Friday, September 9, 2022

Scott County

 Went for a Sunday morning ride in the country. Not a lot of "twisties" on this one, just corn and soybeans, small lakes, wetlands, and oaks. The area south of Prior Lake has slightly more topography than the surrounding area and hosts some small lakes and oak groves. Once the corn gives way to pasture and oaks you'll have found it.

Low water.

No water.

Highway 3 south out of Inver Grove is an immediate escape from traffic and strip malls; the pavement is nice. I turned west on 80, a gravel road south of Farmington, and continued on 2 to the Cedar lake area. Just north of Cedar Lake I passed a sign for Fish Lake Campground and did a 180 to investigate. It's a private campground with some long-term trailers but has plenty of "primitive" tent spots too. I don't think it fills up often, if you're looking for a quick getaway.  (try sites 8 or 9)

After my short but enjoyable time in Scott County, I ran up to Fairview to visit my father-in-law for lunch. I prefer highway 13 on the south side of the Minnesota River to 35W but it wasn't too bad on a Sunday.

- Ride North

80 miles | 60s | sunny

Saturday, June 18, 2022

the Waterfalls Capital of Wisconsin

June is here, time for some moto-tourism! In past springs we've planned these trips around riding. This year we chose the scenic route and spent equal parts of Saturday both hiking and riding in the woods north of Green Bay. Our route connected us to both physical locations and memories.

Dave's Falls

Marinette County is the self proclaimed "waterfalls capital of Wisconsin." It's also where our family visited when we went "up north." It's been a very long time since I've been back to the sandy trails where I first learned how to ride a dirt bike. 

But first, I'd have to make the trek east. I didn't particularly enjoy I94 and 29, I found myself wondering, "why do I do this, a car would be so much easier." I had a hunch I'd be rediscovering the answer to that question soon and rode on. My first stop on Friday morning was for food and gas at the Cadott Veterans Memorial. I'm always shocked by how crudely built these machines are. It fosters a real appreciation for the people who climbed inside and put them to use. 

My dad and I were set to meet at the Dells of Eau Claire county park, just west of Wausau, around lunch time. I got there a little late at 1:00. He rode up from south east Wisconsin and had set out on Tuesday to follow the Wisconsin River north.

Carved into the rock, "Roland Brelimer 7.26.25"

It's a beautiful park and our first waterfall of the trip.

We stumbled upon the Gunderson House in Hogarty and did a quick 180. (hwy 52) 

For lunch, we managed to find a fish fry (in Wisconsin on a Friday). Then stopped in at Motorama, home of Alfa Heaven. In addition to Alfa's, they specialize in all the odd, niche, never imported vehicles they can find. Ten dollars a tour, all the car stories you want. 

SSZ Motorcars is their own brand and are built in-house. (very limited production)

Ralph's Quality Corvairs!

We camped at Goodman Park on Friday and Saturday both for nostalgia reasons and for its proximity to all the good waterfalls. It was a good test of my gear too. I had bought a 35L dry bag for my camping gear which fit everything but my tent. The next size up is 60L which would have been perfect for my tent, bag, pillow, sleeping bag and sweatshirt.

The mosquitoes came out at dusk but were never an issue otherwise. The drinking water is tannin stained and slightly iron flavored but I've had WAY worse. I was happy drinking the pumped-by-hand groundwater all weekend. The only gear adjustment I'd make would be to bring a better sleeping bag, it was a little light weight for the 40 degree temperatures we woke up to on Saturday.

The camping spots are all under towering red pines.

Lots of branches on the forest floor, hope it's not too windy. (it wasn't)

An evening walk at Goodman Park

Not pictured, rustic cabins for rent.

Our first stop in the waterfall tour was 18 Foot Falls, located in 12 Foot Falls Park. (camping available)

18' falls

18' falls

18' falls

The water is tannin stained but crystal clear.
12' falls

12' falls

Trillium was abundant on the forest floor.

Your's truly

Ride North Sr.

12' falls
8' falls, as short walk from 12'. We passed on 4' falls. 

Long Slide and Smalley falls were our favorites. The short hikes into these falls were rugged and required scrambling over granite outcroppings and around boulders, all part of the fun.

This is just the lower half of Long Slide falls.

This is Smalley, can you find him in the following picture?

More wild flowers. 
While the Trillium were abundant, 
these yellow lady slippers were a rare treat. 

Dave's Falls, our last stop of the day. I figured we wrap up our waterfall viewing in the morning and do some riding in the afternoon but the sun was already getting low by the time we hiked down to the waterfalls. I'm not sure if there's camping at this park but the waterfalls are impressive.

Don't let the kids out of your sight at this beach!

On Sunday we packed up camp and headed out for a big sitdown breakfast. I think we were out of there before 7AM. I was looking forward to taking hwy 8 all the way to the Minnesota border, almost its full length. It took longer but was much more relaxing than taking the 4-lane all the way, and more interesting too.

A stop to charge my long-dead phone and refuel "the temple."

My final stop, just north of Stillwater.

Happy. Happy.

- Ride North

June 3rd, 4th, and 5th | 50f - 70f | mostly sunny, the rain stayed just south 
750 miles | 15 hours in the bike | 58 mpg!