Mid Spring Moab Dual Sporting (Day 1)

24 short hours later (needed a couple hours nap along the way) and we had made it.  Sweet fancy Moab!  It also seemed as though there was a car show going on.  Lots of people, lots of cars, and lots of vehicles on the road that in Illinois would result in a whole lot of “Don’t Taze me BRO!”  I managed to not get any pictures of said cars, though there is this:

John & I were staying at the KOA on the South side of town.  Previously we had stayed at a campground on the North end of town, but this year we opted to go KOA since we didn’t have a trailer to sleep in, and John didn’t seem to hot on sleeping on the side of the road in tents (dunno why?)

2 Were comfy in these, 3 would have been a bit of a crowd, but doable.

With that, we drove into town, got groceries and let everything settle down.  We had no fridge in the little cabin, so we made do with keeping a foam cooler full of ice.  PB&J, Ham n Cheese, and some Ramen was all that was needed to fuel us.  OK, probably more would have been better.  Don’t worry, we ate out a few times.  Some better than others.

Food didn’t really matter at this point, our goal was to figure out the next days riding.  John & I were planning to meetup with a guy Brian who we’d ridden with in Moab last year.  We were thinking of riding a trail called Fins n Things, since it was close by and figured it’d give us a chance to make sure the bikes were in good working order before venturing further off.

Saturday morning the plans veered slightly with John and myself meeting with Brian, Doc, Lacy, and Kenbob who were thinking they’d go off to ride Lockhart Basin.  We’d ridden that twice last year, but it is a good rather mellow trail.  It’s an out n back kind of thing which has you doing around 120 miles by the days end.  Maybe more if you stop at the gas\restaurant out in Needles park.

Lockhart Basin starts with you going through town, and follow a nice twisty paved section of road to get to the start of gravel\off-road.  Not even 5 miles into the ride, Kenbob is stopped on the side of the road with his Husky (italian) with the bike not starting.  We were stopped right along the Colorado river, in the shade, with beautiful canyon walls all around us.  Great for sight seeing…not so great for what turned out to be Kenbobs in tank fuel line burst.

Lacy decided he’d stay with Kenbob, pickup their truck and rescue him.  Doc on his KTM 300, Brian on his 500, John and I on our 350’s decided we’d continue with the days ride.  The ride as said above, a great way to get in the groove of Moab things.  You go from road, to gravel, to 2 track, to rocks, and then mix that all up along the way with a dash of sand here and there.  There’s also a few good views tossed in along the way as well.

Brian checks for cell reception (oddly available most of the time)

Yah, you gotta stop and take a few pics along the way.  While riding, you have to balance between focusing on riding, and enjoying the incredible views.

John & Brian wolf down some snacks (its easy to under-eat on these rides)

I do my best to get some proper selfies in:

From here, we worked our way along the trail.  About 10 miles from the Needles Outpost, there was a creek crossing, which was followed by about 10 miles of open gravel road.  We took a poll and decided we were all cool with turning back there, and making out way towards home.  I asked Doc how he was on fuel.  He was rocking a KTM 2T, and while he had a larger than OEM tank, I know those 2T’s like fuel.  He informed us he was running a Lectron carb now, and while he hadn’t actually tested range, he claimed better than stock MPG.  You can guess where this is going, but we told him your call, and began making our way back.

As noted, the views here are “above average” to say the least, and leave you scratching your head at how in the hell does this happen.

Yah, I had to get a nice panoramic of the 350 on a more open section towards the end.

You could really get to enjoy some of these fast and open flowy sections.  The 350 has somewhat short legs, but it’s nice to stretch out into 6th gear for a few, and feel a good breeze against you.  Even with the temps being relatively cooler, it’s easy to warm up quickly, especially with all the gear you pile on.

All good things must come to an end, and 90 miles into the ride Doc was clear out of fuel.  We had at least 20-30 miles to get back to town.  I noted the excess fuel in my tank.  Brian happened to have a couple empty water bottles in his pack as well as a small section of fuel hose.  I offer up my fuel, and somehow find myself siphoning fuel for Doc.  A mouth full of fuel later, and I managed to get around 1L of fuel for Doc.  Again, he claimed this was enough, I was happy to be done ingesting gasoline, and buttoned everything back up to continue on back.

I know when you’re low on fuel, you can sometimes ride amazingly conservatively, resulting in phenomenal fuel mileage.  That didn’t happen.  Sure enough, 3 miles or so from town Doc runs out again.  I decide this is BS and since I spent the last 20 minutes spitting out the taste of gasoline from my mouth, tell him we’ll use my tow strap for the remaining bit.  I drop him off at the closest and fill up my tank.

I didn’t think much of it at the time, but everyone afterwords asked me……”why did you siphon his gas?”  As I said, I hadn’t thought about it, just mentally thought I didn’t want to leave someone on the trail.  Looking back on how the whole situation went down, I developed a new rule.  If you’re on a ride and take literally 0 precautions for fuel you may or may not need, sorry, but you’re SOL.  I’d like to think I’m a helping person by nature, but yeah….sometimes we must learn lessons the hard way.  Not sure if Doc learned any lessons, but I did. :lol3

We got back to camp, and I opened up a refreshing beverage and began taking some notes from the day.  I knew if I didn’t take notes then…it’d never happen and I’d forget everything that went down.

John & I would meet a group of guys in town, at a crappy Mexican restaurant.  It was so forgettable that I didn’t take any pictures and have blocked the guacamole out of my memory.  I slept well that night.  Good dry air and a tired body will do that for you.

Todays ride was a good warmup….tomorrow’s would be a body beater.

-Andrew

 

Don’t Be Late! 2 Singles and a Twin KTM Ride the TWAT Day 5

Day 5 (Thursday) – Gays Mills, WI back home.
All good things must come to an end.  My forks (which had been leaking since day 1) would thank me.
I woke up plenty relaxed after a relaxing evening.  I had all day to get the 180 miles (taking highway) home.  I was in no rush, and for the first time on the trip, I was flying solo.  Caleb had his 690 loaded on his trailer, Jameson was off in Minneapolis and on his way to ride some more at Black River Falls.  I had a general idea of how I wanted to get home.  I wanted to just work my way west, and around Janesville area, work my way to State Line Road, follow that home, and end up in one piece, with no issues.
I snapped a couple quick pics before I left my parents.
Red suspenders…ready to roll!
The sky was overcast, I was stocked up with random snacks in my tanktail bag, and I was excited to be back on the familiar Seat Concepts seat.  I decided to ride South on 61 until I got into Boscobel (South of the Wisconsin River).  Normally when driving out this way, I stay North of the River.  I figured I’d switch things up a bit.  What a great decision.  As soon as I began exiting out of Boscobel I saw what looked like the perfect off-shoot to take.  I found myself winding through old farm lands, weaving into darkly lit tunnels of trees with a fresh feeling of early Fall in the air.  No sooner was I enjoying the ride, when the sky opened and began a light rain on me.  I didn’t care.  It was part of what I was riding, and with the time I’d spent on my bike in the past few days, every move I made, I felt one with the machine.  No concerns that I was riding over wet leave strewn roads.  I was in my element, a very happy place.
This twisting and winding went on for a good hour and a half.  Look over there, yah that road seems good, let’s take that.  Where does this one go…..OK, let’s find out.  So I continued on attempting to somehow delay the inevitable of more open corn\farm fields and the reality of getting back home.  That was OK though, as I was feeling accomplished.  Thinking in my head, just a few days prior, I had just started to ride out this way, pondering……will this little 350 single do this?  This high strung race bike, how far away am I going to be when something on it pops.  Who’s gonna take one for the team and drive my truck way out here to pick me up.  It never happened.  My bike without a hiccup was doing everything (and more) that I asked of it.
The rains eventually began to subside, which gave me time to stop and enjoy an early lunch snack.
I ended up only stopping another time or two on the remainder of the trip home.  My bike at some point needed fuel and I needed another round of gas station food (pop tarts and nutbars).  I really found myself enjoying the scenery.  Yes, it’s open corn lands, but there just seems to be a calm in it.  Nobody around, just the delicate wind to keep you company.
With that, I found my way home.  My wife was at work, so I was greeted by my pup.  You can see my eye was still bugging me from the mosquito incident early on in the trip.
My total tallies were in….GPS Total:
Bike Total (put a 1 in front of this…it rolls over at 999):
Left at 11:30am Sunday, and was back home by Thursday 2pm.  Right around 4 days of actual riding time.  Awesome.
With that, Day 5 Map:
For me, I could have continued riding this stuff for the next several weeks.  I’m sure anyone else would say the same.  I had been wanting to do a trip for awhile where I ended up in a new location each night.  There is something exciting about not knowing exactly where you’re going to sleep.  What you’ll do for food, what kind of fun you’ll run into as you cruise down the road.  I knew going into this ride that the little 350 was far from an ideal machine.  I didn’t care.  If it blew up, I’d deal with it.  It wasn’t the most comfortable of bikes, but is motorcycling ever about being comfortable?  For me, it’s not.  There is something about being open and vulnerable to the elements and being that much closer to your surroundings.  All that said, for a ride like this, I’d love a bike with a bit more giddyup.  Had I of been able to cruise more comfortably over 60-65mph, you could really cover ground a bit quicker.  It’s ok.  I wouldn’t hesitate to take the 350 on this trip again, and would gladly hop on it tomorrow to go ride the same thing again.
This is a ride that anyone in the Midwest area should add to their list of rides to do.  There is nothing inherently technical with it.  If you’re not a fan of sand, there really isn’t all that much of it.  There are some ATV trails, but if you keep your pace reasonable, they’re nothing to be concerned about.  One thing that I found after this trip was that my ability to drift my bike went through the roof.  I’m not sure if it was the hours of fun on gravel roads with (in my eyes) glorified street tires, but I rode an Egg Hunt race not long after on the 350 (albeit with knobbies) and was so confident in riding with both front and rear wheel sliding out on me.  I couldn’t have been happier.
Post ride, my only real complaint was with my Garmin Montana.  I don’t know actual times\mileages, because as soon as I hooked my GPS to my computer, it freaked out and I lost all my data.  Kinda crappy to happen after the units first use.  Garmin stepped up and sent me a new unit, so all is well…just no data.
And so it ends.  I’m looking forward to spending some time this next year scrambling around the Driftless area.  I foresee several more trips to the area.  That much is true.
For a few other random pictures from the trip see:
Andrew :drink

Don’t Be Late! 2 Singles and a Twin KTM Ride the TWAT Day 4

Day 4 (Wednesday) – Day Lake to Gays Mills, WI
Day 4 for me, would be a day of hunker down and get cozy on that there KTM saddle.  I’ll explain later, so let’s start at the beginning.
Morning found me putting my fancy Wal-Mart coffee mug to the test:
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From here, we discussed the days plans.  I was confident I had the location of my SPOT sorted, so I decided I’d packup quickly, find the SPOT, and meet at the local gas station.  If I didn’t find it, I didn’t find it.  If I did….rad.  According to Google Maps, the unit was in a small clearing on this side trail we were on.  Sure enough, that silly thing was exactly where the internets told me it would be.
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Welcome back old friend…
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Later on, I figured out why my Garmin gave me an odd reading.  There was a discrepancy in how I input the GPS coordinates.  Once input correctly, sure enough, it showed the correct location of m SPOT.  I hopped on the 350, giddy as could be and blasted my way back to meetup Jameson & Caleb, who hadn’t even made it to the gas station yet.  We thought about things, and contemplated a mad dash to at least get back to the Black River Falls area.  We wanted to hit some sections on the way South that we skipped (fuel\time\light) on the way up.  Rustic Road 111, we officially meet again:
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I can’t recall if it was after or during this RR 111 section that we got to ride some more ATV Trails.  Wherever it was, Caleb informed us that that was the section that they had rode……..at night……with the trail completely flooded.  When we rode the ATV sections, there were some soft spots, but absolutely nothing worrying.  Ride the side, and you’re through.  Caleb explained that when they rode the year prior, there were football field length sections under water, where they hoped they wouldn’t sink.  Now that’s adventure. :lol3.  Just before we were to hop on the road, in a quick turn-around, Jameson found himself in the dirt.
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Nothing to see here….
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We’re going how far on the road from here????
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We blasted straight South on 70.  Yes, we blasted about 130 miles straight highway.  Now that isn’t that far or that long.  It just slightly more a PITA when you’re riding a bike that feels like its top cruising speed is 65mph.  Yes, 70 started feeling more comfortable as I wanted to get done with it sooner, but 65 was where we needed to be.  We stopped about half way in Cornell, WI.  Grabbed some fuel & some snacks.  At this point Jameson realized that the glass jar of jelly he had in his side pannier decided to open itself.  Yes, a pannier full of strawberry jelly :lol3  Go figure that where we stopped, also happened to be home to a handful of wasps.  I took pity and didn’t snap any pictures of Jameson during this scuffle.
I did snap one picture of myself at this stop to send to the Mrs. back home.  Classy selfies:
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From Cornell, we decided to stop just outside of Black River Falls, at the Mocha Mouse.  A small little coffee\whatever place.  It was early afternoon and we had to decide what we were going to do for the rest of the day.  We knew ride, but back to the cabin?  Off-Road in BRF?  We didn’t know.  For me, it was becoming apparent enough as to what I needed to do.  At this point, I knew I wanted to be home some time Thursday.  I also knew that I was within striking distance of my parents cabin near Soldiers Grove.  I could tell Jameson was itching for some more off-road riding.  Caleb, seemed to be erring on the side of getting back to the cabin, to trailer home the next day.  With a healthy dose of Caffeinated Mocha drink (and maybe a jumbo chocolate chip cookie), Caleb and I would say Farewell to Jameson.  His plan however was to meet up with some friends…..in Minneapolis.  Yes.  He ran from BRF back up to Minneapolis to visit some friends (and then back to BRF the next day to ride some more trails).
We’ll see you later Jameson!
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We gotta ride how far now???
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Caleb and I hopped on our trusty KTM’s, and worked our way down through Sparta and onto the Ontario area.  Now this is where things got a bit…..interesting.  I’ll tell the story as best I recall, but I could be off in my recollection, and for all I know, it didn’t even actually happen.  We went to stop for fuel outside of Ontario, but I missed a turn.  I figured we’d be fine on fuel, and saw that Ontario had a gas station of its own just outside of Wildcat Mountain (which we had ridden on the way North…and I wanted to ride again heading South).  We roll up to this small gas station, and I see a younger guy on a street bike.  Caleb stops at the pump across from the street bike guy.  I pull up next to Caleb, since there were only like 3 pumps here.  Caleb hops off his bike, and tells me….Hey, I gotta pull all this crap off my bike to fill up.  For those that don’t know, a KTM 690 has underseat gas tank, with the fill spout kinda above the rear fender.  In Calebs case, it requires him to remove all of his gear to get to.
So, I roll up and fill up my gas tank.  When I’m done, I roll my bike back and let Caleb in spot to fillup with fuel.  I am checking some stuff on my GPS when sportbike guy rolls up.  We start chatting, with him explaining he’s from around the Madison area, and loves the roads around here.  We talked Wildcat Mountain a bit, and I explained where we were headed.  He started to fill me in on some of his favorite roads in the vicinity, when all of a sudden some older gentleman gets up out of his car all worked up.  Caleb at this point had literally just finished topping up with fuel and was beginning to strap his luggage back on his bike.
This old guy starts coming at us, screaming to GTFO of the way of the premium pump.  Caleb, sportbike guy, and myself all look at eachother like…what are you going on about?  Old man starts yelling at Caleb to move his bike, and quit sitting around talking.  I try to reason with the guy that he literally just finished fueling up, and we had no idea that this was the only premium fuel pump at the station.  Trying to reason with a crazy person in and of itself is crazy, so I just tried to get the guy to calm down.  Sir, we’ll move the bike, we didn’t mean to inconvenience you here.  Now at this point, sportbike guy get a bit lippy with the man.  On one hand, I can’t blame him.  The old man could have been cool about it, but he came out a blazing hot-head.
So here I am, standing next to my bike.  Caleb is standing at about my 1 o’clock, a few steps away.  Old man is to my 3 o’clock about a step away, and Sportbike guy is at my 9 o’clock.  Sportbike guy begins making a few comments about the old mans car, at which point he pushes me out of the way to get at sportbike guy.  These two kinda lock eyes, looking like I’m about to witness a brawl.  Old man gives sportbike guy a big shove.  I try to step in a bit and try to get the guy to calm down.  Sir, Sir……Sir, just go back to your car.  There is no need for this.  We will move our bikes, we had no idea we were inconveniencing you today.  Sportbike guy looks like he’s about to exchange fisticuffs with the man.  After a few more of my reassuring pep talks, the old man slowly walked back to his car.  Caleb and I roll our bikes away, and begin getting our gear on.
As we’re gearing up, sportbike guy comes up to Caleb and I, and makes mention he’s gonna retaliate.  Caleb and I look at each other, toss our gear on, and get out of dodge.  We stop a bit up the road, and kinda run over to ourselves what just all went down.  We both agree this was crazy.  Where we stopped was close enough to still kind of see the gas station.  At which point we kinda see the sportbike guy circle around old mans car, and then zoom off in the opposite direction.  Caleb and I look at each other.  I tell him if he sees a Mercedes in his mirrors, to just stay on the gas.  We fire up our bikes and make our way through Wildcat Mountain……thankfully with no Crazed Old Man behind us.
Not far after the Wildcat Mountain, we came upon another Rustic Road.  I couldn’t resist:
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We moseyed on down the way, taking one of the roads suggested to us by sportbike guy.  It was a great road, and had my bike of been faster…..even more fun.  We stopped for a quick restroom break and enjoyed the peaceful area, away from anyone else.
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Fun Bridges….and portapotties :lol3
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From here, we followed whatever way we felt like.  I have to say, it was an incredible portion of the trip.  We meandered through farm land, on winding paved roads, darting in and around spotted gravel sections.  The 350 was in its element here.  You could really ride the bike fast, without going illegal speeds.  I carved like I was on a supermoto, and was able to still take in the scenery.  Sooner or later, we were getting close to some locations I had ridden, and knew I needed to snap a quick pic where I had forgotten to when my wife and I had been riding nearby earlier this year.
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With that, we finished our ride back to my parents cabin.  It was a long day, with a LOT of riding.  A LOT of varied riding as well.  It beat the prior days for excitement, that’s for sure.  Very good, fun day.  Caleb and I grabbed a frozen pizza and cooked it up, enjoying a few leftover beers from Sunday night.
Day 4 Map –
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Andrew
Day 5 to follow –

Don’t Be Late! 2 Singles and a Twin KTM Ride the TWAT Day 3

Pre Day 3 Notes

I had sent my Ride Report thus far to my brother who after a quick discussion sparked a bit of introspection on this ride. Looking back on what I wrote about Day 2, I felt like what I wrote was rushed. Recalling back however, this is pretty well inline with how Day 2 was for me. Day 2 was filled with what was the core of the best riding areas of the TWAT. At that point, we were out of the flat open corn fields of Illinois, and were winding our way up and around the Driftless area of Wisconsin. Not only that, but we were bang on track for riding the trickier terrain of the Black River Falls area. By the time we got to the Black River Falls area, Caleb was zonked, I was feeling the affects of riding a KTM 350 for quite a few hours straight, and I was getting sick of Dust. Not only that, but as the day wore on, we were all relatively indecisive about where and when to stop. The day was just a rushed one, but that is more or less the story of this trip. A lot of distance covered in not a lot of time. That was OK though, because tomorrow would be a new day.

Day 3 (Tuesday) – Hawkins, WI to The End of the TWAT……and Back :huh

We woke up relatively chipper in the morning. Our camp site was more or less a staging area for some ATV Trails. As I noted before, I was a bit concerned about us riding on the ATV Trails, as at this point with our non-existent internet access, we were unable to do some online reading through the evening. We went with our gut, and figured that if the publicized TWAT had us navigating on some of these trails, we would be OK. Looking at my GPS, I hadn’t realized how close we were to the end of the TWAT. We did some rough math, and figured that we’d be at the end by noon.

For me, it was a nice refreshing way to wakeup. I’m plenty comfortable on my bike in just about any condition (aside from ice, unless I’ve got studded tires), so despite having a street oriented dual sport tire setup on my bike, and the somewhat slick ground conditions, I was really enjoying myself. The sky was slightly overcast, the trails were winding, with the right amount of dirt\sand mix, and I found myself able to ride a brisk yet comfortable pace.

After the ATV Trails, we wound up at Rustic Road 111
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Now at this point, we were I dunno, 50-100 miles into our available fuel. I hadn’t been worried on my 350, as I’d been get 55-60mpg, and had 4 gallons of fuel. Jameson’s 950 was holding plenty of gas, but Caleb was beginning to worry about his situation. He had done the TWAT the year before and was concerned about a section which was muddy, and which he rode…..at night. It was early morning for us, so I wasn’t concerned about the trail conditions, however, I don’t like having to tow bikes due to running out of fuel. At this point, we pulled a bit of an audible and took a straight shot North on Cr-GG to refuel in Clam Lake.

Cr-GG for me, embodied the essence of the trip. The morning air was calm. The road was lined with beaufitul trees as far as you can see. A feeling of “being out there” began to fall over me. With my 350 humming along at 60mph, I had felt what I’d been looking for with this trip. I knew we weren’t far from the end, but this section just felt right. On top of this, we were graced by the quick sight of a wolf running across the road. I had to rethink this over, as my mind kept thinking, was that a coyote….no, much too large for that to be a coyote. A wolf, a desolate road, with calm cool air. This was where I wanted to be.

Like all good things, this road soon came to an end. We refueled in Clam Lake, and set off North once again. Unbeknownst to me, I would soon lose my SPOT Tracker shortly after this fuel stop. From Clam lake, we worked our way up to the Delta Diner. Yes, the silver restaurant near the end of the TWAT.

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You can likely tell from the picture that we were the only ones there. Lesson learned was that they are closed on Tuesdays. That’s ok, cause we weren’t really hungry at this point. In my mind however, we were only a few miles from the end of the TWAT. As it turns out, this isn’t quite true. We still had a few miles to go. After the Delta Diner, there were some awesome fun sand roads. I know, a lot of folks hate riding sand. You gotta embrace it. There is nothing quite like riding full throttle, railing turns, just locked in like you’re Bob Hannah. I love personally love it, but I suppose years of riding the sugar sand of Michigans UP will do that for you. A bit further down the trail, and we had our first glimpse of Superior

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Around 12:30, our projected time, we reached….The End. Holy anti-climactic Batman. I kid you not. We thought we got to the wrong spot. We were at some sandy dead end road. Jameson took the lead, and found there was a short maybe not so legit trail to climb down to the shore. Sure enough, we found ourselves on a beautiful set of large rocks, crystal clear Lake Superior water, and some vintage graffiti to enjoy a snack.

Hey look….a selfie:

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A stolen picture of Jameson from his instagram:
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It’s just after noon. The sun was baking on us. And so the talk began. Were we or weren’t we going to jump into the water. I know I needed a shower, but dipping my hand in the water….yup frigid. What the heck, let’s make this trip official. Off came the riding gear and with a run on some slipper rocks….off we jumped into the water. Hells horses was that cold and refreshing. Sure, I was only about 10′ from the rock itself, but sweet word, that water sucked the breath out of me and I felt I was a mile away. We spent the next 20 minutes or so making random leaps into the water. Each time claiming it was getting colder and colder trying to find a more convenient way of climbing the rocks to get out, without looking like a beached shamu whale.

After enough shinanigans, we felt it was time to move on and work our way sadly South. We knew we had skipped some sections of the trail, so figured that we’d snag these on our way South. We had the time, so why not? Our first order of business was to get gas in Redcliff, and zip South through Bayfield and on into Ashland, WI. We stopped in at the local Wal-Mart. I stocked up on some ramen\water\etc (also grabbed myself a fancy new coffee mug). I wanted something to eat, so talked the group into going to the local Culvers. This was a good choice, as my subconscious had reminded me that Culvers are pretty good about keeping their restrooms clean…..ideal for someone who isn’t overly fond of pit toilets and what have you (hey…..I got attacked by a bat in an outhouse….that’ll scar anyone :lol3).

Jameson, in his infinite wisdom snapped a picture of us as we were to set off from Culvers. We left culvers according to my phone at 4pm.
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I’m not sure if it was at this point, or when, but we began heading south. It’d been a good day of riding thus far. We were heading South, and figured we had plenty of time. It was when we went to refill with fuel at Clam Lake (again) that I realized that I had lost my SPOT Tracker.

Jameson gave me the stink-eye making me feel like a fool for losing my tracker :lol3
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I did some critical thinking. According to my phone, my SPOT was just up the road. It was roughly 5:15pm, and I wasn’t communicating very well with Caleb & Jameson. I (in my mind) explained to them that the SPOT was thankfully a couple miles up the road. I said I’d go zip up the road, and look for it. I thought Caleb was fixing something on his bike, so felt I had plenty of time to go up the road, find the device, and get back to the gas station, where we’d rendezvous to then find camp.

I get to where the SPOT is supposed to be, and yeah….I’m not seeing it. I got a bit worked up with myself, because, it shoulda been there, and how did I lose it, and I’m tired, and insert long list of reasons here. I went up and down the road & trail looking for it. I decided to put the GPS coordinates into my Garmin, and see if maybe I was looking at things wrong. At this point, my Garmin tells me the SPOT is like 20 miles straight line away, at what looks like a persons house. I kept thinking, how the crap could the SPOT’s reported location be so far off from what my Garmin showed. Meanwhile, my phone was bouncing in and out of reception, and I’m getting text messages from Jameson\Caleb that they don’t know where I am. Then I get one that they’re going to look for a place to camp, and what have you. It’s getting mildly darker, I realize I’m becoming impatient about my situation, so decide…..who cares about the SPOT, let’s go meetup with the guys, and enjoy camp.

I zip my way back down the road and stock up on adult beverages at the Clam lake gas station, and end up meeting Jameson & Caleb at Day Lake Campground. Go figure, we manage to pick a spot where the past campers decided to dump their gray water. Thanks wankers. They did leave us a nice empty bottle of Smirnoff with some flowers in it.

Only about 800ish miles in:
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Caleb posing while posting at Day Lake:
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The lake was calm, and very relaxing:
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We setup camp, got a fire going, and retired relatively early. The wind had picked up pretty good. Caleb told us to hop into his hammock to see what it was like. It was an awesome view of the clear sky and bright stars. That said, with how much the trees were swaying in the wind, I’m not sure I coulda slept in that all night. On the ground, in my tent for me.

Day 3 Map
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Andrew

Day 4 to Follow –

Don’t Be Late! 2 Singles and a Twin KTM Ride the TWAT Day 2

Day 2 (Monday) – Soldiers Grove to Hawkins area, WI?
We woke up around 7am, and realized we had made a terrible mistake.  Our first night on the trip, was us living lives of luxury.  We had beds, fridge with food, running water, and yes, a shower.  Caleb was found sleeping in his car outside.  I think he slept for an hour after whatever wedding he was at, and drove his way out.  He arrived bearing gifts of breakfast sausage, and other tasty foods.
A quick look outside showed that we’d be riding in some beautiful weather.  Sun was out, and found us getting out on the road quite late around 9am.  The portion of the TWAT from Soldiers Grove area on up to Black River Falls area is mostly road, and maybe some minor backroad stuff.  OK, I think it also takes you through Wildcat mountain area (though we may have bypassed this?).  Yes, now looking back I recall what happened.  We wound our way through many random fields and Amish areas.  We did some math, and felt if we wanted to get to the sandier and more off-roady areas, we’d create some bypasses of our own and get up to Black River Falls area.  At which point, we made our first stop along the way
A side road on a sandy section of the TWAT –
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I think at this point I finished the last of the peanut butter bars my wife made me.  They were supposed to last the trip, but hey……I can’t fight the hunger feeling.  As I’ve mentioned before, I am not the best at taking pictures.  The next I have along the way are some additional Rustic Road pics.  This was just on the outskirts of the BRF area.
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We zipped along, at which point realizing that there were some open gravel areas.  I don’t mind going as fast as possible on these roads, but Lord help me if that KTM 950 doesn’t kick up some killer dust.  Jameson was rocking some Terraflex rear tire that was like a 3 mile long smoke screen of dust.  The 690 wasn’t as bad, but sweet word.  So as we scooted along, my eye spied another Rustic Road sign.  I let Jameson and Caleb zip away as I snagged a quick picture.
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You’ll notice in the above pic how my luggage locations changed.  This changed probably each day as I found a new configuration to put things.  Yes, I managed to burn some straps, and lose an item or two.  Such is life.
Along we went, with us needing to take a quick break.  Again, I don’t remember where, or exactly when.  I do remember though that Caleb had found that his rotopax gas tank he had on his bikes rear rack had broken the rear rack.  We found a stellar spot along the way to stop and fix things.  We had a lake, a parking lot, shade, pit toilets.  What more could you ask for?
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An hour and a half later, my gatorade had decided to work its way through me, requiring a quick pit stop.  I waved Jameson & caleb past and hung tight for a bit to let some of their dust settle.  We were mildly confused on the Wisconsin ATV Trail markings.  When you see a motorcycle, with a line through it, you tend to think….motorcycles shouldn’t be there.  That’s not always the case as we’d later learn.  Street legal motorcycles are acceptable.  This relieved me a bit, as I don’t like riding where I don’t belong, or am not allowed.  We have too few of trail systems as it is, I don’t want to be the one to screw that up. :deal
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Jameson scratches away some dust:
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Caleb ready to keep groovin and a moovin:
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After the more off-roady aspect of the area North of Black River Falls, things basically turn into farm lands.  Wide.  Open.  Farm.  We scooted pretty quickly at this point, with each of us keeping decent distance to keep the dust as tolerable as possible.  Around 6pm, we figured we better figure out what we were going to do for camp.  We stopped at a gas station I really wish I knew where (mapping shows Hawkins, WI) to get some quick food stuffs.  At which point I sent my wife a stellar high fashion photo of myself.
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We figured at this point, we’d continue to follow the trail, and see where we ended up.  Around 630, Jameson figured we better really buckle down on location.
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We found ourselves on an ATV Trail.  I was in front (350’s are the fastest of course), with Jameson following Caleb.  Caleb ended up washing out his front tire, so we decided we really must buckle down. and find camp.  After a few minor detours, we found an appropriate locale for sleeping.
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We realized in our spot we had no cell signal.  I sent my Check-In\OK signal on my SPOT, but figured I’d walk to the entrance of our camp spot to see if I could get any reception.  I hopped on my bike without my gear\helmet\etc.  Go figure, I get a danged mosquito in my eye.
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Yah…that one on your right.  The one that’s making your eyes water right now :lol3
We relaxed through the evening.  Cooked some foods, and around 9 or 10, Jameson decided he needed a cup of coffee.  I odn’t understand how he did it, but he did.  Caleb and I retired to our separate chambers.  His a hammock nestled between a couple trees.  Mine, my trusty Kelty tent.  Not 2 minutes after getting into my tent, Caleb begins snoring like a bear.  Thankfully, I was tired and zonked out quickly.
End of day, I think we did 275-300ish miles?  I sadly don’t remember.  It was a great day of riding, and I was ready for what the next day would bring us.
Day 2 Map
Day 3 (Tuesday) to follow.
Andrew