense of duty at all, I should have some pics to add to this thread.

    WVhillbilly- Definitely bring a D/S. August and September are the best months for riding up here. Cooler, fewer bugs, and soon, fall color.

    Cheers,
    Dave
    #37
  18. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Long timer

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    If I make it I'll bring a dual sport for sure.
    I just finished a job in Connecticut, not sure where I'll be next.
    Could be the U.P. could be Miami.

    I gotta go where I'm sent, but I did put my request in for da U.P.
    #38
  19. Hoot Gibson

    Hoot Gibson Banned

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    Having Lived on the Marathon/Lincoln County Line Road{between Wausau and Merrill} back in the brutal winter{and the following Summer was no better} of 1977/78, those photos remind me of years gone by...10 months of winter and 2 months of rough sledding :eek1
    #39
  20. Yooper_Bob

    Yooper_Bob Long timer

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    Da UP, eh! (Marquette, MI)
    Dave...if you hit the rally, be sure to look me up (I'm the big ugly Yooper with a cheesy mustache, and my only redeeming character is that I ride a KTM 640 Adventure).
    #40