I don't think we're friends anymore: riding National Highlands/American Legion state forest.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by matthaiduk, Aug 22, 2017.

  1. matthaiduk

    matthaiduk Been here awhile

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    The tease:

    Just what is the flavor of the day at Culvers? What happens when 4 sweaty dudes show up to "girls weekend" in northern Wisco? Why did this motorcycle decide to take nap in the middle of the ride, and what did that man do to deserve to get run into?



    All that and more to follow.
    #1
  2. matthaiduk

    matthaiduk Been here awhile

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    This is my wife. She's made some poor decisions in life. She married me. She also thought there was some amount of bugs-on-the-windshield that would cause me to clean it. Both were decisions she now regrets. So, here she is, cleaning the windshield somewhere in Wisconsin... out of disgust.

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    Among her bad decisions on this weekend was thinking she was going to have a quiet, relaxing time with the dogs in Northern Wisconsin. I'm not going to say she didn't, but I am going to say that if she did it's because she has some sort of super power to totally ignore the 4 dirty, smelly dudes who invaded her weekend, ate all the brats and tried to run motorcycles into tree.

    This is Dave, aka Three Crates (he's the trip photographer... hit that link for his Instagram). This is the Awesome DR650 he rode. Sometimes its upright, but sometimes it's not. It runs either way. He'd never ridden northern Wisconsin and just wanted to have a great time.
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    This is KLRFred. He doesn't ride a KLR anymore. He bought a DR650 rocket two weeks before this trip. He's just hoping not to hurt himself. He's got his gear on and is sitting on the bike before anybody else is awake. He wears his helmet inside. We don't know why.
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    This is TJ. He bought a helmet, body armor and boots for this trip. He was taking the boots out of the box as we left. He too, was also just hoping that Fred wouldn't get hurt. He rode a KLX250s.
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    This is me. I have a KTM 690 Enduro R. I say "have" and not "ride" because it's at the shop with "KTM problems" again, again, again. So, I bought this little piglet of a DR650 3 days before the trip, and put (literally) one mile on it before loading it up to go. I was only hoping to not hurtmyself, and have a bike that ran 3 straight days (not a KTM strong suit).

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    On Friday night we rented a trailer in western Chicagoland hoping everything would fit (measurements are for boring people). I'm not sure if it was dumb luck or Jehovah shining his mighty light upon us, but it worked. A little before 5 we were crammed like sardines in my Tahoe and off to make the 5 hour trip to northern Langlade County.

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    There was a fairly serious incident on the ride up. It seems that poor Fred had been living a lie and was finally confronted with reality. Like a 16 year old devastated to discover for the first time that there's no tooth fairy, Fred was crushed to learn that the Culvers "flavor of the day" wasn't really its own stand alone flavor, rather it was either vanilla or chocolate with a bunch of stuff mixed in.

    Thankfully he rebounded when he finally found the caramel in his dessert.
    (language warning... Fred gets testy when he can't find the caramel)
    #2
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  3. Three Crates

    Three Crates Been here awhile

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    I'm the guy that ran into him and very much looking forward to this report. subscribed!
    #3
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  4. Three Crates

    Three Crates Been here awhile

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    ..there was much speculation that went into what/who/why? in matters of that crash but I'm still sticking to, "don't crash and you won't get ran over!" :lol3
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  5. matthaiduk

    matthaiduk Been here awhile

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    The plan was to get up early and tackle Cannonshot's Northern Highlands/American Legion State Forest route. We were going to ride from where we were staying, so the full loop would be about 210 miles- a pretty long day for a bunch of flatlanders whose regular rides don't have hills or turns for miles.
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    So we did the only reasonable thing we could do when we rolled in and unloaded shortly before midnight on Friday...

    We suited up and wandered out in the pitch black on the most sandy, muddy road around (I'd only ridden 1 mile on this DR I just bought, had to make sure it worked, right?)

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    Parts of that road were super muddy, and it was probably dumb to go blasting down the road. But also fun. Dumb and fun. Dumb fun is sometimes the best kind.

    But we learned that my DR would go more than a mile. And TJ's boots didn't chafe. And it was the only day that nobody's bike hit the deck. So maybe it was actually the safest ride of the weekend? That's what I'm telling my wife, anyway... when I do it again next time.

    The late night shenanigans made morning come a bit too early, but there's nothing like sunrise over a lake in God's Country to get you pumped to be up north.
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    We kitted up (except Fred who takes ATGATT to the max and sleeps in his gear), got in formation and took the back roads towards Rhinelander (where the plan was to have a horrific breakfast).
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    The road through the Oneida County forest is a wonderful ride- quick,twisty, hilly, well maintained gravel. Some of it is a little chewed up by logging, which only makes it more fun.
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    The road a Hardees breakfast burrito takes through your intestine isn't such a wonderful ride. It's just as fast, but the similarities end there.

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    Needless to say, breakfast in Rhinelander wasn't quick.

    There's longish stretch of pavement at the southern end of the NH/AL loop. We almost cut it out because of the mileage in our day. If we were doing it all over again, I might skip it- but that's only because I've ridden it. County Road D is a great time.

    The real fun happens when you turn off, though. The state forest "roads" are fun two-tracks that are sometimes rutted, and often times water-filled holes.
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    Now would probably be a good time to confess to something that's about to become painfully obvious anyway. None of us are what you would call "professional" off road motorcyclists. I know that my hi-viz helmet and Fred's mirrored visor might give you that impression, but it's the wrong impression.

    I thrashed some of these trails 20 years ago on my Honda XR350, then pretty much stopped riding for 17 years. TJ's clearly hustled a motorcycle before, but I'm not sure he's ever logged a big miles day on something like this. Dave's been riding a few years but never off road until he met a man over craigslist who practically gave him the KLX that TJ was riding. And Fred? Fred's so afraid of what might happen each day that he's sleeping with his helmet on.

    The soil here is wet and sandy. For the most part our experience on wet, sandy soil was the midnight dumbassery the night before.

    Fred ended up swapping over to my DR because it was significantly lowered and easier to toss around than his rocket. Fred loved the ride of my DR. Unfortunately it really didn't like the ride of Fred. Somewhere about 60 miles in, the poor DR got tired and decided to take a nap.

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    No DR650s were harmed in this photo.

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    Despite being on a horse that was having a bad day, Fred soldiered on.

    And by "soldiered on" I mean he kept riding because WTF else was he going to do- he's miles from the nearest legit road and nobody was going to carry that pig of a DR650 out for him.

    So, here is Fred immediately after pulling all the clumps of grass out of the side of my motorcycle, rolling through a big puddle like a glorious badass:
    #5
  6. KLRFred

    KLRFred n00b

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    I am dying laughing. Literally dying. I'm the guy that didn't know Culver's has been lying to us for years (now that I think about it, how DID they get a new flavor up and running every single day?), and the guy that you'll soon find out was run over by Three Crates. And it FELT like I was hit with three crates (full of brats), my kidney is still sore.

    Thank god Dave / Three Crates turned off his GoPro when I took him up on the suggestion to "test my kidneys for bleeding" by peeing in the forest. Too bad I was slightly concussed and dropped my pants to do so, just as the remaining two sweaty dudes came riding back to see what our problem was.
    #6
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  7. matthaiduk

    matthaiduk Been here awhile

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    You know how sometimes you take a nap and when you wake up from your sleepytime you're not sure what time it is or maybe even what day it is? You're like, "man that felt great but how long was it? Only 15 minutes? Sweet, I'm going back to bed!"

    Apparently motorcycles are the same way.

    No less than 3 miles after Fred got bucked off the DR for its spontaneous nap, the dumb thing did it again.

    What's that saying about friends, though? Something like, "if your friends can't video record you crashing a motorcycle and then ride right into your kidney, what good are they anyway?"

    Here's the aftermath.
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    Now, before we get the video, there are basically 3 different interpretations of this wreck.

    Fred says this is technically a road, the rules of the road apply, and he can crash anywhere if he wants to.

    Dave says Fred had ridden miles in the left track, there was no reason for him to cut over into the right track, and if he hadn't crashed himself, neither one of them would have a tire-mark bruise on their back.

    And the third view is that of TJ and I- we're just happy that humans can live with only one kidney.

    Meanwhile, here's the moment Fred and Dave got so friendly that maybe they ain't friendly no more:


    As you see from Fred immediately popping up to aid his assailant, nobody was seriously harmed.


    Matt: I don't know, TJ. Who's fault is that?
    TJ: Not my business, Matt. Just glad my kidneys are ok.
    Matt: I hear that, man. How far are we from ice cream?
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  8. matthaiduk

    matthaiduk Been here awhile

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    More to follow tomorrow...
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  9. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

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    :lurk
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  10. Bultaco206

    Bultaco206 Back-to-back motos suck Supporter

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    One of my favorite tracks. This is good. :lurk
    #10
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  11. matthaiduk

    matthaiduk Been here awhile

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    Before we get too far from the little Dave/Fred love tap, I think it's important to take a moment to critique Fred's fetal position technique. As seen on this screen cap from the youtube video, Fred could really tuck his knees closer to his chest to avoid having his feet dangle out unprotected like that. He's doing well positioning his helmet so that no neck is exposed, though. Both his arms are to the sides with his hands in front, keeping his upper extremities safe. Overall it's a solid 3.5 of 5. Looks like he's done this lots before.

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    Here's Fred pointing towards home... the only way he was willing to ride after this wreck. Note the ADVsalad hanging from the side of the DR650 (which started absolutely fine after all its "naps" this weekend):
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    At that point we agreed to split up- Fred and I would call it a day and TJ and Dave would ride ahead in the missing man formation. After we stopped at an ice cream joint in Lake Tomahawk, of course. When you're in Wisconsin, you do Wisconsin things.
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    Dave and TJ made quick work of the road heading north and then did the quick side trip to check out the scenic and quiet access to Big Muskellunge lake. lake1.jpg lake2.jpg

    There's a lot I could say about what happened after that. I could tell you about how they bravely pushed on through insane terrain. I could tell you that there was a lot hilarious crashing and great stories.

    But I could also tell you the truth, and the truth is that by that time I was already back, taking a nap, and have no idea what TJ and Dave were doing. I know from the pictures that there was some crashing, and that they made it to about Boulder Junction before heading back.

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    With that, they came back, awoke me from my slumber and forced me to cook locally-made brats. It's tough work, but heroes are made in tough times.

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    So ended Saturday. A really fun day with decent people. Cannonshot's tracks were spot-on (with, apparently, one minor re-route for a gated section) and took almost all the stress of route planning out of the picture. I can't wait to get back up and check out the parts we missed...

    ... but we weren't going to do that Sunday. On Sunday we were making a pilgrimage to our Mecca... the dual sport capital... OF. THE. WORLD!!!!!!!!!

    Sunday report to follow.
    #11
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  12. matthaiduk

    matthaiduk Been here awhile

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    Nicknames are funny things. People are going to call you what they call you. Maybe you like it, maybe you don't. Maybe you don't like it, but go with it anyway because that's easiest.

    In the car on the way up my wife decided Dave's DR650 needed a nickname. With a universe of awesome motorcycle nicknames available, she dubbed the bike "Casey".

    Casey. A name so bland it certainly wouldn't stick.

    Ladies and gentlemen, here is Casey the DR650:
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    Our Sunday objective for Casey and the other motorcycles was to loosely follow another Cannonshot route through the Nicolet National Forest to the self-proclaimed dual sport capital of all worlds- Wabeno, Wisconsin.
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    Unlike Saturday, however, we started Sunday off with a breakfast so good that one person (whose name I won't use, but whose initials may or may not be KLRFred) claimed that the area didn't "deserve a restaurant so good."

    On 45 at the intersection of County Highway T is Ruby May's. Get there for breakfast if you have the chance. Get there early. It's delicious.
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    The ride from breakfast to the unpaved paths of the national forest was scenic, but nothing out of the ordinary of the area. The area is generally so wooded that you wouldn't even know you'd entered the national forest if it weren't for signage. At one point the GPS cues talking in my ear told me to turn down a gravel road. Then they told me to make a quick left, where I spotted this out of the corner of my eye.
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    Coming from northern Illinois this might as well have been like spotting big foot or the Loch Ness Monster or Elvis in the wild. We hear about these things in other places, but don't have them near us. Off highway motorcycle trails on public land. I'll be damned. They really exist.

    And we were going to ride them...
    #12
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  13. Three Crates

    Three Crates Been here awhile

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    :roflCasey "the kidney crusher!"
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  14. KLRFred

    KLRFred n00b

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    Casey and Pugsley. But no one named my ride yet.

    I'm thinking Cutter or Moose or Sarge or Vlad.
    #14
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  15. Three Crates

    Three Crates Been here awhile

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    Sgt. Vladimir the Moose Cutter, and there you go.
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  16. Patek

    Patek Long timer

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    Catastrophe Casey!
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  17. matthaiduk

    matthaiduk Been here awhile

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    Why don't you just wait until you've traded it to me for the ugly pugs and then let me give it a decent name?
    #17
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  18. matthaiduk

    matthaiduk Been here awhile

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    Somebody really needs to finish this silly thing.
    #18
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  19. Sfcootz

    Sfcootz fap:hoon Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Yeah you do. Get to work. I'm just reading to see if theDR650s survived your shenanigans.
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  20. matthaiduk

    matthaiduk Been here awhile

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    I don't want to ruin the ending...

    ...but c'mon, man! It's a DR650!
    #20
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