BigDog--Tales Of The "Trans Wisconsin America Trail"

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by BigDogAdventures, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. 2whl-hoop

    2whl-hoop Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Cottage Grove, the ragged edge of suburbia, MN
    I'm pretty sure that is in Superior, WI.

    The north shore of Lake Superior is one of my favorite areas. Your pics of Gooseberry Falls are impressive. With all the rain this year, all the falls on the north shore are supposed to be spectacular!
    #41
  2. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Mt. Vernon, Illinois
    I turned back South down thru Wisconsin a different way--just picking my way around.
    After I barely slipped thru Wisconsin going North the worst weather Wisconsin had ever experienced
    followed in my wake.
    It rained and rained and rained---the ground, rivers and lakes were already saturated. I heard from
    a local at breakfast about
    Lake Delton (near the Wisconsin Dells) draining instantly after the dirt
    washed away around the dam from the overflowing water. I had to go see it. I figured the law would have
    the whole area all blocked off so you couldn't see it. They did---but the mighty KLR was too
    much for their barracades. Again I was under the watchful eye of the local deputies as I
    jocky'd for a look see. So here you can plainly see a big overview of the drained lake.

    [​IMG]

    I got there just hours after the disaster-----it was all over National TV which showed a huge new house
    fall into the Wisconsin river that was near the dam. That house was just across the lake from where I
    took the picture above.

    It was so sad watching these huge 2ft. long fish flopping around in the mud.
    I guess there was nothing anybody could do.

    [​IMG]

    As sad as the whole situation was---I kind of got a chuckle out of this.
    You'll never catch me now copper :D :D :huh

    [​IMG]

    I zoomed way in with my BigDog camera and caught this fish struggling for his life.

    [​IMG]

    Momma Duck wasn't too happy about the situation either.
    I watched her march her ducklings across the mud--up the bank---across the road
    and on to another little nearby pond that still had water in it. .

    [​IMG]
    #42
  3. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Mt. Vernon, Illinois
    I think they are 106 Rustic Roads in Wisconsin. Lonely one lane country roads that take you back in time.
    Yep---BigDog has everyone maked with gps waypoints. I hadn't been to Wisconsin in a long time and it
    seemed to me the state was bent on paving these things---what the heck for ???
    My god---is nothing sacred---I expect toll booths on my next visit.
    God I'm glad I wasn't born later than I was---I just can't stand what's going on in this world.
    What's the matter with people anyway--watchin' too much stinking filthy TV---that's what !!

    [​IMG]

    The weather on my trip South thru Wisconsin had turned perfect------I mean perfect.
    Cool temps---no humidity, no wind and a big blue sky.
    Surely there's a fee for this ???? What I had endured so far was forgotten !!!
    Oh my god look at my GPS screen---another Big Dog waypoint ????
    What in the heck could "Wheel Tower" be ???? It was so long ago I forgot putting that waypoint in my gps.
    It was in the front yard of this nice farm. Why ??? I have no clue.
    But it sure was neat---beautiful actually--and I didn't have to pay.
    Better go see it quick before the state buys it and then comes the tour bus parking
    lot and of course a "FEE".
    1.5 miles south of Durand, Illinois--just South of route 75.
    Tell em' BigDog sent you. That'll get you run oft for sure.

    [​IMG]



    Another gps waypoint---Nuclear Power House.
    I had this one marked as I've worked there before--did a lot of welding there years ago.
    That's kind of scary--maybe I better get away from that thing---far away.

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    The Barn, The Car, My KLR
    Probably the same design year

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    Park this in front of the local Harley Shop and stand back and watch the peoples looks.

    [​IMG]

    Now you can see just how big these things are--as usually they only are visible by the ordinary traveler
    from far away---but with a little sneaky trespassing I got right up to one.

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    [​IMG]


    "Honey---Don't keep breakfast warm for me--it'll be awhile before I get home"

    [​IMG]

    OK---pay attention. Maybe the neatest place I've ever ate in my life.
    Before you die----do whatever you got to do to get to the town of Moonshine, Illinois
    (population 2) before the old couple dies. It's hard to find---no it's very hard to find, for the ordinary
    traveler anyway.

    [​IMG]

    You will drive for many miles thru nothing but wide open spaces and farmland to get to Moonshine.
    You'll think you've been given bad directions--and many a people have drove around in circles looking
    for this place and never found it. Mainly because they think they have gotten bad directions as
    there is absolutely nothing around the old store and the town of Moonshine.

    [​IMG]


    A wide spot in the road in the SW corner of Clark County, Moonshine is the in spot for the elite to meet. You'll need a compass, plat map and a little luck to find it, but she's worth the trip....and it's a heck of a lot cheaper than going to St Barth's for a cheeseburger in paradise.

    Roy Lee and Helen Tuttle bought the old-time (circa 1912) country store in 1982 and promptly made it the best eating house in town - heck, it's the only building in town, unless you count the outhouse - and you had better count it.. Aside from cold cut deli-style sandwiches, drinks and snacks, Moonshine is the home of the world-famous Moonburger. You can get a double beef cheese Moonburger, you can get a bacon Moonburger, shoot, you can get a Moonburger just about any old way y'all want it.



    I strolled in and spotted Helen at the cash drawer and asked "you the owner of this store"
    She gave me a dirty stern look and snapped back "who's askin" ???
    I trembled in my motocross boots as she seemed as serious as a heart attack---and caught me off guard.
    A big ole' smile finally came over her face as she introduced herself to me and gave me a big hug.

    Told me to order a hamburger and sit down and shut up till they hollered my name--then go outside
    as we don't like nobody hangin' roun the store.

    She was having a lot of fun with me----so I ordered a burger and told them what I wanted on it.
    Seems they just hand you the burger and bun--it's up to you to dress it up how you like it.
    Then you wander roun' the store pickin' up whatever you want to go with it----you know--
    chips and soda or maybe ice cream---then pay Helen---she's the money taker while her husband
    slaves over the gas grill.

    [​IMG]

    Then you go outside and eat your burger on one of the picnic tables outside.
    Only nice friendly country folk come to Moonshine---everybody's your friend.
    Of course I was the odd duck there and everybody wanted to know where I'd been.
    I had to give them the short story as I'm not sure they had the time for the whole story,
    or maybe they did. Everybody had a smile on their face and I think I ended up talking to everyone there.

    Whatever you do---don't make the mistake of getting there after 12:30PM. Helen shuts the grill down
    then---and it don't matter how hungry you are or how far you've come---you ain't gettin' a hamburger.

    To find Moonshine get on the net and find directions--for you more advanced travelers
    N39°11.436'
    W87°53.734

    [​IMG]
    A major TV camera crew showed up here and made a special TV presentation of Helen's store.
    When they called her to ask if that was alright she thought it was a prank.
    But they showed up with the TV crews and cameras to her amazement.
    It was aired on TV some time back.
    Like I said--you haven't lived till you had a Moonburger.
    #43
  4. RottenScummyTroll

    RottenScummyTroll Traveler

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    238
    Location:
    Bozeman, MT
    Awesome report!

    I went around the north shore of Superior a couple years back on a KLR, beautiful country. Reading about it makes me want to go back...

    :lurk
    #44
  5. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,529
    Location:
    Westby Wisconsin
    Great ride report Mark!! It sure was great riding with you for that little bit. I just got back after a 1000 mile round trip on the T.W.T.
    Now I can say I'm the second person who has completed this route, after the legendary Bigdog!
    #45
  6. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Mt. Vernon, Illinois
    Hey Chadd,
    Thanks for the great ride chadd !!!!

    I have just finished editing the video and am watching it right now to make sure
    it's OK------I'm multi--tasking :D

    PM me your address and I'll send you a copy tomorrow---it turned out great. A lot of great footage of you.


    I swore you gave me your address--but I can't find it.
    #46
  7. no

    no dreaming adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    117,563
    Location:
    right here on my thermarest
    That's some great riding!:freaky

    :lurk
    #47
  8. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Oddometer:
    6,732
    Location:
    Mt. Vernon, Illinois
    Below is what I had to go thru--and detour around to get here after all the flooding.
    I guess there was a easier way--but I didn't like that way.
    There was a big Hog (Harley) chapter get together here a while back Helen told me.
    Several hundred Hogs were going to ascend on Helen's store.
    Seems a little water was over the road and they never arrived.
    [​IMG]

    I can only imagine how much relentless rain it took to do this--I barely missed
    the bad weather.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
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    Moonshine is only about 110 miles form my house---took me about 5 hours to get home.
    More water--and more things to see--things so close to my house
    on the Road Less Traveled.
    #48
  9. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
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    Location:
    Mt. Vernon, Illinois

    Another Big Dog Rant is coming--get ready !!

    Route 50 in Illinois
    You can see the new highway to the left of the old in this picture.
    I rode the old highway as much as I could--it was falling apart and had grass growing up
    between the cracks. I puttered along about 40 mph in honor of the "ole' road".
    Wishing I could click the heels of my Alpinstars together and go back in time to relish
    travel on the old road waving at each oncoming vehicle and stopping to help anyone that
    needed it.
    Gladly following slowly behind a farm tractor, cause it was more important for
    him to get where he was going.
    Hanging my head out the window of dads 53 Buick.
    Waiting patiently for the tubes in radio to warm up


    [​IMG]



    I knew it was coming--the end of the road---and the end of an era.
    A time when life was much less hectic--when you only needed 40 horsepower to get from
    one place to another. This was a beautiful old bridge--there was nothing wrong with the bridge,
    as I'm sure it would hold up 3 freight trains. It was built with union labor---skilled men working hard
    and making enough money to support their family while their wives took care of things at home and
    watched after all their kids------feeding them when they were hungry--and whipping their tales when they
    were bad. They worked an 8 hour shift and then sent home to be with their families.

    The new bridge in contrast was an ugly thing--no character at all--built from some far away out of state
    contractor working their men for 12 hours or more a day---with wages that will only support 1/3 of
    the money needed to support their families. Mom is working too----nobody to watch after the little ones
    and spank their tales when they were bad---or hug them when they needed a hug.
    Then they end up with faces that looked like they fell in their grandpas tackle box----dumb looks on
    their faces---and wearing shorts that are in desperate need of being pulled up to where they should be and their underwear hanging out.


    [​IMG]

    I sadly poked my way home slowly---this ride was over.
    In the yard was my loving wife Debi and my dog and buddy JoJo.

    They were glad to see me---and I was glad to see them.
    We all three sat in the yard on the picnic table and had a nice cold
    glass of homemade lemonade--yep JoJo too--and I promised to take my wife to
    Moonshine for a burger.
    I told her they were good--but not as good as yours honey
    This prompted her to make me a homemade burger.
    A homemade burger and cold glass of lemonade.
    Come here JoJo let's play :D
    #49
  10. ywr969

    ywr969 Ye Wilde Ryder

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    743
    Location:
    Casa Grande, AZ
    wise man. :lol3
    great report, BD. if i ever get east of the rockies, i'll look you up...
    but i still have a lot of the western states left to explore, so it's not happening anytime soon. :D
    #50
  11. tommo2

    tommo2 Michiganee

    Joined:
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    Location:
    West Michigan motobarn/Condor Machining Goleta
    No rant here, just plain spoken poetic truth.
    :clap
    #51
  12. boondocker

    boondocker Time=success

    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
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    42
    Location:
    ozark, ouachita national forest
    Hey BD, KLR 650's are Great. I loved my 99 and the 08 is even better.

    They go places you think they won't then will cruise all day at 70 down the highway in comfort.
    Mark just sent you a Email on my summer plans.

    Have fun before our time runs out, Roger
    :rofl
    #52
  13. Idahosam

    Idahosam Set Adrift

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Back in the Saddle
    Oh I know this feeling.... Nice, real nice it's always better to get out of the house and ride.:thumb

    [​IMG]


    I didn't even know you had a KLR (2 wheeled CJ5):D Keep it coming guys.
    #53
  14. petersp

    petersp Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    Woodruff, WI
    You don't have to pay at Gooseberry unless you go well into the park (down by the lake or camping). You missed a free opportunity to explore great trails around those falls as well as a very nice nature center. The ranger was probably concerned about you stopping on the narrow bridge that carries a lot of traffic including commercial traffic and many RVs.

    The dock in Superior might predate taconite processing. Instead, I think it was used to load raw iron ore. The iron ore is mined in Minnesota and now they process it locally into taconite which is more efficient to ship to steel plants.
    #54
  15. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,172
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    Wonderful report and pictures. :thumbup

    I hope to ride the T W A T in August.
    #55
  16. kbear

    kbear Mudbiker

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    129
    Location:
    South Central Wisconsin
    Hey Big Dog,

    Great report on the TWT!! You know, I've lived in Wisconsin all my life and reports like yours serve as a reminder of sorts of how good I got it. Its so easy to think the grass is greener elsewhere. Not that it would diminish my desire to ride the TAT though!

    By the way I just read the latest AMA mag and who's article should appear within those pages but BIG DOGS ride out west!! MOST EXCELLENT! Your in the big time now, maybe even competition for Peter Egan??? How about a segment on the Outdoor Channel?? :D

    Ride on!

    kbear
    #56
  17. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp REMF

    Joined:
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    8,940
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Chad, I got into Clam Lake (Enduraid) Friday PM after a 580-mile day on the KLR from Omaha. Heard you had been there the day before. We tried to do the Dead Horse trails on Saturday, but after Jim had to help me out of a mud hole I decided to bail. Would have been better on the Husky 250. Today I rode to my in-law's place near Superior. Nice route through the Chequamegon Nat'l Forest up to 13 then west. I'm gonna explore the Ashland district of the Chequamegon (northeast of Iron River) in more detail sometime this week.
    #57
  18. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

    Joined:
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    We were there on Friday also, must have just missed you! We talked about staying the night but ended up pushing on. The Dead Horse Trail crosses my route quite a few times, and it didn't look too bad from the little bit I could see, but I'm glad we didn't try it loaded down.
    #58
  19. ywr969

    ywr969 Ye Wilde Ryder

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Casa Grande, AZ
    URL? :ear
    #59
  20. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,529
    Location:
    Westby Wisconsin
    I'm working on an information page for this route, this will be the link to it:
    http://www.lonewolfexpeditions.com/twat.html

    Here is my contribution to Marks ride report



    [​IMG]

    I met up with Mark a.k.a. bigdogadventures early saturday morning in Soldiers Grove Wisconsin. Mark was on day #2 of the T.W.A.T. ride, just checking it out for me and making sure the track is good.

    I think he approved of the route.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This section of the trail is my "Supermoto" route. Its part of a route that I mapped and used for several group rides, its pretty easy but very scenic. There are lots of neat farms and old houses and barns and pretty much just a mellow, scenic ride.

    [​IMG]

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    I brought my digital slr, 3 lenses, a bunch of memory cards and no battery! At least I brought a backup.



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    The route goes through Wildcat mountain so you can get your twisty fix. Mark got some great helmet cam footage of this road.

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    A couple of these bikers wanted to trade their bikes for Marks KLR
    [​IMG]

    We were getting close to Cataract and the heavens opened up and Mark spotted this great shelter you we pulled the bikes in and waited out the storm.

    [​IMG]

    We spent almost 2 hours here. Mark made dinner and we BS'd a bunch.

    Mark and I split up and he headed north and I went south towards home. From the looks of the sky, the storm had a little more for me.
    [​IMG]

    you think we got some rain??
    [​IMG]

    Holy crap! The weather service warnings on the radio tonight said "Turn around, don't drown. as little as 2 feet of water over the road can take your vehicle away". Probably a good thing I didn't cross this!

    [​IMG]

    Mark, it was a pleasure riding with ya, can't wait to see your video!
    #60